Oklahoma State Capitol.

The Oklahoma Legislature is currently reviewing Senate Bill 1853, a piece of legislation that could alter the way auto repair shops operate within the state.

SB 1853 proposes a series of stringent regulations that would limit auto repairers' ability to charge for various services and tasks. Among the most contentious provisions are rules that:

  • Prevent repair shops from marking up the costs charged by towing services
    Prevent shops from charging storage fees on repaired vehicles, or total-loss vehicles until the insurance company determines it to be a total loss, and only allowing accrual of such fees from the moment of determination
    Prevent repairers from charging more than $39/day for indoor and $24/day for outdoor storage fees for vehicles less than 20 feet long
    Set a four-hour limit and $60/hour rate cap on vehicle disassembly and administrative activities, including parts identification, COVID or bio-cleaning, pre-repair diagnostic scans, researching and creating a repair plan, securing removed parts, moving vehicles from different locations, etc.

The Automotive Service Association (ASA), an advocate for independent automotive service and repair professionals, has vocally opposed the bill, saying it could compromise vehicle safety and the integrity of repair services.

“Every aspect of SB 1853 is problematic for independent auto repairers," said Scott Benavidez, ASA’s Board of Directors chairman. "Technicians are trained to treat each vehicle differently to ensure it is returned to its owner in a condition safe for operation. By contrast, this bill tells repairers to lump all vehicles together and treat them the same.

"One reason many repairers have had to increase storage fees in recent years is because insurance companies are taking longer to complete their claims process, leaving vehicles in my shop for extended periods of time," he said. "These vehicles take up valuable space in my shop and can prevent me from providing service to other customers. Additionally, I am responsible if something happens to a vehicle while it is in my shop. Telling a repairer they can only charge $24 each day to store a vehicle is offensive.”

The ASA is rallying the automotive repair community in Oklahoma to take a stand against SB 1853. Through their "Taking the Hill" advocacy platform, the association is facilitating efforts to educate lawmakers on the detrimental effects this legislation could have on the industry and, by extension, on consumer safety and service quality.

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