Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 38.3
Motor Vehicle Repair Shop Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-38.3-2

§ 5-38.3-2. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “Consumer protection unit” means the consumer protection unit of the department of the attorney general.

(2) “Day” means calendar day, except that if the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, there is an extension of time to the conclusion of the next business day.

(3) “Deceptive practice” means a deceptive act or practice as defined in chapter 13.1 of title 6.

(4) “Diagnostic center” means a business that examines motor vehicles to determine the cause or location of malfunctions in motor vehicles.

(5) “Documentary material” means the original or a copy of any book, record, report, memorandum, paper, communication, tabulation, map, chart, photograph, mechanical transcription, or other tangible document or recording wherever situate.

(6) “Estimate” means the repair shop’s determination of the cost of parts and the cost of labor needed to perform offered services. If a teardown is needed to determine the services required to repair a motor vehicle malfunction, the estimate, which includes the cost of teardown and reassembly, shall clearly state that the estimate does not include the cost of repairs.

(7) “Examination” of documentary material includes the inspection, study, or copying of any documentary material, and the taking of testimony, under oath or acknowledgement, in respect of any documentary material or copy of documentary material.

(8) “Flat rate” means relevant time allocated to a job as indicated in the manual used. These times may differ from actual time.

(9) “Guarantee” means an obligation undertaken by a repair shop to re-repair a vehicle at no charge, or at a reduced charge, for parts or labor or both.

(10) “Invoice” means a bill, in writing, listing the details of the transaction between the repair shop and the customer as required by this part.

(11)(i) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway that is propelled by any power other than muscular power, except:

(A) Electrically-driven mobility assistance devices operated or driven by a person with a disability;

(B) Vehicles that run only upon rails or tracks;

(C) Snowmobiles;

(D) Farm-type tractors and all-terrain vehicles used exclusively for agricultural purposes; and

(E) Towed vehicles designed and primarily used for some purpose other than transporting people or property.

(ii) The term “motor vehicle” excludes fire and police vehicles other than ambulances.

(12) “Motor vehicle repair shop” or “repair shop” means any person who, for compensation, is wholly or partially engaged in the business of repairing or diagnosing motor vehicle malfunctions, except that these terms do not include:

(i) Any employee of a motor vehicle repair shop who engages in the business of repairing motor vehicles solely by reason of his or her employment;

(ii) Any person who is solely engaged in the business of repairing the motor vehicles of a single commercial or industrial establishment, or of the federal, state, or local government or any agency thereof;

(iii) Any person whose activities consist solely of fueling, changing oil, water, batteries, or tires, replacing fan belts, air filters, or oil filters, installing windshield wiper blades or light bulbs, or other minor repair and servicing functions that the director by rule prescribes;

(iv) Any person solely engaged in the business of repairing farm- or road-building machines, or any other utility vehicles that the director may by regulation designate;

(v) Any person who is governed by the provisions of chapters 5 and 5.1 of title 31.

“Motor vehicle repair shop” shall also include any shop, drive-in station, or garage operated by any person, firm, corporation, or association at which motor vehicles are inspected for the purposes of appraising, evaluating, or estimating the cost of motor vehicle repairs, and the repairs are actually performed.

(13) “Reasonable fee for making an estimate” means an amount based on no more than the shop’s labor charge, calculated by clock hours, or one dollar ($1.00), whichever is greater.

(14) “Repair” means any alteration or adjustment to a motor vehicle, or diagnoses of a malfunction.

(15) “Timely written demand” means a request, in writing, made to the repair shop operator by the customer before any work is done on the vehicle.

(16) “Trade” and “commerce” mean the advertising, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any services and any property, tangible or intangible, real, personal, or mixed, and any other article, commodity, or thing of value wherever situated, and includes any trade or commerce directly or indirectly affecting the people of this state.

(17) “Warranty” means a promise made by a manufacturer that a vehicle will be repaired at no charge, or at a reduced charge, for parts or labor or both.

(18) “Work order” means an authorization, either oral or written, on the part of the customer for the repair shop to perform a service.

History of Section.
P.L. 1994, ch. 371, § 1.