The Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) is strongly urging West Virginia legislators to vote “no” on West Virginia Senate Bill (SB) 544, introduced by state Sen. Mark Maynard, R-6, which would eliminate the requirement for consumer-written consent when using aftermarket parts in a vehicle that is still under the manufacturer’s warranty. WMABA believes the bill would reduce consumer protections related to collision repair parts.
After years of efforts to push forward similar protections in both Maryland and Virginia, WMABA says it has utilized the neighboring state of West Virginia as an upstanding example of how a state can protect consumers when it comes to the collision repair parts used during the collision repair process.
“Having the majority, if not all, of the warranty period covered, those consumers with newer vehicles do not have to argue with insurers about what is best for their car and can get the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts without any out-of-pocket expense,” WMABA said. “This is something not afforded their neighbors, who applaud this type of protection and disclosure.”
Finding outright fault in the argument that this proposed legislation reduces the deductible charge in any way, WMABA also urges legislators to check the facts and the other consequences of this bill. The deductible is set by the policy, WMABA says, and would not be changed.
“Customers will not always know what kind of parts they are getting, unless they ask,” said WMABA. “The ‘fine print’ parts disclosure required at the end of each repair estimate or repair order that explains the use of aftermarket parts is also a necessary consumer protection, so that they know what parts are being used in their repair. There is nothing else that would mandate a repairer or insurer to educate the customer on the parts types written into the charges. Knowing what kinds of parts are used is a right-to-know that should not be altered.”
WMABA also suggested that Senator Maynard has a “personal interest” in the bill as he supposedly owns a business, Maynard’s Auto World, that deals in aftermarket parts for vehicles.
“Without doubt, WMABA knows that insurers, aftermarket parts companies and others will take benefits to this bill through the course of their business,” WMABA said. “Insurers believe that this will save on claims amounts, but also push or shift the cost onto the policyholder or claimant by making them pay out of pocket to get what the law already provides. Aftermarket parts suppliers benefit through the additional usage of their parts, which are not covered by the vehicle’s existing warranty, something that consumers often find subpar to their ‘pre-accident condition’ where the warranty is fully intact. They are not made whole to the point of value or condition they were when the accident occurred.