Editor’s Note: This is a multi-part letter from Attorney William Ferreira, known as one of the top attorneys in California working in cases against the Bureau of Automotive Repair. To read the full letter in PDF format, click here. If you as a Station Owner or as a Technician may be facing a possible action by the Bureau of Automotive Repair whether for a SMOG check problem or a STAR program problem, please reach out for a consultation today.
To: Members of the Emission Testing Community
From: William Ferreira
Re: Epidemic of Simulators in California Smog Check Inspections
Epidemic of Simulators in California Smog Check Inspections
There is a matter that is of grave concern to the industry occurring as we speak. There has been a watershed of Accusations and Interim Suspension Order cases filed by the Bureau of Automotive Repair against shops and technicians for illegal clean plugs due to data discrepancies.
The problem I wish to address immediately are simulators. There is a black market of simulators developed specifically to assist individuals thwart the California Smog Check Inspection process. Here, millions of dollars are at stake.
The prevalence we have seen in our cases are twofold; used car dealers buying check engine light vehicles needing a passing certificate to turn them around and repair facilities who are helping customers avoid costly repairs.
You know the drill – a used car dealer buys a Junker at auction with a check engine light. No one wants it because you can’t sell it without a certificate of compliance. So, they buy it, install a simulator with a DLC connector in the stock location, take it for an inspection, get a passing certificate, and flip the car for a healthy profit.
You also know the guy down the street, instead of fixing the blown cat for $1000 will offer to “help” a customer pass the inspection for $200. They install a simulator with a DLC connector in the stock location, take it for an inspection, get a passing certificate, and save their customer hundreds of dollars.
Here, the technician and or facility is unknowing in this scam. And they are being taken to task by the BAR for something so outrageous with little or no proof the facility or technician knew, participated, or was complicit in the scheme. The argument is the data came from shop X, technician Y performed the inspection, so they’re dirty – shut them down.
And it happens. I’ve seen it happen.
It burns me that a hard-working technician or shop has to burn thousands of dollars on legal fees to fight this nonsense. I have better things to do with my time. I’m running out of the ability to take on these cases because our office is overwhelmed.