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How Auto Insurance Companies Are Gaming the System

by on March 3, 2015

Are auto body repair shops being forced by insurers to use inferior or broken replacement parts to do repairs on cars involved in accidents?

Wattel & York, one of Arizona’s leading personal injury law firms, reports on recent allegations that some of the nation’s top insurers are cutting corners on car repair authorizations, which in turn, enable them to save costs and increase their profits. As a result, insured drivers who have had repairs are unknowingly risking their lives by driving unsafe vehicles with substandard parts.

Although it is the car owners that are the ultimate victims of such auto repair fraud,it is the honest auto body repair shops themselves that are now speaking out against the insurers for steering owners toward shops that are authorized by the insurers to do repairs. These shops may be more than willing to take advantage of consumers by not questioning the steady flow of business that comes from insurance companies.

According to Edmunds.com, the consumer can’t rely completely on body shops or insurance companies to watch out for their interests. You have to act as your own advocate, choose the best shop and remain alert to overcharging and misrepresentation.

“This is refurbished junk…”

A Missouri repair shop owner, John Mosley, clarified how the insurance companies are using steering to game the system by pushing car owners to shops that, in his estimation, have been coerced to do the repairs or lose the business. “The insurance companies have set up networks of shops (called) direct repair programs. And the way these shops’ performance is measured is by the amount that it costs to repair cars at this particular shop…Just get the car in, make it look like it’s fixed, and get it out the door.”

Matt Parker, owner of Parker Auto Body in Monroe, LA, was more outspoken. He showed reporters a broken replacement headlight with a cracked lens for a Toyota that had been glued back together, wrapped up, and put in a new box for delivery to his shop to use on a customer’s car. “The insurance company wants us to put this stuff on their cars. If we refuse to use the part, then they label us as a shop not willing to go along with their program, and then they try to steer our business away from us.” He concluded, “This is refurbished junk is what it is. This is junk.”

If you’re a victim, you have rights

US Senator Richard Blumenthal is urging the Department of Justice to step in and investigate the insidious practice of insurance companies enriching themselves by steering car owners to shops that are either unscrupulous or not being given the resources needed to do proper repairs.

Wattel & York has been going toe to toe with major insurance companies for fifteen years in personal injury and car accident cases. Allstate, State Farm, Farmers, Progressive, and others all know the experience of doing battle with Wattel & York and coming up on the losing end when a client’s rights have been challenged. If you are in need of a Phoenix personal injury lawyer as a result of a faulty repair, contact us now so we can start to fight for you. We serve all of Arizona, including Tucson, Chandler, Glendale and Yuma. Call 1-877-225-5562 to schedule a free case review to discuss your options. 

Resources:

  1. Edmunds.com, Confessions from an Auto Body Shop http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/confessions-from-the-auto-body-shop.html
  2. Body Shop Business, Anderson Cooper Show Uncovers Insurance Fraud http://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/anderson-cooper-show-uncover-insurance-fraud/
  3. CNN.com, Auto Insurers Accused of Pushing Cheap and Dangerous Repairs http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/11/us/auto-repair-investigation/

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