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Report Puts Consumers on High Alert Over Unethical Body Shops

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A report published April 26 by Edmunds.com, a website
serving automotive consumers, talks about the wide disparity between collision
repair facilities and quotes one body shop owner as saying, "I don’t care
what state you live in, for every 10 body shops, three of them are unethical
and five of them do mediocre work at best."

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The report, titled "Confessions from the Auto Body
Shop," attempts to educate consumers on the collision repair business in
general and how to select a good shop versus an unethical one. One of the shop
owners quoted in the report dispels the notion consumers have that body shops
are rolling in dough.

"At one time, body work was lucrative," he
said. "But today, the well-run shops are realizing profits of 4 to 7
percent. And it’s a very fine line between making 4 percent and losing 5
percent."

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The report leads consumers to believe that their repairs
might not be done safely or completely. "Body shops are supposed to
restore cars to the standards of the OEMs, but they know from experience that
doing so is going to be prohibitively expensive. Instead, they don’t even
consult the manufacturer’s specifications and fix the car according to
time-tested methods."

Also in the report is advice to avoid collision repair
facilities that offer to "save the deductible" because they’re trying
to "scam" the insurance company.

The shop owners who were interviewed for
the report also talked about parts, saying that some unethical shops will try
to boost profits by charging customers for new OEM parts when they’ve actually
installed used ones, or have substituted aftermarket parts for OEM parts
without telling the customer. In other cases, the report says, the shops repair
the original part, reuse it in the vehicle and charge the customer for a new
part.

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The report also advised consumers to be aware of shops
"in cahoots" with insurance adjusters, saying that many shop owners
try to "ingratiate" themselves with adjusters by detailing or
painting their personal vehicles for free.


More information:

Read the full report on Edmunds.com

Read "Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster"

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