Chapter 17 - Automobile Repair Shops
Chapter 17 - Automobile Repair Shops
As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(1) "Customer" means any natural person or persons, corporation, trust, partnership, incorporated or unincorporated association, and any other legal entity, and includes a person authorized by the customer to act on the customer’s behalf.
(2) “Director” means the Director of the Consumer Protection Bureau.
(3) “Motor vehicle” and “vehicle” means a motor vehicle as defined in 22.0101(14) and 22.0101(33) which is required to be registered under 22.1001 et seq., or with a governmental agency of another jurisdiction performing a similar function.
(4) “Motor vehicle repair shop” or “shop” means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other form of business organization engaged in the motor vehicle repair business and includes owners, officers, directors, agents, employees, and representatives but excludes the following:
(A) a shop engaged solely in the business of repairing the motor vehicles of a single commercial, industrial or governmental establishment, or of 2 or more of these establishments which are related by common ownership or corporation affiliation; and
(B) a person repairing his own or a family member’s motor vehicle.
(5) “Repair” or “repairs” means the painting, improvement, adjustment, replacement, examination, diagnosis, maintenance, servicing, removal or installation of any component or part of a motor vehicle, but does not include towing or the supply of motor fuel to a motor vehicle.
Upon request of the customer and before the commencement of repairs, the shop shall provide the customer with a copy of a dated repair order legibly describing the repairs to be performed. The shop shall record the odometer reading of the customer’s motor vehicle on the repair order, and shall sign the customer’s copy.
Before the commencement of repairs, the shop shall provide the customer with a price estimate for the repairs and an estimate of when the repairs will be completed. The repair price and completion date estimates shall be made in good faith by the shop and may not be exceeded except for good cause and no additional charges may be incurred over the price estimate without approval of the customer. The completion date estimate may not be exceeded without approval of the customer and a new completion date estimate shall be made in good faith by the shop. Nothing in this section may be construed as requiring a shop to provide a price or completion date estimate if the shop does not agree to perform the requested repairs.
The shop shall post a conspicuously located and readable sign which states in English and Samoan:
“You are entitled to a price and completion date estimate for the repairs you authorize before the repairs are begun. This price and completion date estimate will not be exceeded if the motor vehicle is delivered to the shop within five (5) days. After the motor vehicle is delivered to the shop the repair price and completion date may be less than the estimate but will not exceed the estimates without your approval. Your signature on the repair order will indicate your authorization of repairs at the price estimated.”
“You are entitled to the return of any or all replaced parts, except parts which must be returned to a manufacturer because of either a warranty or exchange agreement, if you request the parts at the time your order is taken. Those parts which must be returned to the manufacturer will be made available for inspection by you when you pick up your vehicle if you request the parts at the time your repair order is taken.”
No shop may charge for making a repair price estimate unless, before making the estimate, the shop discloses to the customer the amount of the charge, or, if the amount cannot be determined, the basis on which the charge will be calculated. No shop may impose, or threatened to impose, a charge which is clearly excessive in relation to the work involved in making the price estimate. This section does not affect deposits for parts or labor.
(a) If the shop has given the customer a price and completion date estimate for the repairs and either the price or completion date or both of them will exceed the estimate, the shop shall call or contact the customer before continuing with the repairs and shall provide the customer with a new good faith estimate of either the repair price or completion date or both of them. The shop may not continue with the repairs until it receives written or oral authorization from the customer.
(b) Before undertaking repairs other than those previously authorized by the customer, the shop shall call or contact the customer and provide him with a description of the proposed additional repairs together with a good faith estimate of the price and completion date or either of them. The shop may not undertake the additional repairs until it receives written or oral authorization from the customer.
(c) If the shop does not receive authorization from the customer to proceed with the repairs under (a) or (b) of this section, the shop shall either agree to perform the repairs at either the original estimated price or completion date or both of them, or provide for the customer to retake possession of the vehicle in at least as good condition as it was delivered to the shop, and notify the customer accordingly.
(d) A written authorization under (a) or (b) of this section shall be made on the repair order or on the invoice when a repair order is not requested and shall specify newly authorized repairs, as well as the newly authorized repair price and completion date estimate, or either of them. If authorization under (a) or (b) of this section is received orally, the shop shall specify on the repair order or invoice newly authorized repairs, as well as the newly authorized repair price and completion date estimate, or either of them. It shall also specify the date and time of authorization, the name of the person granting the authorization, and the telephone number called.
(e) Nothing in this section shall prevent the customer from supplying the parts, except a delay by the customer in supplying parts shall relieve the shop from meeting its good faith completion date. If the customer is to supply the pans, this shall be noted on the repair order or invoice stating either the name or number of the parts or both of them.
Parts from a customer’s motor vehicle which are replaced by the shop shall be returned to the customer if they are requested by the customer at the time the repair order is taken. Parts which must be returned to the manufacturer because of a warranty or exchange agreement need not be returned to the customer upon request but shall instead be made available for the customer’s inspection when the customer retakes possession of the motor vehicle.
The shop shall provide every customer, at the time the customer retakes possession of the motor vehicle, with a copy of a dated invoice detailing the costs of all parts and labor involved in the repair and any warranty or guarantee on the repairs, and identifying all parts replaced as being new, used, rebuilt or reconditioned.
(a) In addition to acts prohibited above, no shop implication may misrepresent directly or by implication:
(1) the cost of repairs authorized by the customer;
(2) the terms or conditions of a warranty or service agreement;
(3) that repairs are necessary;
(4) that repairs have been made; or
(5) that the motor vehicle is in a dangerous condition, or that the use of the motor vehicle by the customer will be hazardous to persons or harmful to the motor vehicle.
(b) No shop may collect or attempt to collect for:
(1) repairs not authorized either orally or in writing by the customer;
(2) repairs which the shop knew or ought to have known to be unnecessary; or
(3) repairs which have not been made.
(c) No shop which is a warrantor, a party to a service agreement or required by law to repair the vehicle may refuse to repair a motor vehicle in accordance with the terms and conditions of the warranty, service agreement or law.
(d) No shop shall exceed the good faith completion date by more than 3 working days. Failure to complete the work within that time or as provided in 22.1706 above shall result in a refund by the shop to the customer of $25.00 per day upon payment of the bill.
(e) No shop may fail to return a customer’s motor vehicle because the customer has refused to pay for unauthorized repairs or because the customer has refused to pay above, or by repair charges in excess of the price authorized under 22.1702 and 22.1703 of this chapter, if the customer pays the authorized price for the authorized repairs.
(f) No shop may alter a customer’s motor vehicle with intent to create a condition requiring repairs.
(g) The commission of prohibited practices or a violation of a section of this chapter by a shop shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of a trade or commerce pursuant to 27.0801 et seq. A.S.C.A. The Director is empowered to represent a customer protected by this chapter and may seek injunctive relief and penalties under 27.0801 et seq. A.S.C.A in addition to other remedies in this chapter and any other law.
The following statement shall be conspicuously printed in English and Samoan, either on the invoice or on another form given to every customer for whom the shop performs repairs:
“Motor vehicle repair trade practices are regulated by American Samoa Code Annotated 22.1701 et seq. and administered by the Consumer Protection Bureau.”
A shop shall maintain repair records and invoices for parts purchased by the shop. The records shall be available for reasonable inspection by the Director or designee and shall be retained for at least 2 years.