Thursday, February 26, 2015

Auto Body Shop Speaks Out About Insurance Scheme

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — 500 garages from 36 states have signed a lawsuit against top insurance companies.

Cloot’s in Westfield is one of those auto body shop’s that’s speaking out.

“Aftermarket…Aftermarket…Used…,” said Gary Cloutier from Cloot’s Auto Body.

Gary says this has been an issue for years. Auto insurers pushing cheap and dangerous repairs on shops.

“We’re being forced to use inferior parts which in turn is causing inferior repairs. Putting our customers vehicles in poor condition,” said Cloutier.

The aftermarket parts can pose serious safety issues. He showed us pictures of parts that auto insurers told him to put on. They don’t fit.

“When you take 10, 15, 18 parts collectively. Basically, the whole front of the vehicle. You try to put all that together. Now, you got the front of the nose on the vehicle that nothing matches off right,” said Cloutier.

He says insurance companies are making him use similar components rather than the actual one.

“Now you’re taking the potential of that airbag system, not triggering at the right moment. So, if it goes a hundredth of a second sooner than it should have. That’s the difference of a person getting injured or killed…or not.”

“Most if not all have preferred repair programs in place with local reputable auto body shops to protect the consumer from these types of practices. The insurance companies based here in ma can’t risk their reputations on delivering inferior repair parts to consumers,” said Stephen M. Brochu from AAA Pioneer Valley.

Calls out to other insurance companies in the area weren’t immediately returned.

Gary hopes the lawsuit will make sure insurance companies won’t have as much control over the repair process as they do now.

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