California BAR Hosts Workshop on Proposed Storage Regulations

The regulations would cap what shops can charge for storage and impose new administrative requirements.


As a member of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Advisory Group, the California Autobody Association (CAA) attended the BAR meeting on April 25 in Sacramento.

Storage Workshop

BAR is proposing new storage regulations which would place caps on what shops can charge for storage and impose new administrative requirements on automotive repair shops. Among other things, shops will be required to post and display current daily storage rates visible to customers and notify, in writing, when charges will accrue. Auto body shops will be required to report their annual daily storage rates to the BAR under penalty of perjury.

BAR is creating a search tool for the public to identify storage rates charged in a given locale. The definition of “locale” was the subject of much debate at the meeting.

If shops are performing repairs, they will be able to charge rates comparable to other facilities in the same locale. However, shops charging towing and storage fees with no repairs will only be able to charge storage fees similar to state or local police departments. The shop may not charge storage while the customer vehicle is undergoing repairs, which includes the teardown process. When performing a teardown, the shop must inform the customer of the number of days after estimate the customer has to authorize or remove the vehicle prior to storage fees accruing. Vehicles must be stored at a shop's primary business, and the shop must notify consumer if the vehicle is moved to another location. Other areas of the regulations need clarification. 

BAR indicated it would review all input and comments from the hearing and conduct another workshop in the near future.

BAR Advisory Group Meeting

Legislation and Regulations Update

Pending bills include AB 1901, related to total loss claims; AB 2188, related to pollution control devices; SB 301, related to zero-emissions aftermarket conversion projects; SB 615, related to vehicle traction batteries; SB 898, related to factory window tinting; and SB 1526, related to business and professions -- clean up. 

Pending BAR regulations include smog check inspection equipment and station requirements (DAD specification update) updates; Consumer Assistance Program incentive increases; smog check readiness monitor limits; storage and towing fees and teardown disclosure requirements.

See the presentation.

DMV Vehicle Dismantling Strike Team Presentation

The Strike Team Task Force was created to target unlicensed dismantling facilities and unlicensed repair facilities to address problems of unlicensed activity for purposes of environmental impacts, public health impacts and tax evasion, and to bring dismantlers into compliance. The Strike Team may also inspect licensed BAR shops. During their inspection, if they see, for example, catalytic converters lying around, they may request documentation to prove they came from a consumer vehicle as opposed to being stolen. The BAR is working with the Strike Force Team Task Force on these efforts.

See the presentation.

Cool Air Rebate Program Update

Nathan Perrine of the Car Care Council returned and provided an update of the Cool Air Rebate Program. The program provides financial assistance to income-eligible vehicle owners to repair leaking or open A/C systems. It will reimburse participating auto repair shops that repair A/C units. The shop must complete application and have a 609 certification. The shop gets paid directly for diagnostics and repairs costs within two weeks of completion. There is a $1,500 limit on repair reimbursement, with the customer responsible for 20% of the cost. The funding comes from unclaimed deposits on cans of R134a sold in California, a $10 deposit per can not claimed by consumer. 

See the presentation.

Enforcement Licensing Modernization (ELM) Project Update

BAR provided an update on the BAR website modernization project. BAR applications can now be initiated online rather than filling out paper applications through the mail. This will streamline the process to make approvals quicker. The BAR provided a demonstration of how to apply for a BAR license/registration. Station licenses, changes, individual licensees and renewals will be able to be accomplished later this year.

See the presentation.

Complaint Case Study

BAR provided an overview of two consumer complaints dealing with documentation issues. The first case arose from a dispute over the number of days for which storage fees were charged by a body shop. The BAR indicated the ARD documentation regrading storage fees was inconsistent and confusing, ultimately leading the BAR to conclude the ARD had overcharged for storage and recommended a refund.

The second consumer complaint case involved alleged unauthorized charges related to inspection and diagnoses of a shifting problem. The ARD documents clearly demonstrated the transactional steps, and BAR found no evidence of unauthorized charges. 

See the presentation.

Enforcement Statistics

The enforcement statistics, detailing consumer complaints received by BAR in different categories, are as follows:

  • Engine repair: 33%
    Auto body: 18%
    General repair/maintenance: 16%
    Transmission: 7%
    Used car: 6%
    Vehicle purchase: 6%
    Smog: 5%
    Towing and storage: 3%
    Unlicensed activity: 2%

See the handout presentation.

Licensing Statistics

A total of 34,309 automotive repair dealers are in the state. 

See the handout presentation.

The next BAR Advisory Group meeting is scheduled for July 18.

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Shop & Product Showcase

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