Auto Repair May Remain Under Florida's Watchful Eye

May 3, 2011

The de-regulation movement in Florida may have succumbed to cooler heads, and the state's car-repair shops could stay under regulatory control as a result.

What started out as a review of 60 professions and trades and had singled out 30 for deregulation, was whittled down to a mere 10 when negotiators from both of the state’s branches met recently. Gone from the ranks of the businesses that were to throw off the constraints of government are the state’s auto repair shops.

The Automobile Service Association had directed its member businesses to oppose HB 5005, which would have dismantled the repair oversight process, and cited the current regulation program’s ability to hear 70 percent of the submitted complaints in 60 days as evidence that it works.

There are more than 22,000 auto repair facilities in the state according to the national trade group.

The impetus for the bill was Gov. Rick Scott’s following up on a campaign promise to do what he could to resolve governmental meddling in business and its perceived negative impact on employment.

According to the Miami Herald, there were some professions that are still targets. Sports agents remain on the list, as do commercial interior designers. The first group may be suffering from the mistreatment of some Gators football players eight years ago at the hands of an agent who was sentenced to five years in prison.

Deregulation of the interior designers drew heated arguments from both sides. Those supporting deregulation charge that the profession has a monopoly while the other side thinks that opening the profession up would cause it to be unfairly diluted.

Complaints about auto repair consistently rank high on the Better Business Bureau’s list of problem business types. It was this need and the state’s history of successfully dealing with the problem in the 1990s which made it difficult to understand the desire to deregulate.

When shops that would be the subjects of the legislation questioned the soundness of allowing unlicensed repair shops to practice in the state, it was time to take notice.

The new plan will be considered in both bodies as part of the legislature’s budget vote.

[Miami Herald & The Car Connection]  
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