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(1) It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice for a motor vehicle repair business to:

(a) accept a motor vehicle for repair without furnishing the customer, upon request, a written estimate for repairs, maintenance or service on a motor vehicle in excess of $50. A reasonable charge, which shall be disclosed on the written estimate, may be made for labor and diagnostic work actually performed in arriving at the estimate.

(i) If a written estimate is requested, the motor vehicle repair business shall give to the customer a written, estimated price for labor, parts necessary for the specific job, storage costs (if any) and the approximate date of work completion. A motor vehicle repair business shall not charge for labor done and/or parts supplied in excess of 10% or $25, whichever is greater, above the estimated price without the oral or written consent of the customer. That consent shall be obtained after it is determined that the estimated price is insufficient, and before work not estimated is done or parts not estimated are supplied.

(ii) The motor vehicle repair business shall have a reasonable time to prepare the written estimate which, after submission to the customer, shall be valid for no more than five days. A lesser period of validity may be designated, if that limitation appears on the written estimate.

(iii) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring a motor vehicle repair business to give a written, estimated price if that business does not agree to perform the requested repair or if no charge is to be made for repair work.

(b) fail to provide the customer an invoice showing all labor and materials. All work done by a motor vehicle repair business, except work done under a dealer or manufacturer warranty when the customer has no monetary obligations, shall be recorded on an invoice, which shall describe all service work done and parts supplied. If any used, rebuilt or reconditioned parts are supplied, then the invoice shall clearly state that fact, except such parts that have been remanufactured and carry a new part warranty. One copy shall be given to the customer and one copy shall be retained by the motor vehicle repair business for a period of at least 90 days.

(c) upon request of the customer at the time the work order is taken, the motor vehicle repair business fails to return replaced parts to the customer at the time of the completion of the work, excepting such parts as may be impracticable because of size, weight or other similar factors. If replaced parts must be returned to the manufacturer, distributor or other supplier under a warranty arrangement or exchange parts program, then the motor vehicle repair business shall show such parts to the customer if the customer was advised of the option to observe the parts and requested such showing at the time the work order was taken. However, the motor vehicle repair business shall not be required to show a replaced part when no charge is being made for the replacement part.

History: 30-14-104, MCA; IMP, 30-14-104, MCA; NEW, Eff. 2/5/76; AMD, 1996 MAR p. 2284, Eff. 8/23/96; TRANS, from Commerce, 2001 MAR p. 1176; TRANS, from Administration, 2006 MAR p. 322, Eff. 2/10/06.

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