After Florida body shop owner Eddie Quintela challenged GEICO over their automatic deduction of 10 percent off the price of domestic OE parts on estimates, a GEICO representative, according to Quintela, responded that the insurer will continue to do this and it is "customary" in his market.
As a result of the GEICO rep’s response, Quintela, who owns Collision Concepts Inc. in Delray Beach, Fla., called fellow shop owners in his area to find out if GEICO has ever surveyed the market to find out if such a deduction is acceptable.
“I was astounded to find out that no one has ever been surveyed,” Quintela wrote back to the GEICO rep. “If you never surveyed a shop in the market, how can you make such a statement? If I spoke to over two dozen shop owners and managers and found that none offer this 10-percent discount, how is it ‘customary’ in our market?
“There are no other insurance companies that I am not a DRP for that take this so-called customary 10-percent discount. Everyone I spoke with told me that GEICO just takes the 10-percent discount. I spoke with two shops in particular that stated they must always charge your insured the 10 percent.”
Quintela concluded his correspondence with GEICO by offering to team up with the insurer to conduct a survey of the South Florida market to try to put the issue to rest.
“Let the facts speak for themselves and we will have the correct data to determine what is fair and reasonable in our market,” he said.
Paul Spencer of Babbsco Auto Collision in Lake Worth, Fla., supported Quintela with a response of his own to the GEICO rep, stating that his shop as well as "many others" have never offered or agreed to any discounts to GEICO.
"Babbsco has always rejected your discounts, but you have always disregarded Babbsco’s rejections and complaints," he wrote. "Babbsco will consider GEICO’s discount concessions only in exchange for GEICO’s consideration of sending a volume of work to Babbsco Auto Collision. Does that sound reasonable and fair to you?"
A response from GEICO to Quintela dated Dec. 13 stated:
"Our experience is that we reach an accepted price on the vast majority of claims in your area. We rely on our experienced staff to let us know when accepted prices cannot be reached, and it occurs very infrequently. When we are unable to reach an agreed price, we have been able to resolve those matters through the appraisal clause in the policy."