Bureau of Automotive Repair Body Shop “Inspections”

The Bureau of Automotive Repair has always been interested in Body Shops. The BAR feels, rightly or wrongly so depending on who you talk to, that Body Shops are rife with instances of fraud and deceit, while clamoring over the “unsafe practices” of most body shops. There’s an emerging trend that is of great concern to non-insurance shops.

We’ve already discussed the BAR’s distaste for body shops but it bears repeating.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about shops that do insurance work. I’m talking about shops that aren’t feeder shops from major companies. I’m talking about the shops that don’t necessarily rely on work from insurance companies by agreeing to take the work at their crap rates.

We do what we have to do as business owners to stay afloat – however a word to the wise to non-insurance feeder shops.

Insurance Companies want to shut you down.

I’m going to say this again just to make sure its clear.

Insurance Companies want to shut you down.

Much like Customer Compliants leading to BAR undercover runs, insurance complaints lead to undercover runs as well.

The reason? Ever since the California Legislature required mandatory disclosure of the right of a consumer to choose their own shop, the insurance companies have been reeling.

What this did was cause a mass exodous from insurance feeder shops, with lower labor rates to quality shops who refused to settle for the reduced labor rate, knowing the value of their work.

The insurance company has been engaging in a, shall we say, interesting practice to “assist” the Bureau of Automotive Repair – performing “random inspections” of work sent to non-insurance shops for “quality control purposes.”

It’s akin to the “free inspections” performed by the BAR. With $168 Million Dollar Budget of the BAR they can surely afford it.

You know what happens next – because the insurance company found a bracket that wasn’t replaced. They won’t mention that it’s not made anymore so had to spend an hour fixing the old one and a ha!

All of a sudden you’re a fraud.

Nevermind the extra hour you spent fixing the bracket which is NOT listed on the invoice, which you weren’t paid for, but never the less, your transgressions are forwarded to the BAR as dirty shop.

What happens next? The BAR is convinced you’re a fraudulent shop, sends a few undercover runs, doesn’t agree with your diagnosis on what should be fixed, and shuts you down.

Now there’s one less non-insurance shop for the insurance companies to worry about.

How do you handle this issue if you are a body shop?

Before you send off any insurance work if you’re being paid at your normal rates, check the invoice. Is there a $2 bracket that wasn’t replaced? A .25 of labor hours of blending that didn’t need to happen because you paint matched it 3 different times to get it just right?

You’d be surprised.

The BAR will gladly shut down a shop over a $2 part.

Double check your insurance invoices before the cars are finished – they’re just itching to find a reason to report your shop to the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Make sure all parts listed were in fact installed. Make sure all work performed was in fact performed. Double check your invoices against part inventory order lists. Add the additional labor it took for things that weren’t listed.

Don’t give the insurance companies a reason to report you to the BAR. Let’s just say they have a vested interest in shutting you down.

– William Ferreira


Skip to content