ABAC President Tony Ferraiolo met Tracy during SEMA and described him as someone who “pulls no punches; he's uncensored and tells it like it is! When you're right, you can fight until the end. Times are changing due to the complexity of today's vehicles. You will have to change the way you do things in your business."
Addressing more than 80 attendees, Ferraiolo asked, "How many of you have had the insurance companies bully your shop into doing repairs that you knew were not OEM-certified? How many of you were bullied into using aftermarket parts instead of OEM parts? How many of you have not gotten paid to repair a vehicle to the OEM specifications, but always took what the insurance companies were willing to pay?"
Tracy opened his presentation by stressing the importance of collision repair professionals talking about improving safety.
"I think it starts with all of you men and women that work in this industry,” he said. “You're on the front line of safety. Each and every day, people come to you bringing their second-most valuable possession they'll ever own, which is their car, only behind their home. And they bring that possession to you to restore it back, so it will safely get them to and from work, get their wife and children to and from work and school, and take care of their family in the event that another unforeseeable accident occurs. That is an incredible responsibility that people place upon us, and you deserve to get paid for these responsibilities. And we are going to fight for you to do that. It's time for somebody to get into the arena for all of you, and this little guy from Texas is willing to do it."
Throughout his presentation, Tracy emphasized the need for shops to band together in this fight and to involve the consumer. He discussed the value of litigation, why it's relevant to identify aftermarket parts as imitation parts and how to keep sharks out of your shop. He also covered how he won his $42 million lawsuit against John Eagle, how shops can avoid getting sued and how the industry must fight insurance companies that refuse to follow OEM repair specifications.
Tracy also shared results from the three crash tests he performed in December, noting, "These tests will hopefully prove that OEM parts and repair specifications must be utilized to ensure the safety of our customers."
The tests evaluated the safety of a vehicle with a glued-on roof, a vehicle repaired with aftermarket parts and an OEM vehicle with no repairs using an IIHS moderate offset impact.
Tracy concluded, "We will give every test that we conduct to the auto body shop associations around the country. We've run three tests so far. We're going to run three more in February/March so that we continually build up a database of information. This way, you guys and gals will finally get some ammunition. I'm going to devote 18 months to this AND $5 million of doing the crash testing because it does cost a lot of money to do this. But that's because I see a pay day down the line for myself. I also see a pay day for you, the collision repair shops. But most importantly, I see the opportunity to put the insurance companies in their place."
Ferraiolo said, "The Auto Body Association of Connecticut would like to thank Attorney Todd Tracy for making time available to meet with our members and guests and for presenting us with this valuable information."