Whoever said “summertime and the livin’ is easy”, has never been in collision repairer. Okay, Ella Fitzgerald clearly didn’t fix cars.
Start of Summertime
I’m going in two directions this month: Number one, we just had a fantastic, fabulous Golf Outing. It was the one hot day so far this year (of course), but it beats the heck out of a torrential downpour! It was a great time, and there was a great reception and fun people all around. Again, we cannot thank our supporters and sponsors enough for all the hard work they put into helping, too!
And now for number two, which I offer as some insight. We have had numerous calls for issues by repairers, something that is seemingly growing in frequency and intensity. It most certainly is spelling trouble for our industry, in my opinion, and I think that your willingness to submit all issues – minor to major – is also a factor. Many of the complaints center on reimbursement problems for operations; some are for third-party vendor issues, while other are the usual Labor Rate complaints.
Troubling me the most are now several years’ old operations that still seem “misunderstood” by our insurance counterparts. When the OEM repair procedures document specific calibration operations (on top of scanning, mind you), then how is that confusing? How is it not necessary? Even if something is new-ish or presented differently in recent history, it most certainly doesn’t mean it is bad or needs to have a “case-by-case” basis approach.
Speaking of the case-by-case basis approach, I find this to be even more troublesome of a tactic to negotiate repair methodology for each and every car. It isn’t even logical. How can a post-repair scan/diagnostic scan – with the same procedural information – be deemed necessary on a Mercedes and not a Honda by the same person with the same company? In the outset, this only looks like a cost-control mechanism and not a safety determination for proper repairs overall.
Furthermore, it is a way that our entire industry – repairers and insurers alike – can keep from owning the problem that there are still shops out there not doing these pre- or post-repair scans properly. These facilities are getting away with it because the issue is not alerted by the insurer or the customer. No one wins when lane departure, front-end collision avoidance, seat weight displacement for airbags or other crucial systems are not validated as working properly. In fact, people die from that.
Another ray of sunshine, I am excited to see the Mississippi Attorney General release the Guide (page XX) for consumers that gives them explanations on our very complicated repair industry. I’d really like to see our Virginia or Maryland counterparts embark on the same venture. It’s a great service to the public, and I think they have done a great job with it there.
If I had a Magic Wand
My hope for the future is that we can all navigate the advancements of vehicle technologies with not only more freedom, but also with more accountability. Repairers have to own the quality of their repair job (regardless of the insurer view), and insurers must step up and learn the proper methodologies that are necessary in today’s world. We don’t fix cars like we did 10 years ago, so saying it’s how we’ve done it all along is a frankly bogus answer to anything. People who fix the cars, and the people who reimburse, are both accountable to the car owner for a safe and proper repair. After all, it’s their family in there.
Thank you for taking the time to follow me through these turbulent issues. I hope that when you encounter your version of a problem (a person or logistic), you feel comfortable sharing your experience and come to us for advice or support. We are always here to help!