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Motor Vehicle Work and Repairs

New Rules for Motor Vehicle Work and Repairs
Come into Force July 1, 2013

The Government recognizes that most car repair businesses treat people fairly, but there are some situations where consumers need protection. The Consumer Protection Amendment Act (Motor Vehicle Work and Repairs) was developed, in consultation with industry and stakeholders, in order to provide specific protection measures to consumers having work done to their motor vehicles. Below is important information about the motor vehicle work and repairs legislation.

  • New rules – the legislation applies to transactions carried out between businesses and consumers.  It does not apply to business to business transactions or private repair transactions.
  • Estimates – repair shops must offer written estimates to consumers for any repair over $100.  Examples of the type of information an estimate must include are: a detailed description of the work or repairs to be carried out; a list itemizing the parts to be installed; and an estimated total charge for labour.
  • Cap on total charges - final charges for repair work must be within 10% of the estimate. 
  • Authorization – a consumer has to give permission for repairs before they can be made and repairers are required to record this information.
  • Invoices – consumers must be given a written bill of sale with specific information about the parts and their cost, labour and other charges, warranty terms, total cost and rights under the Act.
  • Warranty– repair shops must warranty parts and associated labour and disclose the terms of the warranty.  Legislation provides a minimum warranty of 90 days or 5,000 km, whichever comes first, though repairers may provide longer terms.
  • Return of old parts – repairers must (with exceptions) offer consumers their old parts and provide them if requested.
  • Signage – repair shops must display a sign with specific information that highlights specific rights and protections for consumers, as well as obligations of repairers.
  • Non-Compliance – repairers that are found to have breached the legislation may be subject to administrative penalties and or prosecution.

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. When does this legislation come into effect?

The new rules come into effect on July 1, 2013.

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2. What does the legislation address?

The legislation:

  • Requires repairers to provide consumers with an estimate for repairs greater than $100;
  • Defines the information to be provided in an estimate;
  • Requires the amount charged to the consumer be within 10% of the estimate;
  • Prohibits repairers from charging consumers for unauthorized repairs;
  • Requires repairers to provide an invoice to consumers;
  • Defines the information to be included on an invoice;
  • Requires repairers to provide information on the type of parts being used in the repair;
  • Provides a warranty on parts and labour; and
  • Provides the Consumer Protection Office with the tools to enforce the legislation.

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3. Who does this legislation apply to?

The legislation applies to businesses in Manitoba who do work or repairs on motor vehicles such as cars, trucks or motorcycles.

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4. Does this legislation apply to business to business transactions? For example, if a repairer does work or repairs on a motor vehicle such as heavy equipment truck that is used primarily for commercial purposes, would the repairs be subject to this legislation?

No. The legislation applies to transactions between consumers and businesses only.

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5. Are there any other types of repairs or vehicles that the legislation will not apply to?

Yes. The legislation will not apply to work or repairs to vehicles such as farm equipment or off road vehicles.

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6. Does this legislation apply to repair claims through Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI)?

The legislation will not apply to claims through MPI. MPI has its own legislation with protective measures and processes for resolving consumer disputes.

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7. Does a repairer need to provide an estimate?

Yes. Repairers must offer to provide consumers with a written estimate for all repairs exceeding $100. If a consumer declines the written estimate the repairer must obtain authorization from the consumer for the maximum amount they will pay.

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8. What type of information must be in an estimate?

Examples of the information an estimate must include is: the make, model, licence and vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle, a detailed description of the work or repairs to be carried out, a list itemizing the parts to be installed, an estimated total charge for labour, and if the customer is to be charged for shop supplies, the amount to be charged and the method used to calculate that amount.

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9. Do taxes need to be included in the estimate?

The estimate should include the total cost estimated to be charged to consumers for the work or repairs, including all fees, charges and levies, but excluding provincial and federal retail sales tax.

For certainty and in the interest of full disclosure a repairer may choose to include the sales taxes if desired.

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10. Can businesses charge consumers for an estimate?

Yes. Businesses can charge consumers for an estimate. However, the consumer must be told in advance that there is a fee to provide an estimate, as well as the amount of the fee.

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11. Can a repairer charge more than the estimate?

Yes. Repairers will be allowed up to 10% more than the amount specified on the estimate up to a maximum of $100.

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12. What happens if a repairer finds other things that need to be fixed while completing a repair?

As long as these items were not to be fixed as part of the initial estimate, the repairer could repair them for an additional charge. However, to do so, the repairer would need to prepare a separate estimate and receive authorization from the consumer.

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13. How can a consumer provide authorization for work or repairs?

Consumers can provide authorization in writing. Authorization can also be provided by other means such as by phone or by email. Regulations require that repairers retain records of authorization not provided in writing.

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14. What happens if a repairer performs work on a motor vehicle that a consumer did not authorize?

A repairer cannot charge for work on a motor vehicle unless the work was authorized by the consumer. Repairers may be assessed an administrative penalty for charging for work that was not authorized.

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15. What warranty does the legislation provide?

Repairers must warrant the parts and the labour to install them for a minimum of 90 days or 5,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. If a repairer provides additional warranty, those terms must be provided on the invoice.

This is in addition to any warranties already included in The Consumer Protection Act that are implied for every retail sale by law.

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16. What warranty information needs to be provided to the consumer?

Repairers must advise the consumer that there is a minimum warranty of 3 months or 5,000 km, whichever comes first. The repairer must also disclose any other warranty that they provide. If the manufacturer provides additional warranty, the repairer may pass this information along but it is not required by law. If applicable, a repairer may use a general statement to describe the warranty provided by a certain manufacturer.

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17. Are tires included under the mandatory warranty?

Yes, tires are included under the mandatory warranty with respect to a defect in manufacturing or improper installation. This warranty does not apply with respect to road hazard.

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18. When does the mandatory warranty begin?

The warranty begins on the date of delivery of the repaired motor vehicle to the consumer.

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19. What happens to the warranty if the repairer sub-contracts some of the work to another business?

The legislation states that both the repairer and the sub-contractor are responsible for the warranty. This ensures that the consumer does not get "stuck in the middle" of a disagreement between the businesses as to which one is responsible. The repairer will also be required to provide the sub-contractor's contact information, in case the consumer needs to make a claim under warranty.

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20. Is a repairer required to provide an invoice for repairs or work done to a motor vehicle?

Yes. A written invoice for work or repairs done to motor vehicle must be provided to the consumer. The legislation sets out what information must be included in the invoice. Some of the information an invoice must include is: the vehicle identification number and licence of the motor vehicle; the date and time that the consumer authorized the work or repairs; the amount set out in the estimate or the maximum amount the consumer specified; an exact description of the work or repairs done to the motor vehicle; an itemized list of the parts installed and the amount the consumer is being charged for shop supplies.

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21. Are repairers required to post signs in their businesses?

Yes. Repairer must post signs that meet prescribed size, type and wording requirements as provided for in the legislation. These signs highlight specific rights and protections for consumers, as well as the obligations of repairers. See 'Schedule A' for an example of the required signage.

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22. Do the signs need to be posted in English and French?

The repairer must have the sign posted, but may choose which of the two official languages they wish to use.

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23. How should the labour rate on the required signage be displayed if we use different labour rates for different types of service or work?

Repairers may post either the highest labour rate or the range of labour rates used in the facility.

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24. Do parts need to be kept separate during the repair if the consumer has declined their return?

If the consumer declines the return of parts when authorizing the work or repairs, the associated parts do not have to be kept separate during the repair.

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25. Do fluids need to be returned to the consumer if requested?

For safety concerns, repairers are not required to offer fluids to consumers, though may do so by choice.

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26. What are the consequences should a business choose to not comply with the new rules?

The Consumer Protection Office can inspect repair shops to ensure they are complying with the legislation, such as posting the required signs. The Consumer Protection Office will also mediate complaints filed by consumers and enforce the legislation. Companies that are found to have breached the legislation may be subject to administrative penalties and or prosecution.

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27. Where can I get further information regarding the new rules relating to motor vehicle work and repairs?

Businesses may contact the Consumer Protection Office for more information regarding the motor vehicle work and repair legislation. The Consumer Protection Office can be reached by telephone, fax and email. The contact information is as follows:

Consumer Protection Office
302-258 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6

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Resources

These documents are intended to provide general information on motor vehicle work and repair requirements and do not go into detail regarding all applicable legislation. If a discrepancy is found between this document and the legislation it refers to, the legislation supersedes the information found in this document.  While the Consumer Protection Office makes every effort to notify businesses of new provisions, it remains the business’ responsibility to know and to comply with all applicable legislation.