Considering Auto Mechanic School? What to Know About the Consumer Protection Act

While most auto repair shops (and mechanics) are honest and seek to treat customers fairly, others still want to take unfair advantage of customers, especially uninformed ones. To protect Canadian consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices by businesses, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) has been established.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is a critical piece of legislation in the automotive industry that aims to safeguard consumers’ interests and promote fair competition. The CPA is a comprehensive framework that provides various protections to consumers and regulates certain aspects of the automotive industry, including guarantees, warranties, and refunds. The act applies to all consumer transactions, including purchasing, leasing, or repairing a vehicle, and covers both new and used vehicles.

If you’re considering pursuing a career in the Canadian automotive industry, it’s important to know the provisions and stipulations of the CPA to avoid falling foul of them later on in your career. In this blog, we explain the most important provisions of the CPA.

Repair Costs and Warranties After Auto Mechanic School

Per the CPA, auto repair shops are required to provide accurate and transparent information about their products and services. Specifically, the CPA mandates repair shops provide customers with written estimates before performing any vehicle repairs. Further, the written estimate is expected to provide clear and concise details about the transaction’s price, features, and terms. Repair shops can only exceed the estimated costs after obtaining the customer’s consent, and the final cost can be at most 10% above the estimate.

Auto repair technician writing an estimate after automotive training
As taught in automotive training, auto repair shops provide customers with written estimates

Customers are also entitled to repair warranties by the CPA. Under the Consumer Protection Act, parts and labour are typically covered by warranties lasting at least 90 days or 5,000 km, whichever comes first. As you’ll discover in auto mechanic school, auto repair shop customers can legitimately return vehicles to your facility if they break down or become unsafe to drive during the warranty period. Beyond this, the CPA obligates auto repair shops, manufacturers, and dealerships to honour the warranties and guarantees they offer and to provide customers with adequate notice if any changes or modifications are made to the proposed terms.

Advertising and Key Advice After Automotive Training

The CPA also frowns upon adverts or signs that are deliberately misleading. According to the CPA, auto repair shops must display clear signs that provide customers with information such as how labour costs are calculated (hourly, flat-rate, or both), if there are charges for estimates, and if commissions are paid to mechanics and other details. Note that this sign must be placed in a prominent location, and expenses that are not included on it, or additional hidden costs, cannot be included in the final price charged to customers.

An auto mechanic giving a thumbs-up sign after automotive training
Auto repair professionals in auto mechanic school to know and follow CPA regulations

After automotive training, you owe it to your clients and the CPA as a budding auto mechanic or industry member to follow these rules and regulations. You must also carry out your duties professionally, competently, and competently. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the CPA and abide by its guidelines. You will not only avoid legal issues by doing this but also gain your consumers’ confidence and loyalty and improve your professional image.

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