Colorado Motor Vehicle Repair Act (MVRA)
A Plain English Guide to C.R.S. 42-9-101
Amended effective May 21, 1997
A Service of ASA-Colorado
Note: This is intended to be a simple digest of the Act, as amended May 21, 1997. Please refer to the actual language of the law (C.R.S. 42-9-101) when needed.
The MVRA does not apply to :
- Trucks over 8,500
- Farm Vehicles
- Antique cars (25 + years old)
- Collector’s items
WRITTEN CONSENT AND ESTIMATE
NO repairs can be made to a vehicle without the written consent of the owner which includes an estimate of repairs.
The estimate MUST include:
- Total cost of repairs (excluding sales tax and towing charges)
- Completion date
- Whether customer wants replaced parts returned
- Cost of reassembly (if the customer chooses not to have the work done) and replacement of parts destroyed in disassembly
Exceptions: Consent for repair MUST be written unless:
- Customer signs a waiver of right to an estimate
- Estimate is after disassembly necessary to determine problem
- Estimate is for additional charges
- Vehicle is towed in or left before or after business hours, in which case NO MORE THAN $100 WORTH OF PARTS AND LABOR COMBINED IS ALLOWED without owner consent
To give up the right to an estimate, the customer MUST sign a statement printed in BOLD type: “I DO NOT WISH TO RECEIVE ANY ESTIMATE, EITHER WRITTEN OR ORAL, TO WHICH I AM ENTITLED BY LAW. BEFORE REPAIRS ARE AUTHORIZED.” Authorization for repairs must be gotten, nonetheless.
If consent is not given at the onset of a business transaction, the motor vehicle repair facility must ORALLY communicate the estimate to the customer, which must then be recorded IN WRITING in specific detail on the invoice and/or repair order.
Specific information to be recorded on the estimate includes:
- Time of call
- Phone number called
- Manner of consent
- Person’s name giving consent
- Employee’s name who takes consent
In the case where additional repairs are needed after the original job has begun, the repair facility MUST get the customer’s consent, written or oral, BEFORE the work is performed.
Without written or oral consent for the additional repairs, a facility may charge ONLY the estimated cost plus 10% OR $25.00, whichever is LESS. The cost of sub-contract labor and/or parts may be charged because the facility has no control over subcontractor pricing.
If a diagnosis must be done before an estimate can be given the customer MUST be given an estimate which includes:
- Any charges for the diagnosis
- The cost involved in disassembly
- The cost of reassembly in the event the owner does not want to proceed with the repairs
- The cost of the parts needed to replace those destroyed in disassembly in order to restore the vehicle to its former condition
After the diagnosis is completed, an estimate MUST be given orally to the vehicle owner, following the oral consent procedures.
Manufacturer and New NonOrginal Equipment
The facility MUST note on the work order what type of new part the owner wants installed, if indeed, the owner wants new parts.
Used, Reconditioned or Rebuilt Parts:
Either written or oral consent must be given BEFORE used, reconditioned or rebuilt parts can be installed. A facility cannot charge for new parts if they are not new. The facility MUST note on the work order what type of parts the vehicle owner wants installed.
Return of Replacement Parts:
If requested at the outset, all parts except those warranty parts that MUST be returned to the manufacturer, must be given to the customer IF the customer so request at the time of consenting to or authorizing the repairs.
The first change in any original completion date MUST BE WRITTEN on the invoice and orally communicated to the customer no more than 24 HOURS after the original date has been missed. Any additional delays MUST be consented to by the customer and recorded pursuant to the oral estimate procedures. If no notification is given, or timely notification is violated, or consent refused, the contract may be cancelled and reassembly WITHOUT COST to the customer is required, unless the customer was previously notified that reassembly is not possible. The customer pays only for those repairs that have been completed with THREE DAYS (a customer can specify a lesser condition of reassembly).
When doing additional work under a warranty given by a facility for a previous repair, a written notice with the completion date MUST be given to the customer. A facility warranty IS LIMITED to the terms and conditions spelled out in the warranty.
The invoice MUST BE LEGIBLE and a copy given to the customer. The facility must retain a copy of the customer invoice for THREE YEARS. The invoice must include:
- Customer’s name and address
- Vehicle year, make, license number, odometer reading (when brought into the facility and if odometer is functioning and accessible)
- Date vehicle brought in
- Itemization of charges, taxes, service and handling, shop supplies and materials
- Part description (name and number ) and whether new oem, new non-OEM, used, reconditioned or rebuilt and the charge for each part
- Labor amount
- Name or number of every mechanic involved and which portion of the repairs were done by each
- Warranty information if a warranty is given by the facility on the service/part(s) the facility provided
A facility MUST have a customer sign a SEPARATE WRITTEN AGREEMENT for any and all storage fees. There is no maximum allowable charge, yet the customer MUST agree to the amount in writing. A storage fee can only be charged beginning on the FOURTH DAY after the customer is notified that repairs have been completed.
A facility MAY NOT CHARGE storage fees for Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays and any days the facility is closed for business.
The storage fee authorization MUST BE A SEPARATE DOCUMENT from the work order, estimate or invoice and in BOLD TYPE, state the following:
- “A STORAGE FEE MAY NOT BE CHARGED UNLESS A WRITTEN DOCUMENT, FOR AN AMOUNT IS REACHED. A STORAGE FEE MAY BE CHARGED, BEGINNING ON THE FOURTH DAY, IF A MOTOR VEHICLE IS NOT REMOVED WITHIN THREE DAYS AFTER THE CUSTOMER IS NOTIFIED THAT REPAIRS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED EXCLUDING SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, LEGAL HOLIDAYS, AND ANY DAYS THE REPAIR FACILITY IS CLOSED FOR BUSINESS.”
For failure to provide the written or oral estimate required or failure to give a correct and complete invoice.
Misdemeanor ($500 – $2000 fine)
For committing a prohibited act such as:
- Charging for repairs without consent
- Charging in excess of the estimate (plus 10% or $25.00, whichever is less)
- Misrepresenting the necessity of repairs
- Misrepresenting that a vehicle is in a dangerous condition
- Misrepresenting that repairs were done when they were not
- Performing unnecessary emissions repairs
- Failing to give appropriate notice of a charge in the completion date
- Preparing incorrect work orders (without odometer readings which were available)
Misdemeanor ($500 – $2000 fine)
For a violation of any other provisions of the Motor Vehicle Repair Act.
Misdemeanor (up to $500 fine)
CUSTOMER’S RIGHT TO SUE
If a customer feels a facility broke the law, they may sue in Small Claims Court, and if the customer wins, they may recover THREE TIMES the amount of the actual damages, but no less than $250.00. Small Claims Court is limited to $5,000.00. A customer may sue in a higher courts to claim more. The courts MAY award attorney’s fees and court costs to the winning party in the law suit.
The customer MUST send by certified mail a WRITTEN NOTICE giving the facility 10 days to settle before the customer can file any action in any court. A customer does not give up the right to sue when the bill is paid to get the vehicle back. This DOES NOT mean that the customer has consented to the charges. The customer MUST bring action within ONE YEAR from the time of the notice to the facility.
Consumer Protection Act (6-1-101)
If convicted under the Motor Vehicle Repair Act, the provisions of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act MAY be imposed, including injunctive relief and fines. This is a civil statute co-enforced by the District Attorneys and the Attorney General of the State of Colorado.
Liens – (38-20-106.5)
If a customer stops payment on a check written in payment of repairs or if that check bounces, a facility MUST give written notice by certified mail in which the customer has 12 days to settle any dispute. If not resolved, the facility MAY repossess the vehicle if this can be done without a breach of the peace.
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