Friday, 25 June 2010 17:41

California State Assembly Hears Two Bills on Aftermarket Parts, CAA to Meet with CDI & DOI

The California Assembly Business and Professions Committee, chaired by Assembly member Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), will hold a hearing Tuesday, June 22, on two measures dealing with collision repair parts after our press time.
Senate Bill 350, the original version of which was sponsored by the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), would add a new section to the California Business and Professions Code that currently requires consumer disclosure in order to use aftermarket crash parts on a repair.

In addition to the current consumer disclosure requirement, SB 350 would add an additional list of requirements that must be met in order for an insurer to specify the use of aftermarket crash parts. Among them, the bill would require any insurer specifying the use of aftermarket parts to warrant that those parts are “of like kind, quality, safety, fit, and performance as original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts.”

This requirement is already contained under Section 2695.8 (g) of the California Code of Regulations. The bill serves to codify existing law.

The bill, originally introduced by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), passed the Senate last year and is now awaiting approval by Hayashi’s committee. Hayashi is the Assembly member who in 2008 sponsored and passed Assembly Bill 1200, the measure that changed California’s anti-steering laws effective January 1, 2010.

The hearing is also scheduled to consider Senate Bill 427, introduced by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod. SB 427 would require repairers to provide, on a signature page of the final invoice, a statement that installing parts other than those described on the estimate without prior approval from the customer is unlawful.

Both bills have already been approved by the Senate. Readers can go to www.autobodynews.com for an update on the results of the meeting.

The California Autobody Association (CAA) was invited to participate in a meeting on June 24 with both the California Department of Insurance (DOI) and the California Department of Justice to discuss the issues surrounding aftermarket replacement crash parts and provide recommendations in developing “policy and legal issues relating to the use of replacement crash parts.”

According to the CAA, this meeting is a culmination of a series of discussions and meetings CAA has been having with the DOI and the Attorney General’s office for the last several months which recently resulted in the DOI issuing a notice to all insurers specifying non-OEM replacement crash parts for the repair of an automobile. The memo stated that all non-OEM parts specified must be at least equal to the OEM parts in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit and performance, specifically noting aftermarket bumper reinforcement bars, and that the parts must have must have permanent, non-removable identification of the part manufacturer.

The CAA noted that California regulations Section 2695.8(g)(4) requires that “all original and non-original manufacture replacement crash pads, manufactured after the effective date of this subchapter, when supplied by repair shops shall carry sufficient permanent, non-removable identification so as to identify the manufacturer.”

As discussed with the DOI, the issuance of this notice to insurers is the first step in establishing a traceability system for parts in the state of California that will allow manufacturers to identify and track their parts in the event of a recall concerning safety, fit, and quality.

The CAA conducted a very successful stakeholder meeting in March of this year to begin addressing the need of tracking aftermarket crash parts. Many of those that were at that meeting will be in attendance at the June 24 meeting in Sacramento with the Department of Insurance.

The CAA’s position is that the issue of being able to have a uniform system to track aftermarket crash parts for the industry is a priority project that needs to happen now. Consumers should have the confidence that if a part fails or has been identified for possible failure there is a process in place to rectify it.

Peter Conlin, Counsel to the Commissioner, said in a letter to the CAA, “Commissioner Poizner places his highest regulatory priority on promoting consumer safety and I believe the CAA could play a significant role in developing a new policy consensus in the area.”

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