Hammer & Dolly – December 2013
One Shop Says “NO” to the State Farm Agreement
November 11, 2013 was a big day for the Taylor family in Taylor’s Auto Body Shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was the day they made the decision to say “No” to signing the new State Farm® Select Service® agreement for their business based on the impending implementation of the PartsTrader system and potentially other vendor requirements.
The Founders of Taylor’s Auto Body Shop, Doug and May Taylor, were present at the Collision Industry Conference meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada during the time of their negotiations with the insurer and had heard all of discussions that took place there in relation to insurer mandates. They did have legal counsel perform a review of the agreement and the recommendation was to not participate under the existing guidelines..
May found the situation they were in particularly upsetting, saying, “We felt bullied. It did not make any difference that we have such a good relationship with the agents and did a large volume of work for them. In the past twelve months, there has only been one customer complaint and that was because of some old damage. It just showed to me that State Farm does not care about the customer service or quality of repair.”
She continued with, “When we returned from CIC and SEMA in Las Vegas, we found that the insurer was pushing us to sign or not and to make the decision that day, either way. It was then that we realized that we needed to separate ourselves and change our business model accordingly. We have always been a company who markets directly to our existing and potential customers, but we will be focusing more attention to gaining and retaining our clientele in the future. I believe that this is an opportunity to educate the consumer about the repair process and why they should choose us.”
Thoughts of the Executive Director
We can now all stop wondering when the new State Farm agreement will arrive that includes the parts and materials procurement system and now start wondering what the aftermath will be. For those of you who are a part of the Select Service program, you are now more than likely operating under the new agreement, unless you’ve made the decision to not sign. Those of you who are not signing, it’s time to understand what the term “reasonable and/or usual and customary” means.
What kills me is that 99% of the shops who sign do not have the document reviewed by legal counsel. Probably because after doing so would result in a “Seriously?! Who came up with this stuff?” from the other end. And because most of you know that’s bound to happen, then you just figure, “well, they’re just going to tell me I’m better off without it, but I don’t think I could afford to do that so I’ll just go along with it because if I don’t someone else will anyway.” I know this internal dialogue sounds at least vaguely […]