ARD Definition Expanded to Include Auto Repair Referral Businesses

Assembly Bill (AB) 1263 (Berman, Chapter 681, Statutes of 2023), signed by Governor Newsom on October 10, 2023, made a number of statutory improvements, important policy updates, and technical changes in response to issues raised during the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (BAR) sunset review process. One notable change was an amendment to Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 9880.1(a), which defined automotive repair dealer (ARD) as “a person who, for compensation, engages in the business of repairing or diagnosing malfunctions of motor vehicles.” AB 1263 expanded this definition to additionally include, any person that “engages in the business of collecting compensation for automotive repair services that are referred or sublet to someone other than the dealer or their employees.”

Auto Repair Referral

Although there are numerous circumstances under which this new definition applies, there are two specific business types that warrant further clarification. The first is a referral, broker, or concierge service that provides automotive repair services. In this situation, a consumer seeking a specific automotive service utilizes a third-party website for recommendations and scheduling of the service. The website provides a quote for the desired services and, if the consumer accepts, collects payment. Once the consumer pays for the service, they are referred to a physical location or to a mobile ARD who will perform the repairs at a place usually chosen by the consumer. In this situation, the business operating the website is collecting compensation for the repairs and, therefore, under the amended definition of an ARD, must be registered as an ARD with BAR. It is important to note that if the business only refers the consumer to a provider of repair services and does NOT collect payment for the repairs, there is no requirement for registration with BAR.

The second business is an online retailer of automotive parts that not only sells parts but also arranges for the installation of the parts. In this situation, the consumer is typically seeking a specific automotive part or component and some online retailers may offer an installation option as part of the purchase transaction. Collecting compensation for the installation of the parts is considered to be an automotive repair transaction and, therefore, the business is required to be registered with BAR.

Education and Compliance

The amended ARD definition as a result of AB 1263 is not the only change made in recent years to BPC 9880.1. AB 3141 (Low, Chapter 503, Statutes of 2018) deleted the “minor services” exemption for licensure from the definition of “repair of motor vehicles.” The most recent statutory changes now clarify that any business engaged in any type of automotive repair must be registered with BAR.

To educate the automotive repair industry, BAR reviews online advertisements, repair transaction documents obtained during complaint investigations, and other sources to identify businesses subject to ARD registration requirements. BAR also conducts educational outreach campaigns and works closely with businesses not previously under its oversight—such as businesses specializing in vehicle window tinting and wrap services (non-permanent vinyl film applied to vehicles)—to promote awareness on registration requirements and address compliance issues.

Additional information, including resources to assist ARD registration applicants and newly registered ARDs, is available under the Licensees tab at

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