Unclaimed Vehicle Affidavit Rule
One of the many values associated with an ASA Ohio membership is a premier governmental affairs team that tracks and monitors all policy decisions that could impact the automotive repair industry. Through its involvement, ASA Ohio is able appropriately advocate on issues that will improve the profession, while at the same time is also on the front lines of defending its members against policies that could negatively impact the industry. The importance of our involvement in the legislative process was never more apparent than in 2012, when the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) implemented a new policy that drastically changed the affidavit process for obtaining a title to an unclaimed vehicle.
Owners of automotive repair facilities are frequently burden with unclaimed motor vehicles being left on their properties. When this occurs, repair facilities not only lose out on the cost of the repair, but are also stuck with the task of storing the vehicle or are forced to go through a costly court process to obtain a title. To help repair shops with this costly problem, shop owners have been able to utilized the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Through this affidavit process, repair shops are able to quickly and easily obtain the title to vehicles valued under $2,500.
In August of 2012, DPS issued a notice that it had revised the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit process. As a result of the revisions, automotive repair garages and storage facilities were prohibited from deducting certain costs (actual repairs, needed repairs, etc.), which were previously allowed, from the original value of a vehicle that had been left unclaimed. The consequence of this change was profound for many of Ohio’s automotive repair businesses, which now had a difficult time removing unclaimed vehicles from their property because they no longer fell under the $2,500 threshold value required to use the affidavit. This forced repair shops to either store the vehicle or go through an expensive and time-consuming court battle to obtain titles to vehicles left on their property.
Fortunately, ASA Ohio identified this problem early in the process and worked diligently with DPS in drafting administrative rules that would allow repair facilities to deduct the costs associated with the repairs actually done on the vehicle as well as the estimated costs to repair any disabling condition on the vehicle. It took nearly two years of hard work in collaboration with DPS and other stakeholders before the rule was finally filed this July. A new affidavit form is currently being developed to reflect the reinstated deductions. These changes are scheduled to take effect on September 1st.
Unclaimed motor vehicles are a costly problem for anyone in the repair industry. These vehicles take-up valuable space on our members’ property – space that could be used by paying customers! Through its involvement, ASA Ohio was able to spearhead the effort to protect its members from a policy change that would have exacerbated this problem and succeeded in developing a common sense solution.