Complaint Mediation Process
Each year, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) mediates approximately 15,000 consumer complaints. The goal of complaint mediation is to address the consumer’s concerns regarding an automotive repair transaction, mediate a fair resolution, and educate the repair facility on their responsibilities under the Automotive Repair Act. BAR’s role as a complaint mediator is to act as a neutral third party focused on achieving a fair resolution based upon the facts of the repair transaction.
Complaints can be submitted to BAR online, by mail, by telephone, or in person at a BAR field office. BAR reviews and acknowledges all complaints. Those within our jurisdiction are forwarded to the appropriate field office for assignment to a representative for mediation. The representative will review the complaint, contact the consumer, and gather any necessary documentation pertaining to the complaint. The representative may inspect the consumer’s vehicle, if necessary. The representative will contact the repair facility to gather further information and attempt to resolve the consumer’s issue. The representative will keep both parties informed throughout the complaint mediation process.
If violations of the Automotive Repair Act are identified, the representative will determine the appropriate action to be taken. This may include BAR educating the facility, especially if the violation relates to estimate or invoice procedures, or holding a conference with the facility’s owner, especially if there have been prior efforts to educate the facility. If BAR identifies an egregious violation of the Automotive Repair Act, such as fraud or an action that may threaten the safety of consumers, the complaint may be elevated to a formal investigation and the possible filing of a disciplinary action against the registrant or licensee.
All BAR complaints are mediated with the primary goal of obtaining a fair and appropriate resolution for both parties. Each year, BAR negotiates approximately $5 million in direct refunds, bill adjustments, and no-charge rework to the vehicle for California consumers. BAR also uses the complaint mediation process to educate repair facilities on the Automotive Repair Act to help avoid future complaints and promote consumer confidence, trust, and repeat business.