Connecticut’s New Association Buys Pencils and Saves the World

July 23, 2008 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

Thursday, July 17th, CCRS, the new collision repairer association in Connecticut had what appears to be their first meeting. Considering there are only a handful of members, there couldn’t have been much to discuss. Click here to visit their website and move to the bottom of the page to see a list of members in a scrolling text box. Also be sure to read their mission statement, and even more exciting, their “vision statement.” Ohh, I’ll save you the trouble of looking for it. Here it is for you to absorb. Be sure to swallow whatever you have in your mouth before you read this, lest it exits through your nose.

CCRS Vision:

Our Vision of this industry is one:

Where every business within the industry is treated as a knowledgeable, trustworthy professional worthy of respect, with every employee, manager, and owner contributing to insure that their integrity in action and deed is upheld; 

Where every employee has the education and training to provide a quality, timely repair on every vehicle thereby receiving the respect of peers, employers, and customers;

Where every customer receives a quality, timely repair at a fair and reasonable price by the professionals who made the repairs as well as the professionals who administered the claim;

Where every insurer believes they have received a quality repair at a fair settlement for quality work in a reasonable time, and in a respectful manner due any professional relationship;

-where all services that are performed are paid for and all services paid for are performed;

And where ethics and morals, respect and appreciation are the norm not the exception.

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Just What Connecticut Needs: Another Association

July 14, 2008 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

Last week all the Internet news sites for the collision repair industry posted a press release trumpeting the formation of a new auto body association in Connecticut. That’s great news. Especially considering that this new association will be representing the DRP whores of the state. That they need an association can only mean one thing: The Auto Body Association of Connecticut has been very successful in threatening the DRP business model. Most shop owners, even those with some DRP’s will agree that DRP’s are bad for the industry. Most shop owners who participate in one or two DRP’s do it only out of necessity–to survive. But this new association is for the professional DRP whores who thrive on stealing work from you by colluding with insurers to steer customers into their shops. Let’s take a look at who is behind this stupidity.

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More on Parts Piracy

July 8, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

Coincidentally, today I received the Insurance Industry trade magazine ABRN in the mail. On the front page is a story about an new House Bill, HR 5638, that attempts to clarify the current patent laws and exempt aftermarket parts manufacturers from prosecution for stealing other manufacturer’s hard work.

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Part Piracy

July 6, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

For years I have have wondered why auto manufacturers have allowed their designs to be copied and sold, depriving them of deserved income. Come to find out, most have not been patenting their designs. Lately, though, some manufacturers are challenging the unclear rules against making auto parts off limits to the band of pirates who simply copy other’s hard work. More and more they are applying for design patents on their body parts. And, boy, does this approach have the lazy pirates squealing.

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Stand Up to Progressive

February 11, 2008 by · 18 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

There’s a great article in Hammer and Dolly this month by Erica Eversman about Progressive’s newest tactic of charging body shops for rental costs that exceed what Progressive thinks is reasonable. Actually this is nothing new. Progressive has tried this in the past. And Traveler’s tried it several years ago with me. What does appear to be new is the use of attorneys and collection companies to intimidate body shop owners. Erica offers some great advice to protect yourself from this latest scheme to take your money. While I agree with her advice about documenting the calls and finding out exactly who it is trying to collect this money, I have some better advice. My advice has more “teeth,” and, frankly, will be more enjoyable. When someone calls trying to collect rental money it’s very simple. Tell the person on the other end of the phone to “Go F*** yourself.” and hang up.

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Steering Into the Abyss

February 5, 2008 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

Without steering there could be no concession based DRP’s. Without concession based DRP’s there would be no need for steering. While insurers defend their tactics as good marketing it is little more than a conspiracy to deprive you of well needed and deserved income. It’s one thing for an insurer to recommend a repair shop to an insured who hasn’t already chosen one, or to an insured who asks for advice, but once a vehicle is in your shop, any attempt by an insurer to get it moved to another shop should be criminal. Though it is not criminal yet, I’m about to give you a method for retaliating through the court system. And since insurers have no fear of being sued, a different target would be more suitable.

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Calling Progressive’s Bluff

January 31, 2008 by · 27 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

I’ve taken a part time job working at an independent body shop close to my home writing estimates and supplements and harassing insurance companies. I’ve been at it for a few months now and up until recently I haven’t seen or heard from a Progressive appraiser. Finally, several weeks ago, I had a customer who was hit by one of Progressive’s insureds. Because I’m in a different area of the state now, I’m unfamiliar with the local appraisers. More importantly, they are unfamiliar with me. What fun!

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State Farm is Kickin’ Ass!

December 28, 2007 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

Still cocky from their paid-for victory in the aftermarket parts suit, State Farm feels it has the collision repair industry by the short hairs.  They’ve played the good cop for many years, but all that is now changing. We have only ourselves to blame. For years we’ve gratefully accepted higher labor rates and fairer treatment from State Farm when compared to most other insurers. For years we’ve failed to capitalize on State Farm’s perceived generosity by not holding other insurers to the same standards and fair play. State Farm finally wised up and realized that it was giving money away because most of you have been willing to lay on your backs for much less.

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Understanding the Progressive Disease

November 27, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

We are under attack from a virus as deadly to your shop’s health as the aids virus is to your physical health. That is not a dramatic overstatement. It is a depressing fact. Our industry’s immune system is in such bad shape that I don’t see how it can fend off this disease. The irony of it all would be hilarious if it was happening to some other industry, but because we are affected by the collateral damage of Progressive’s viral mutation I can find little to laugh about.

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Traveler’s Joins Other Insurers in the Gutter

November 25, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

You have to give some of these people credit for their creativity, and their tenacity when trying to come up with ways to screw you out of a few dollars. The insurers must have some committee where members brainstorm, trying to find little ways to carve up your repair bill. Never underestimate their desire to cut costs and the depths they will dive into the sewer to attain those cuts. A few dollars here and a few dollars there…insurers don’t really have any boundaries when it comes to relieving you of your hard earned money. Traveler’s, a company that, at least in my area of the country, has avoided some of the sleazy tactics has come up with a new trick. Have you seen this one?

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