September 19, 2014
Automotive Repair

Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)

In 1971, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), a California state agency, was established to prevent abuses in the auto repair industry. BAR gives consumers a formal way to take action against negligent repair shops.

Options on how to handle automotive repair work you dissatisfied with:

Speak directly with the service manager. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Know your rights, as defined by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.
  • Be courteous and calm.
  • Explain the problem accurately, and tell the manager what you think would be a fair settlement.
  • If you are willing to negotiate, say so. In many disputes, neither party is 100% right.
  • If the problem cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, tell the manager you intend to file a complaint with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).

File a Complaint with the BAR

  1. Contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair to obtain a complaint form. Complete the form and return it to BAR. Save all your receipts; they may be helpful when BAR reviews your complaint.
  2. When they receive your form, BAR will assign a case number to your complaint. Within 10 days you will receive a postcard acknowledging receipt of your complaint, and identifying the BAR representative assigned to your case.
  3. A supervisor will review the complaint to see if it appears the shop has violated the Auto Repair Act or any other laws.
  4. Your assigned BAR representative will review the complaint and contact you.
  5. Your BAR representative will attempt to mediate on your behalf with the repair shop. While BAR cannot represent you in court, collect money, or levy fines on your behalf, your BAR representative will contact the owner or manager of the repair shop, describe your complaint and attempt to facilitate a satisfactory settlement.
  6. The mediation effort may require your BAR representative to contact you and the repair shop several times. Both sides will be kept informed about the case by mail
  7. If it appears that any Auto Repair Act violations have occurred, your BAR representative will try to obtain documentation, and BAR may then issue a Notice of Violation to the repair shop.
  8. A final mediated resolution will be, confirmed with both sides and you will be notified, by phone, in person, or by mail when the case is closed.

BAR field and region offices

There are 40 BAR field and region offices in the state of California. You can contact them locally at (408) 277-1860 (San Jose office) or phone (800) 952-5210. They are headquartered at: California Department of Consumer Affairs
Bureau of Automotive Repair
10240 Systems Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95827

More on Common Types of Cases »

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