Richmond, Virginia – March 15, 2017 – In reaction to the recent legislation, Senate Bill 544, proposed in West Virginia and reducing the consumer protections related to collision repair parts, the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) strongly urges representatives to vote “NO”.
After years of efforts to push forward similar protections in both Maryland and Virginia, the WMABA has utilized the neighboring state of West Virginia as an upstanding example of how a state can protect consumers when it comes to the collision repair parts used during the collision repair process. Having the majority, if not all, of the warranty period covered, those consumers with newer vehicles do not have to argue with insurers about what is best for their car and can get the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts without any out of pocket expense. This is something not afforded their neighbors, who applaud this type
of protection and disclosure.
Finding outright fault in the argument that this proposed legislation reduces the deductible charge in any way, the association also urges legislators to check the facts and the other consequences of this bill. The deductible is set by the policy, and would not be changed.
Customers will not always know what kind of parts they are getting, unless they ask. The “fine print” parts disclosure required at the end of each repair estimate or repair order that explains the use of aftermarket parts is also a necessary consumer protection, so that they know what parts are being used in their repair. There is nothing else that would mandate a repairer or insurer educate the customer on the parts types written into the charges. Knowing what kinds of parts are used is a right-to-know that should not be altered.
It appears that the Senator Maynard, who proposed the bill, also would take personal interest in this cause, as his own business deals in aftermarket parts for cars (see picture from Maynard’s Auto World, Facebook). Without doubt, WMABA knows that insurers, aftermarket parts companies, and others will take benefits to this bill through the course of their business. Insurers believe that this will save on claims amounts, but also push or shift the cost onto the policyholder or claimant by making them pay out of pocket to get what the law already provides. Aftermarket parts suppliers benefit through the additional usage of their parts, which are not covered by the vehicle’s existing warranty, something that consumers often find subpar to their “pre-accident condition” where the warranty is fully intact. They are not made whole to the point of value or condition they were when the accident occurred.
WMABA again urges all West Virginia legislators to carefully review the consequences of these language changes, and to vote against changing a consumer protection that needs to stay.