Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 38.3
Motor Vehicle Repair Shop Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-38.3-3

§ 5-38.3-3. Obligations of motor vehicle repair shop.

The repair shop shall:

(1)(i) Upon request of any customer, make an estimate, in writing, of the parts and labor necessary for each specific repair or service offered and not charge for work done or parts supplied in excess of the estimate without the consent of the customer. The repair shop may charge a reasonable fee for making an estimate. The repair shop may elect to apply the estimate fee to services actually performed. The estimate shall contain the following information: the customer’s name; the name of the repair shop; the date of the estimate; a list of parts necessary for each specific repair together with the costs for each part, indicating any parts that are not new parts of at least original equipment quality; the labor charge for each repair together with the costs of each labor charge; year and make of vehicle; registration plate number or vehicle identification number; a description of the problem reported by the customer; and a statement informing the customer of his or her right to receive replaced parts if the customer makes a written request for such return. All information on an estimate must be legible;

(ii) Written estimates must indicate the hourly labor charge and how it is computed, i.e., by clock hours or flat rate. If a flat rate, the manual used must be specified. A repair shop may utilize a job rate that covers both labor and parts on mechanical and electrical repairs costing less than two hundred dollars ($200). When a job rate is used, a list of parts must be included in the estimate and invoice;

(iii) If a flat rate is used, the consumer shall be shown relevant time rates as listed in the manual, on request;

(iv) A customer may not be charged for storage or automotive repair unless notice, in writing, is given. Notice may be given by a statement on an estimate or other document given the customer, by letter or by other written means, that gives the customer actual notice. Storage may not be charged during the period from which the customer has authorized repairs to one business day after the repair shop has notified the customer to pick up the repaired vehicle;

(v) Upon reasonable notice, a customer may remove a vehicle from a repair shop during the shop’s business hours upon paying for: (A) Labor actually performed; (B) Parts actually installed; (C) Parts ordered specifically for the customer’s car if the order is not cancelable or the parts not returnable for cash or credit; and (D) Storage charges imposed in accordance with subsection (1)(iv);

(2) Not perform any services not authorized by the customer by a work order. If a repair shop prepares a written work order, a copy shall be given to the customer. If a written work order is prepared by the customer, the work order shall be attached to the invoice. If the customer gives an oral work order, the oral work order shall be noted on the invoice and shall include the date, time, and manner of authorization and by whom the authorization was given;

(3) Provide the customer with an invoice. An invoice shall contain the following information: the name and address of the repair shop; the date of the invoice; the date the vehicle was presented to the repair shop for repair or services; a list of all parts supplied and labor performed, including the cost for each part and labor; a notation indicating the status of any part used that is not new and of at least original quality (i.e., used, rebuilt, etc.); the odometer reading on the vehicle at the time it was left with the repair shop and the odometer reading at the time the invoice was prepared; a promised date of delivery; if any date was given; the name of the customer; year and make of the vehicle; the terms and time limit of any guarantee for the repair work performed; and a description of the problem reported by the customer. A repair performed under warranty requires an invoice that complies with this subsection. All information on an invoice must be legible;

(4) Return replaced parts if a timely written demand is made by the customer. If work is authorized over the telephone, it shall be presumed that the customer wants his or her parts returned and the repair shop shall keep these parts until the customer or his or her agent appears to retrieve the motor vehicle, at which time the replaced parts shall be given to the customer if he or she directs. This subsection does not apply to parts, components, or equipment normally sold on an exchange basis or subject to a manufacturer’s warranty;

(5) Operate the vehicle while in its possession only in accordance with the direction of the customer or as is necessary to repair or road test the vehicle;

(6) Make repairs covered by guarantee;

(7) Not commit fraud or engage in deceptive practices; and

(8) Upon request of any customer, make available for inspection the time cards used in making any automobile repairs.

History of Section.
P.L. 1994, ch. 371, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 306, § 1.