Edmonton MLA wants to protect Albertans from shoddy auto repairs

Edmonton-Meadowlark MLA Jon Carson has put forward a private member's bill that would force repair shops to provide warranties on all parts and labour for 90 days or 5,000 kilometres.

Private members bill would force repair shops to provide warranty on parts and labour

A mechanic removes a dusty brake drum from a car wheel. (Sarah Bridge/CBC)

Jon Carson wants to protect Alberta motorists by providing better warranties and more safeguards in the auto repair industry.

"I think most of us, anytime we go into a repair shop are wondering — how did they come to this number?"

The 24-year-old Edmonton-Meadowlark MLA's private member's bill would amend the Fair Trade Act by increasing consumer protection.

"It will clarify the estimate process. Including that no repairs should move forward unless an estimate has been completed and agreed on."

If Bill 203 is passed, it would also force repair shops to provide warranties on all the parts they installed and labour completed on vehicles for 90 days or 5,000 kilometres — something that isn't included in the current regulations.

"Also require that the information about the rights of consumer will be posted within the repair shops in an easily accessible and noticeable place."

Jon Carson is the 24-year-old MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark. (@JonCMLA/Twitter)

According to the provincial regulator AMVIC — the Alberta Motor Industry Council — between June 2014 and July 2015 there were 45 complaints about service repairs against franchise car dealers.

But there were more than five million repair orders in 2014, said Denis Ducharme, president of the Motor Dealers Association of Alberta.

"So that leads me to question if we really have such a problem that we have to put in more laws?"

Carson agrees the industry has done a great job, so far, but still believes this is a can of worms worth opening.

Calgary repair shops recommend unnecessary services

In 2011, the Canadian Automobile Protection Agency did a Canada-wide investigation into auto repairs.

In Calgary, about 20 repair shops were presented with the same, simple repair.

"There were very big differences. The cost of a diagnosis and general inspection ranged from $30 to $350," said spokesperson George Iny.

"We're not against paying people in the repair trade well. Our concern though is when the work isn't so great."

He says only a third of the shops visited in Calgary were able to find the problem, which was a loose cable at the top of the battery.

"In some cases the shops couldn't find it and in other cases they actually recommended services that weren't necessary."


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