Consumer Alert: Two words have become the weapons of choice in the battle of right vs. wrong in the collision repair business. By design, these two words sound so innocuous that they presume acceptance without consumer’s knowledge that by doing so, they have loaded the gun that is pointed directly at themselves. The two words are: Industry Standard.

The dictionary defines “Industry Standard” as: Generally accepted requirements followed by members of an industry. And just like that, we nod our heads with what we perceive as understanding, and numbly accept whatever comes next from whomever is doing the talking.

But let’s slow down just a bit, and ask a few questions.

Who is doing the talking?
What industry do they represent?
Do they have an agenda?
And who is doing the “generally accepting” of the “standards” in question?

In the world of body shops, ethical owners are tasked with one mission: repair vehicles to meet the original manufacturer’s specifications in an effort to restore structural and safety components to their original state. They receive their “standards” directly from the people who researched, tested, built and sold the vehicle in it’s brand-new state.

Sounds right… because it is right.

But every war has an opposing side – and in this case, it’s the insurance companies doing a lot more talking about “industry standards”. Minute by minute and hour by hour of every day, thousands of repair estimates are being denied and/or “adjusted” to cut corners, employ used or aftermarket parts and save money – all in the name of “industry standards”.

Wait a minute. BOTH sides are using the same words?

It’s true. Though one side (the honest, ethical body shop owners) uses “industry standard” as defined by the actual automotive industry (manufacturer) itself as THE official and authoritative way in which  vehicle must be repaired.

The other side (corrupt insurance companies) use “industry standard” as defined by their own industry (insurance and claims payment) as a way to reduce the amount of money that they pay, thereby retaining higher profit margins for their own.

How does this affect you?

Today’s vehicles are more technologically advanced than ever before. And that technology is changing rapidly. Almost every vehicle manufacturer issues a position statement that calls for a computer pre-scan as well as a post-scan to make sure that all of the inter-connected systems (including the ones that do not show up as dashboard indicator warning lights) are working and calibrated to the manufacturer’s original specifications. If these scans are not performed, there is no way to assess whether the repair is complete or that the vehicle is safe to operate for the consumer.

The problem arises when the insurance company denies payment for such scans, citing “industry standards”, claiming that “most body shops do not perform these scans”.  Should the notion that many – maybe even a majority of body shops cannot afford the proper equipment or a qualified technician to perform these scans be what defines the standard?

Who do you turn to when you want your vehicle to be repaired properly? Which standard should you insist upon?

Body shop owners with integrity only know one way to repair vehicles. The right way. That way – the “industry standard” – is established and accepted as being the way the vehicle was originally manufactured. Anything less than that compromises every affected system, which opens up pandora’s box of risk and liability that could in fact lead to injury or death.

Body shops that are owned and/or influenced by contractual agreements with insurance companies to cut costs at every opportunity may be in the majority of options available to consumers. But the keyword is OPTIONS. You have an option – a choice of which standard you want to follow.

Your vehicle’s manufacturer has a standard for the proper repair of your vehicle. It requires pre and post-scans to definitively determine the correct and safest repair.  Your insurance company wants to spend as little money as possible, and does not concern itself with the manufacturer’s standards – and therefore almost always try to deny these scans.

Which standard do you want to follow?

At Nylund’s Collision Center, we will ONLY follow the standards set by the vehicle manufacturers. We have the right tools, and we have trained technicians who are constantly reeducated to make sure that every repair is done thoroughly and correctly. We take very seriously that fact that you and your loved ones will drive away in the car that we repair… and your lives matter to us.

Other Resources: Repairer Driven News, K&M Collision

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