Providing Consumer Services in Ohio

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If you provide services to consumers in Ohio, including repairs, you are subject to a specific set of rules when it comes to giving notice to your customers. These rules are neither common sense nor intuitive, and they’ve proven to be a common area of noncompliance by businesses.

Form

Ohio Administrative Code Rule 109:4-3-05 states that, if a service will cost more than $25, you must provide a printed form of the consumer’s right to a verbal or written estimate, as follows:

Estimate

You have the right to an estimate if the expected cost of repairs or or services will be more than twenty-five dollars. Initial your choice:

___written estimate

___oral estimate

___no estimate

The form must also include (1) the date, (2) your business name, (3) the consumer’s name and telephone number, (4) the reasonably anticipated completion date, and unless the consumer checks “no estimate,” (5) the expected cost of the service.

Sign

You must also post the following sign in a conspicuous spot where customers will see it:

Notice

If the expected cost of a repair or service is more than twenty-five dollars, you have the right to receive a written estimate, oral estimate, or you can choose to receive no estimate before we begin work. Your bill will not be higher than the estimate by more than five dollars or ten per cent, whichever is greater, unless you approve a larger amount before repairs are finished. Ohio law requires us to give you a form so that you can choose either a written, oral, or no estimate.

Other Fees

Another important provision is the requirement to disclose, in writing, a diagnostic or reassembly fee if the consumer decides to not proceed with the work based on your estimate.

Parts

Unless you plan to return all old parts to the consumer, you must have the consumer waive the return in writing.

Summary

There are some details and exceptions in the law that are too complex to discuss here. Plus, there are some different rules for motor vehicle services. Unless you recognize that you are in compliance with the basic rules, you should consult legal counsel.

 

Are you confident you’re in compliance with all applicable laws and rules affecting your business? Contact Counterpart CFO for a free, no obligation compliance review.

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