An Ohio body shop owner took up a customer’s cause and helped prove in small claims court that an insurance company does not have the right to use aftermarket parts for third-party claimants who have lease contracts that state “repairs are to be completed using genuine manufacturer’s replacement parts.”
The woman was a third-party claimant in a case where her leased 2014 Honda CR-V was hit by a 2015 Dodge Durango. She took her vehicle to Highway Auto Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, owned by Frank Lanza.
The at-fault party’s insurer, Grange, insisted the shop use aftermarket parts to repair the woman’s vehicle. According to Lanza, the Grange representative contacted the woman and had a “strongly persuasive” conversation insisting that Grange was only willing to pay for aftermarket parts and that she would be responsible for the difference of $283.14 if she elected to use OEM parts.
Lanza said that the woman’s leasing agreement with Honda stated that she is required to use OEM parts for the repair. According to Lanza, if OEM parts are not utilized in her repairs, Honda would be within its right to penalize her when she turns in the vehicle at the conclusion of her lease.
In addition, Grange would only pay for a small front-wheel drive rental vehicle even though the woman needed an all-wheel drive vehicle (like the one she had) because she has a steep driveway at one of the two houses where she lives in the winter. So, the woman had to pay $116.21 for the upgraded rental. The court said the plaintiff here was “overreaching,” as she was presented the opportunity to utilize a perfectly appropriate rental car, and thus was not awarded the $116.21. She was, however, awarded $302.25 for the upgraded parts, with tax.
“The insurer argued that they made her whole and that’s all they had to do, and I said no, you violated her lease agreement,” said Lanza.