FAQ
Repair Facilities
How do I find repair facility and mechanic training information?

Training information on the basic requirements of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act (MCL 257.1301) for vehicle repair facilities and mechanics can be found on the Secretary of State's Web site at Repair Facility/Mechanic Training.

 

 

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How do I become a registered repair facility?

You must submit a completed original repair facility application for departmental review; submit the proper fees. You may obtain an original repair facility application here or by calling the Customer Support Section at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424).

 

 

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How do I renew my repair facility license?

There are two options for renewing your repair facility license.  You may renew it by mail or online.

To renew by mail, return your completed renewal application form and check or money order to:

Michigan Department of State
Bureau of Driver and Vehicle Programs
Business Licensing Section
Lansing, Michigan  48918

To renew online, you will need:

  • Your preprinted repair facility renewal application.
  • Your Repair Facility Number and PIN printed in the upper-right corner of the repair facility renewal application.
  • A valid Discover, MasterCard, Visa or pay by electronic check.
  • Gross annual revenue as reported on your most recent federal income tax return.
  • To verify that you have NOT had a change in ownership type, (Item #7 on the preprinted renewal application.)  If there has been an ownership type change, you must call the Licensing Unit at (888) SOS-MICH (767-6424), for further instruction and cannot renew online at this time.

Please note that you cannot renew online if more than 60 days has passed since your repair facility license expired, (Item #4 on the preprinted renewal application.) 

 

 

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How do I verify whether a motor vehicle repair facility is properly licensed or registered by the Department of State?

A list of currently licensed or registered dealers and repair facilities can be found on the Secretary of State's Web site at Vehicle Dealer and Repair Facility Licensee List. Licensees are listed by county in alphabetical order by name and are updated on a daily basis. If you are unable to locate the motor vehicle dealer or repair facility you are searching for, please call the Customer Support Section at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424) for assistance.

 

 

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Must the final invoice given to a customer be signed by the repair facility owner?

Every invoice or final bill given to a repair customer must be signed by the facility owner or someone designated by the owner. This person is not required to be a certified mechanic. The signature, however, certifies that all repairs were completed properly. If requested repairs cannot be completed properly, the signature must be accompanied by an explanation indicating the reasons why proper repairs could not be performed (MCL 257.1334).

 

 

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Is a repair facility required to disclose a reassembly charge on the written estimate?

Sometimes a repair facility will give an estimate for "diagnosis" or "inspection." Every estimate of diagnosis, inspection, etc., must include the repair facility's cost of reassembling the vehicle in case the customer does not authorize the actual repairs. For example, a customer with a front wheel drive car complains about a noise in the vehicle, and the repair facility gives an estimate of $53 for diagnosis. Then, when the repair facility telephones the customer to quote a price of $285 to replace the drive axle, the customer says, "No, don't do the repairs." The repair facility must reassemble the vehicle and return it to the customer within the original estimate of $53.

Occasionally, a repair facility gives an original estimate to do an actual repair, and discovers, after starting the job, that more extensive repairs not originally expected are necessary. When the repair facility telephones the customer with this news, the customer may say, "Stop where you are and put the car back together." The repair facility may then inform the customer that there will be a charge for the work performed to that point plus a charge for the work necessary to reassemble the vehicle. This must be a "reasonable" charge. A charge approaching or exceeding the original estimate would normally be considered unreasonable (MCL 257.1332).

 

 

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What is the procedure for reporting an unregistered repair facility or uncertified mechanic to the Michigan Department of State?

Information regarding an unregistered repair facility or uncertified mechanic may be provided by mail, fax, e-mail, or by using the online automotive complaint form.

Michigan Department of State

Regulatory Monitoring Division

PO Box 30046
Lansing, MI 48918-1200

Telephone:1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424)
Fax: 517-373-8766

E-mail: SOS-RMD-800@michigan.gov

 

 

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Can a repair facility charge for shop supplies or for the disposal of hazardous waste materials?

Repair facilities may charge for certain miscellaneous supplies, such as rags, cleaning fluids, lubricants, etc., or for the disposal of hazardous waste materials. The charge for these items must be included in the estimate given to the customer before repairs are started. The charge should never show up "by surprise" on the customer's final bill, even if it is only 10% or $10 (whichever is less) of the original estimate. Some estimate forms have a printed note which sets a certain percentage for shop supplies. Even if there is such a note, the price quote on the written estimate must still include the actual dollar amount which will be charged.

 

 

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Must a written estimate be provided even in situations where the customer is not present when the vehicle is left at the repair facility?

Even in situations where the vehicle is towed to a repair facility or left at a repair facility after hours, the law requires the facility to provide a written estimate or waiver of estimate before beginning repairs, if a diagnosis or repair will cost $20 or more. In these instances, the facility can comply with the law in the following ways:

  • If the facility has a night drop box with waiver forms, a customer may leave the vehicle before the facility is open, if the customer completes a waiver form (see Appendix B). The form must be signed, filled out completely and left in the drop box;
  • The customer may leave a signed note describing the problem and authorizing the facility to perform repairs up to a stated dollar amount without further approval;
  • The towing company may accept a waiver from a customer and bring the waiver with the vehicle to the facility;
  • The facility may send a copy of the estimate to the customer by mail or by fax before performing repairs. The customer may sign the estimate and return the signed form;
  • The customer may come to the facility before any repairs are performed to receive the written estimate.

 

 

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Must the written estimate, given to the customer before the start of the repair transaction, be signed by the customer?

No. The written estimate must contain detailed costs for parts and labor for the repairs to be performed, but the customer's signature is not a requirement of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act. A repair facility is not prohibited from asking its customers to sign the written estimate.

 

 

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Who is the "customer or consumer" in a motor vehicle repair transaction paid by an insurance company?

In any repair transaction, the "customer" or "consumer" is always the owner or operator of the vehicle, not the insurance company or extended service contract company. This principle applies to certain aspects of an insurance-paid or extended service contract repair as follows:

  1. Authorization for diagnosis or repairs may be given only by the customer. Unless the insurance company or service contract company presents to the repair facility signed authorization from the customer to contract for repairs, no work may be started. Otherwise, the repair facility must actually give the customer a written estimate or obtain from the customer a signed waiver of estimate as provided in the law;
  2. For additional repairs costing more than 10% or $10 (whichever is less) beyond the original estimate, specific authorization--either written or oral--must be obtained by the repair facility from the customer. This is true even in cases where the customer had given the insurance company or extended service contract company signed authorization originally to contract for repairs, except where that authorization specifically allows the insurance company to approve additional work;
  3. The customer has the right to the return of replaced parts and the right to a detailed final bill. The customer may authorize the repair facility to dispose of replaced parts;
  4. No other rights and remedies of the customer under the law are altered.

 

 

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Is verbal authorization acceptable when obtaining the customer's approval for more repairs?

Yes. Verbal authorization is permitted under the law, provided the customer initially was given a written estimate or signed a waiver of estimate. If verbal authorization is obtained, the facility should record the following on the final invoice:

  1. The name of the person providing the authorization;
  2. The time of day the authorization was obtained;
  3. The dollar amount authorized;
  4. The total amount of the repair bill discussed and agreed upon;
  5. Other information as needed.

 

 

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If I sell my repair facility, is my registration transferable to the new owner?

A repair facility registration cannot be transferred from one owner to another. Each time the ownership of a repair facility changes, the new owner is required to apply for and obtain a motor vehicle repair facility registration before repairs can be performed for compensation. An application for registration can be obtained by telephoning the Customer Support Section at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424).

 

 

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Can repair facilities file complaints with the Bureau of Driver and Vehicle Programs against their subcontractors?

Yes. If the subcontractor is registered or required to be registered and if the transaction involves work covered by the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act, it is the subcontractor's responsibility to provide the prime contractor a written estimate and a final invoice, to return replaced parts for work performed on a customer's vehicle, and to assure that work is done by a certified mechanic when appropriate.

 

 

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If repairs are sublet from one repair facility to another, what requirements apply?

Occasionally, a repair facility may not be equipped to handle a repair necessary to complete a job, e.g., frame straightening or air conditioning, and must sublet the repair to another shop.

When the vehicle is sublet to another facility for major repairs,

  • The second repair facility must employ, and have the repairs performed by, a properly certified mechanic;
  • If the first repair facility diagnosed the need for repair, the name and number of the diagnosing mechanic must appear on the customer's invoice, along with the name and number of the mechanic who actually performed the repairs.

When a major part, e.g., an engine or transmission, is sublet to another repair facility for repairs,

  • The repair facility that removed the part must employ a properly certified mechanic to diagnose, remove, or install the part;
  • The names and numbers of the mechanics who diagnosed, removed or reinstalled the part must appear on the final invoice given to the customer.

 

 

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Can storage charges be added to a repair bill if the customer does not reclaim his/her vehicle within a reasonable time period?

Generally, a repair facility may charge a customer for storage when the customer leaves a vehicle at a repair facility and does not reclaim it after notice to remove it. But a repair facility may not assess a storage charge when a vehicle remains at a repair facility because of an unresolved dispute with the repairs or charges. Where delays in repairs are caused by lack of parts, a repair facility may charge for storage after informing a customer of the approximate length of the expected delay and of the daily storage charge rate and obtaining the customer's consent to the delay and to the storage charges. In all instances, specific notice must be given to the customer before storage charges can be imposed.

 

 

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Are service writers required to be certified?

Whoever diagnoses or repairs a vehicle in an area that requires mechanic certification must be appropriately certified.

Service writers are not required to be certified if they greet customers, initiate paperwork, and give estimates for diagnosis and repair, as long as the actual diagnosis and repairs are made by properly certified mechanics.

 

 

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Must a repair facility provide a warranty for repairs performed?

A repair facility does not have to guarantee its repairs. But if it does, the warranty must be in writing and must disclose the scope of the warranty, including any limitations or disclaimers that may exist.

 

 

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Can a repair facility enter into a long term "waiver of estimate agreement" with a customer?

If the customer is agreeable to it, a repair facility may make a long term written arrangement with a commercial or "fleet" customer that eliminates the need to write an estimate or a waiver of estimate every time one of the customer's vehicles comes in for repair. This is called a "long term" or "blanket" waiver of estimate. It may be drawn up in the form of a contract between the repair facility and the customer. The language of the contract should follow as closely as possible the wording of the regular waiver of estimate. The contract should include a statement that if any repair job will exceed a specified amount of money, the repair facility must get the customer's special authorization. The agreement must be signed by the customer, be dated, and should include the future date when the agreement expires. The repair facility must keep a copy of the agreement and give a copy to the customer. No other legal rights of the customer can be affected by such an agreement.

 

 

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