The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) said in a recent letter that repairers not insurers are responsible for providing customers with correctly formatted repair invoices as outlined by California state code.
Assemblyman Dave Jones wrote to the BAR on behalf of the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA), which expressed concern that insurers were using estimating systems that did not comply with a chapter of state code that customers must be provided with itemized invoices for repairs.
“The Bureau of Automotive Repair does not regulate the insurance industry; therefore, it has no input as to how a damage assessment is reached,” the letter from BAR representative Rick McLarty stated.
McLarty noted that while there are several estimating systems to choose from, the repair facility must make sure that whatever system is used complies with state law.
“The repair facility can write their estimate of repair or use the insurance company damage assessment as the estimate of repair,” McLarty’s letter states. “If the repair facility chooses to use the insurance damage assessment as his or her repair estimate, they, not the insurance company, must make sure it complies with (state law).”
The section of code in question says an automotive repair invoice shall separately list, describe and identify all of the following:
All service work performed, including all diagnostic and warranty work and the price for each described service and repair.
Each part supplied, in such a manner that the customer can understand what was purchased, and the price for each described part. The description of each part shall state whether the part was new, used, reconditioned, rebuilt, or an OEM crash part or aftermarket crash part.
The subtotal price for all service and repair work performed.
The subtotal price for all parts supplied (not including sales tax), plus any applicable sales tax.
The code also states that if a customer is charged for a part, that part should be specifically listed as an item in the invoice as described above. If that item is not listed in the invoice, it will not be regarded as a part, and a separate charge may not be made for it. Also, separate billing in an invoice for items generically noted as shop supplies, miscellaneous parts or the like is prohibited.