What are Consumer Complaints?
Consumers who feel that they have not been treated properly by an automotive repair shop or Smog Check station have the right to file a complaint with BAR. BAR attempts to mediate the complaint and, if necessary, will investigate the complaint for possible violations by the shop. Most complaints are filed because a consumer felt that their rights were violated by the shop or that they were treated unfairly. Knowing those rights and ensuring that they are respected can help minimize the possibility of someone filing a complaint against your shop.
Important consumer rights include:
A written estimate for repair work.
WARNING! If a tear-down is necessary to determine how much a repair will cost, your customer is entitled to a written estimate for the tear-down and rebuild costs (including a timeline for rebuilding) and a second written estimate for the cost of the actual repair.
- A detailed invoice of work done and parts supplied.
- Return of replaced parts, if requested at the time a work order is placed.
If a customer feels that their rights were violated, or that they were treated unfairly by your shop, they may file a complaint with BAR.
How Does BAR Resolve Consumer Complaints?
- Consumer complaints are filed with BAR's Complaint Intake and Compliance Unit, at a local BAR field office, or through the Department of Consumer Affairs. A BAR representative is assigned to the complaint and the complaint is reviewed.
- BAR also reviews the complaint for possible violations of California laws or regulations.
- The BAR representative will contact your shop to discuss the complaint and to hear your response to the complaint.
- The BAR representative will attempt to work with you and the complainant to resolve the complaint in a way that is acceptable to both parties.
TIP!! The BAR representative does not "take sides" when working to resolve a dispute. Their role is to help both parties understand the other's viewpoint by asking questions and discussing all of the available information with both parties.
What Happens Next?
If you are not able to reach an agreement with the complainant, they may choose to consult with an attorney and take legal action against your shop. In that case, you may choose to seek legal advice and representation. Neither a BAR representative nor a mediator can provide legal advice or representation to your shop, or to the consumer.