...research the origin of this inconsistency prior to the meeting to determine whether it was a conscious legislative or regulatory decision or just an oversight at the time the regulations were drafted, but shops should be aware of it either way.
He summed it up by explaining that although third-party claimants in New Jersey are still protected by the New Jersey Administrative Code to the same extent as first-party insureds, that does not adequately address the quality and liability issues the use of such parts raise for consumers and shops in a third-party claim.
Given that, McGuire said the issue should probably be addressed at the legislative or regulatory level in addition to individual complaints to the DOI. In the meantime, it is McGuire’s opinion it would be more effective for the repairer to educate the consumer about the issue, explain the shop does not wish to be liable and leave the decision up to that customer.
Another key to effectively filing a complaint lies in properly communicating your message.
“No cookie-cutter form will get anywhere. It has to be specific with evidence attached so [the DOI] can see how it fits into legal standard […] You have to find the right catchphrases that have legal meaning and trigger an obligation to look into it.”
For example, if a shop is being challenged by an insurer for charging to perform pre- and post-repair scans and calibrations as per OEM requirements/recommendations, the facility should report that scanning to find diagnostic codes is necessary in order to “return the vehicle to the condition immediately prior to loss.”
Above all, McGuire stressed there is no “silver bullet” and the world won’t change overnight. For 30-plus years, things have headed in the wrong direction because of a lack of basic knowledge. Repairers need to...