“We have enhanced this feature with a new interactive map, a series of filters and a mobile app, so that consumers can access this information anywhere, all the time,” Leek said. “People can search for locations near their address, their city or their ZIP code, and then the Shop Locator tells the user their proximity to the shop.
"At the same time, people can make sure that the shop is licensed by BAR. This allays peoples’ fears and gives them an additional layer of comfort knowing that they’re taking their vehicle to a licensed business that is in good standing with the BAR.”
For example, I chose the Automotive Repair filter, followed by the Auto Body filter. I then tested the locator and quickly found a sample of the 50 body shops closest to me, one of which was on probation with the BAR. To eliminate any ambiguity, the listing of the shop is surrounded by a big red border with the word “Probation” listed clearly within the listing.
To get feedback from the collision repair industry, Leek and his team received input from a wide range of automotive industry representatives and body shops during their development stage.
The BAR registers and regulates 36,000-plus California automotive repair dealers and mediates automotive repair complaints, saving California consumers millions of dollars each year in the form of direct refunds, rework and bill adjustments, for example.
The BAR is one of 37 organizations under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs. BAR was established within DCA in 1972 following enactment of the Automotive Repair Act.
In response to consumer and industry concerns about fraud and incompetence in the auto repair industry, the act established BAR as the licensing and regulating authority over automotive repair dealers. The act also gave BAR authority to license and regulate stations and individuals that perform services in the areas of lamp and brake inspection and repair.