BAR Advisory Meeting Recap Oct 28 2015 Print

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CalABC California Automotive Business Coalition

October 28, 2015

To: Our Members

From: Johan Gallo

Subject: BAR Advisory Meeting Recap

Reference: All of the meeting handouts are posted on our website in the Member’s only section under the Bureau Auto Advisory section, in the October link.

Welcome and Introductions — Patrick Dorais, BAR Chief called the meeting to order. We were informed that Patricia Wohl, whose duties include managing and oversight for BAR – ARD Licensing will be retiring November 15, 2015. No successor was named.

DCA News and Updates — Christine Lally, Deputy Director, DCA Board & Bureau Relations brought with her Greg Pruden a member of the Legislative Review Team for DCA. Christine advised that DCA is undergoing a review of the costs associated with boards and bureaus and they will be scheduling meetings on this topic. They are also planning an open house for DCA. Greg Pruden spoke about AB 873 the Jones bill regarding the definition of “Minor Repair” and indicated that DCA and BAR would be engaged on revisions to the bill to define “emergency services” versus “roadside services”. He also noted that it is now a 2 year bill and more revisions would be forthcoming in 2016.

Partial Zero Emission Vehicles Warranty Presentation — California Air Resources Board – John Urkov spoke about the durable emission warranties and stated they now have a capture rate of between 92% to 98% on emission warranty issues. They are actively investigating any consumer complaints relating to emission warranty problems. John also stated that they have seen very few complaints on voluntary versus involuntary recalls throughout the years and that the capture rate on ordered recalls only showed 2 in his 35 years. They do have a separate 800 number for PZEV Warranty complaints. John also said that in their recent testing Nissan and Subaru failed the tests, the Prius barely passed and Mazda passed without any issues. They are also doing another survey to determine the general knowledge of PZEV vehicles as they have found that consumers and dealership employees often don’t realize that it’s a PZEV vehicle.

Smog Check Annual Reports Presentation — Garrett Torgerson, BAR Engineering & Research Branch spoke about the 2009 Sierra Study that found a 49% failure rate 6 months after a smog cert was issued. Currently that rate is about 19% six months after the smog cert was issued. STAR Program vehicles came in around 24% for the 1976 – 1995 model years. When comparing STAR versus Non STAR failure rates, STAR stations came in at 32% and Non STAR stations came in around 51% fail rates. Roadside surveys will be conducted in the future to determine the performance of OIS inspections. Those will then be compared to BAR 97 versus OIS failures.

Smog Check Certificates and Equipment Presentation — Paul Hedglin, BAR Engineering & Research Branch addressed the concern we brought up at the last BAG meeting regarding shop owner’s complaints about the number of unused certificates that sit in a BAR 97 Machine and that they should be able to used them on the OIS Equipment. They problem they determined is that it would require a modification to the BAR 97 software platform and that would cost the shops about $1,000 per location, not to mention that it may not even work. Their focus is to make sure that shops are getting notification whenever they are attempting to use the wrong equipment on a vehicle. More information is provided in the handout posted on our website.

Smog Check Electronic Transmission System Feasibility Study Report — Clay Leek, BAR Technology Services Branch spoke about the CALVISTA system for the vehicle inspection program that will align the IT policy for the state with the current communications that take place with the equipment. The goal will be to transition to one electronic transmission platform.

Informal Hearing Process (STAR, Smog Check and Unlicensed) — Michael Lafferty, BAR Engineering & Research Branch spoke about the Informal Hearing Process and how it works. The key thing to remember is that the written appeal must be filed with BAR and the timelines are in the Informal Hearing Presentation deck that is posted on the website in the BAR Advisory section. This is extremely important for our members to understand this process. In the past you had, Station Inspection Reports (an informal notification of problems found at the location). When things escalated, you may be sent a letter from the BAR field office calling for an Office Conference to review a problem at one or several locations (again another informal process, but at a much higher level indicating there may be some serious problems and you were thereby given notice to cease and desist and take corrective action). Typically after that if there were other problems, the BAR may have filed the case with the District Attorney’s Office for that County, who acted on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office in taking on the case, or directly with the Attorney General’s Office. While there has been an opportunity in the past for an informal hearing, the process was not always made available or utilized. Now it is and being more widely publicized and made available. Gary the Attorney for DCA also noted that the Judicial Review is not directly subject to a Judicial Review and that it can happen under an Administrative Law Judge.

You do not waive any of your rights using this process and it gives you one last chance to appeal a decision regarding the following: Invalidation of STAR station certification, Citation issued to the Smog Check stations, technicians, contractors or fleet owners and lastly, Unlicensed businesses and delinquent renewal of Automotive Repair Dealer Registrations. It’s extremely important that you familiarize yourself with the informal hearing process and timelines and you will find more details on our website.

Enforcement Statistics update — Bill Thomas, BAR Field Operations & Enforcement Division reviewed the complaint numbers and categories and engine performance topped the list again (34%), followed by other (19%) then general maintenance and repair (17%). Negligence and false and misleading continue to be the top complaints in many of the system categories. It was interesting to note that they track 57 categories. We asked if they could breakdown the categories better to enable the industry to address areas noted with better information and details. One interesting note is that they do not log complaint closures.

Legislation and Regulations Update — Nina Tantraphol, BAR Program Support Unit spoke about AB 1222 the Tow Truck bill that has been chaptered and will now require tow truck operators to have the following: Requires tow trucks to possess specific information when responding to an accident. Requires written itemized estimates and invoices. Requires consumer consent to exceed the estimated price. Provides BAR access to certain information maintained by the businesses that take possession of vehicles from tow trucks. Nina covered how the regulation process works for BAR. The current pending BAR Regulations include: Disciplinary Guidelines, Bureau – Certified Institutions and Instructors, Windshield Replacement Standards, Mobile ARD Advertising, Electronic Documents and Authorizations, STAR Regulations Clean Up language and Brake and Lamp Handbooks updates. The status and details on all the above are posted on the website.

There was a public workshop on the Electronic Documents and Authorization and the latest revised draft of the regulation can be found on the website. Also see the notes below from the workshop.

Public Comment on Items Not on the Agenda – BAR has updated their consumer brochures and scanned copies are posted under the BAR Advisory Link with a link for Consumer Brochures.

Here are the tentative 2016 dates for the Advisory Meetings:

1. January 14th, 2016

2. April 21st, 2016

3. July 21st, 2016

4. October 20th, 2016

Please keep in mind if you plan to attend any of these, the BAR tries to schedule afternoon workshops that typically run from 2 PM until 4 PM. This should help when making your travel plans.

Bureau Workshop on Electronic Documents and Authorization Notes:

Pat Dorais, Bill Thompson and Nina Tantraphol hosted the workshop.

In the opening comments, Pat aid that we need to avoid the “how to” on the discussions and really focus on the processes of the regulation draft.

In the discussion there was concern over what was meant by written versus printed and whether or not they were synonymous. After discussing it further, it could really mean, hand written, versus typed rather than printed. Pat stated that they have purposely kept the term electronic vague in their definition in order to accommodate any future technologies, since we’re currently talking about text, email and other current forms not knowing what the future may bring.

We then discussed what constitutes and “digital signature”, as even in real estate, a PDF can be electronically signed and is acceptable.

When you consider what Pat said when he opened the workshop, he said we needed to avoid the “how to” in our discussions and really focus on the processes of the regulation draft.

Pat stated that they have purposely kept the term electronic vague in their definition in order to accommodate any future technologies, since we’re currently talking about text, email and other current forms and really not knowing what the future may bring in the way of electronic communications. In our discussion in the workshop, there was concern over what was meant by written versus printed and whether or not they were synonymous. After discussing it further, it was determined that it could really mean anything from a hand written document, versus typed rather than printed, as in a document printed via a paper printer. Then we discussed what constitutes a “digital signature”, as even in real estate and other legal areas, a PDF can be electronically signed and the electronic signature is acceptable.

Comments and Questions we will be submitting to the Bureau Staff:

We need to define and clear up is what will be an acceptable electronic signature throughout the entire process. Starting with the initial estimate, to the work order and then to the final invoice. Given the aforementioned areas, would an electronic signature apply and be acceptable in each instance? This remains unresolved and will need to be addressed. If the vehicle is dropped off before hours, or towed in, does an email with from the customer’s email response from the repair shop qualify as a signature?

If the repair shop contacts the customer with a revised estimate via text or email, does the reply from the customer via email of text qualify as a signature?

Also, how will repair shops need to memorialize and save the text response and attach it to the paperwork under the current 3 year retention regulation?

If the response is an email, how will they verify that it came from the customer?

What will a repair shop be required to do when there is a combination of phone conversations, emails and text responses? a) How will each of those have to be documented and retained?

On page 7 of the ‘Electronic Documents and Authorizations” handout line (#4) states:

“The final invoice shall also contain a statement indicating whether the additional repairs were authorized either orally or electronically. If authorized electronically, the method of electronic authorization used shall be recorded on the invoice”

We agree with the above text regarding page 7 #4 of the current draft handout, but it needs to go a little further. We believe that the information that must be recorded on the invoice needs to be outlined in that section. Here are a few examples to consider:

Customer authorized the initial and/or additional repairs via:

 Text Message from phone number _____________
 Email from email address _____________
 Other method as stated ____________

When you look at number 2 highlighted below, how will a repair shop capture the date and time of the signature in order to avoid just copying and then paste the signature on any document in the future?

§ 3303. Definitions (j) “Authorization” means consent. Authorization shall consist of the customer’s signature on the work order, taken Customer authorization shall occur before repair work begins. Authorization shall be valid without consist of one of the following: (1) the customer’s signature on the estimate (2) only when oral or electronic authorization is documented in accordance with applicable sections of these regulations.

(s) “Signature” means an original handwritten signature, either on a written or printed document or captured through electronic means and executed with the intent to represent an original handwritten signature.

(1) Authorization provided in the form of an electronic signature shall only be used for the purpose intended when provided to the dealer. (2)Any electronic signature shall include an unalterable date indicator, executed by the customer, to show when the signature was obtained.

§ 3352. Definitions. In this article, unless the context otherwise requires: (a) “Written eEstimate” means a written or electronic document provided to the customer that contains an written estimated price for labor and parts for a specific job. (b) “Work order” means a written or electronic document that contains the estimate and memorializes the customer’s authorization for a specific job. (c) “Invoice” means a written or electronic document given provided to the customer that meets the invoice requirements of Business and Professions Code Section 9884.8 and California Code of Regulations Section 3356. (d) To “tear down” a vehicle component means to disassemble the vehicle component; “teardown” means the act of disassembly for the purpose of preparing an estimate. (e) “Written” means the communication of information in handwriting. (f) Electronic” means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities. “Oral” means the verbal communication of information either in person or telephonically.

Other revisions are being considered based on the workshop and any comments or suggestions on the current draft (which is posted on our website) are due to BAR by November 6th 2015.

Please send me anything you want included in our response not later than November 2, 2015, by the close of business.

Finally, you can watch the entire Advisory Workshop online. Here is the link for the webinar for this session:


Johan Sig

Johan Gallo

Executive Director















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