In fact, AASP/MA’s call to action uncovered additional problems Massachusetts shops have encountered.
Papageorg recalled, “Many of the shops I spoke to have been ‘blackballed’ by vendors because of their return rates. In some cases, the vendors are refusing to even take calls from specific shops. When the shops explain the predicament to the insurer, they are basically told that there is nothing the carrier can do. The insurer professes to having to write the lowest-priced parts and that the shop is on their own. The irony is that the decision to return these parts is a joint decision by the shop and the insurer that specified them in the first place. Yet, only the shop and the vehicle owner are being victimized. This occurs even when the insurer is told in advance of the situation, which only adds insult to injury.”
AASP/MA intends to utilize the information gathered from members to strengthen its position with the ADALB.
According to Papageorg, “We plan to have a strong voice in the forthcoming Advisory Ruling language. We are gathering hard evidence and examples of how this scenario is played out across the state on a daily basis. This evidence will show that, in many instances, independent shops are treated differently than ‘program’ shops in the parts specification process. We have it on good authority that ‘program’ shops have permission to order their aftermarket parts from vendors other than those listed on an insurance estimate. Also, if these ‘program’ shops are writing the original, they may write from---and order from---vendors that independent shops are not permitted to opt-out and purchase from.”
AASP/MA President Molly Brodeur was delighted by the volume of responses, as it indicates the association is fulfilling its goal of strengthening the collision repair industry in its state.
She shared, “It’s been incredible to start a new year with such a high level of involvement from our membership. As we’ve learned as a result of our industry outreach, this issue hits home for a lot of shops in the state. We’re encouraged that so many people have reached out to us, and we’re excited to be able to use their experiences to promote genuine and much-needed change to how shops, insurers and vendors work together during the repair process.”
For more information on AASP/MA, visit aaspma.org.