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Monthly Update ALERT! May 2019

President's Message

Date: May 2019

RE: CalABC President’s Message:




All over the news at 6, is a consumer reporter talking about a vehicle fell off lift all caught on a cellphone video. The next thing you know the automotive repair industry is once again tarnished, it’s no surprise because the media loves an easy target, and automotive repair is always a “headline grabber”. 


It doesn’t have to be that dramatic – a service advisor in one of your shops goes rogue and starts overselling products.  You think wow!  Finally making money and wham, smacked with investigations by the media and worse yet, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has you under investigation!


During all this, you find the service advisor and the tech that were in cahoots are either gone or you have no choice but to fire them.  The damage is done, and you’re left with the aftermath, As the business owner, especially an absentee owner of a franchise or multi-shop operator or business, suddenly your name is smeared all over the place and neither the consumer or the industry believe you are trustworthy and should be out of the business, so you virtually become an island unto yourself.


This is happening at a much more frequent rate as cellphones offer great quality videos, customers don’t need to bring a camera crew anymore, they just shoot the video, upload it and hit send to social media sites or media all too willing for the “scoop”! 


Unfortunately, many in the industry do not realize the direct effect it has on influencing the next customer to come into your shop.  In the instance of a chain/franchise, if one store behaves fraudulently or has a serious issue with damaging a vehicle, allegations of fraud, abusing a consumer’s vehicle etc. it conveys a message that everyone in the chain behaves the same, just as it does our entire industry. 


If one set of stores is under scrutiny, then surely, they all should be and who wants to have their vehicle repaired at some place where your car falls off a rack, has faulty workmanship done, sold unnecessary repairs or charged for work not done! 


The sad part is the shop/store owner is working to fix the problem with the customer and the media fails to let the public know the problem is being worked on. In the end the shop owner did the right thing and had the vehicle repaired properly. 


The customer went away satisfied in the end.  And you would hope the customer would understand it was a complete accident and shouldn’t have happened.


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Be Prosperous!








Legislative Bills


1. Tax on Tires.  Oppose. AB 755 would establish a new tax of $1.50 per tire, on top of the current $1.75 tax already charged.  The additional revenue would go to storm-water projects that remediate zinc pollutants.  Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


2. Sales Tax on Labor.  Oppose. SB 522 intends to make major tax reforms including expanding the sales tax to all services, including automotive repair labor.  Status: Senate Rules Committee.


3. Career Technical Education (CTE) Funding. Support. AB 1303 increases ongoing annual funding to $450 million a year from the current $150 million for the CTE Incentive Grant Program.  Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


4. Installing Unsafe Used Tires.  Support, if amended.  AB 949 would prohibit an automotive repair dealer from installing a used unsafe tire as specified. The bill would not apply to a tire mounted on a wheel that is temporarily removed from the vehicle and reinstalled on the same vehicle.  The bill was amended to clarify that a visual inspection shall be used to determine whether a tire is unsafe and tire repair is exempt provided it is repaired according to industry standards. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


5. Battery Fees. AB 142.  Concerns. Current law requires both consumers and manufacturers to pay a $1.00 for each new battery sold until April 2022, at which point the consumer fee would increase to $2.00 and the manufacturer fee would go away.  This bill would instead require the manufacturer to pay $2.00 starting from April 2022, in addition to the current $2.00 fee from consumer, for a total of $4.00. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


6. Independent Contractors. AB 5. Oppose.  This bill would provide the factors of the "ABC" test, as specified, to be applied to determine the status of workers as employee or independent contractor. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


7. Electronic Receipts-Paper Waste. AB 161. Concerns.  Beginning Jan 2022, prohibits businesses from providing paper receipts to consumers except upon request. The bill was amended to exempt Invoices. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


8. Smog Check Exemption.  AB 210.  Expands the existing smog check exemption from pre-1976 model vehicles to pre-1983 model year vehicles. Status: Assembly Transportation. Not heard.


9. Illegal Tire Dumping. AB 215.  Support. This bill increases the penalties for illegal dumping of waste, including tires, on private property. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee.


10. Vehicles: unlawful access to computer systems. AB 814, as amended. Watch. This bill would clarify that, for purposes of the prohibition against unlawfully accessing a computer system, a computer system includes devices or systems that are located within, connected to, or integrated with, a motor vehicle.


11. Minimum Franchise Tax.  SB 349. Support.  This bill would reduce the minimum franchise tax, as provided, based on the gross receipts of a corporation. The bill is sponsored by the California Small Business Association. Status: Senate Governance Committee.


12. Grading System for Auto Repair Shops.  Concerns. Based on a recent Northern California Bay Area NBC news story regarding a consumer who suffered damages to vehicle repaired by a shop which happened to be under a 3-year BAR investigation, there was discussion of introducing legislation that would create a grading system for auto repair shops similar to restaurants.   Legislation has not been introduced so far but we will closely monitor.




Safety and Environment Update!



Reportedly, local inspectors (Environmental Compliance Officers) have gone into dumpsters at auto service facilities to determine the occurrence of illegal waste disposal. They have cited heavy fines for violations when hazardous waste and universal waste are found in the dumpster.  Alameda and Santa Clara counties sued an auto dealership chain and recently obtained a settlement of $3.38 million.


See link below.


The responsibility of proper disposal of hazardous waste rests on the Business Operator.  We have outlined some policies and procedures that management must use to stay clear of such enforcement.  The recommendations are as follows:




An average dealership generates hazardous waste, such as used motor oil, used absorbent (used to absorb haz waste), used coolant, used parts washer fluid, non-metal used oil filters, waste thinner (from bodyshop), contaminated fuel etc.  Other waste, such as tires and used automotive batteries, are not classified as hazardous but are regulated, i.e., you cannot dispose of in dumpsters, instead, it must be recycled.  Clarifier waste must be tested by a lab to determine whether it should be disposed as hazardous. 

Spill Kits:  Properly labeled spill kits must be provided at strategic locations to combat any spill.  A spill kit is no longer a few bags of kitty litter.  Spill kits must consist of snakes, absorbent pads, and bags of absorbent. Kits must be capable of mobilization in a matter of seconds. Employee training is mandatory.


Containers Labeling:  Proper and clear labeling is important in guiding employees place the waste in the right containers.  Dealers must contact their hazardous waste haulers and others to provide them with labeling that is compliant for all hazardous waste and universal waste containers.  Labeling may need special waste codes and accumulation start dates.


Storage Containers & Tanks:  All hazardous waste must be stored in structurally sound and compatible containers.  Generally, the containers should be covered to protect from the elements.  As part of the best management procedures, tank areas may be covered with an awning.  If a minor spill were to occur in the tank area during use, rain water could carry the oil to storm sewers. A covered area could prevent such a discharge.  Any open secondary containment should be protected from rain water as well.  In general, the secondary containment area must be clean and free of any oil or rain water so as to catch any accidental leaks.  Storage capacity above 1320 gallons needs a Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan.  See 40 CFR112.  In California, waste tanks need structural assessment every 5 years from a registered Professional Engineer (PE), however, facilities generating less than 1000 kg/month are exempt from this requirement.


Train Employees:  Employees must be trained to place hazardous waste in properly labeled containers.  Unidentified waste should not be mixed with other waste. Employees should seek guidance from their manager regarding the proper storage of unidentified waste for later disposal through a licensed hauler.  The employees must be trained that under no circumstances should they place waste in storm sewers, sanitary sewers, dumpsters, or any other locale. Illegal disposal is a crime that carries time! State law requires that training be documented and made available to the local inspector.

Time Limits:  All hazardous waste from the facility must be picked up every 90 days.  Direct your hauler to ensure that waste is collected every 90 days.  Smaller facilities that generate less than 1000 kg/month (about 270 gallons of used oil) of hazardous waste every month for a calendar year have a 180-day limit.  All hazardous waste generated at the facility are counted towards the 1000 kg/month calculation.  For facilities generating less than 1000 kg/month of hazardous waste (Federal Term: Small Quantity Generator), the maximum accumulation time is 180 days, or 270 days, if the waste must be transported more than 200 miles for treatment and disposal.  Accumulation start date must be noted by the generator.


Federal Exemption (Non-California Dealers):  Used oil is not considered a hazardous waste under federal regulations and facilities with less than 100 kg/month of hazardous waste are classified as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG). The dealers that fall in this CESQG category have no accumulation limit on hazardous waste.


Inspection Log:  All hazardous waste storage tanks must be inspected periodically and a log must be maintained. In California, tanks need to be inspected a minimum of 5 days per week and during the weekends if they are being used. If the facility does not use the tanks on state or federal holidays, then the inspections are not required for those days. Ensure employee initials are present on the log and the log kept in files for 3 years.  Federal law requires tank inspections on a monthly basis. 


See attached Log.


Dumpster Review & Other Miscellaneous Matters:  Management must control what goes into dumpsters and trash cans to ensure that risks are minimized. If dumpsters are left open at night and an outsider dumps regulated waste into the dumpster, then the facility operator is not only responsible for the disposal of waste but may be cited for illegal disposal. Keep dumpsters secure and locked at night. Similarly, if outsiders were to place any regulated waste in trash containers, the dealership is liable. Train your staff in the drive to keep a watchful eye. Some may even try to dispose of oil and filters that were changed at home. If the facility is a used oil recycling center, then the oil may be accepted from the public under accepted policies and procedures. Wastes that are mixed accidentally must be disposed of separately. They usually cost more than regular waste streams as they cannot be recycled and may head for the incinerator.


Note:  For used oil filter disposal, see our Newsletter from August 2016, Used Oil Filters – The Other Shoe Drops (CA Only).



Regulation Update!


BAR Advisory Group Committee Meeting

Recap & Summary for April 18th


Chief Dorais opened the Advisory Meeting and advised us they were going to post the presentations on the website later, as they too must ensure their website and any publications, they provide are ADA compliant. Chief Dorais introduced Assistant Deputy Chief Karen Nelson and she spoke about the important changes to DCA’s website that has now evolved into a data portal for doing numerous things including extensive license and registration lookups that will include the history of any filings against an ARD. The “Search” function is very comprehensive and will quickly provide anyone doing the search all the information on the ARD.


Here’s that website:


Holly O’Connor – Senior Regulations Coordinator spoke about AB 390 which would repeal the exhaust noise bill that Governor Brown had signed and eliminated the “Fix It” ticket that used to be issued when a motorist was pulled over for excessive exhaust noise. AB 390 would once again allow law enforcement to issue a “Fix It” ticket and allow the motorist the opportunity to bring the vehicle into compliance without a fine.


Jack Molodanof noted on number 5 that Allan Morrison had given a presentation on labeling and wanted to clear up all the confusion that was created in the past about the ability to use a “generic” automatic transmission fluid with a vehicle manufacturer’s specific additive rather than repair shops having to carry every different vehicle manufacturers fluid in stock. Due to time constraints, Mr. Morrison proposed that BAR should hold a workshop to work through all of this and finally reach a workable solution. He noted that mislabeling happens about 20% of the time and also cautioned repair shops to be careful about “low cost” oil providers because they find too often the oils they are providing fail to meet the minimum standards that are required by the manufacturers.


Bill Thomas from BAR’s Enforcement Division did a great job giving a detailed overview and explaining the Disciplinary Action Case Process. Jack Molodanof details Thomas’ presentation on number 6 and given the timelines outlined, CalABC is concerned that reporters will continue to use that information to attack BAR because of the lengthy processing time to bring a case forward to the Attorney General’s office for disciplinary action and resolution.


At the end of the presentation, Johan Gallo, our Executive Director spoke about CalABC’s concerns regarding the timeline and that it continues to put the automotive repair industry in the middle between BAR and the media, when the media continues to attack BAR because they don’t publish complaint history on a facility and it takes this long to prosecute the offenders. Gallo stated that BAR and the automotive repair industry must stop letting the media use us for nothing more than generating ratings during quarterly sweeps periods with these “hit” pieces.


We must be smarter than the tool, and the media is the tool. Especially when they continue to go after BAR and use any means to do it because they aren’t getting their way. Assembly Member Low was interviewed by the reporter, as the reporter wanted some type of legislation that would grade repair shops like they do restaurants.


We haven’t heard anything more on that, but CalABC and the automotive repair industry would oppose such legislation. We had previously worked on a similar plan in Los Angeles and it was abandoned when it was determined it wasn’t feasible in our industry with the constant turnover. < MORE>




As an automotive employer, you service the cars that people rely on in their daily lives. You also earn a living and bring jobs to the community. When you understand and comply with labor laws, you protect the investment you have made, promote a positive image, and avoid paying penalties.


Through the Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations, California agencies work together to make sure employers are following labor, safety and health, licensing, and payroll tax laws.


LETF can help you understand which laws apply to you and how to comply. LETF also inspects businesses and cites employers if violations are found.


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Friday, May 3, 2019

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