New Jersey shops restoring antique or classic motor vehicles might be exempt from the requirement to provide a written estimate for anticipated repairs, including the price for parts or labor charges, according to language in a bill recently reintroduced in the New Jersey Senate (S.B. 1692) and supported by SEMA. Under current regulations, an automotive repair dealer who, prior to commencing work for compensation, fails to provide a customer a written estimated price to complete the repair can be found to be in violation of the consumer fraud law.
S.B. 1692 defines an “antique or classic motor vehicle” as any motor vehicle which is at least 25 years old and which is owned as a collector’s item and used solely for exhibition and educational purposes by the owner. S.B. 1692 would allow restoration shops to accurately inform customers of actual costs and materials, removing vagueness associated with shops attempting to “guess” probable time for unique tasks and probable costs for unique, and in some cases, yet to be fabricated, parts.
S.B. 1692 recognizes that restoration shops constitute a small portion of shops that work on vehicles within the state and fulfill a unique niche that does not conform to that of standard repair shops.
S.B. 1692 acknowledges that restoration shops are not “parts changers” and are thus unable to calculate precise estimates on parts to be used in a custom job. Each job presents new challenges requiring varying amounts of time and different parts. Often, parts must be reworked or altered for different purposes or completely new parts must be fabricated.