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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76314 Find in a Library
Title: Automobile Repair Report
Corporate Author: South Carolina Office of the Attorney General
United States of America

South Carolina Dept of Consumer Affairs
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
South Carolina Dept of Consumer Affairs
Columbia, SC 29250
South Carolina Office of the Attorney General
Columbia, SC 29201
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report summarizes the findings of hearings held by South Carolina's Department of Consumer Affairs in 1979 on automobile repairs and maintenance, as well as a review of legal regulations covering the auto repair industry.
Abstract: The testimony of 130 witnesses during 2 days of hearings revealed substantial problems facing consumers of auto repair services. Most complaints were not caused by overt fraud but were attributed to lack of communication between the consumer and large repair facilities; consumers' ignorance about car maintenance; and failure of the auto repair industry to tell the customer about costs, type of work performed, and replacement parts. Other barriers to public confidence in the auto repair industry include lack of established standards governing the quality of auto mechanics and repair shops and ambiguous provisions in new car warranties. While most complaints heared at the auto repair hearings could have been resolved through mediation, no mechanism of any significance has been provided by the auto repair industry for prompt and efficient response to consumer complaints. As of mid-1979, 25 States and the District of Columbia had passed legislation affecting the auto repair business. The most common form of regulation mandates disclosure of detailed information to consumers entering auto repair transactions. Only a few States license auto repair businesses and require mechanic certification. Although Federal agencies have conducted studies which document widespread consumer dissatisfaction with auto repairs, no Federal regulations of the industry exist at present. South Carolina has no laws specifically targeted at the auto repair industry, although the Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Uniform Commercial Code could be used to redress some complaints. A California statute involving disclosure, dispute mediation, and licensing appears to be effective but also has created a large bureaucracy. Massachusetts has avoided this problem by listing auto repair practices which are violations of the State's Unfair Trade Practices Act and placing enforcement responsibilities within the Attorney General's Office, Division of Consumer Protection. General recommendations resulting from the hearings and a table showing different types of complaints described at the hearings are included.
Index Term(s): Automobiles; Consumer fraud; Consumer protection; Consumer protection laws; Hearings; South Carolina
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