Western News

1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

The Inland Empire chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) held a Tech education and appreciation night on January 25th at the Spaghetti Factory in Rancho Cucamonga.

Insurer representatives' reaction to the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Jan 25 meeting to discuss proposed labor rate survey and steering regulations has been critical of pro-shop benefits, saying "these regulations would merely benefit vendors, like auto repair shops."

Proposed additions to the current text of regulations are in bold text and proposed deletions to the current text of regulations are indicated in strike-through text.

Title 10, Chapter 5, Subchapter 9, Article 7

Amend section 2698.91 as follows: Section 2698.91

Auto Body Repair Labor Rate Surveys
(a) Section 758(c) of the Insurance Code provides that any insurer that conducts an auto body repair labor rate survey to determine and set a specified prevailing auto body rate in a specific geographic area shall report the results of that survey to the department which shall make the information available upon request. The survey information shall include the names and addresses of the auto body repair shops and the total number of shops surveyed. Section 790.03(h) of the California Insurance Code enumerates sixteen claims settlement practices that, when either knowingly committed on a single occasion, or performed with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice, are considered to be unfair claims settlement practices and are, thus, prohibited. The practices prohibited include failing to the attempt in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims Section 790.10 of the California Insurance Code provides that the commissioner shall, from time to time as conditions warrant, after notice and public· hearing, promulgate reasonable rules and regulations, and amendments and additions thereto, as are necessary to administer this article 6.5 (Unfair Practices). The Insurance Commissioner has promulgated these regulations in order to accomplish the following objectives:

It all began 20 years ago as a knee-jerk reaction to a bad experience with a parking meter maid, but today it has been lauded as a successful social experiment while evolving into a highly effective viral marketing endeavor. The G & C Meter Beaters are a Santa Rosa, California, based creation of Gene Crozat, the owner of G & C Auto Body, with seven locations in the Northern Bay Area, with an eighth opening in June.

To view a PDF of this article please click HERE.

During the 10 days right before Christmas, the G & C Meter Beaters save drivers from getting parking penalties by feeding their meters before the City of Santa Rosa’s parking enforcement officers are able to nail them with a $33 parking ticket. It’s a program that Crozat began when he was upset over what he felt was an unfair parking ticket he received two decades ago.

“I was rushing back to my car after shopping and the meter maid was sitting there waiting for the meter to expire,” Crozat said. “She saw me coming, but she gave me the ticket anyway. I was really mad, so I went to the bank and got a bunch of quarters. I told my kids—get out there and put money in all these meters before they expire. That’ll show ‘em.”

But brilliant ideas don’t always gain traction overnight and the Meter Beaters were a prime example. To say that the powers-that-be in Santa Rosa weren’t enamored with Crozat’s idea was a major understatement. “They threatened my kids and told them ‘your daddy is going to jail’, ” Crozat explained. “They didn’t like the fact that we were stopping people from getting parking tickets and said we were interfering with their operation. The media flocked to the story and pretty soon the city backed off.”

Would you step up and be a hero if you were in an emergency situation with little time to think? Many of us have asked ourselves this same question, but few ever get the opportunity to find out.

The CA/NV/AZ Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) announced their response to a letter of opposition to “imitation” or aftermarket crash parts legislation written by the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, CA New Car Dealers Association, California Autobody Association and Consumer Attorneys of CA to CA senators and assembly members on December 5.

The letter sent by these organizations to their senators and assembly members states; “The above-identified organizations and signatories write to inform you of their collective opposition to legislation that promotes non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) crash parts as the functional equivalent of OEM parts. [Nonoriginal Equipment Manufacturer (Non-OEM) crash parts are parts made by a party other than the original car manufacturer without the dimensions, design specifications, tolerances or other information known to the original equipment manufacturer.]

“Existing law requires insurers that compel consumers to accept non-OEM parts when vehicles are repaired to inform consumers that “imitation” parts will be used and to warrant the “imitation” parts are “oflike kind, quality, safety, fit and performance” as OEM parts. For years, the insurance industry and off-shore, aftermarket parts industry have tried to weaken the law so they may compel unsuspecting consumers to accept inferior non-EOM parts.
“We support existing law and oppose efforts to weaken it for the following reasons:
● Existing law promotes disclosure and fair repair practices.
● Too many non-OEM parts are clearly inferior to OEM parts. For example, see the Bureau of Automotive Repair study on this issue. Also, Consumer Reports has debunked the argument that aftermarket “tin” parts are comparable to OEM parts.
● Use of non-OEM parts may impair warranties and reduce the value of used vehicles.
● Vehicles are increasingly complex, designed to dissipate crash energy by collapsing as engineered, and rely on multiple sensors to immediately deploy airbags upon contact. The use of “imitation” parts may impair these highly-integrated functions and endanger passengers.
“If approached to author legislation to unfairly promote the use of “imitation” crash parts, please contact us. We request the opportunity to discuss this important consumer protection issue with you before introduction.”