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She took advantage of my offer, and we went over the repairs. Examining the car on our frame machine, we found numerous parts "allowed” by Allstate but not replaced; also, the right side door appeared to be a used door. More than 36 defects were discovered: torn welds, missing bolts, and others too numerous to enumerate. The "allowed” parts not replaced came to a total value of $285.00!
The Carusos by this time had no faith in the Allstate enforcer shop, and would not bring their car back to Thunderbird despite phone calls from that shop informing them that the mouldings were in. Instead, Mrs. Caruso appeared before the Joint Insurance-Transportation Committees hearing on September 19 to tell her story. Her simple manner, her sweet and honest demeanor and her direct narration captured everyone's heart. Immediately after her testimony, she was approached by Allstate representatives and the Press. Her story was reported by Frances Cerra, Newsday's Consumer Reporter; Jane Salod of the L. I. Press; Gene Spagnoli of the N. Y. Daily News, and others.
Automotive Service Council's Attorney Donald Randal personally went over the improper repairs with Senators John Caemmerer and Dunn, and Assemblyman Philip Healey, revealing many of the inequities the insurance companies are guilty of during his knowledgeable testimony before the Panel.
Returning home, Mrs. Caruso was called by Allstate. The former arrogance and discourtesy was gone, replaced by a sweetness, with traces of saccharine. "Could we inspect the repairs”? She said they could look at her car all they wanted, provided Al Porcelli was present. The following day, Friday, September 20, four Allstate men and two Thunderbird Collision men went over the repairs with me. I maintained the door was used, not new, and the right front upper control arm, rack and pinion steering assembly, vinyl roof cover were not replaced. Thunderbird steadfastly insisted all the above were replaced with new parts. My man removed the upholstery panel and immediately it was obvious the door was not new because the inner door panel or frame was painted dark brown and ivory. (At the start of this message I said the Carusos had brought a red Pinto with black interior).
Shortly thereater, Allstate contracted Mrs. Caruso and said they would like Mr. and Mrs. Caruso to come to the Allstate Elmhurst office the following Monday morning to discuss the matter. The Carusos complied, and were delighted when informed that Allstate would make full restitution of $3349.10 less the $100 deductible. Naturally, Allstate would take the car. Needless to say, driving their damaged car that last mile to the Elmhurst Allstate office was a nerve-wracking experience for the Carusos! They exercised extreme caution, you may be sure!
The entire Guild membership and I are very happy that the Caruso story had a happy and satisfactory ending. However, when will Allstate change its unfair practices? Would they have replaced this car if the Hearing did not publicize the treatment Allstate gave the Carusos? Why must an insured have to battle for what is rightfully his? Everytime one of our customers refused to accept the unreasonable offer Allstate has made, he won; Meindl, O'Connor, Bolen, and others.
Unfortunately, Mr. Lugo, whose car was butchered by Allstate's enforcer shop, and subsequently ruled unfit for use on public roads, did not do as well as the Carusos. He was forced to retain another attorney after the untimely demise of Martin H. Leonard, and took a heavy loss on the "settlement". Mr. Lugo was unable to testify at the Hearing, but he did mail a statment to the Panel.
Mr. Pires also testified how Lion Insurance Co. "gave him the business". He is suing for justice. Mr. Russel Casey, Allstate's highest ranking representative in this area, to my knowledge, also testified. All I can say is: Is it possible a man in his position could be so misinformed . . . or uninformed? Does he really believe his men actually go around inquiring what the collision shops' labor rate actually is? Doesn't he know Allstate could be guilty of price fixing? What else can you call a prearranged conspiracy between Allstate and its “Enforcer-shops"? The enforcer agrees to take jobs “sight-unseen” at Allstate's dictated prices! How do they do it??? How else! By shortchanging the job; insured or claimant, it matters not. Doesn't Casey know of Allstate's latest attempt to shortchange Drive-In claims? By what right does Allstate deduct a carte blanche 10 percent parts discount on GM and 5 percent on other makes of parts? Does Mr. Casey think the public and our industry will stand for this latest attempted rape? Doesn't he know Allstate stubbornly refuses to pay for materials? When will Allstate change? Hopefully, in the near future. By the time you read this, a task force representing our industry, the insurance industry, the glass dealers, independent appraisers, consumer advocates, insurance agents AAA, and others will have sat down together at the Manhattan office of the New York State Insurance Department to discuss these problems.
The Lugo and Caruso cases are only the "tip of the iceberg”. How many cars have been improperly repaired, and are back on the street jeopardizing innocent lives and limbs? I would love to see the Insurance Department send everyone whose car has been repaired by an “enforcer shop" a questionnaire as to whether they were satisfied with the repairs. This would apply not only to Allstate, but to all insurers.
Cheap price low labor rates can only produce inferior, improper, and unsafe repairs! “Good ain't cheap, cheap ain't good.”—Pennsylvania Dutch Proverb.
We don't have enough qualified heavy collision men. Let's try to hold onto the ones we have by paying them a salary commensurate with their skills. The insurers must realize we too are entitled to a fair profit and that our workers are also entitled to the same be other skilled technicians enjoy. We cannot break the law and fix prices, but we can ask for a fair and reasonable price for our services. I urge you not to sacrifice quality for price, because quality is still remembered long after the low price is forgotten. See you at our Dinner-Dance.
After reading your fine article on Accident Claims " and the rising
New car dealers are closing their body ghops becauso they cannot get paid
The body med 10 the Chicago suburban areas demand a 50/50 pay basis plus
Now comes the hard part. I pay a man a good wego for his timo end labor and
When an estimato is written one must figure how much timo will be spent to repair or replace a part on a car. Tho Mitchell Manual is supposed to be a simplo guideline to replace all parts, but an adjuster will not allow for frozen nuts and bolts, mud and tar covered nuts and bolts, bent parts that have to bo pulled or pushed asido to get to the outs and bolts or the extra tino needed to first pry open a hood or a door. Foad tar, wax and scun on the finish of a pancl must be cleaned prior to repair for a decent paint job when the repairs are completed. It takes a lot of time to get ready before a man even starts the actual repairs. There is not tiro enough allowed for the preparation before the repairs can bo started. When the paint for the vehicle is purchased from a paint store and it does not match the rest of the vehicle, who is to blanc? Not the paint store or the inswranco company, just the body shop. The body shops do not mix the colors but we are held to blanc. The insurance company, in most cases, will not pay enough tine for color matching so the shop owner again must give moro freo tino to the customer so he can get a decent job at no extra cost to tho insurance company. All for $12.00 per bour.
Independent shops pay more money for parts than a dealor pays. We get a 25% discount on new parts that we purchase for replaccaent and the insurance company insists we allow them 10 - 15% on parts and 25% on new burpers or they take the vehicle to one of their "preferred" shops that will give the discount which in most cases is a dealership. Thoy can afford the discount because they sell parts. I cannot and neither ean any of my competitors in the area. I can no longer run my shop just for the convenience of the insuranco companies or so that a few cen can make a living. I, as well as many others have a very large investment in my soop and I gust roceive a certain percentago for sy tibo and the money I have lovested, the same as the banks would pay is tho money were on deposit.
When a vehicle is repaired the insurance has what is callcd a relcase fora. After tho repairs are completed the customer signs the release form, pays their deductiblo and goes on his or her way.Thirty to ninoty days later a body sbop can bope to get a check for the repairs from the insurance compay
all the while the coney has been in their bank, drawing interest for then and our bills are waiting to get paid. hie sometines have to borrow Doney or pay lato cbargos on our debts. All this again, for $12.00 per hour. The reason we body shop owners complain is becauso the insurance companies have dictorial powers over us because they are prot:cted by the McCarran Ferguson Act. They can price fix over our body shops and wo have to take their abuso or get out of the business. The thing is that it may boosereng on them.
If they cause to many of us to get out of this business or cause us to file bankruptcy, who will repair these vehicles in the future?. They dictato to US because we allow there to dictate to us. If a few of us stood up to them wnu reusik: and refused: to do their customer repair work what would they do then, open their own shops? I don't belcive at $12.00 per hour they would. They would then loso monoy and the shareholders would not appreciate that.
We do not get most of our business from the insurance companies. We in the
I attended a meeting one night of body shop owsers and I asked a question about who had more power, the cosurance companies or the body sbops? I suggested that wo should got together and send our men homo for two or threo weoks and we would than find out how mucb power we actually do bave.