Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
Alpine Glass of Minneapolis, MN, has been awarded an arbitration award against AAA Insurance Co. for $149,500.57. The award represents 100 percent of the amount sought through arbitration for short pays from the insurer. Mike Reid, president of Alpine Glass, says the company won this arbitration because the insurer was unable to prove Alpine had unfair billing practices.
“It’s sad to see glass companies failing as a result of being desperate and accepting reimbursements that are ridiculously below what is fair and reasonable,” says Reid. “Glass companies are losing out by not fighting for a fair price. We have shown time and time again that our prices are fair and reasonable.”
According to court documents, “Alpine asserts, as assignee of its customers, that it is entitled to the full amount billed for glass repair and replacement work governed by the terms of the AAA insurance policy. The claims are from July 6, 2006, through May 9, 2012.”
“AAA did not conduct a survey of the ‘area where the car is to be repaired,’” writes arbitrator David T. Magnuson in the arbitration award. “The short-pays of Alpine’s invoices was systematic and consistent, but not based upon written estimates, competitive bids or an agreement. AAA did not comply [with] the terms of the policy in processing Alpine’s claims.”
“Alpine will continue to fight against insurers who short pay our invoices and, if necessary, we will continue to file for arbitration in order to be paid what is right,” he adds.
In July 2012, Alpine won a six-figure award against Liberty Mutual for short pays. Additional wins include six other awards from Illinois Farmers, Allstate, American Family, USAA, Integrity and Guide One.
According to the arbitration award, “The dispute arose as a result of claimant Alpine Glass’s insurance policy with respondent wherein claimant pays for glass repair and replacement work, get as assignment for each individual claim, and then submits the claims to respondent AAA Insurance Co. A third-party administrator, in turn, pays pursuant to the insurance policy what they deem to be the amount charged by a majority of the repair market for glass repair and replacement claims.”
The recent award is Alpine’s eighth within the last two years; the total of the awards is now approaching $3 million. Alpine Glass has been victorious in all of its arbitration cases. A representative for AAA had not responded to request for comment at press time.
Key industry vendors featuring hands-on demonstrations showcasing the latest technology, tools, parts and more are on the schedule for the 5th Annual Automotive Service Association of Illinois (ASA-Illinois) Chicago Automotive Networking (C.A.N.) Conference which was held Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 22, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, IL.
The 2013 exhibitor line-up included AES Wave, ATI, Automotive Seminars, Auto Vitals, Inc., BOSCH, Combined Worksite Solutions, DELPHI, DemandForce, Fox Valley Fire & Safety, Heil Insurance, Herb Kuhn Equipment Sales, IEPA, Jasper Engines, KUKUI, LKQ, Mitchell 1, NAPA Auto Parts, Quality Oil, Snap-on and WorldPac.
“We are very excited about the vendors we had joining us this year at the C.A.N. Conference,” said Dave Walter, President of ASA-Illinois. “People from all over the United States attended C.A.N., and we think this conference was be the best we’ve ever had with the vendors, instructors and classes we featured this year.”
A new element added to the 2013 C.A.N. Conference was live interviews and streaming video of vendors, instructors and attendees from the tradeshow floor. This provided conference participants with a unique opportunity to perform equipment demonstrations, share education highlights and conference experiences live from the show. The C.A.N. Conference is open to shop owners, service writers, advanced and intermediate technicians.
For additional information regarding the conference, please visit the conference website at www.asacanconference.com. Or, contact Sharon Ozimek and Deb Bullwinkel, co-executive directors of ASA-Illinois, via email at email@example.com or by phone at (877) 272-4445, (773) 919-3875 or (630) 430-3832.
Its own Cleveland-based division headquarters was the site of the last Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus™ University EcoLean™ Suite of Training Course Offerings. Featuring the ‘Achieving Service Excellence’ course, training was held August 21, 2013, in Warrensville Heights, OH.
The ‘Achieving Service Excellence’ program is designed for shop owners, production managers, customer service representatives, and estimators to provide them with the skills, knowledge, and tools necessary to improve their collision center’s quality, production, and output… by focusing on the right types of customer service.
“Lean collision repair shops— and those that utilize the right methods of customer service—are able to reduce internal costs and raise their level of CSI and output quality. This two-fold result often helps them gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets,” says Steve Feltovich, Manager of Business Consulting Services for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes.
The ‘Achieving Service Excellence’ course discussed the following topics:
● How to become more profitable with a customer-focused strategy
● How to establish a proven method for providing each customer with value
● How to build a strong brand based on customer service excellence
● How to improve efficiency and effectiveness of your customer service staff
● Identifying service excellence professionals in and out of your organization
● Explain driving factors behind the experiential service economy
To register online for an upcoming Cleveland A-Plus University EcoLean ‘Achieving Service Excellence’ course, go to http://www.sherwin-automotive.com/customer-programs-services/a-plus-network/calendar-of-events/.
For more information on the A-Plus Network, call 800-798-5872 or go to http://www.sherwin-automotive.com/en/Markets/Collision-Repair/A-Plus-Network.aspx.
Several car dealerships have filed an antitrust class action against four Japanese automobile parts suppliers for allegedly rigging bids for lighting equipment sold to major car companies.
Mitsuba Corp., Koito Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Ichikoh Industries Ltd. and Stanley Electric Co. are being sued in the class action of Martens Cars of Washington Inc. et al. v. Koito Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., which the plaintiff car dealers filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
In one of the world’s largest antitrust price-fixing actions, a group of auto parts manufacturers continues to face claims of bid rigging and price fixing in a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) following a Michigan federal judge’s refusal to dismiss federal antitrust claims.
Direct and indirect purchasers in the putative class action of In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation accuse the manufacturers of conspiring to fix the prices of wire harness systems in automobiles. The allegations track a U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) investigation into the auto industry, which has already resulted in guilty pleas involving the manipulation of wire harness pricing during secret meetings.
Wisconsin is notorious among automobile, motorcycle, truck, and recreational vehicle manufacturers as having the worst lemon law in the country. The law places unreasonable and unworkable requirements on OEMs that allows lawyers like self-proclaimed “Lemon Law King,” Vince Megna, to win exorbitant awards that have no apparent relationship to the underlying goals of the law. For example, in Marquez v. Mercedes-Benz, a vehicle that cost $56,000 resulted in a $618,000 award, with over $300,000 in attorney fees.
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to provide for mandatory double damages under its unique lemon law. Under Wisconsin law, if the manufacturer fails to provide a comparable vehicle or refund for a “lemon” within 30 days of the vehicle owner’s request, the the courts are required to award him or her double any pecuniary loss, together with costs, disbursements and reasonable attorney fees. The courts have interpreted “pecuniary” loss to include the vehicle’s purchase price.
Assembly Bill 200, currently in front of the legislature, would repeal the nondiscretionary double-damage requirement, but the fundamental obligation that a manufacturer provide a comparable vehicle or refund remains unchanged. The law will still allow a consumer to bring an action to recover any pecuniary loss (including the cost of the vehicle), along with costs, disbursements and reasonable attorney fees, and any equitable relief the court determines appropriate, if the manufacturer fails to provide the vehicle or refund within the specified deadline. Thus, manufacturers still have every incentive to provide a timely refund or vehicle, but lawyers will have less incentive to delay resolution of the dispute.
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC has paid out another $260,000 in a long-running lemon law case. Attorney Vince Megna (known locally and self-identified as the ‘Lemon Law King’) sued the company in 2005 on behalf of a Waukesha businessman who purchased what was deemed a defective E-series sedan. The state Supreme Court last year upheld a $482,000 judgment against the company. Megna argued the company owed interest that had accrued during the case’s court journey and Mercedes-Benz paid $618,000.
A Waukesha County judge has now ordered the company to pay attorney fees and costs totaling $259,536. MB-USA cut a check dated the same day.
According to court documents, Marquez purchased a $56,000 E320 from a Milwaukee dealership in April 2005. Almost immediately, the car wouldn’t start and a number of repair attempts failed. In October 2005, Marquez had Megna send Mercedes-Benz a lemon law notice, demanding a refund. Under the law, the company had 30 days to comply. Marquez and the company spent most of those 30 days discussing a replacement vehicle in lieu of a refund. Ultimately, Marquez said he wanted a refund five days before the compliance window closed.
Insurers and auto body shops were deluged Monday, July 21, with phone calls as hundreds of Rapid City residents reported damage that occurred in Saturday's fierce hail storm.
"Before 10 o'clock, we had more than 500 total claims," State Farm Agent Matt McCormick said while catching his breath Monday. "We're likely to set up a temporary claims facility to direct people to for minor damage."
read full story HERE
People in several Summit County, OH, communities were victims of massive flooding, including some body shop employees, as of July 12.
Using a boat was the only way Chris Gnap could get to the body shop where he works in Norton, OH.
“I had to drive through two feet of water to even get close to here, so I went and got my boat and brought it down,” Gnap said.
Gnap and the owner of Norman and Sons Body Shop, 3053 Barber Rd, in Norton, say at least two and a half feet of water was inside when the flooding occurred on July 10.
“There’s probably an inch of mud inside, worms everywhere,” Gnap said.
Part of Barber Road near the shop at Interstate 76 was closed because water still covers the road.
But that did not stop some drivers from chancing it, plowing through the high water to get to the other side.
In neighboring Barberton, many residential streets are still impassable and some homes are still filled with water, even where the flood itself has receded, as of July 12.
Michigan Washtenaw County Judge Archie Brown has set the trial dates for a married couple accused of embezzling about $250,000 from A2 Auto Glass, according to a courthouse official.
The jury trial date for Oral and Janice Molden is scheduled for November 4, with the pre-trial hearing scheduled October 9.
Charges against the couple were first brought in 2011, with new counts filed in December 2012, according to local reports.
The couple is accused of embezzling the money from the auto glass company over a three-year period. Janice Molden, 45, was a bookkeeper for the company and Oral Molden, 47, did computer work there.
Oral Molden is charged with false pretenses of more than $20,000, false pretenses of between $999 and $20,000, making or permitting a false tax return and malicious use of a telecommunications service.
Janice Molden faces charges of embezzling $100,000 or more, embezzling $25,000 or more, as well as embezzling more than $999 but less than $20,000. She is also charged with three counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
A2 Auto Glass has locations in Ann Arbor and Jackson, MI, as well as a mobile service. A customer service representative who answered the phone at the glass company declined to comment on the situation.