On behalf of the Canadian Independent Automotive Association I wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to you for your participation in preventing Private Members Bill 203 from passing its Second Reading on Monday April 11, 2016 at the Alberta Legislative Assembly.
Nathan Cooper, Wild Rose MLA from Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills made the motion for second reading of Bill 203, Fair trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Pricing Protection for Consumers) Amendment Act, 2016, be amended by deleting all the words after “that” and substituting the following: Bill 203, Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Pricing Protection for Consumers) Amendment Act, 2016, be not now read a second time but that the subject matter of the bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Families and Communities in accordance with Standing Order 74.2. [Motion on amendment carried]
Having the Bill referred to Standing Committee allows for flexibility and input from the public and industry stakeholders such as the CIAA/AIAA to create a bill that will benefit all Albertans. As a side note I would like to mention that the House voted unanimously in favor of Bill 203 being referred to Standing Committee. I think this speaks volumes to the problems associated with Bill 203.
An incredible amount of work was accomplished by Nancy Suranyi who is a shop owner, CIAA Board Member and represents our Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Independent Automotive Association on the AMVIC Society Board. With her extensive knowledge regarding AMVIC and government affairs and with her incredible energy she went to bat for our independent automotive industry.
Many thanks also to Wayne Paulsen for his time spent meeting with MLAs, organizing and attending meetings in Edmonton. Wayne is also an automotive shop owner, President of the Alberta Chapter of the CIA Association and Vice President of the CIA Association – when you need a job done ask a busy man!
Art Wilderman, the Executive Director for the CIAA also worked long hours setting up meeting with MLA’s in Calgary as well as Town Hall meetings and assisted Nancy with the extensive problems with Bill 203 and providing solutions to these problems. I have worked for many years with Art and have always been impressed with his knowledge, devotion and passion for our independent automotive industry.
Many thanks go out to the people that assisted in providing venues for the Town Hall Meetings in Edmonton and Calgary and assisted in contacting as many automotive shops and industry people as possible in such a short time frame. We thank each of you that attended our meetings and sent letters of concern or arranged meetings with your MLAs and contacted or met with the MLA Jon Carson who brought this bill forward.
Thank you also to the Wild Rose MLA Wayne Anderson and his Legislative Assistant Andrew Konig, and PC MLA Mike Ellis and his Legislative Assistant Terri Kimball for meeting with us and presenting our concerns with such passion to the NDP Caucus.
I would also like to thank the approximately 20 automotive shops and industry people that took the time from their businesses to sit in the Members Gallery at the Legislative Assembly as guests of the Wild Rose and PC parties. The MLAs introduced us to the Assembly by name, business name, association etc. We made an impressive group and were several times referred to during the debate as being willing to participate, to contribute, and to share our expertise with those that may have less knowledge of the industry.
Congratulation to all involved, we came together as a team and we hit a home run!!
I invite you to join our team if you are not already a member. The stronger our membership the stronger our team becomes and I know there will be more challenges ahead for the survival of our industry. If you are an independent automotive repair shop in Alberta, the Alberta Chapter of the CIAA is your representation on the AMVIC Board. For $25.00 a month you can be a member of our Alberta Branch of the CIA Association. That’s a small price to pay to be a part of an association that fights for your rights!
And the last word goes to Mr. McIver, Intern Leader of PC Alberta and MLA for Calgary- Hays who during the debate eloquently stated: You know, this can be a crazy place, but every once in a while you get to do something where, when you are finished, you can say: we did the right thing for the right reasons, we did it together, and we did it for the benefit of all Albertans.
A Brief History
On March 17, 2016 a private member brought to the floor of the Alberta Legislature a Bill to amend the current Alberta Fair Trading Act and was passed in its first reading. The bill is intended to enhance motor vehicle repair pricing protection for consumers.
This was done without any consultation with us the Alberta Independent Automotive Association, the Motor Dealers Association, the Recyclers Association, the RV Dealers, Automotive Industries Association, AMVIC, or the department responsible for the fair trading act Alberta Services. If it had not been for one of our founding board members being queried by an MLA’s office on March 16th and contacting Art Wilderman we might have believed the industry was going to continue to operate as normal.
This is not a government bill it is a private members bill. This is a free vote. You and your MLA can make a difference!!!
We have conferred with the other stake holders listed above and are reaching out to many more. We will continue meeting with MLA Jon Carson but we are going to need your help as an Alberta Independent Automotive Association member, new member and or constituent.
TAKE THESE CONCERNS TO YOUR MLA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Our CIAA first draft of Amendment recommendations!
No other province has a regulatory body like AMVIC that monitors and mediates repair services and has helped develop a more trusted and respected repair industry. The number of repair complaints compared to the number of repair invoices written should demonstrate that we do not have a problem. Approximately 3,783,360 invoces and 80 investigations for 3941 repair only shops. We can improve without doubt but let us not do it on backs and pocket books of the consumer or at the cost of safety on our streets.
- (1)a & b The government should not try to develop a regulation that would limit the charge for a diagnostic fee. The term diagnostic is not defined in this document. This may apply to the collision industry but not service and repair. Please remove 57.3 (1) unless it defines an industry other than service and repair.
Section 57.3 (2) Use of the word estimate is the issue. No one charges for an estimate in service and repair. The customer should be asked to approve a diagnostic procedure to determine what needs to be repaired. The price of the diagnostic may be increased with the client’s approval if the cause and correction are not revealed within the value of the initial procedure.
Section 57.3 (3) In this industry it is not possible to not charge for the diagnostic procedure. Modern vehicle repairs require a diagnostic that can be as much as 95% of the final invoice and typically 60% of the value of a repair. No diagnostic fee is charged for maintenance services but an estimate for those services is normal.
Section 12 (J) of the current act protects the consumer and still gives a technician the RIGHT TO FIX IT RIGHT
Remove this section.
This is covered in the current regulation.
Estimate authorization not in writing is an issue that needs a great deal of discussion. It is a common problem with a lot of variables to be considered by the regulator and industry. In that this section refers to the regulation we suggest it be deleted until such time as there is a regulation clearly define and approving a system.
Section 57.7 New work found while doing the repair or service.
We do not see a problem with getting customers approval for any work that exceeds the current estimate there by creating a new estimate for approval. An additional diagnostic fee is not normal in this situation because the cause is identified while preforming the original repair. The time line for getting the approval can be a problem in that if the customer cannot be contacted in time the new repair could end up costing more than it might have if it had a timely approval.
Deficiencies’ that could be a safety issue should not be released to the customer unless the vehicle can be made safe. We do not have adequate authority as technicians to condemn a vehicle as unsafe and that should be corrected in law.
57.8 We are not sure what this is intended to cover but the only sign postings that should be required are the rates for government required inspections. Take it out. It is covered under inspection regulations.
SSection 57.9 The use of a subcontractor in regulation: covered under section 12 ( j)
This would have to cover the definition of the term. The common industry term is sublet. Which should include more specifics? Does this mean the vehicle is sent to another repairer or does it include work done to a component off the original site?
The section would be better served the way it operates in today’s market that is the original repairer takes full responsibility for the full repairs. The original repair shop is responsible for the work of the subcontractor. The customer need not be involved in the selection of a subcontractor or the solvency of the subcontractor. The jointly and severally should be deleted.
Section 57.10 There is no current regulation on invoice content. This section needs to state that the invoice must contain a description of parts that would support the warranty obligation for quality not the price. The repair fee should not call for hours or door rate only the total value of the repair. Consumers should only be concerned about the total price that they have determined through the estimate process and approved. By asking for a shop to include hours and parts price on an invoice causes problems after the fact, these are never issues before a repair there fore they should not be after a repair. All customers what or need to know is the final price. The door rate of a shop is not within the realm of consumers to understand it is based on a long list of variables. One shop may have much better equipment and better trained technicians which enable that shop to be more competitive even though they calculate their estimate at a higher hourly rate. Again the only relevant number is final total and a description of the work performed and the parts supplied plus identification as used, OEM, aftermarket new or aftermarket rebuilt.
Section 57.11 (1) Delete this section
Government should not regulate warranty. It is a competitive point of value for the consumer and must be based on the quality of the part and service being offered.
No one is going to give a labour warranty for used parts. Used parts may be warranted by the recycler or not. Used parts are used with a degree of risk to the consumer. A risk the consumer deems less important than the lower cost of the part. If this is over regulated the consumer is going to pay more for parts and often their financial situation does not permit top line product or they would not ask for used parts.
Customer supplied parts or the labour to install them cannot be covered under warranty from the repairer.
Having a regulation that defines what a warranty must include is wrong. Regulations are needed to fairly apply the warranties that customers have been given!
Section 57. 11 (3)
The terms of the warranty should be covered in a competitive warranty which is part of the value equation for customer authorising the repair.
The repairer shall cover the cost of the re-repair not reimburse the price of the original repair. Today shops will contact the original repair shop to talk about what they would like to do and warranty programs they have in place to manage the situation. Most parts suppliers and chains have programs in place to manage these situations. AMVIC is there to help with any disputes. Delete section 57.11(4)
Section 57.11.8 Warranty of a parts supplied should not be regulated. The quality of the part and the price of the part will be the standard for terms and extent of warranty. The part supplier also has no control over the quality of the repair made by the service provider.
Section 57.12 Keeping of estimate records is the burden of the customer not the repair shop. The invoice will show all charges. Estimates are only kept for a short period of time by a repair shop because a new diagnostic will be required in case other damage has occurred since the last visit. Take out the section. There is no practical way to validate the record of an estimate that we can think of. The customer agrees to the estimate or not that is all.
There will be more issues that need to be reviewed and we will need more time to formalize our position on other points and consult with other industry stake holders. Regulations that don’t make sense are worked around and or ignored as evidenced in other jurisdictions. Our goal is to protect the consumer and build an industry in Alberta that we are proud of.
Link to the existing Bill 203:
Link to your MLA's Office:
We also ask that you mention this to other shops in your area and share this email. They might not be a member of the CIAA and therefore unaware that this bill could have a significant impact on the way they operate their business.