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Consumer Safety Outreach Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation's
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
and
California State Department of Consumer Affairs
Bureau of Automotive Repair
NHSTA Logo CONSUMER SAFETY
OUTREACH PROGRAM
Bureau of Automotive Repair logo

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Bureau of Auto Repair (BAR) have joined forces to assist consumers with auto safety and repair concerns.

NHTSA has to ensure the recall of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment that have safety defects. It is important to note that NHTSA does not get involved in individual disputes between consumers and repair facilities. However, we're interested in potential defects.

Consumers can call NHTSA's Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236) to learn more about automotive safety related recalls:

National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration
1-888-DASH-2-DOT
(1-888-327-4236)
www.nhtsa.dot.gov/hotline
 
  • When consumers call the Auto Safety Hotline, they should have the make, model, year and identification number of their vehicle. The Hotline provides information about recalls and the steps the consumer needs to take to have the defect fixed.
     
  • Consumers' experiences with their cars is key to NHTSA learning about potential defects.  NHTSA depends on a Vehicle Owner's Questionnaire (VOQ) as the critical first step in the process that may ultimately lead to a recall. VOQ's are reviewed with other reports to identify safety defect trends that require investigation. Approximately 76 percent of the investigations opened by NHTSA are a direct result of calls from consumers. VOQ's are available from the Hotline and are on the NHTSA Web Page (www.nhtsa.dot.gov/hotline).
     
  • When a recall is announced, the manufacturer must make the required repair or replacement at no charge to the consumer.

If your car hasn't been recalled and you have filled out the VOQ about a possible defect, it is important for you to continue to seek resolution about the concern through the dealer, manufacturer and the BAR. In the event of a recall, the consumer may be able to recover costs incurred to repair/correct the safety defect prior to the announcement of the recall by the manufacturer. (Consumers should keep all receipts for repairs, so they can be presented to the manufacturer.)

 
CONSUMER SAFETY OUTREACH PROGRAM
Keeping Californians in motion and their cars running smoothly, with the least possible pollution, is a monumental task.
California Bureau of Automotive Repair
1-800-952-5210
www.dca.ca.gov

California's Bureau of Automotive Repair oversees the automotive repair and Smog Check industries, regulating thousands of automotive repair facilities, lamp and brake inspection stations, and Smog Check stations. The BAR's consumer service goals are:
  • To protect consumers from fraudulent business practices and better prepare them when shopping for automotive repair services.
  • To mediate and investigate automotive repair complaints while enforcing the provisions of the Automotive Repair Act.
  • To verify that all Smog Check stations conduct thorough and accurate inspections.
  • To ensure that consumers whose vehicles fail Smog Check inspections are provided with effective diagnosis and repair services.
  • To educate consumers and provide a consumer-friendly process in the selection of Smog Check Consumer Assistance Program options: repair assistance, vehicle retirement, and repair cost waivers.
Manufacturer-sponsored arbitration programs offer consumers who believe their cars are "lemons" a convenient alternative to going to court, which can be costly and time consuming. The Arbitration Certification Program certifies and monitors the operation of arbitration programs offered by new automobile manufacturers in California. The consumer service goals of the Arbitration Certification Program are: Arbitration Certification Program
(916) 323-3406
www.dca.ca.gov

  • To educate consumers about their rights under the automobile warranty "Lemon Law" and to provide information about the availability of arbitration in lieu of bringing a lawsuit.
  • To increase the level of service provided to consumers via the Internet and conduct an active public outreach program.
  • To ensure that consumers are notified of the manufacturer's arbitration program at the time they experience warranty problems.
  • To conduct a fair, unbiased, and timely review of California's automobile warranty programs.
Other Agencies That May Assist With Automobile-Related Concerns:
Bullet Office of the Attorney General
 (False or Misleading Advertising, Leasing/Rental)
800-952-5225 www.caag.state.ca.us
Bullet Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV Documents, False or Misleading Advertising, Odometer Fraud, Sales and Warranty Problems from Used Car Dealers, Vehicle Dismantler Conduct)
Call the nearest DMV Field Office (Check the local telephone directory under 'state government'), 
www.dmv.ca.gov

Bullet Federal Trade Commission
 (False or Misleading Advertising)
415-356-5270 or
310-824-4300
www.ftc.gov
Bullet New Motor Vehicle Board
(Sales and Warranty Problems with New and Used Cars Bought from New Car Dealers)
916-445-1888
Bullet Your local California district attorney's office or consumer affairs agency
(Various Concerns)
Check your local telephone directory under 'county government'

 
 
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