A collision repairer who wants to remain anonymous has created a website called StopDRP.com to inform consumers about their rights when it comes to getting their vehicle repaired.
Being a DRP shop, but at the same time being fed up with actions taken by insurers he feels cheat the consumer, he created the site to tell consumers things he couldn’t due to fear of reprisal. And he says that so far, it has been effective.
“Now, when a customer comes in and says, ‘I need to release my vehicle to ABC Body Shop because my insurer said so,’ we tell them one simple thing: ‘OK, that’s fine, but it’s our company policy to tell you about StopDRP.com. You need to review this site before you make any decisions with your insurer.’ And then they end up putting a link to it on their Facebook page and the word travels from there,” he said.
A little more than a month old, the site has a simple declaration on its homepage: “If you are involved in an accident and have an auto claim, we are here to help you so you don’t make any bad decisions.” It contains animated videos explaining how DRP shops operate, explanations of total losses, diminished value and aftermarket parts, some of the concessions shops must make to become a DRP, what to do after an accident and how to select a quality non-DRP shop. Nowhere on the site is there a “shop locator” where consumers can type in a ZIP code to find a shop near them because that wasn’t the point of creating the site.
“I will never advertise my shop or any other shop on the site,” he says. “I tried to develop a site that every shop in America that is against DRPs could use as a tool. You always hear shops complaining about how they’re being cheated and mistreated, but I’m more worried about the consumer. If it’s a direct repair, I can’t tell them about the value of their vehicle, the appraisal clause or diminished value. If I get caught doing that, my DRP will drop me.”
Within 20 days of creating the site, he says he received recognition from every state in the U.S. and 10 other countries. He tells of one case he heard of a doctor on the West Coast who had an auto claim with his BMW and the local dealer recommended a DRP repair facility. He read all the material on StopDRP.com, and when he found out the dealer-recommended shop was a DRP, he snatched his vehicle from the shop and took it to a shop that was not a DRP for that insurance company.
Total losses have been particularly troubling for him. He says insurers are paying people much less for totals than they’re supposed to, and the DRP shops aren’t telling the customer how much the cars are really worth. He cited one example of his friend whose daughter wrecked his Lexus, and the insurer offered $13,500 for the vehicle when it was actually worth $16,500. He ended up helping him get $18,500.
He says StopDRP.com has also helped wrecker services in that, if they tell consumers about StopDRP.com, they will keep their cars on the lot longer and thus give themselves more leverage in negotiations.
“If a car comes in and gets totaled, insurers are taking them out of the lot the same day or the next day to one of their lots where they aren’t getting charged for storage, and then they can drag their feet on a settlement,” he says. “StopDRP.com explains to consumers how they shouldn’t let their car leave the towing facility because that’s the only leverage you have.”
He says he has had enough of insurer tactics and felt it was time to do something.
“What happened to the American dream? The American dream is gone. Corporate America has ruined that,” he says. “Me, you, all these shops, the estimators, appraisers and adjusters we are all puppets on a string. The top 2 percent are holding us puppets. Well, it’s time for all the puppets to wake up and come together and fight. The puppets right now are cheating each other to help corporate America out.
“Everyone is finally fed up. It’s time to come together. You’re either a billionaire or you’re like me and you. CEOs are making $20 million a year and want a bigger, faster jet, so they get us to pick on each other more. They have us puppets sucking each other’s blood.
“The collision industry is going to flip, and I’m the one who is going to cause it. [My shop] is snowed under with work because we educate the consumer with StopDRP.com.”