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Senators Kennedy and Blumenthal Send Joint Letter Supporting Consent Decree to DOJ

SCRS has commended Senator Kennedy (R-LA) and Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) for their joint letter to the Department of Justice urging the department to preserve a Consent Decree intended to protect consumers.

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The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has commended Senator Kennedy (R-LA) and Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) for their joint letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the department to preserve a Consent Decree (U.S. v. Association of Casualty and Surety Companies, et al.) intended to protect consumers. Both senators serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee which has oversight over the DOJ.

The letter, dated Nov. 19, states that “eliminating this agreement would turn back the clock on automotive consumer protections,” and that “sincere and thoughtful concerns raised by constituents” have led to a conclusion that “the merits and relevance of this decree warrant its continuation.”

In April 2019, the DOJ announced plans to review nearly 1,300 antitrust judgments enacted without end dates, and in August, the 1963 Consent Decree was identified as one of the actions proposed for termination as part of a much larger de-regulatory initiative by the current administration.

The Consent Decree has served as a significant document for consumers which highlights an agreement between the insurance industry and the U.S. government to forever refrain from practices that were established as anti-competitive, such as steering, price fixing, and depressing and controlling automobile material damage repair costs.

The DOJ held an open comment period, which was extended specifically for comments on this Decree to Oct. 2, 2019, and the Consent Decree became one of the two most commented on Decrees of the 1,300 proposed for termination.

Since the close of the comment period, SCRS has been working on behalf of members, affiliates and the industry-at-large (and in tandem with consumer representatives) to garner additional support from members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The association has arranged multiple meetings in D.C. with subject matter experts on the Consent Decree with key offices in Capitol Hill. That work continues and has recently resulted in the significant bipartisan letter to DOJ from Senators Kennedy and Blumenthal.

“This is an excellent example of policymakers who listen intently to the concerns of their constituents and who provide outstanding leadership on their behalf,” said Brett Bailey, chairman of SCRS. “We are enormously grateful to Senator Kennedy and Senator Blumenthal for this letter. This is an issue of great importance not only to collision repairers across the nation, but to every American consumer. These senators have demonstrated that party lines don’t have to get in the way of being champions for maintaining consumer protections. They understand that this Decree is still valuable, applicable and necessary in the market today. SCRS will continue to advocate to other members of Congress and to urge them to communicate with the DOJ and to express their commitment to preserving the Decree on behalf of consumers and small businesses in their states and districts.”

On Aug. 20, during the open comment period, SCRS did submit an official opposition to the proposed termination of judgement to the Department of Justice.

For more information about SCRS, or to join as a member, visit www.scrs.com, call (877) 841-0660 or email [email protected].

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