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BAR Advisory Meeting & Workshop Recap

  • Thursday, 22nd April, 2021
  • 11:48am

To: Members

From: Johan Gallo

Subject: BAR Advisory Meeting & Workshop Recap

We had our second Bureau of Automotive Repair Advisory webcasts and workshop webcasts yesterday and the Advisory meeting covered a lot of good information, but everyone was focused on what the afternoon’s Cite & Fine Regulation workshop. Interesting to note there was the 16 BAR Advisory Members and 37 public members in the morning session and 16 Advisory and 34 public members for the workshop signifying its importance.

While Cite & Fine originally impacted those in the Smog Check Program, it will now expand to cover anything from unregistered shops doing repairs covered by the BAR to various violations of the Automotive Repair Act and the Rules and Regulations that govern the Automotive Repair Dealers (ARDs) in California.

CalABC and other organizations and businesses are genuinely concerned about the current draft of the Cite & Fine Regulation in the presentation that was shown during the workshop. CalABC was well represented at both the Advisory and the Cite & Fine Workshop and we expressed our concerns over the current proposed draft is below.

There is a tie-in with Assembly Bill 471 and the work we’re doing with Assembly Member Low and his staff, as some things need to be added to the bill and we have already sent our concerns to the staff to be considered for amendments you were copied on. I expressed our concerns over the draft because many things you could now be cited and fined for are overly broad and ill-defined. We need better definitions and regulations before businesses are fined anywhere from $100 dollars up to $5,000 dollars per violation.

We talked a lot about false and misleading advertising, generating false or misleading invoices, conduct constituting gross negligence, disregard for accepted trade standards when in fact the regulations currently only cover Ball Joints, Air Conditions, Transmission Repair, and Auto Body repairs. Why aren’t the other “trade standards” included because as it stands, the preceding are all they could cite and fine for that is defined in the regulations. I shared what I have stated to many chiefs before Chief Dorais in that BAR has vague Rules and Regulations that are broadly interpreted by their field organization. It’s like they stand at the side of the road with the radar gun ready to cite and fine you, but there’s no posted speed limit.

It was made clear to BAR staff this draft needs a considerable amount of work before it gets implemented and CalABC’s leadership recommended we continue to have many more workshops to get this done right, whether via webcasts or in person. Either way, more work needs to be done because as it was pointed out even their definition of Gross Negligence wouldn’t get past the judges because it’s ill-defined and doesn’t meet the State’s Definition of Gross Negligence and would be thrown out, as pointed out by Lou Anapolsky, who has handled many BAR cases for his clients.

We mentioned the fact that “workmanship” needs to be defined to enable individuals to attend a remedial training class under AB 471 if it passes. BAR has steered away from the word Fraud of late and is focused on Gross Negligence, which they have ill-defined and would be challenged in cases brought before a judge in the current state.  

Some examples of why all of this matter considering again, the proposed text schedule below. Advertising that doesn’t meet the regulations on type size where the “disclaimer” must be ½ the size of the price, got get you a citation and fine. Your repair order and invoice software truncates words like R/R that should be spelled out according to the regulations as remove and replace, the word “Reman” appears instead of removing and replace poor workmanship could constitute a citation and fine for “Conduct Constituting Gross Negligence.”

Your system software details a “Part Kit” where only some of the “kit” components are used but lists everything on the invoice included in that kit could end up with a Generating False or Misleading Invoice and result in citations and fines.

We will continue to press for more workshops to get this draft right before it’s implemented. I told Chief Dorais that we know there’s a sense of urgency in getting this done and implemented, given the media pressure and scrutiny they have been under. I said with everyone’s livelihood and businesses being at stake, it has to be right.

Here are Jack Molodanof’s notes on both the Advisory Meeting and Workshop.

1) Welcome and Introductions.  BAR Chief, Pat Dorais, made opening comments and members of the BAR Advisory Group Committee were introduced.

2) DCA News.  Marykate Cruz Jones from DCA provided a short update including that there is still no timetable as to when Board & Bureau meetings will be able to meet in person. 

3) Legislation & Regulations.  AB 220 (Smog Check), AB 294 (Vehicle Towing & Storage); AB 467 (Historic Vehicles Exemption); AB 471(BAR Administration/Citations/Safety Inspections); AB 646 (Expunged Convictions); AB 745 (Clean Cars 4 all program); SB 586 (Criminal Fees). Pending BAR Regulations: Rehabilitation Criteria for Licensure; Smog Check Equipment Security and Fraud Prevention; STAR Program Updates; Smog Check Repair Assistance; Laws and Regulations Training; Application Updates; Auto Body Equipment and Supplemental Restraint Systems; Citation Program for Automotive Repair Dealers. See link for presentation. 

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202104/Legislation_and_Regulations_Update.pdf

4) Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Market Development Strategy Presentation.
 The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development working on implementing Governor’s Executive Order which includes the goal of 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars & vehicles will be zero emissions by 2035. They are in the process of developing a marketing strategy to achieve goals, including increasing access to ZEV technician training.  Discussion regarding funding and resources for training ZEV technicians. See the link below for the presentation. 

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202104/ZEV_Market_Development_Strategy.pdf

5) Cal-VIS Accomplishments & Forecast.  BAR provided a list of Cal-VIS accomplishments, including working with DMV to reduce smog check bypass. Future changes include the implementation of new BAR-OIS devices due to software updates and enhancing fraud detection capabilities and passing Biometrics regulations. For details, please see the link for the presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202104/Cal-VIS.pdf

6) Enforcement/Licensing Modernization (ELM) Update. The BAR provided an update on the ELM project. The goal of ELM project is consolidating all DCA regulatory entities into a single licensing and enforcement system but has been delayed. BAR reevaluating and refining scope of project and looking at viable alternatives due to several factors, including pandemic and costs. See link for presentation and details. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202104/ELM_Update.pdf

7) "Cash in-the-Can" Outreach Program Presentation.  Presentation by Jennifer Zins of the Car Care Council. In May 2018, the Car Care Council contracted by manufacturers of r134a small can refrigerants in cooperation with CARB to create and conduct consumer education campaign. The campaign's mission is to increase the number of containers returned by consumers to retailers to collect a $10 deposit, promote proper vehicle AC recharging, recycling to minimize emissions.  Campaign funded by unclaimed deposits returned by retailers to Car Care Council. See link for presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202104/Cash-in-the-Can_Outreach_Program.pdf

8) BAR Enforcement Statistics. Consumer Complaints to BAR are as follows: Engine Repair/Performance 34%; General Repair Maintenance 18%; Autobody 13%; Transmission 8%; Smog 6%; Used Car Transactions 6%; Vehicle Warranty 3%; Unlicensed Activity 3%.  See link for presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202104/Enforcement_Statistics_Update.pdf

9) Public Discussion.  Comments for more public awareness on stolen catalytic converters. 

Next BAR Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 15, 2021, and maybe in person. 

Citation and Fine Regulatory Workshop

BAR held a workshop on Citation & Fine regulations that would expand citations and fines for automotive repair dealers committing violations of the automotive repair act and subject to $5,000 fines. Specifically, the proposed regulations focus on seven (7) areas, namely: 1) False and Misleading Advertising; 2) Generating False or Misleading Statements; 3) Conduct constituting Gross Negligence; 4) Disregard of Accepted Trade Standards; 5) Failure to Produce Records; 6) Failure to Possess Required Auto Body Equipment and 7) Payment of Referral Fee for Towing Delivery.  Many concerns were raised by the attendees during the two-hour workshop, including that the regulations were overly broad, vague, ambitious, poorly defined, and unnecessary.  BAR will be making changes/revisions to the regulations based on comments received and plans to hold another workshop soon.  See link for presentation and text language.  https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/Workshops/202104_ARD_Citation_Program/Presentation.pdf

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/Workshops/202104_ARD_Citation_Program/Proposed_Text.pdf

In closing, we have a lot of work ahead of us and you can always watch the recorded webcasts once they are posted at: https://www.bar.ca.gov/BAR_Advisory_Group

Thank you again to our members, for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Johan Gallo

Executive Director 

CalABC

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