Major Case Analysis 2015 Print

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CalABC California Automotive Business Coalition

Major Case Analysis of a current case where allegations have been made for violations of the Business and Professions codes, the California Code of Regulations and general requirements of the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

In total the Undercover Operation Consisted of 50 locations with 39 undercover runs and two separate undercover operations occurred at the same location. Of the 38 undercover operations, 1 resulted in no causes for discipline. In total one hundred and five causes for discipline are outlined in the accusation.

The key issues have been bolded and underlined and will be reviewed at the end of the document in the general comments section and recap at the end.

Disclaimer:

These BAR case summaries are for informational purposes only, and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up to date. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. These case examples are intended to educate our members on the potential situations that can occur, and how to remain in compliance with the legal codes and regulations which govern the automotive repair industry. Outcomes in every case where a violation allegedly occurred may be different, and these examples do not guarantee that our members will receive any different results.

FIRST CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Provide Copy of Signed Estimate

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(3), 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to provide a copy of the estimate to the operator at the time he signed it and before a technician worked on the car (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(3), 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

Discipline for issuing an invoice which stated that the engine oil was one-half quart low on arrival at the station (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3373). In fact, the engine oil was full.

As part of this extensive documented service procedure, the representative lightly tinted the transmission fluid to simulate fluid in normal service. The transmission fluid still was a normal operating color and did not need to be changed.

The service manual recommends changing the transmission fluid and filter every 50,000 miles under severe use. Under normal use, the transmission fluid does not need to be changed. The fluid color should be dark red or dark brown. Fluid color alone does not indicate whether the fluid should be changed unless it is well outside normal operating color.

A documented service approximately 180 miles before, the representative installed a new transmission filter and gasket, and refilled the transmission with new fluid. He installed a tamper indicator on the pan.

 

 

SECOND CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records

California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3373

The operator said he wanted an oil change and asked to use a coupon from the website.

After a short time, a service technician asked the operator when the transmission fluid had been changed last. The operator said he did not remember. The technician said that the fluid should be changed every 50,000 miles. The operator asked the technician to check the fluid and tell him what the technician recommended because he was not sure if it needed to be changed. The technician re-examined the car and told the operator that the transmission fluid looked darker than normal and that it needed a fluid exchange. The technician offered a discount on the service. The operator authorized the transmission fluid exchange.

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 107,563 miles. The engine oil and oil filter had been changed. The transmission fluid had been changed.

THIRD CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's transmission fluid (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371). The technician said the car's transmission fluid looked darker than normal and that it needed a fluid exchange. In fact, the car's transmission fluid still was a normal operating color and did not need to be changed.

FOURTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Provide Copy of Signed Estimate

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(3), 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to provide a copy of the estimate to the operator at the time he signed it and before a technician worked on the car (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(3), 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

As part of this extensive documented service procedure, the representative filled the engine oil. He drained the car's transmission and refilled it with factory-authorized fluid, which is red in color. He replaced the fuel filter. The car drove normally and ran smoothly. The check engine light was off and the car's computer registered no service codes.

The service manual specifies changing transmission fluid every 30,000 miles or 24 months if the car is operated under severe conditions; it specifies changing transmission fluid every 90,000 miles or 72 months under normal conditions.

It does not have a specification for performing an engine flush or a fuel flush. In fact, the manufacturer strongly recommends avoiding using any flush system on its vehicles.

The technician told the operator that the transmission fluid was brown, which meant that the additives had broken down. The technician recommended a transmission flush. He said if the transmission fluid was not changed, there would be friction in the gears and the transmission would start slipping. The technician offered a discount if the operator had the transmission flush performed. The operator authorized the transmission flush.

The technician then recommended an engine flush. He said that there were engine deposits that could clog up the engine and affect acceleration. These deposits also could damage the valves and cams, and eventually the driver would hear ticking in the motor. The technician recommended this service every 30,000 miles. He said it would help with acceleration and also increase fuel efficiency. He also said that he was recommending the engine flush because the car's oil level was low on arrival at the station. He said he also would provide a discount for that service. The operator authorized the engine flush.

After the operator signed the estimate, the technician also recommended a fuel system cleaning. The technician said that a fuel system cleaning would further increase the car's fuel efficiency by cleaning out carbon that accumulated in the intake manifold. The operator asked if there was a lot of carbon build-up in the engine; the technician said he could not see it but he would guess there was if the service has never been performed. The technician said that there should be a two to three miles per gallon increase with the fuel system cleaning, and offered a discount for this service as well. The operator authorized the fuel system cleaning service.

The invoice did not include a statement that the operator gave oral authorization for the fuel system cleaning before that service was performed. The invoice also stated that the engine oil was one-half quart low on arrival at the station. When the operator drove the car from the station, the check engine light was on.

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 113,456 miles. The engine oil and filter had been replaced. The transmission fluid had been replaced. He could not determine if the engine had been flushed or the fuel system had been cleaned. Although the engine ran smoothly, the check engine light was on and the car's computer registered five misfire codes.

FIFTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Transmission Fluid)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car needing a transmission fluid exchange (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the transmission fluid was brown and the transmission would start slipping if the fluid was not changed. In fact, the transmission fluid had been changed before the car was brought into the station and the transmission did not need to be serviced.

SIXTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Engine Flush)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car needing an engine flush (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that an engine flush was recommended every 30,000 miles and should be performed because the engine oil level was low on arrival at the station. In fact, the car's service manual does not have a recommendation for performing an engine flush, the manufacturer strongly recommends avoiding using any flush system, and the engine oil was at the proper level on arrival at the station.

SEVENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Fuel System Cleaning)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car needing fuel system cleaning (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that a fuel system cleaning would further increase the car's fuel efficiency by cleaning out carbon that accumulated in the intake manifold. The technician opined that there was a lot of carbon build-up in the engine if the fuel system cleaning had not been done before. The technician also said that there should be a two to three miles per gallon increase with the fuel system cleaning. In fact, the car's service manual does not have a specification for performing a fuel system cleaning and the manufacturer strongly recommends avoiding using any flush system on its vehicles.

EIGHTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Give Written Estimate Before Beginning Work

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to give a written estimate before inspecting and recommending changing the car's transmission fluid (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

 

NINTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Specify Additional Work on Revised Estimate

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (c) Discipline for failing to list the fuel system cleaning on the revised estimate (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (c)).

TENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Document Additional Authorization on Final Invoice

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (c)(1)

Discipline for failing to include a statement that the operator gave oral authorization for the fuel system cleaning before that service was performed (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (c)(1)).

ELEVENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records

California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3373

Discipline for listing the car on the original estimate and issuing an invoice which stated that the engine oil was one-half quart low on arrival at the station (Cal. Code Regs., fit. 16, § 3373). In fact, the oil was full when the car arrived at the station.

Bureau representative inspected with 154,244 miles. As part of this extensive documented service procedure, the representative filled the engine oil.

Bureau undercover operator drove the car for service the mileage at the time was 154,264. The operator said he wanted an oil change.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $42.24. The invoice stated that the engine oil was one-half low on arrival at the station.

TWELFTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records

Business and Professions Code section 17500 and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3373

Discipline for issuing an invoice which stated that the engine oil was one-half quart low on arrival at the station (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3373). In fact, the engine oil was full.

Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle with 116,131 miles. As part of this extensive documented service procedure, the representative inspected the car's serpentine belt, and found it to be in good condition and not

needing to be replaced. He changed the gear oil in the differential and installed a tamper indicator on the differential fill plug.

The car's service manual specifies changing the drive belt as needed. It advises that a belt can develop many small cracks in individual ribs without affecting the belt's performance. The onset of cracks usually indicates that the belt is only about halfway through its usable life. The belt may be changed if there are cracks 1/8 inch apart all around the belt.

Bureau undercover operator drove the car in for service he mileage at the time was 116,147. The operator said he wanted an oil change.

After a short time, a service technician told the operator that the drive belt had cracks and that it should be replaced because it might break. The technician said he would give a discount if the belt was changed. The operator authorized changing the belt if the technician thought it should be done. The technician said the belt definitely needed to be replaced.

The operator then signed and received a copy of an estimate.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $133.42 (after a $21.75 discount), including $89.99 for the belt and installation. The invoice stated that the differential fluid level was "OK."

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 116,149 miles. The engine oil, filter, and belt had been replaced. The tamper indicator on the differential fill plug was still intact and undisturbed.

THIRTEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's serpentine belt (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the serpentine belt had cracks and that it definitely needed to be replaced. In fact, the serpentine belt can develop many small cracks in individual ribs without affecting the belt's performance. The onset of cracks usually indicates that the belt is only about halfway through its usable life. The belt may be changed if there are cracks 1/8 inch apart all around the belt. The belt was in good condition and did not need to be replaced.

FOURTEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Give Written Estimate Before Beginning Work

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to give a written estimate before inspecting and recommending replacing the car's serpentine belt (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

FIFTEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records

Business and Professions Code section 17500 and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3373

Discipline for issuing an invoice which stated that the differential fluid level was "OK" (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3373). In fact, the differential fluid level was not checked because the tamper indicator on the differential fill plug was still intact and undisturbed.

FIRST OPERATION

A Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle with 117,644 miles. As part of this extensive documented service procedure, the representative ensured that the engine oil was full and the dipstick was not broken. He drained and flushed the car's cooling system. He refilled the system with new coolant which was at the proper freeze protection level. The radiator was performing normally and did not have extreme corrosion. He drained the transmission fluid and installed a new transmission filter, filter seal, and transmission pan gasket. He refilled the transmission with new fluid which he tinted slightly to simulate fluid in normal service. He filled the power steering fluid and installed a tamper indicator on the filler cap.

The car's service manual specifies using engine oil with the American Petroleum Institute Certified For Gasoline Engines Starburst symbol with the proper viscosity. It makes no recommendation for synthetic oil. The manual specifies flushing the cooling system only after catastrophic failures or extreme corrosion in the radiator. The manual specifies replacing the transmission fluid and filter every 100,000 miles if the car is driven under severe conditions. It recommends not using external fluid exchange or flush machines for transmission fluid replacement.

Bureau undercover operator drove the car to get vehicle serviced mileage at the time was 117,655. The operator said he wanted an oil change and asked if he could use a $15.00 coupon.

After a short time, a technician asked the operator when the transmission was last serviced. The operator said he did not remember. The technician said the transmission flush is needed if it had never been done before because it flushes out all the old additives. The technician offered a $10.00 discount for the flush. The operator authorized the transmission flush.

The technician asked the operator what type of oil change he wanted. The operator asked what the manufacturer recommends. The technician said that according to the manufacturer the car needs fully synthetic oil. The technician said that fully synthetic oil makes the car easier to start and there can be longer intervals between oil changes. The operator authorized the fully synthetic oil change.

The technician said he would test the engine coolant to see if it needed to be changed. He came back a short time later and showed the operator a hand-held hydrometer with two of the four balls floating. The technician said that all four balls should be floating and the cooling system needs servicing. He said that they would flush the cooling system with a machine that sucks out the coolant.

The operator authorized the cooling system service.

The operator did not sign or receive a copy of an estimate.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $288.16, including $60.99 (after a $15.00 discount) for the synthetic oil change, $109.99 for the transmission fluid exchange (after a $10.00 discount), and $89.99 for the "radiator, flush & fill." The invoice stated that the engine oil was one quart low on arrival at the station and power steering fluid was added.

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 117,657 miles. The engine oil and filter had been replaced. The transmission fluid had been replaced. The coolant had been replaced. The tamper indicator on the power steering fluid cap was still intact and undisturbed.

SIXTEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Transmission Flush)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car needing a transmission flush (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the car needed a transmission flush if it had never been done before because it flushes out all the old additives. In fact, the manual specifies replacing the transmission fluid and filter every 100,000 miles if the car is driven under severe conditions. It recommends not using external fluid exchange or flush machines for transmission fluid replacement. The car did not need a transmission flush.

SEVENTEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Engine Oil)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car needing synthetic oil (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that according to the manufacturer the car needs fully synthetic oil. In fact, the car's service manual recommends engine oil with the American Petroleum Institute Certified For Gasoline Engines Starburst symbol with the proper viscosity. It makes no recommendation for synthetic oil.

EIGHTEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition

(Representations for Cooling System Service)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's cooling system needing servicing (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that his inspection of the coolant showed that the cooling system needs servicing. In fact, the car had new coolant at the proper protection level. The radiator was performing normally and did not have extreme corrosion. The manual specifies flushing the cooling system only after catastrophic failures or extreme corrosion in the radiator. The cooling system did not need to be serviced.

NINETEENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Give Written Estimate Before Beginning Work

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to provide a written estimate before beginning work on the vehicle (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

TWENTIETH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records

Business and Professions Code section 17500 and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3373

Discipline for issuing an invoice which stated that the engine oil was one quart low on arrival at the station and power steering fluid was added (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3373). In fact, the engine oil was full when the vehicle arrived at the station, and power steering fluid was not added because the tamper seal on the power steering fluid cap was intact and undisturbed.

SECOND OPERATION

Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle with 141,067 miles. As part this extensive documented service procedure, the representative installed a new air conditioning compressor, evacuated the air conditioning system, and recharged the system with refrigerant. The system's pressures were within normal specifications and it operated normally. He installed tamper indicators on the system's service ports.

The service manual specifies servicing the air conditioning system as needed. Refrigerant pressures are measured with the engine running and the compressor operating. A low refrigerant level causes a low pressure reading. The car's computer also monitors the refrigerant pressure; the compressor will not operate if the refrigerant pressure is not within specifications.

A Bureau undercover operator drove the car to get it serviced the mileage at the time was 141,133. The operator said he wanted an oil change but forgot to bring the $15.00 coupon.

After a short time, a technician asked when the air conditioning system was serviced last. The operator said he did not remember and it may not have been serviced in a while. The technician said that the refrigerant is supposed to be

changed every two years. He said if the refrigerant was not changed, it would build up excessive pressure which would indicate that the refrigerant level was getting low. The technician put a gauge on the service port of the low pressure side of the air conditioning system. The engine was not running and the compressor was not operating at this time. The technician showed the operator the gauge, which registered in the red area. The technician said that it was a warning of high system pressure and that the air conditioning system had way too much pressure. The operator said that the air conditioning system blew cold; the technician said that there was still refrigerant in the system but that there still could be a pressure issue with the system. The operator asked if this could damage the system. The technician said that eventually the refrigerant would start leaking out of the lines. Once the refrigerant had leaked out, the air conditioning motor would stop working and cause stress to the belt. The technician recommended that an air conditioning service be performed on the car. This service would pull everything out, evacuate all the contaminants, and recharge the refrigerant to the proper level. The technician offered a $30.00 discount because the operator was getting an oil change as well. The operator authorized the air conditioning service.

The operator then signed and received a copy of an estimate.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $118.89 (after a $46.00 discount), including $89.99 for the air conditioner service (after a $30.00 discount). The invoice did not record the air conditioning high and low side system operating pressures, or the center air distribution outlet temperature.

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 141,149 miles. The engine oil and filter had been replaced. The representative could not determine if an air conditioning service had been performed.

TWENTY-FIRST CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's air conditioning (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the refrigerant is supposed to be changed every two years. He said that if the refrigerant was not changed, it would build up excessive pressure which would indicate that the refrigerant level was getting low. The technician tested the air conditioning system when the engine was not running and the compressor was not operating. The technician showed the operator the gauge, which registered in the red area, and said that it was a warning of high system pressure and that the air conditioning system had way too much pressure. The technician said that eventually the refrigerant would start leaking out of the lines. Once the refrigerant had leaked out, the air conditioning motor would stop working and cause stress to the belt. The technician recommended that an air conditioning service be performed on the car. In fact, the service manual specifies servicing the air conditioning system as needed. Refrigerant pressures are measured with the engine running and the compressor operating. A low refrigerant level causes a low pressure reading. The car's computer also monitors the refrigerant pressure; the air compressor will not operate if the

refrigerant pressure is not within specifications. The air conditioning system recently had been completely serviced and was operating normally. The air conditioning system did not need to be serviced.

TWENTY-SECOND CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Give Written Estimate Before Beginning Work

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to give a written estimate before inspecting and recommending servicing the car's air conditioning system (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

TWENTY-THIRD CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Record Air Conditioning Readings on Invoice

California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3666, subdivision (a)(15) and (16)

Discipline for failing to include the air conditioning high and low side system operating pressures, or the center air distribution outlet temperature, on the invoice (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3666, subd. (a)(15) & (16)).

A Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle with 141,067 miles. As part of this extensive documented service procedure, the representative inspected the car's air filter, and found it to be in good condition and not needing to be replaced. He drained and refilled the car's cooling system with new coolant which was at the proper freeze protection level.

A Bureau undercover operator drove the car to get the vehicle serviced and the mileage at the time was 141,101. The operator said he wanted an oil change and asked to use a $15.00 coupon from the website.

After a short time, a technician discussed what kind of oil change the operator wanted. The operator asked the technician to check the coolant to see if it needs servicing. The technician returned a short while later, and said the coolant was black and needs servicing. The technician also showed the operator the car's air filter. The operator asked if it was dirty; the technician said it was worn. The technician offered a 15 percent discount if the operator wanted the services. The operator authorized servicing the coolant system and changing the air filter.

The operator did not sign or receive an estimate.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $287.58, including $16.99 (before a 15 percent discount) for replacing the air filter and $89.99 (before a $15.00 discount) for "radiator, flush & fill."

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 141,103 miles. The engine oil, oil filter, and air filter had been replaced. The coolant had been changed.

TWENTY-FOURTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Cooling System)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's cooling system (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said the coolant was black and needs servicing. In fact, the car's cooling system had been refilled with new coolant to the proper level of freeze protection and did not need to be serviced.

TWENTY-FIFTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Air Filter)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's air filter (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the car's air filter was worn. In fact, the air filter was in good condition and did not need to be replaced.

TWENTY-SIXTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Provide Copy of Estimate

Business and Professions Code section 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to provide a copy of the estimate to the operator at the time he signed it and before a technician worked on the car (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(3), 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, sub

A Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle then a Bureau undercover operator drove it in for service, the operator asked for an oil change. He signed an estimate but did not receive a copy.

TWENTY-SEVENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Provide Copy of Signed Estimate

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(3), 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for failing to provide a copy of the estimate to the operator at the time he signed it and before a technician worked on the car (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(3), 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

A Bureau representative inspected and documented vehicle with 149,781 miles. As part this extensive documented service procedure, the representative installed tamper indicators on the transmission pan. The car ran and performed normally.

The manufacturer specifies using American Petroleum Institute Certified engine oil of the proper viscosity; it makes no recommendation for synthetic oil. The service manual specifies replacing the transmission filter when the transmission fluid is changed. The manufacturer does not specify performing an engine flush at any service interval and specifically recommends not using any engine oil additives in this car.

A Bureau undercover operator drove the car in for service the mileage at the time was 149,796. The operator said he wanted an oil change and asked if he could use a $15.00 coupon.

After a short time, the technician talked to the operator about what kind of oil change option he wanted. The operator asked the technician what the manufacturer recommends. The technician said that the manufacturer recommends a full synthetic oil change because the engine will last longer. He also said that with the full synthetic oil change that the operator could change it every 5,000 miles with city driving and every 7,500 with freeway driving. The operator authorized the synthetic oil change.

The technician also said that the manufacturer recommends that the engine be flushed every 15,000 miles. The technician offered a 15 percent discount on the total bill. The operator authorized the engine flush. The operator also authorized a transmission service.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $239.41 (after a 15 percent total discount), including $75.99 for the synthetic oil change and $59.99 for the engine flush.

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 149,812 miles. The engine oil and oil filter had been changed. The representative could not determine if an engine flush had been performed. The tamper indicator on the transmission pan was still intact and undisturbed.

TWENTY-EIGHTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Synthetic Oil)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of. Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's manufacturer recommending synthetic motor oil (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the manufacturer recommends a full synthetic oil change. In fact, the manufacturer specifies using American Petroleum Institute Certified engine oil of the proper viscosity; it makes no recommendation for synthetic oil.

 

TWENTY-NINTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Engine Flush)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the car's manufacturer recommending an engine flush (Bus. & Prof. Code,§§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371). The technician said that the manufacturer recommends that the engine be flushed every 15,000 miles. In fact, the manufacturer does not specify performing an engine flush at any service interval and recommends not using any engine oil additives in this car.

THIRTIETH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Material Departure from Accepted Trade Standards for Good and Workmanlike Repair

Business and Professions Code section 9884.7, subdivision (a)(7)

Discipline for materially departing from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike repair by failing to replace the transmission filter when changing the transmission fluid, as specified by the manufacturer (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.7, subd. (a)(7)).

Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle with 126,397 miles. As part this extensive documented service procedure, the representative changed the transmission fluid and filter, and put identification marks on the filter. He changed the differential oil. He ensured that the engine oil was full and all fluids were at the proper level. He installed tamper indicators on the tire valve stems and grease zerk fittings on the chassis.

The color of transmission fluid alone does not indicate whether the fluid needs to be changed. The service manual specifies changing the transmission filter with every transmission fluid change.

A Bureau undercover operator drove the car in for service and the mileage at the time was 126,418. The operator said he wanted an oil change and asked to use a coupon from the website.

After a short time, a technician told the operator that the transmission needs servicing. He said that the transmission fluid should be bright red but is dirty and should be changed. The operator authorized the transmission fluid change.

The technician then said the rear differential oil was gunky, mud-like, and had sludge. He said the differential oil should come out when the plug is removed, but the oil did not come out. He said the differential oil should be changed. The operator authorized the differential oil change.

The operator then signed an estimate but did not receive a copy.

After the services were completed, the operator paid $271.26 (after a $25.00 discount), including $119.99 for the transmission fluid change and $75.99 for the differential oil change. The invoice stated that the chassis lubrication was "sealed," the tire pressure was "F35 R35," and the oil level on arrival was "1.5 qt low."

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 126,419 miles. The engine oil and oil filter had been changed, but the oil was more than 15 ounces overfilled. The transmission filter had not been changed. The differential oil had been changed. The tamper indicators on the tire valve stems and chassis grease zert fittings were still intact and undisturbed.

THIRTY-FIRST CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements; Fraud; Unfair Competition (Transmission Fluid)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the vehicle needing a transmission fluid change (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371).

The technician said that the transmission fluid should be bright red, but is dirty and should be changed. In fact, the color of transmission fluid alone does not indicate whether the fluid needs to be changed. Also, the transmission fluid had been changed before it was brought to the station. The transmission fluid did not need to be changed.

THIRTY-SECOND CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Untrue or Misleading Statements.' Fraud; Unfair Competition (Differential Oil)

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(1), 9884.7, subdivision (a)(4), 17200, and 17500; and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3371

Discipline for making untrue or misleading statements, fraud, and unfair competition related to the vehicle needing a differential oil change (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(1), 9884.7, subd. (a)(4), 17200 & 17500; Cal. Code Regs., tit 16, § 3371). The technician said that the car’s rear differential oil was gunky, mud-like, and had sludge. He said the differential oil should come out when the plug is removed but it did not. He said the oil should be changed. In fact, the differential oil had been changed before the car was brought to the station and did not need to be changed.

THIRTY-THIRD CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Material Departure from Accepted Trade Standards for Good and Workmanlike Repair (Transmission Filter)

Business and Professions Code section 9884.7, subdivision (a)(7)

Discipline for materially departing from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike repair by failing to replace the transmission filter with the transmission fluid change (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.7, subd. (a)(7)).

THIRTY-FOURTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Material Departure from Accepted Trade Standards for Good and Workmanlike Repair (Oil Overfill)

Business and Professions Code section 9884.7, subdivision (a)(7)

Discipline for materially departing from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike repair by overfilling the engine oil by over 15 ounces (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.7, subd. (a)(7)).

THIRTY-FIFTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Failure to Provide Copy of Signed Estimate

Business and Professions Code sections 9884.7, subdivision (a)(3), 9884.9, subdivision (a), and California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3353, subdivision (a)

Discipline for The service was $119.99 but the subtotal was $122.99. The invoice does not provide the reason for this $3.00 difference. (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 9884.7, subd. (a)(3), 9884.9, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3353, subd. (a)).

THIRTY-SIXTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records

California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 3373

Discipline for issuing and invoice which stated that the chassis lubrication was "sealed," the tire pressure was "F35 R35," and the oil level on arrival was "1.5 qt low." (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16, § 3373). In fact, the tire pressure was not checked because tamper indicators on the tire valve stems were still intact and undisturbed. The vehicle had grease zerk fittings and the tamper indicators on them were still intact and undisturbed. Also, the engine oil was full when the vehicle arrived at the station.

A Bureau representative inspected and documented a vehicle with 59,317 miles. As part this extensive documented service procedure, the representative filled the engine oil. The engine oil pan and plug were in good serviceable condition. He changed the differential fluid and installed a tamper indicator on the differential plug.

A Bureau undercover operator drove the car in for service and the mileage at the time was 59,353. The operator said he wanted an oil change.

After the services were performed, a technician told the operator that they had noticed the oil pan drain plug's threads were damaged when they removed it and it was necessary for them to install a universal drain plug. The technician said that the threads on the oil pan also were damaged and the operator should take the vehicle to the dealer to have the oil pan replaced. (The station still charged the full price for the oil change.) The invoice stated that the engine oil was one quart low on arrival at the station, the differential fluid level was "OK," and the oil pan threads were damaged on arrival at the station.

The Bureau representative re-inspected the car at 59,353 miles. The engine oil and filter had been replaced. A universal rubber drain plug had been installed on the oil pan. The oil pan threads were damaged beyond repair. The tamper indicator on the differential plug was still intact and undisturbed.

 

 

THIRTY-SEVENTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

Material Departure from Accepted Trade Standards for Good and Workmanlike Repair

Business and Professions Code section 9884.7, subdivision (a)(7)

Discipline for materially departing from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike repair by damaging the threads on the engine oil pan and plug while servicing the car (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 9884.7, subd. (a)(7)).

THIRTY-EIGHTH CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

False or Misleading Records


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