NY Bills Take Aim at Steering to Rental Car Companies - BodyShop Business
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NY Bills Take Aim at Steering to Rental Car Companies

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Companion bills introduced in the New York Legislature earlier this year – A.B. 4916 and S.B. 4691 – aim to prevent a type of steering not always discussed in the collision repair industry: referral to certain rental car companies by insurers during the claims process. The bills’ authors said they created the legislation, which would ensure that claimants are given the freedom to choose rental car companies, after receiving numerous complaints from consumers.

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Numerous body shop owners in the state have voiced support for the bill, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn shop owner Donovan Maye told the newspaper that he’s concerned his customers can’t always afford additional out-of-pocket expenses that can accompany renting vehicles from insurer-recommended companies, making it difficult to pay for deductibles and other accident-related expenses.

In one incident, Maye says a customer was advised to purchase additional rental insurance from an insurer-recommended rental car company, even though it wasn’t necessary.

“The customer service agents never explained to him that additional insurance was optional since he had coverage in New York state,” Maye said in a letter to the newspaper. “I cannot understand why my customers aren’t given a choice when renting a replacement vehicle. Especially in these difficult economic times, I feel it’s extremely unfair to the customer.”

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Gil Cygler, general manager of the locally owned car rental company All Car Rent A Car, told the Eagle that the issue of rental car steering normally goes unnoticed but affects consumers and business owners every day.

“In Brooklyn alone, several hundred rentals take place each week in such situations,” Cygler said. “It’s interesting that all insurance companies refer to only one car rental company.”

Eagle reporter Harold Egeln concluded that, “With a captive audience, the insurance company’s preferred car rental business can upgrade and sell added coverage to unsuspecting customers.”

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