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Tuesday, 23 November 2021 18:49

CAA East Bay Chapter Hosts 120 People for BAR Presentation

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CAA East Bay Chapter President Tiffany Silva, left, and CAA Lobbyist Jack Molodanof, right, were happy to finally meet in person after an 18-month hiatus due to the pandemic. CAA East Bay Chapter President Tiffany Silva, left, and CAA Lobbyist Jack Molodanof, right, were happy to finally meet in person after an 18-month hiatus due to the pandemic.

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On Nov. 16, the East Bay Chapter of the California Autobody Association held its first meeting since April 2020, when the pandemic hit.

With approximately 120 collision repair professionals in attendance at Accurate Autobody in Richmond, CA, the evening’s keynote speaker was Matthew Gibson, an enforcement operations branch program manager for the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).

 

Gibson discussed a wide range of topics, including the ramifications of the passing of AB 471, BAR’s Auto Shop Locator and other subjects such as citations and fines.

 

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Marcos Magdaleno, left, owner of Precision Paint & Collision, and Rob Hengemihle, right, PPG regional manager, networked at the CAA meeting held at Accurate Auto Body in Richmond, CA.

 

The BAR exists to protect consumers, but it can also protect auto body shops. If a repair you’ve performed has been questioned by a customer, the playing field is level for both parties. So, in many ways, BAR acts as a barometer that weighs the facts.

 

One shop owner said, “If I don’t hear from BAR, it means I’m doing a good job, and that’s the way I like it.”

 

In addition to Gibson, Jack Molodanof, a California attorney and lobbyist who has distinguished himself in areas of automotive legislative and regulatory law over the past 30 years, traveled from Sacramento to attend the meeting.

 

CAA members rely on Molodanof’s insights into how to work effectively with the BAR, and many of them refer often to articles he has written over the years, like “Avoid Getting Fined and Losing Your BAR License (Tips for Auto Body Compliance.)” As a member of the BAR’s Advisory Committee, Molodanof is able to provide input about its processes and approach to enforcement.

 

Molodanof was pleased by the evening’s attendance and saw genuine value in a meeting with a BAR representative.

 

“As a shop, you want BAR’s feedback and they want your input too,” he said. “Within the next year, BAR will be adopting a lot of new procedures and finding ways to effectively respond to AB 471, so this type of interaction is invaluable to the members of CAA.”

 

In 2000, BAR began instituting methods to educate the public about what they do, significantly enhancing its communications and marketing, including its website, www.bar.ca.gov. Since then, BAR has worked hard to be a more shop-friendly organization, and meeting with CAA on a regular basis is an integral part of its master plan.

 

One of the first topics Gibson discussed Nov. 16 was AB 471 (Low), the administrative citations/safety inspections regulations bill...


...signed into California law in early October. He outlined every aspect of AB 471, considered to be very pro-body shop.

 

In short, the bill clarifies ARD (Automotive Repair Dealer) lien authority for storage fees and requires recognition of educational certification on the ARD application. It creates a three-member panel for informal review of ARD citations, creates a remedial training process and establishes a vehicle safety inspection and certification program.

 

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From left, semi-retired former instructor at Contra Costa College Peter Lock, current auto tech department Dean Laura Salas and CAA Executive Director Rick Johnson were on hand at the East Bay CAA’s meeting on Oct. 16.

 

Another subject every collision repairer in California is likely very interested in is BAR’s proposed ARD citation program. Gibson said its goal is to fill the gap between the organization’s efforts and formal disciplinary action.

 

Its stated purpose is to address violations of a concerning nature that occur frequently, but by themselves do not rise to a level warranting disciplinary action, and provide consumers with information concerning violations BAR identifies so they can make a more informed decision when choosing a repair facility.

 

Gibson then outlined the proposed citable violations, including negligence, inaccurate invoices, records requirements, accepted trade standards and equipment requirements. He also outlined auto body specific accepted trade standards, which include vehicle identification information, auto body and frame repair, automotive windshields and inflatable restraint systems; airbags.

What happens when an auto body shop is cited for any violation? Gibson explained BAR’s ARD citation fine amounts and appeal process.

 

A shop can contest a citation within 30 days of issuance. All citations shall include an order of abatement, and fines cannot exceed $5,000. Fine amounts are based on eight factors in dealing primarily with aggravation and mitigation, and any citation that lists multiple violations shall not exceed $5,000.

 

Gibson noted AB 471 is a brand new law and BAR is currently developing the system that will enable it to effectively enforce it. This will include...


...an informal appeal process for ARD citations, and the establishment of a three-member panel to hear informal appeals that would consist of a representative each from BAR, the industry and the public.

 

BAR is also in the process of creating a remedial training process to prevent citation disclosure, but only once every 18 months.

 

Gibson then pivoted to discuss the BAR’s Online Auto Shop Locator, which enables consumers to locate shops based upon location and license type and displaying license/registration information.

 

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Vigiani’s Auto Body & Paint was well-represented with, from left, Operations Manager Trish Short, owner Charlie Vigiani and technician Paul Haynes in the house.

 

Originally, it was designed to locate smog check stations, but now it has been expanded to include all licensed auto repair businesses, including body shops, mechanical repair shops, air conditioning, glass windshield and mobile mechanics.

 

The Auto Shop Locator also lists the shop’s location/phone number, according to BAR records; a map of the location; and a disciplinary and citation history. In addition, AB 471 requires BAR to accept and include the shop’s educational and professional certifications.

 

Another hot topic Gibson addressed was lien rights and storage fees. In the BAR’s spring 2019 Automotive Repair and Smog Check News, Gibson authored “Storage Fees and Lien Sales” and drafted language for regulations on storage fees presented at a workshop in October.

 

AB 471 modified B&P 9884.16 to say a person required to have a valid registration under the provisions of this chapter shall not have the benefit of any lien for labor or materials, including the ability to charge storage fees in accordance with applicable laws, or the right to sue on a contract for motor vehicle repairs unless the person possesses a valid registration.

 

Gibson also briefly touched upon a proposed repair equipment and restraint systems regulation change that would modify state regulations and require auto body repair shops to...


...use all repair, testing and measuring equipment and current reference materials necessary to diagnose, section, replace or repair structural damage to repair/restore vehicles to a safe condition.

 

It also requires all auto body repair equipment meets current trade standards for the work being performed, and all supplemental restraints and associated components must be repaired to manufacturer repair specifications.

 

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From left, Regal Collision owner Jim Boyle, Regal’s Production Manager Kirk Kapfenstein and R. Gary Hernandez, owner of Martinez Auto Body, caught up with old friends.

 

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. Annually, the BAR gives approximately $5 million to consumers for issues normally minor in nature.

 

For more than 40 years, BAR has helped to protect California consumers at its headquarters in Rancho Cordova and 12 field offices stationed throughout the state.

 

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