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BAR Sets the Table for 2020: Fines and Citations

Hao Nguyen /
stack of one hundred dollars notes

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has set the table for this new year: they want to go after repair facilities for instances of misbehavior and egregious conduct. In 2018 and 2019, the BAR was reeling after local news stations in the San Francisco Bay Area shed light on their heavily backlogged workload. Specifically, these stations told heartfelt journeys of unassuming consumers who have fallen victim to the malfeasance of the big, bad automotive repair facility. Long story short, the BAR knew of these facilities’ history of misconduct, but it still allowed the facility to operate as a registered Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) while the investigations were still underway on these locations. Fingers pointed in every direction as to why these facilities were still allowed to operate and why the investigative process took so long.

KPA is a member of the California Automotive Business Coalition (CalABC), which is an alliance of members from various areas of the automotive service industry. CalABC works with other industry stakeholders, including those representing consumers, vendors, and government agencies, to improve the industry and the customers it serves. Whether it’s lobbying to significantly update documentation practices (CalABC spearheaded the 8-year long effort in front of the BAR to revamp California laws and regulations to allow for electronic documentation and authorization that includes text messaging) or fighting down obtrusive laws that would otherwise negatively impact the automotive repair industry, CalABC remains focused on its four primary objectives: advance industry-friendly regulations, engage in the legislative process, promote automotive career technical education programs, and support environmental issues related to the automotive repair industry.

I sit on the board of directors of CalABC. In this position, I can have candid conversations with those individuals who shape our industry’s rules and regulations. The most notable in recent memory was the BAR Chief Pat Dorais, who attended our latest quarterly “Lunch and Learn” meeting in January. Chief Dorais gave a presentation that allowed me to gain valuable insight as to what the BAR is going to do in 2020 and communicate that to our clients. Chief Dorais made it absolutely clear the BAR continues to see major issues with repair facilities and wants to clean things up accordingly. CalABC’s mantra is “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” and the saying rings true. CalABC makes sure they attend key meetings from the BAR, the state legislature, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, and countless other agencies that can significantly impact our business. Given the rocky 2018 and 2019 the BAR faced as an agency, you can bet that it will move mountains to amass much broader authority to cite and fine individual ARDs for their misconduct. CalABC has been doing this for over 28 years and will remain in lockstep with the BAR throughout this process and pushback as necessary to protect our interests as dealers and repair facilities.

Additionally, for 2020, Assembly Member Evan Low is under pressure from the media to bring legislation that would create a grading system for automotive repair, much like what you see at restaurants. CalABC was successful in stopping a prior attempt, and we foresee that it will come back into play this year. That is why this organization is so valuable to you. You can learn more about CalABC here.  

Questions? If you have any questions regarding the BAR or any other situation that may arise in your sales or service departments, hotline clients are invited to contact us at (800) 785-2880 (then press “4” for hotline) or [email protected].

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