In his 25-plus years of experience in the collision repair industry, including seven as a licensed motor vehicle damage appraiser, Dan Wyatt has seen it all. Most of what he has seen has led him to the conclusion that insurance companies, adjusters and DRP body shops have colluded together in a massive scheme to defraud consumers.
Wyatt tells all in his new book, “Collision Collusion: Auto Insurers Modern Day Gangsters in Collision Claim Payments,” which is in the final stages of editing and is slated to be released on Feb. 1, 2010. The book stemmed from numerous requests from consumers and legal professionals for more insight into how the collision repair process really works.
“My hope is that consumers will gain a better understanding of collision claim practices that auto insurers and auto body shops don’t want you to know about,” said Wyatt, who has been recognized as a diminished value expert witness in North Carolina courts since 2004. “One legal professional I know has warned me that once this book is published, I may lose my status as an unbiased independent expert. This may or may not happen, but if it does, it is my decision, and I will accept the biased status for speaking the truth.”
The book consists of eight parts:
Collusion: The Meaning of Collusion and the Colluders
Collusion in Steering
Body Shops Then and Now
The Damage Appraisal and Repair Estimate
The Contract on Repair First-Party
Total Loss Under- and Over-Valuing First-Party
Where Do You Go from Here?
In the book, Wyatt calls Departments of Insurance “Departments of Worthless” and attorneys generals’ Departments of Justice “Departments of Useless.” He also takes shots at dealership body shops and multiple-chain independent shops, which he says perform the worst quality repairs of any shops.
“Their mindset is, ‘Get the cars in and get them out as quickly as possible,’” says Wyatt. “During my inspections of vehicles for diminished value, I have found that the repair quality of new car dealership auto body shops and multiple-chain independent shops are fair to extremely poor.”
Wyatt added that new car dealerships have become the auto insurer’s prime target as DRP shops because of the mindset of most vehicle owners that these dealerships are the best places to get cars fixed.
The smartest of the local DRP shops, Wyatt says, are the single DRP shops that serve only one master, and they’re looked upon by other auto insurers as being almost similar to the “True and Despised Independent Body Shops.” These “True and Despised Independent Body Shops," Wyatt says, are the rebels that insurers dislike the most.
"’True and Despised Independent Body Shops’ refuse to be hung by the auto insurance masters’ colluding and deceitful ways," Wyatt says. "They refuse to give kickbacks or discount incentives to get repair work, because they’re the most ethical body shops around.”
Wyatt asserts that insurers have lost all consciousness of the reason for their existence and of the 1963 Consent Decree. He also reinforces that the estimate of the insurance adjuster, who he says usually comes from the “Three Blind Rats’ School of Estimating,” is only an appraisal of the damages and quips that there are a few ways it could be very useful to someone:
1. Cut the appraisal into four equal parts, then staple and use the blank side as a scratch pad.
2. Make a paper airplane out of it.
3. Use it as a back-up if you run out of toilet paper.
“Auto body shops are the repair experts,” says Wyatt. “However, I sometimes question these ‘experts’ after seeing many of their repair estimates and repairs.”
Wyatt sums up today’s body shop environment this way:
“Auto body shops are fighting for a piece of the repair pie for survival, to the point that many of them low-ball their repair estimates just to get the repair job, and they repair damaged automobiles that they are not even properly equipped to repair,” he says. “Why has this happened? This is all due to the auto insurers figuring out how to take control of the auto body repair industry for their own self-gain, with thousands of auto body shops being the losing suckers on the deal.”
Wyatt has already published a book called “Signs of a Wreck” that he believes is a great selling tool for shops that want to promote the quality work they do. The book is chock-full of photos of poor repairs performed at DRP shops.
Contact Danny Wyatt at (704) 216-0081 or [email protected]