This important consumer-protection bill sponsored by Senator Astle (D, 30) and Delegate Olszewski (D, 6) as well as several others in both houses, will prohibit insurer mandated parts procurement processes or vendors and the usage of aftermarket parts for the first three years of the vehicle. (Check out our Maryland Legislative page)
WMABA believes that this important consumer protection bill that was originally proposed in 2013 by Delegate Fisher (R, 27B), a former repairer himself, will be met with favor by other Maryland legislators. Consumers purchase or lease a new vehicle with an existing manufacturer’s warranty or lease agreement that specify particular parts for the vehicle in the event of necessary repairs. They inherently expect that the repair process will not conflict with those interests, and that their insurance policy would cover this expectation as well.
“These are issues any consumer can identify with,” says Jordan Hendler, Executive Director for WMABA. “And at the end of the day, that’s what each of these legislators are. It’s about the belief that cost containment cannot come from consumer harm. Our industry recognizes that there is a place for aftermarket parts, but not when their use would be direct conflict with existing warranty, lease or lienholder agreements. We know of vehicles with as little as 15 miles on them have been written for aftermarket parts. It’s just not fair to our customers to pay the difference, and that’s what we’re seeing happen.”
Consumers and collision centers should have the innate right to choose their vendors for parts or materials necessary to repair the vehicle, especially when price is not a factor. Insurer mandates not only intrude into the customer-repairer-vendor relationships, but also do not add value to their customer experience and decrease productivity. If the consumer’s vehicle repair process is held up due to parts choice limitations or unreasonable cost-controlling measures by the insurer, they are likely then out-of-pocket for additional rental car costs.
Insurers should be held accountable to the problems caused by their mandates, and WMABA feels that this important legislation is a step in the right direction to protect the collision repair industries’ customer during the process of repair.
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