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Tell It Like It Is

If you lost a diamond, would you want a cubic zirconia without knowing it until you tried to sell it?” asked one 2001 BodyShop Business Industry Profile respondent when asked if the vehicle owner has an unequivocal right to know when aftermarket or used parts are used in repairs.


About 98 percent of other respondents agreed:

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  • “Customers should always know what they’re paying for.”
  • “Any variation from OEM should be disclosed.”
  • “A vehicle is a large investment these days. The customer should know.”
  • “Nothing should be hidden from the owner.”
  • “Customers should be involved in all aspects of the repair.”
  • “I’d want to know if it was my vehicle.”

Remembering Mom’s words of wisdom, several respondents simply said, “Honesty is the best policy.”

Do these same respondents feel it’s their responsibility to inform vehicle owners when aftermarket or salvage parts are used in a repair? An overwhelming 79.5 percent said yes.


But is simply informing vehicle owners about the parts enough? Statistics show vehicle owners are involved in an accident only once every seven years. Could they possible understand all there is to know about crash parts and other repair issues? The majority of repairers surveyed – 95.8 percent – said they go a step beyond simply informing customers about the parts used: They also educate them about their consumer rights.

How do they do this?

  • “I’m well-versed in the rights of consumers, and I feel it’s my job to see they aren’t shafted.”
  • “If an insurance company tries to steer them to a direct-repair shop, we explain that it’s not up to the insurer where the car is repaired. It’s up to the vehicle owner.”
  • “We give them handouts explaining their rights.”

Unfortunately, not all efforts go smoothly. Says one respondent who hasn’t had much luck in the education department: “Customers still think what their agents tell them is the law.” A


Writer Melissa McGee is managing editor of BodyShop Business.


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