Stand Up to Progressive

February 11, 2008 by
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.

Yes, it may be crude and impolitic, but I believe it will have more of an effect than trying to be professional and diplomatic. Despite what many people think, this type of language or response can be very effective. The people Progressive has hired are professional bullies. I think we all know (except for the bleeding heart liberals) that there is only one way to deal with bullies. You attack until they run.

I’m kind of bummed out. I never see Progressive any more. I’ve seen them just once since I’ve been working part time at the shop near my home. I would be more than tempted to purposely delay a repair just so Progressive would call and harass me. That would be fun.

So here’s what you do when Progressive’s pit bulls start nipping at your heals. Train your receptionists and anyone else who will be in a position to take a call from Progressive’s collectors. I know some of you are timid. Some of you are good Christians and would never use the foul language that I am suggesting you use. If you or your employees are reluctant to use such language to talk to the scum of the insurance industry, start watching a lot of “R” rated movies and listening to Rap music. You will become desensitized to bad language. Keep telling yourselves that sometimes you have to get dirty when cleaning the sewer. The Good Lord will forgive your bad language because it will be for a good cause.

After telling Progressive’s bullies to go “F*** Yourself,” hang up and then dial *67 to return the call. Many collection agencies block their caller ID so this may not work. But if, as Erica Eversman has suggested, the call comes from Progressive’s attorneys, they will probably answer the phone. If they do, ask to speak to the person who is handling Progressive’s rental bill collections. When they pick up the phone, introduce yourself. Tell them your name and the name of your shop. Then tell them that you just wanted to make certain they heard you before you hung up the phone, and in case they didn’t “Go F*** Yourself.”

I hope there are enough of you out there with the balls to do this. I probably won’t get the chance, so I’ll have to live vicariously through you. I also encourage you to cause Progressive to harass you. Perhaps some unforeseen delays on vehicles being paid for by Progressive will prompt them to go after you. More importantly I hope there is no one out there stupid enough to actually pay for rental costs. Anyone who wimps out and sends Progressive a check deserves to pass a golf ball sized kidney stone made of broken glass. Anyone who pays for this BS should have the word “Infidel” tattooed to his/her forehead, have a parachute strapped to his/her back and pushed out an airplane over Iran.

If you’re afraid of the consequences of telling Progressive’s hounds to “Go F*** Yourself” don’t worry about it. Unless you have done something really stupid and signed a DRP contract with Progressive, they haven’t got a chance in Hell of getting a court to force you to pay. Even if they did take you to court, it would probably be small claims court. You won’t need an attorney. There are many of us who would love to help you defeat Progressive in court. If Progressive was desperate enough to take you to superior court, they’d probably get tossed out on their asses by a very annoyed judge.

For an insurance company formed by Liberal Whack Jobs to further their “progressive” ideals, they sure are acting like a bunch of mean, hateful Republicans. In fact, they are giving us mean, hateful Republicans a bad name. More proof of the hypocrisy of the “progressive” movement and its members.

If you’re a left wing nut job, and I’ve just offended you, Go……..Well you know what to do.

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Comments

18 Comments on Stand Up to Progressive

  1. gary doze on Tue, 12th Feb 2008 7:20 am
  2. Better yet just don’t let progressive on your property. let your stupid competetor have them then they will go out of business.

  3. Tom Justice on Tue, 12th Feb 2008 7:48 am
  4. John, are you saying that a insurance company is trying to “service” their claimants and “partners”? What insurance company would stoop so low? Oh yeah, I remember now. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Wade Ebert on Tue, 12th Feb 2008 8:21 am
  6. LOL. Here’s a surprise: I guessed the three words. Great stuff John.

  7. Bob Isham on Tue, 12th Feb 2008 8:45 am
  8. Sadly our industry is weak and divided. Too few are strong enough to stand up to this company. Most of us see very few Progressive sheets but of course I always tell customers to shift gears and use their own insurance which is almost always “better”.

    I always tell shop owners to start looking hard at the cars fixed at the Prog. Concerierge shops. Shops will be in their glory when they examine the garbage being produced by these whore DRPs and they will surely find a lot of fraud, poor work and either gain a redo or get the vehicle declared a “total”. It is always nice to tell the Progressive appraiser “yeah, I know how your whores fix things and that’s why I need OEM parts and more labor to fix this wreck”.

    In the meantime I will tell them to “go F—- themselves” if the situation arises. Most of their employees are young Enterprise clones who know as much about the claims process as I know about Muslim women.

  9. Rene on Tue, 12th Feb 2008 8:55 am
  10. Left wing nut job- laughing her ass off! I hope you are not offended that I consider myself your #1 fan!

  11. John Shortell on Thu, 14th Feb 2008 9:00 pm
  12. Not offended Rene. I’m glad you can laugh. More of us need to laugh.

  13. Mastertech on Wed, 13th Feb 2008 3:12 pm
  14. I had some dumb ass try this years ago on me. They had to send a supervisor out to get the bill paid so I would release the Claimants vehicle a week later with $700.00 worth of storage attached. You should have seen the final estimate. Five lines of concessions in the hundreds of dollars to get my bottom line. Including my Paint ex bill. I just told them that I do not provide transportation for ANY customer and if they rented them a car, so what? I don’t rent cars and never will. I am not paying shit and see ya in court!

    If they try it again I will tell them F@#^ off just for you John. I am not bashfull and I have run off a bunch of adjusters with my Restricted Access Program. They just are not allowed on my property period.

  15. Greybeard on Wed, 13th Feb 2008 5:46 pm
  16. Hell, Ive been doing this for a few years now, my postion is, I didnt wreck the car, I didnt sell anyone insurance or rental coverage, and Im not paying dime one for rental, I used to be professional and explain my stance, Im too old now and just start off with the F bomb, works well too.

  17. J.F. on Thu, 14th Feb 2008 9:07 am
  18. HEY GUYS ITS NOT JUST PROGRESSIVE THATS THE TROUBLE HERE.
    THEY ALL DO IT AND MOSTLY THE BIG ONES , IM GOING TO START A BLOG IN MY TOLEDO AREA SO INFORMATION CAN BE SHARED ABOUT WHAT THESE PRICKS ARE UP TO AND START TURNING THE TABLES FOR THE GUYS THAT HAVE THE BALLS TO DO WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING. IM TIRED OF FIGHTING ABOUT LABOR RATES,MATERIALS, MARK UPS, NEW VS LKQ AND AFTERMARKET , TOWING AND STORAGE AND HOW CARS SHOULD BE REPAIRED ALL BY MYSELF. I ALWAYS GET THE COMMENT THAT IM THE ONLY ONE. ONLY BECAUSE THE INDUSTRY IS SO DIVIDED!!
    THEY ARE VERY GOOD AT DEFLECTING ISSUES TOO YOU ASK FOR MORE ON THE RATE THEY GIVE YOU A SHITTY ESTIMATE THAT YOU HAVE TO FIGHT TO GET WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE TO BEGIN WITH SOME TIMES IVE HAD 5 SUPPLEMENTS ON ONE DAMN CAR BECAUSE OF RETALLIATION TO GET WHAT IS NEEDED.

    I HAD ONE ADJUSTOR ON A FORD PICK UP THAT THE FRAME WAS DIAMOND. HE TOLD ME IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE SWAY FROM THE SAME SITUATION AND MUST HAVE BEEN PRIOR DAMAGE. I WANTED TO TAKE HIM BACK TO SCHOOL, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN …….

  19. crashpro on Sat, 23rd Feb 2008 6:52 pm
  20. I totally agree, but it’s just not Progressive. I’m not sticking up for these idiots but I have less problem with Progressive than with Nationwide, AIG, Geico, AAA, E-surance, or Safeco. We all need to quit trying to be the nice guy and just tell these untrained halfwits just what it’s going to cost. If they can’t handle it, then they can just go F*** themselves.

  21. billnbigd on Thu, 14th Feb 2008 12:02 pm
  22. Well I just read in one of the insurance industry online news letters that Prog just blew up Brian Passell. Who might that be you ask? He would be the president of claims for the last 9 years at Progressive. The article stated that “he was separated from the company”. That doesn’t sound good…as in they put a box on his desk and after he got his stuff they escorted him out of the building. The comments left by folks in the insurance industry would indicate this was not an amicable split, but Prog isn’t offering more info at this time. I really hope the guy wasn’t ill or anything like that but there will be a new sherrif in town. John, I know you would like to believe you may have had something to do with this….and who knows, maybe you did. (I have no idea why or how I get these insurance e-newsletters but thank God I do because they do give you an insight into the world of the dark side.) Check it out at http://www.claimsjournal.com. On this same vein, check out the J.D.Power survey regarding the Prog concierge program’s CSI numbers…it was not a pretty picture for our Kool Aid (blue of course) drinking buddies. For example 63% of concierge victims hold Prog responsible for the quality of repair vs. 18% for the folks they did not “capture”. The net result for Prog is all the money they have spent on these centers has given them a 2 point increase in overall CSI over the industry average. That is not enough for their policyholders to remain loyal. Check this out for yourself..J.D. Power “THE IMPACT OF “CUSTOMER CHOICE” ON CLAIMS EXPERIENCE”. December 2007. Fun reading and John, I’ll bet you will find at least another columns worth of stuff in there.

  23. Keith on Thu, 14th Feb 2008 7:00 pm
  24. What’s good for the goose… you know the rest! I tell them “oh, really, my company doesn’t pay that”, and “0.00 is my company’s prevailing rate for rental overages, you’ll just have to charge the customer”. It really seems to get their panties in a bunch.

  25. Searcher on Mon, 25th Feb 2008 12:40 pm
  26. I am curious, if you are so adamant about not having your actual cost exposed, then are you saying you want to overcharge the customer?

    I don’t get the anger with the insurance companies, why not just refuse the job?
    If the Insurance companies are not willing to pay your prices, then tell the customer to go elswhere. I myself did that with my own repairs, and the shop that did the work did a great job, even though the In guy said they were a suspect shop.

    I just don’t get the anger. I was not aware that you could be forced to take any work. Can someone explain?

  27. Keith on Mon, 25th Feb 2008 4:38 pm
  28. The customer, NOT THE INSURANCE COMPANY is our customer. No insurer has the right to say where, when, how, or for how much a repair can be completed. This happened with the medical industry and look at how the medical industry went to shit. Insurance companies create unfair competetive advantages by utilizing steering tactics like DRP, Concierge Claims, Preferred Vendors, etc. If you had a business that was loosing it’s customers because some insurer came up with a mouth of lies or slander, would you just sit back and take it… NO! If you know what it takes to fix a car properly, would you let a pencil pusher tell you otherwise…NO! If you know the true costs to repair with a modest gross profit to cover insurances, utilities, payroll, etc. would you let the insurer tell you that you charge too much… NO!

    In the late ’80s body shop rates, mechanical rates, plumber rates, etc. was all about the same. Today shop rates are 2-3 times lower than mechanical, plumbers, electricians, etc. because insurance companies don’t insurance against those types of losses, but they do insure against body damages. Let us do what we do best, fix cars properly and at the proper costs, and let them do what they do best, insure against losses.

  29. Lydia on Wed, 19th Mar 2008 3:34 pm
  30. I guess I’m slow! What money does Progressive try to rip off? I’ve never had that happen to me. However, I have no problems telling someone where to get off…but please explain????

  31. Bob Isham on Thu, 20th Mar 2008 1:53 pm
  32. Lyndia–I thought John’s columm was pretty descriptive of the problem. If you are not having any problems with Progressive I submit the concept that you are not requesting “fair” payment for the work performed

  33. Wayne on Fri, 28th Mar 2008 12:05 pm
  34. John, I always enjoy reading your articles. But to get to the point, I do not allow myself to get upset with the cartell warloards. I simply hang up. I love it when they call back angry and say you can’t hang up on me. So I do it again. Anyway keep writing.

  35. Kim on Wed, 22nd Oct 2008 5:57 pm
  36. I have a totally different perspective on this matter, as the wife of a paint technician. My husband’s ex-boss went crazy when he got a Progressive account at his shop. Everything became about pleasing Progressive and kissing their butts. Suddenly, the 9.5 hour days my husband worked weren’t enough. He wanted him to start coming into work at 5am and staying until 6 or 7pm, plus working Saturdays so that he, the boss, could reap more profits. It didn’t matter to him that my husband had sons who play sports and whose teams he coaches or a wife who’d like him to have some energy. The boss became greedy and insane with trying to please Progressive and make money. My husband was producing, on average, 100-120 hours per week painting, and after nearly 20 years in business the shop had a record year, but still that wasn’t enough for the slave driver! When my husband refused to work longer hours, the boss accused him of not being a team player. My husband told him to go *#% off, and that was the end of his job there–and the end of the record profits. The boss called him up a couple of months later asking him to come back and even offered him a raise, but my husband said no way (which kind of stunk because he made great money there, but I know he needs to be happy where he’s working).

    Now, the new place he’s at, where he’s a body tech and isn’t able to produce as many hours (painting is his specialty) had a meeting and told the guys that they know they can’t make them do this, but it would be to their benefit if they started coming in at 5am!! What is wrong with this industry, anyway? These men are human beings with families and lives, not machines or laborers on a chain gang. It’s like these places are sweat shops. It wasn’t this way when my husband started out 18 years ago. I’m encouraging him to find a new line of work, even if it means a drastic pay cut for a while. He deserves better.

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