One would think that there were no myths in the land of the Bureau of Automotive Repair, but one would be wrong. Myths abound, as do complexities as between consumer behavior and competitor actions. One such area surrounds the FPR, or ‘Follow-up Pass Rate.‘ There seems to be a mythical ‘FPR,’ used by the Bureau of Automotive Repair to ‘grade’ technicians with with significant deviations from one quarter to the next with little or no change in business practices, frustrating owners and technicians alike.
Officials have been tight lipped about how FRP is calculated, preferring to say it is proprietary and have thus far failed to disclose the data or the calculation.
Official Bureau of Automotive Repair Information on FPR
The Bureau describes the FPR score as follows:
“The Follow-up Pass Rate is a long-term STAR performance measure that evaluates the performance of both stations and inspectors. It is the only performance measure that evaluates the performance of an inspector to determine a station’s eligibility for the STAR Program. For this reason, FPR scores are given to both Smog Check stations and inspectors.
The FPR performance measure examines whether vehicles certified by stations and inspectors in their previous inspection cycle are passing their current initial inspection at a higher or lower rate than expected for “similar vehicles.” Station FPR scores reflect the performance of the station at the time the vehicles were previously certified at that station. Inspector FPR scores reflect the performance of the inspector at the time they last certified the vehicle, regardless of the station at which the inspector worked when he/she previously certified the vehicle. Smog Check inspection performance during the previous inspection cycle is measured by comparing, in the current cycle, the actual failure rate on initial tests to the expected failure rate for similar vehicles statewide…”
Competitors, Consumers & the Follow-up Pass Rate in California
There have been several reports of fraudulent testing by competing facilities failing competitor’s cars to lower competitors FPR while increasing their own. There are reports of facilities intentionally artificially inflating the odometer in case the vehicle fails so they protect their score. There are also reports of facilities failing vehicles for no reason to protect their FPR score or increase their SVFR.
FRP again buts up against several issues. Using a predictive algorithm based on statewide date, errant odometer inputs, without taking demographics or local conditions into account deprives the technician or facility of a fair shake regarding FPR.
California Smog Technicians also say FPR assumes a level of control over the consumer. The technician has no control over the consumer during the time in between the biennial inspections. If the consumer fails to maintain their vehicle, or fix the vehicle after the check engine light comes on, and then fails the inspection two years later, how does the technician have the ability to control consumer actions? The very question suggests the answer.