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Northeastern News

1HomePageMap small ne 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine

Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:11

Carsmetics Opens Third Location in New England

Carsmetics’ new 9,600-square-foot collision repair facility in Attleboro, MA, is the company’s third location in New England. Carsmetics Expert Accident Repair is a chain of collision repair shops based in Tampa, FL.

The shop will focus on fast-track repairs—drivable damage on vehicle panels, bumpers, fenders, hoods and wheels that can be repaired within a two-day cycle time.

"If you can drive it, we can fix it,” said Ed Cleary, general manager of Carsmetics. “We focus on repairing rather than replacing parts when possible to keep the original part intact and return it to like-new condition. This is done at a fraction of replacement costs, saving time and money."

Carsmetics now operates more than 25 shop locations throughout Florida, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

SEMA-supported legislation to provide a 10-year emissions inspection exemption for vehicles never before registered in Pennsylvania or any other jurisdiction was approved by the Senate. The bill now moves to the House Transportation Committee. Current law only exempts new vehicles that have less than 5,000 miles on their odometer for one year after their first registration.

In late October, over 100 friends and family members paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of a fire in Maspeth, NY, that took the lives of six firefighters.

The plaque and dedication ceremony took place at the location of the 50-year-old fire, now home to VIP Auto Body.

“We thought we had it under control,” said John Killcommons, a now-retired FDNY member who was there the night of fire. Killcommons, 78, said he was lucky to make it out that night, stressing that as crews continued to take water to the fire, it just grew brighter and stronger. “That's when the wall came down.”

An auto body and repair service owner in Bedford, NY, faces several criminal charges connected to the alleged fraudulent repair of state police vehicles. Police say Brian Prato, 55, of Bedford, was part of an insurance fraud in which state police cars were repaired with used parts but charged for new ones.

Prato was arrested on Oct. 4. The owner of B&B Auto Body was charged with five felonies and two misdemeanors. He faces grand larceny and insurance fraud charges brought by state and county investigators who allege they uncovered a scheme to defraud the state and the insurance company that covered state police vehicles. Police said an investigation showed Prato charged for new parts but installed used parts, including some from old cruisers no longer used.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 18:43

Long Branch Shop Sustains Damage from Crash

An auto body shop in Long Branch, NJ, sustained structural damage from a motor vehicle crash Sept. 23.

The collision occurred at 9:21 a.m., said Long Branch police Sgt. Jorge Silverio. The unidentified driver was not seriously injured and no criminal charges will be filed, Silverio said.
As police investigated the crash, Neptune OEM and Asbury Park’s Special operations crew assessed the structural damaged and worked to temporarily reinforce a damaged support beam inside Auto Body Solutions.

Auto Body Solutions’ employee Brian Leal, 25, said no one was inside the building at the time of the collision.

“After the crash the driver was outside of the car walking around,” Leal said. “He seemed shaken up, but it looked like he was fine.”

Leal said the car crashed into a garage bay door and caused damage to not only a support beam but the two vehicles parked inside the building.

“We just finished painting the one on the lift,” Leal said. “We won’t be able to open until the damage is repaired.”

North State Autobahn Inc., a Westchester-NY-based body shop owned by Greg Coccaro, has been allowed to move forward with its lawsuit that accuses Progressive Insurance Group Company and its affiliates of deceptive acts and practices.

The ruling by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York denied Progressive Insurance’s motion for a summary judgment, allowing the lawsuit filed by the North State Autobahn Inc. to move forward.

This is an important victory for North State against Progressive Northeast Insurance Company, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, Progressive Direct Insurance Company, Progressive Specialty Insurance Company, and Nicholas Stanton. The result likely creates a case law basis for deceptive acts and practices claims against auto insurance companies that divert policyholders away from repair shops outside their DRP networks.

In a fifteen page decision, the court went into great lengths explaining the history of “Business Law Section 349, Deceptive Business Practices” and the intent of it, writing: “This case presents us with the question of whether a business entity [North State] has stated a valid cause of action for violation of General Business Law §349(h) where it alleges that another business entity [Progressive] deceived and misled prospective customers, causing it to sustain direct economic loss in the form of more than $5 million in lost business sales. We conclude that it does.”