Remember that your technician is there to help you make your car last as long as possible. One of the best ways to improve working with technicians is to build a working relationship with them. Get to know your technician—and let your technician get to know your car.

Here are some other tips that can help you work best with your technician:
  • When selecting a technician, ask friends for their recommendations. If they have had positive experiences with a technician, chances are you will too.

  • Make sure the technician is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Look for the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence logo on outdoor signs, in the customer waiting area, in the Yellow Pages, and in other advertisements.

  • Ask questions. Ask what is "required" versus what is "suggested" to be repaired or replaced. Other good questions to ask:
    • What would cause such a condition?

    • What industry standards guide service on that vehicle system?

    • Can the problem be "repaired" or will it require "replacement" of parts?

    • How is the repair performed, in general terms?

    • Could the repair process itself affect other vehicle systems (for example, will belts or hoses have to be disconnected or replaced as part of the repair)?

    • How long will it take?

  • Help your technician help you by giving them detailed information about your car—writing the symptoms down on a piece of paper helps. Try to notice the following:
    • When does your problem or noise occur? Are you turning left or right? Braking or accelerating? Are you in a particular gear? Does the problem or noise stay the same, get worse or improve in any particular situation?

    • Where is the problem or noise coming from-the front or rear? The engine? The right or left?

    • Is there any other unique or pertinent information that would help the technician? For instance, have you just returned from a 5,000 mile trip? Have you recently clipped a curb? When was the last time your car was serviced?

Auto Body Repair
N.J.S.A. 39:13-4. Fine; refusal to grant, suspension, revocation of license
4. The director may fine or refuse to grant or may suspend or revoke a license of an auto body repair facility for any of the following acts or omissions related to the conduct of the business of the auto body repair facility:
  1. Making or authorizing any material written or oral statement which is known to be untrue or misleading;

  2. Causing or allowing a customer to sign any estimate for repairs which does not state the repairs requested by the customer or the motor vehicle's odometer reading at the time of repair;

  3. Failing to provide a customer with a copy of any estimate or document requiring his signature, as soon as a customer signs the estimate or document;

  4. Making false promises or representations intended to influence, persuade, or induce a customer to authorize a repair of a motor vehicle which has been damaged as a result of a collision;

  5. Giving an adjuster or appraiser directly or indirectly any gratuity or other consideration in connection with his appraisal service;

  6. Making appraisals of the cost of repairing a motor vehicle which has been damaged as a result of a collision through the use of photographs, telephone calls, or any manner other than personal inspection;

  7. Making an estimate for repairs or charging for repairs in such amount as to compensate the insured for the cost of the deductible applicable under an insurance policy;

  8. A pattern of conduct which includes any of the acts or omissions prohibited in this section or any other unconscionable or fraudulent commercial practice prohibited by the director pursuant to regulations promulgated under the provisions of this act;

  9. Failing to maintain its equipment and facilities in good operating condition, or failing to keep in force and effect any permits, accreditation, letter of credit or insurance required for licensure;

  10. Operating an auto body repair facility without a license as required pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1983, c.360 (C.39:13-2).
L.1983,c.360,s.4; amended 1985, c.148, s.25; 2001, c.53, s.3.

39:13-5. Notification, hearing upon written request
5. Upon refusal to grant a license or suspension or revocation of a license of an auto body repair facility, the director shall notify the auto body repair facility in writing by registered mail. The auto body repair facility shall be given a hearing by the director if, within 30 days thereafter, it files with the director a written request for a hearing concerning the refusal to grant a license or suspension or revocation of the license.

L.1983,c.360,s.5; amended 1985, c.148, s.26; 2001, c.53, s.4.

39:13-6. Cease and desist order, civil penalty
6. The director may issue and cause to be served, upon an auto body repair facility charged with a violation of P.L.1983, c.360 (C.39:13-1 et seq.), an order requiring the auto body repair facility to cease and desist from the violation and the director may impose upon an auto body repair facility violating this act a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for the first offense and not more than $20,000 for the second and each subsequent offense. The civil penalty shall be issued for and recovered by and in the name of the director and shall be collected and enforced by summary proceedings pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). In the event of continued or serious violations, the director may suspend the license of the facility and require it to cease operations during the period of suspension.

L.1983,c.360,s.6; amended 1985, c.148, s.27; 2001, c.53, s.5.


HOW CONSUMER AFFAIRS CAN HELP YOU
If you believe your car has not been serviced properly, go back to the shop where the work was performed. If you can't resolve the problem, contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846 or www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/home.htm or email us at AskConsumerAffairs@dca.lps.state.nj.us