The numbers are staggering—The Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (BAR) backlog has tripled within the last three years, with 436 cases in 2016, 561 in 2017 and 1,314 from last year.
And what’s even more shocking is that all of those shops cited in 2017 for significant violations are still up and running like business as usual.
These figures concern a lot of people, including the folks in Sacramento and that’s why California Assemblyman Evan Low, D-San Jose, CA, is taking the high road by looking for a solution to a stalled system. He chairs California’s Assembly Committee that oversees the BAR. They’re considering legislation that would devise a ratings system for all automotive repair shops, including collision shops.
Low wants transparency and full accountability as well as a way to speed up the process. “I do think we can do a better job at publicizing whether or not a particular repair shop might be above reproach,” Low told NBC Bay Area. “One violation is too many, so we need to be as proactive as possible to ensure as much customer protection as possible, and that’s something we’ll be doing this year.”
Low has worked closely with the automotive repair industry in California on improving the industry and earlier this year, he received the Legislator of the Year award from several automotive repair groups, including the Automotive Service Councils of California, the California Automotive Business Coalition and the California Autobody Association for his work on AB 3141 (Bureau of Automotive Repair: Automotive Repair Dealers: Maintenance and Services) in 2018.
CAA's Lobbyist Jack Molodanof isn’t a big fan of a rating system for several reasons. “Consumers already have access to rating systems and they’re called Yelp and Google,” he said. “Body shops are not restaurants where the measurables are objective (e.g. measuring hot water, or refrigerator temperatures), so comparing the two industries is apples and oranges.”
Another big question that hasn’t been answered is who will pay for this rating system? It will obviously have to come from more taxes or fees. But, would that really even solve the problem, we asked Molodanof.