To: CalABC Members
From: Johan Gallo
Subject: NEW – Regulation on Electronic Document & Authorization
After a long arduous process that started with a proposal I made to Chief Dorais almost eight years ago, we finally have a new regulation on Electronic Document & Authorization. The initial intent was to be more environmentally friendly with less paper and ink being used, not to mention the growing use of electronic communications with the advent of the “smartphone”, after all how often do you receive a fax anymore?
While we didn’t get everything in the regulation that we had asked for, we got most of the key items we had wanted. While the Statement of Reasons gives you all the give and take on the regulation (see attached) and the version of the regulation isn’t out yet, we wanted to provide you with a brief recap of what we ended up with.
What’s key in the regulation that went into effect immediately:
- You can now obtain an electronic signature and provide your customers with electronic copies of their work order and final invoice.
- Communicate with your customers via texting and through email and other electronic forms of communication, the key will be how you store and memorialize this information because it must be retained for three years in accordance with BAR Record Retention Regulations.
- We avoided creating too narrow of a definition for “texting” and used the term “Electronic Forms of Communications” instead to allow for future technologies.
- Packaged Parts Kits can now be listed by brand name, part number and note the key components of the kit. There had been a long argument over line listing every part and returning the remaining parts in the kits to consumers which will not be required.
- Businesses will NOT be required to list the name and address of the sublet business on the repair order that was initially going to be required under the newly proposed regulation. Repair shops will still have to provide the customer the sublet business information upon request.
- Clarifying the words, No Charge that often used when offering a minor service or inspection by noting it as: No-Charge to simplify this for consumers.
- Allowing that supplemental documents that sometimes accompany final invoices can be given to the customer in paper copy and wouldn’t be required to be provided electronically.
- Your system can now default that all parts provided are “New” unless otherwise specified.
- Customers now have the option of providing the phone number or email address on the repair order and final invoice.
- Businesses will now have the flexibility to use multiple “business phone numbers” that are no longer tied to the phone numbers listed on their BAR Automotive Repair Dealer Registration Application. (We know many businesses now use IP Phones, Cell and other technologies to receive and make phone calls and the regulation required you to list the same number that was on your ARD application)
- Date & Times stamps are not required to be programmed in your system as long as it’s noted in the documents for future reference.
- Any advertisements and advertising signs shall clearly show the name and address listed on the automotive repair dealer’s State registration certificate.
What still needs to be addressed in future updates and revisions to the new regulation and other BAR documents and printing:
- Guidelines and regulation changes to set the standards for how repair shops must memorialize and retain the electronic communications with their customers in accordance with BAR Regulations on the three-year record retention regulation.
- How will it be stored
- Who will have access
- Proper capture and storing of signatures for initial workorders, revised estimates and final invoices
- Universal platform for anyone to retrieve it when called upon
- How to address when customers refuse to sign electronically
- Write it Right Updates to include the new Electronic Document & Authorization Regulation
- BAR Statewide Training to Repair Shops and interested parties on the new regulation.
- Creating standardization with BAR and automotive repair shop system providers to ensure compliance.
In the end we received far more than expected in the new regulation, but we still have work to do. We want to extend our biggest thank you to Jack Molodanof, Bud Rice, Nikki Ayers, Lou Anapolsky, Alisa Reinhardt (California New Car Dealers) and other members of their staff, along with Michael Flanigan and countless others who attended countless workshops and BAR meetings to ensure that this would finally happen.
Click here for the Final Statements of Reasons for this regulation.