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Yesterday was the third BAR Advisory Meeting and Workshop for 2021 and we had a full agenda. Jack Molodanof has provided us a recap of both the Advisory Meeting and the Workshop held in the afternoon to discuss the Cite & Fine Regulation that’s being proposed. It’s amazing how far we have come working together with BAR versus where things were prior to 1998. That environment was often compared to the “cold war” era.
I pointed out during the meeting the importance of the work we’re doing together with BAR and all the stakeholders, since the formation of the BAR Advisory Group that was formed in 1998. CalABC (ARC at the time) worked for two years after the Sears case to establish a platform where BAR would have an open and ongoing dialogue with the BAR Staff on an ongoing basis. The intent was to have an open communication to work on rules and regulations with BAR and address the many issues the industry faced operating in the dark.
It was in 1998 that Governor Wilson, who had fought the formation of a Board for BAR, as he felt Boards were ineffective. Governor Wilson finally agreed to sign Executive Order 188-98, which created the platform to form the BAR Advisory Group (BAG). The intent was for BAR to select various members and stakeholders from BAR staff, Automotive Repair Industry, Consumer Groups and Education. The BAR Advisory Group was intended to meet just for 2 years, yet the BAR and Department of Consumers Affairs found these quarterly meetings so valuable, we’re now going on 23 years and into the foreseeable future.
CalABC is well represented on the BAR Advisory as we have Jack Molodanof, who represents the Autobody Association (He works with CalABC and others), Nikki Ayers Executive Director for the Independent Automotive Professionals Association (IAPA) and our treasurer, George Hritz, California Automotive Teachers Association and CalABC Board Member and Johan Gallo Executive Director of CalABC and founding member of the BAR Advisory Group serving all 23 years since it was formed. We also have other members such as Bud Rice, Jim Fogelquist, Michael Flanigan, Charlies Ayers, and others in the audience adding their input to the conversations. (See attached documents on the Executive Order 188-98 and our invitation as the Automotive Repair Coalition (ARC the former name of CalABC) to be on the group)
Given our past history and countless accomplishments, there’s nothing more important than the work we’re doing right now that will pave the way for how the Cite & Fine Program will work, what’s at stake and to ensure that we build it right.
Jack has done a great job recapping the two meetings, but I think it’s important to really understand the language that’s currently in the Cite & Fine draft. Imagine your point of sales system or shop ware software design that comes with “canned” job descriptions. If you use jargon like R/R, Reman or don’t spell out the work you’re doing, you’re in violation of the Automotive Repair Act as you have not properly disclosed to the consumer in plain language what’s being done to the vehicle.
Having worked with my former company, Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, and Firestone Complete Auto Care, then with car dealerships and other independent shops doing BAR Compliance Reviews, it became clear these preprogramed job descriptions wouldn’t always meet the “total disclosure rules” for BAR and messages were truncated due to software design limitations. Given the current draft, this could lead to citations and fines from the BAR. That’s the significance of the work we do.
Jack Molodanof’s Recap:
1) Welcome and Introductions. BAR Chief, Pat Dorais, made brief opening comments and introduced the BAR Advisory Group Committee members.
2) DCA News. Carrie Holmes of the Department of Consumer Affairs indicated that the Governor's Executive Order for BAR and other boards and commissions for meeting remotely expires September 30. BAR hoping that the BAR Advisory Group meetings will resume in-person after the expiration of the Executive Order. Also, BAR Advisory Committee members will need to complete on-line sexual harassment training course to continue participating on the BAR Advisory Committee.
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: Smog Check Equipment Security and Fraud Prevention- "Bio-Metrics"; STAR Program Updates; Smog Check Repair Assistance; Laws and Regulations Training; Auto Body Equipment and Supplemental Restraint Systems; Citation Program for Automotive Repair Dealers. See link for presentation.
4) BAR-OIS Modified Software Implementation Update. Beginning July 19, 2021, BAR-OIS inspected vehicles will begin failing when illegally modified emission control system software is identified. The Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) will indicate "modified software". Vehicle software must be restored to an OEM version, or a CARB Executive Order approved version before being reinspected by the smog station. See link below for presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202107/BAR-OIS_Modified_Software.pdf
5) Smog Check Equipment Security and Fraud Prevention Update. BAR proposed "Biometrics" regulations (smog stations to purchase camera and palm vein reader to prevent fraud) will require smog check inspectors to provide BAR Biometrics data during enrollment and will require biometric use in lieu of passwords. Implementation (expected sometime in October 2022). BAR will provide Bio Metrics demonstration at next BAR Advisory Group meeting and also send out information via ET Blast. Smog check stations and inspectors will be able to enroll and buy equipment before implementation date. See link for presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202107/Equipment_Security_and_Fraud_Prevention.pdf
6) STAR Program Information Hearing Process. The BAR has modified the process for STAR station invalidations where eligibility and performance standards/conditions were not met. The modified decisions will now provide the STAR station the ability to correct these conditions instead of invalidating the STAR certification. BAR also has changed notification letter and website to make it easier for STAR stations to reinstate licenses that were invalidated if standards/conditions are met. See link for presentation and details. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202107/STAR_Informal_Hearing.pdf
7) 2020 Smog Check Performance Reports. BAR provided annual smog check performance report, which included information re: roadside inspection failure rates and assessment of remote sensing data. The vehicle data along with station performance rates assist BAR in pursuing enforcement cases. See link for presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202107/2020_Smog_Check_Performance_Reports.pdf
8) Citation Service and Appeal Process. BAR provided an overview of the current citation appeal process for smog check stations and unlicensed activity and explained modifications that have been made to improve the
process including changes to allow for ability of the licensee to contest in-person or telephonically See link for presentation. https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BAG/202107/Citation_Service_and_Appeal_Process.pdf
9) 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 5%; Vehicle Warranty 3%; Unlicensed Activity 3%. See link below for Handout.
10) License Processing Data. The BAR provided a handout with licensing processing data including average timeframes for processing initial BAR license applications and renewals. See link below for Handouts.
11) Public Discussion.
Next BAR Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 21, 2021
Citation and Fine Regulatory Workshop
BAR also held a second 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 focused on the following areas, namely: 1) Inaccurate invoices, 2) Negligence, 3) Disregard of trade standards specified in current regulations, 4) Failure to produce records, 5) Failure to possess required auto body and air conditioning equipment and 6) Payment of referral fees for towing delivery. Although, the BAR has made substantial changes since the first workshop, several concerns were raised including, making sure owner received notice citations, issuing citations with zero fines, auto body trade standards, definition of negligence and inaccurate invoice and time frame to produce consumer records to BAR. BAR will review comments and suggestions, make revisions, and hold a third public workshop on the proposed regulation.
See link for presentation and text language.
In closing, if you agree with us that the work CalABC does on behalf of our membership and industry as a whole, please let us know if you have any business partner, associate businesses that we should talk to about becoming members. Imagine the influence we could have with even a larger membership than we have today.
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