Thirty-one complaints have been filed about Manitoba auto repair shops in the year since the provincial government rolled out new consumer protection regulations.
Under the regulations, which came into effect on July 1, 2013, shops have to provide a written estimate for repairs over $100 and obtain authorization from customers before repairs are done.
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Among other things, shops also have to make sure the final charges are within 10 per cent of their estimates, and provide a 90-day warranty on all the work they do.
The rules were designed to protect Manitobans from surprise bills and repairs that cost more than what was estimated.
"It's obviously set up a level playing field for businesses and raises the bar for all shops, and raises the quality of work and service that's given to Manitobans," said Jacques Lafournaise, manager of licensing with the province's Consumer Protection Office.
The protection office has received 31 complaints in the past year from customers claiming that repair shops were not following the regulations.
Lafournaise said 23 of those complaints have been resolved through mediation, and there have been no charges or penalties against any shops to date.
"The response from consumers that have gone through our office has been positive, just for the fact that the laws are clear and set out so therefore they know what to expect once they enter into a repair shop," he said.
Below is an example, from the Manitoba government's website, of a consumer information sign that auto repair shops across the province must display with information about rights and protections for consumers.