COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 19, 2014) — ASA-Ohio, the state affiliate of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and Rad Air Complete Car Care & Tire Center President Andy Fiffick testified recently before the Ohio Senate on the benefits to SB232, a bill requiring automotive repair shops to become licensed in the state.
Mr. Fiffick, whose dealership operates and franchises 11 locations in northeast Ohio, said he believes the bill is vital to protecting the industry and the clients they serve.
“SB232 is really a consumer protection measure,” Mr. Fiffick said. “A couple of decades ago, cars required a lot more maintenance, which meant plenty of work in the industry. New technology has changed that.
“Because cars last longer and don’t require the work they once did, there are new unscrupulous repair shops that are trying to carve out a niche in the industry. Unfortunately, the client is the one that suffers.”
SB 232, sponsored by Sen. Joe Uecker, R, Dist. 14, covers a range of changes to existing laws, including:
- Extending the jurisdiction of the state Motor Vehicle Repair Board to anyone who performs mechanical repairs on motor vehicles;
- Requiring motor vehicle repair facilities to register with the board;
- Creating the Motor Vehicle Repair Operator Vendor’s License Suspension Fund;
- Changing the Motor Vehicle Repair and Window Tint Operator Law; and
- Dissolving the existing Motor Vehicle Repair Board and replacing it with a new board of the same name.
To register, a facility would have to pay a $150 registration fee for each location; provide proof of general liability insurance and insurance to cover damage to motor vehicles in the applicant’s care; and provide proof of coverage under Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Law and Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Law.
“We don’t see SB232 as a way to increase the regulation of our industry as much as we see it as a way to protect legitimate businesses and our clients. At the end of the day, we want every Rad Air customer to have their repair done correctly at a fair price and we want them to be satisfied with their service. SB232 will further that goal,” Mr. Fiffick said.
“Just like other industries have done for years, now legitimate mechanical repair businesses are pushing to have their profession registered with a professional board,” ASA-Ohio said.
“Mechanical repair shops are currently operating under radical pricing differences compared to ‘backyard’ operators who do not pay taxes, workers’ comp premiums or unemployment premiums. These shops operate under the radar and avoid compliance with Ohio’s environmental standards, OSHA laws, and other requirements associated with conducting a legitimate repair business in this state.
“It is important to ensure that all repair facilities in Ohio are operating appropriately and follow the laws designed to protect the consumer and promote fair competition. Furthermore, if passed, consumers would be able to identify those mechanical repair facilities that are meeting the standard to be considered a legitimate business in Ohio.”
If the bill is approved, Ohio would join Florida as the only states requiring independent repair shops to undergo registration, according to the ASA-Ohio, which is encouraging its members to write to their state representatives to support the bill.
ASA Ohio said its president, Jamie Chilcoat, is open to suggestions, comments or offers of help at: 513-673.2736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.