Bribe(s) Gone Bad - BodyShop Business

Bribe(s) Gone Bad

Struggling to quit steering customers to another shop.

“I’ve been struggling with a major insurance company to quit steering customers to another shop,” wrote the shop owner in a recent e-mail.

His story sounded all too familiar. Feeling bad for the guy, I read on.

Before long, however, I found myself thinking this guy might quite possibly be the dumbest person on the face of the earth.

Here’s the Cliff Notes version of his story:

  • Adjuster No. 1 tells this shop owner (who’s on the DRP for this particular insurer) that he has a daughter to put through college and also needs to buy her a car. He asks the shop owner to fix a total loss and to give him a “break” on it. In return, he says, he’ll give the shop work. The shop spends $6,000 on parts, paint and labor, and for a while, work does increase. Then it stops. The adjuster is never heard from again.
  • Adjuster No. 2 (from the same insurer) comes in. He says he’ll give the shop work if they paint his wife’s car. They paint it, and the adjuster is never heard from again.
  • The adjuster’s office secretary says if the shop repairs her recently wrecked vehicle, she’ll make sure they get work. Same story.
  • Adjuster No. 3 says if the shop opens another location in a neighboring town, he’ll put his drive-in claims office there. He gets his free repair, the shop actually opens a second location and to no one’s surprise but the shop owner’s, no drive-in claims office.

“I’m tired of all this,” wrote the shop owner at the end of his e-mail. “I know there must be some legal action I can take for this essential blackmail from this company.”

Can anyone really be this dumb? What’s this guy going to say to a lawyer? “My bribes didn’t work out so I wanna sue”?

Says BSB contributing editor Charlie Barone: “While half the industry is screaming bloody murder about steering and another quarter is setting up legitimate DRP agreements, a good number of shop owners are doing it the old-fashioned way – paying off adjusters.”

Which is exactly what this shop owner did. And it wasn’t until his bribes went bad that he e-mailed for advice

Still, I guess if the guy really wants advice, I should give it to him, right?

Georgina K. Carson

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