Not Uncommon for Mobile Mechanics to be Unlicensed

Consumer advocates are warning that many mobile auto repair services may be sending out unlicensed mechanics to do the work. Customers often turn to these type of repair services because of their convenience.

Customer Jason West found a mobile mechanic from an advertisement on Craig’s List. He thought he was making a good decision, but he didn’t notice several things that should have been warning signs. He did not receive an estimate, he was required to pay in cash and the mechanic showed up in a vehicle that did not show a company name or a license number. When West got the car back, it was in worse condition than before the work was done. A local Florida news station tried to follow up with the company to question them about their licensing but they did not show up to their scheduled meeting.

It is common for these types of mechanics to try to set up their operations outside of an auto parts store. In this case, it was outside of the AutoZone in Miami-Dade. County enforcement officers caught a man working on a vehicle and receiving money in the parking lot. He was cited for working without a license. The store owner was also warned that he could be liable for the monetary fine levied against the unlicensed mechanic if he does not pay it.

Officers say that unlicensed mechanics often charge much lower rates because they are not paying for the standards that shop owners have to pay for like licensing and insurance. They warn that if something goes wrong from one of these mobile, unlicensed mechanics, it is unlikely that they will make it right. Jason West found this out when he could not contact the company that did the work on his car. They virtually disappeared. Had they been licensed, he could have filed a report with the Better Business Bureau.

Customers should always demand a written estimate. In Florida it is the law for any work over $100. In the Miami-Dade area, customers can call the County Consumer Protection Division to see if a business is licensed.

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM