New computer system complicates Mass. car inspections

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) – A new computer system is causing big problems for some mechanics who perform auto inspections in Southeastern Massachusetts.

One shop owner in Belmont says he lost several thousand dollars this week due to a continued standstill at his business.

But Steven’s Service Center in Seekonk is one of the lucky ones.

“They made everyone do a lot of work. And they weren’t even ready for it,” Kimberly Holden of Steven’s Service Center said.

Their new Massachusetts state inspection machine is now working after three days of being down. Holden says they had some missed business, but not as bad as the shops that have been down all week.

The complaints continue to pile up as it takes several thousand dollars to purchase new machines that include camera equipment to monitor work and ensure unsafe cars aren’t squeaking by.

“You call the number that they tell you to call, all it does is hang up on you. No message. They don’t answer. I’ve emailed. No response,” Holden said.

But it’s not the sticker that brings in cash for businesses, it’s the car that can’t get one.

“You only make $19 a sticker. So, getting the repairs off of the sticker is what we look for,” Holden said.

Applus Technologies is the company that now holds the state contract. Holden says the old machines worked well.

“We never had a problem,” Holden said. “You brought the car in, you did the sticker, the people left. It wasn’t broke. So why fix it?”

A spokeswoman for Massachusetts Department of Transportation, as well as Governor Charlie Baker, say the training class for technicians before the launch was not as effective as they should have been.