Motor Vehicle Repairer's Licensing FAQ
Motor vehicle repairers and repair businesses operating in Western Australia are regulated under the Motor Vehicle Repairers Act 2003 (the Act). The Act requires all motor vehicle repair businesses to be licensed, and the individual repairers working without supervision in those businesses to be certified.
The information in this publication has been compiled to provide a basic overview of the licensing system for those working in the motor vehicle repair industry.
Please note this information is provided as a guide only and not a substitute for legal advice. If you are unsure of your obligations under the Act, or the Fair Trading Act 2010, you should contact Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054, or seek legal advice.
Motor vehicle repair business licence
Why did the State Government introduce licensing for motor vehicle repair businesses?
The motor vehicle repair industry, through its representative organisations the Motor Trade Association of Western Australia; the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers; and the Society of Automotive Engineers, lobbied the State Government over many years for the introduction of licensing laws for motor vehicle repairers.
These organisations believed that the licensing of repairers would improve standards and drastically reduce the level of unqualified backyard repairs, and that this was especially important with the introduction of technology that requires specific servicing standards and specialist equipment.
Successive State Governments and consumer organisations, such as the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, supported this proposal and took the view that a repairers licensing system would improve levels of consumer protection.
Do I need a motor vehicle repair business licence?
Generally, if you run your own motor vehicle repair business, including subcontracting, you are required to hold a motor vehicle repair business licence; however, there are some exceptions.
How do I qualify to be granted a repair business licence?
There are several requirements you must meet to qualify for a repair business licence. These include:
- being fit and proper and a person of good character
- having premises (including any mobile premises) suitable for the carrying out of repair work
- having sufficient resources to carry on the business, including tools and equipment
Does my motor vehicle repair business licence expire?
Yes. A business licence is issued for three years. If you intend to continue to operate as a repair business you must apply for a renewal of the licence no later than 28 days before the day it expires.
If I am a certified repairer, why does my business have to be licensed?
Having another level of licensing clearly separates the business owners’ responsibilities from those of a repairer. Under the law, not everyone who actually does repairs has to hold a certificate. Those without a certificate need to be supervised by a certificate holder but, if a problem occurs, the business owner is ultimately accountable. For instance, the business owner must ensure that the business has proper supervision in place and complies with consumer protection and other relevant laws.
Is this another tax on business?
The licensing fees are not a tax because they do not pay for anything other than the cost of the licensing system. Fees represent a portion of the cost of processing applications and employing compliance and dispute resolution staff, who can provide advice to traders and consumers on matters relating to motor vehicle repairs.
I’m a small business. Do I have to pay as much as larger businesses?
The licensing fee paid by each repair business is based on grouping industry participants into six categories according to the size of the businesses so smaller businesses pay lower licensing fees. Bigger businesses will generally use more of the State Government’s resources than smaller businesses, as they have more licensing information to process, more compliance monitoring and potentially provide advice to a larger client base.
The fee structure is considered to be equitable for both small and large repair businesses, as the fee for administering the licence of an individual business is directly related to the number of repairers employed by the business.
What do I get for my licence fee?
You will primarily get access to general advice services from Consumer Protection staff, with whom you will be able to discuss technical matters and other aspects of business, such as dealing with customer disputes.
You will also get protection from unlicensed repairers who unfairly compete for your customers. You are able to report unlicensed activity to Consumer Protection and the penalty for unlicensed repair work is a fine of up to $50,000, and an additional daily penalty of $1,000.
The legislation has created a compensation fund to assist customers where a repairer has died, disappeared or become insolvent, and a research fund to assist the department in developing industry education and related matters for the repair industry
Motor vehicle repairers certificate
Do I need a motor vehicle repairers certificate?
Generally, if you supervise the repair work of others, or carry out repair work unsupervised, you will require a repairers certificate.
What type of repair work needs a certified repairer?
Certified repairers are required to supervise most types (classes) of automotive repair work. A certificate can be issued with up to 23 different classes of repair work. This includes general mechanical repair for heavy vehicles (trucks and buses) and light vehicles (cars), motorbikes, and a range of ancillary and specialist trades such as locksmiths, auto electricians and tyre fitters.
What type of repair work can I supervise?
As a certified repairer you can only supervise the type of repair work you are certified for. You can apply for more than one class of repair work if you hold the appropriate qualifications and these may be added to your certificate. Certain classes automatically qualify you for other classes of repair work. For example, if you are issued body building work on your certificate you will also be authorised to carry out electrical accessory fitting work and mechanical accessory fitting work.
How do I qualify to be granted a repairer’s certificate?
To be granted a motor vehicle repairers certificate you will be required to either have sufficient formal qualifications or successfully undertake a third party skills assessment in each class of repair work. For an explanation of how applicants can demonstrate that they are sufficiently qualified please refer to our website.
Why can a person buy and fit parts to their own motor vehicle without a qualification/certification?
Because the Act is concerned primarily with consumer protection, it only controls where a customer pays a repairer for their service. It does not prevent a business or an individual from repairing their own vehicles. There are also very few laws which limit or prevent someone from purchasing parts.
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