Jose Tinoco achieved a longtime dream two months ago by opening an auto body repair shop just south of Nellis Air Force Base.
The business bearing his name was permitted by the secretary of state’s office and Clark County, but Tinoco said he didn’t realize he needed to be licensed by a third agency: the Department of Motor Vehicles.
That slip-up resulted in a $1,500 fine Tuesday against Tinoco, who was forced to close his garage bays until he files for the DMV permit.
“I better do this as soon as possible,” Tinoco said while holding his citation. “I might lose a lot of money if we stay closed for too many days.”
Tinoco’s Auto Body and more than 40 other garages were visited Tuesday by 20 investigators from the DMV’s compliance enforcement team, who canvassed the city as part of the agency’s fifth annual “Impact Day,” aimed at making sure the businesses are properly registered.
“Usually, we hear that the business owners didn’t know that they had to register with the DMV,” said Lori Billingsley, a DMV supervisory compliance investigator.
“Part of this is consumer protection because licensed repair shops must have a bond,” Billingsley said. “If there’s any liability, the consumer would have some recourse by filing against the bond.”
The surprise visits Tuesday resulted in $1,500 fines for business owners who failed to file for DMV permits. Another $1,000 was tacked on for those who weren’t registered with the state or county. In comparison, repair garages can register with the DMV for $26 annually, while auto body shops pay $301 a year. In total, the DMV collected $148,000 in licensing fees in the past fiscal year.
Under state law, the DMV is charged with regulating the auto repair industry in Nevada by fielding consumer complaints about scofflaw mechanics, DMV spokesman Kevin Malone said. Statewide, there are 312 body shops registered with the DMV as of Tuesday, and 1,582 repair garages.
“If you have an unlicensed business, the consumer has no recourse,” Malone said. “The business can take your money, do shoddy work and then disappear.”