Right Is Right

Texas Puts New Rules To Work

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New licenses and regulations for Texas auto recyclers have been in place for two years and while the processes are propelling the industry forward, the Texas Automotive Recyclers Association (TARA) wants to make sure everyone is adhering to them.

“The licensing has helped us by separating us from the other industries that we were grouped with before,” said Ronnie Patke, owner of Parts Unlimited Texas and TARA President. “New laws that help us and the consumer are background checks on employees and businesses must carry at least $250,000 in liability insurance and have storm water permits. I feel these are great steps in changing our industry image for the better.”

The rules, enforced by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR), took effect on N Sept. 1, 2010 and all auto recycling facilities had about a year to adhere to them. As of July 26, 2012, 901 Used Auto Parts Recyclers (UAPR) had been licensed and 888 inspections have been done by the TDLR. TARA and the TDLR are pushing for compliance from all recyclers and are asking for unlicensed facilities to be reported.

“Right is right! In any venue of life everyone should have the same rules,” said Cheryll Lambright, TARA executive director. “Businesses that have an advantage should have it because they worked harder, but not because they cheated.”

Since October 2011 to present, TDLR has opened 186 violation cases and 180 of those were allegations of unlicensed activity. Some are still pending but to date, 37 final orders have been entered and of that, two were default, two criminal background, 28 were agreed orders (meaning they became compliant) and five have been cease and desist.

The process to file is simple. Go to the TDLR web site (www.tdlr.state.tx.us) and search for the company’s license. If none exists, complete the TDLR complaint form and include a photo of the yard’s sign advertising it sells used parts. Then, search online to see if the company is listed as a used parts business. Lambright said it takes 10 minutes and TARA can even fill out a complaint form on a recycler’s behalf.

TARA has received seven complaints from its members to process. The process can be confidential if the filer chooses, but Patke and Lambright think auto recyclers are still holding back.

“First, this is really something new, and we (TARA) are trying to tell everyone about this feature,” explained Patke. “Secondly, these UARPs are lifelong friends; they have worked and played together. They don’t want to be the one to get their best friend in trouble with the law.”

Lambright believes once recyclers see their complaints addressed - an investigation takes about four months - they’ll be more proactive.

“The perception is that only the businesses that are licensed are inspected and the others are ignored,” she said. “This gives TDLR a tool to step outside of the obvious box. It is the industry’s job to take advantage of this format and TARA’s job to educate the industry to be useful stewards of this tool.”

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