The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) has alerted its membership that the State of New Jersey has intensified its search for unlicensed shops over the past few months. According to the Bridgeton (NJ) News, over 60 auto body shops in New Jersey were recently cited with notices of violation in an inter-agency undercover investigation by the Division of Consumer Affairs and the State Motor Vehicle Commission (NJ-MVC).
Investigators visited 247 shops in late 2005 to determine whether or not shops were licensed when offering auto body repair services. Of 124 that provided repair estimates to investigators, 60 were not licensed when the estimate was given. The shops were cited with notices of violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and will be fined $5,000 in civil penalties and are required to pay investigative costs of $500.
“This is the kind of enforcement we have been fighting for over two decades,” AASP/NJ President Tom Elder said. “AASP/NJ has been working long and hard to educate our members as well as our legislators and state government with regard to the large amount of unlicensed shops operating throughout the state. Finally, it seems that all the hard work is paying off.
Although many shops may fear the inspections, AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant says in most cases, those fears are unfounded. “If the shops are up to standard and in compliance, they should be ecstatic the state is making an effort to punish those who haven’t done what they have to fulfill the state’s requirements. That’s why we have ongoing meetings that continually update and educate our members as to what the state is looking for. That is one of the most valuable assets AASP/NJ has to offer.”