Your Rights as a Consumer
You have many rights as a consumer, but most people do not know what they are regarding car repairs and insurance claims.
You have the right to use your own repairer! FACT!! Irrespective of whatever pitfalls, penalties, your insurance company will threaten you with, this is in fact the law.
The right to use your own repairer is covered under the consumer rights directive 1993, The Association of British Insurer's (A.B.I.) What was the Office of Fair Trade (OFT) the Financial Service Authority(FSA) which is now the FCA and the Vehicle Body Repair Association (VBRA/RMI) all agreed that the consumer has the right to choose!
The Consumer rights act 2015 now supercedes it.
Motor Vehicle block exemption regulations ec1400/2002
EU law ensures, for competitive purposes, that every car owner has the right to freely choose any repair shop to provide services and repairs for their vehicle (see the Block Exemption for motor vehicles and the Market Court (2012:13)). Manufacturers are obligated to provide the information necessary for any independent repair shop to be able to perform these repairs and services.
Application part 8 of the Enterprise act for unfair trading regulations 2008
The Consumer Protection for unfair trading regulations 2008 and application 8 of 2002 enterprise act, prohibits unfair commercial practices including agressive "Steerage techniques" and misleading actions, these are action which may materially distort your economic behaviour.
“materially distort the economic behaviour” means in relation to an average consumer, appreciably to impair the average consumer’s ability to make an informed decision thereby causing him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise;
2015 Insurance Act also stipulates prior to a contract occuring, the insurer has to make the insured aware that the contract fulfills the demands and needs of the consumer,and any adverse term or condition is brought to the attention of the consumer. This should have no material detriment to the consumer. To advise after the contract has occured any restriction's in the consumers choice, or advise that you seek to reduce your contractural liabilities is a breach of the act.
Do not let the insurance company tell you otherwise!
YOU DO NEED TO CHECK YOUR INSURANCE POLICY as you may well find that they want to charge a larger excess if you choose to use your own repairer.
We will advise you how to arrange and possibly get around this. In most cases, we pay your excess or at the very least pay a contribution towards your excess.
The insurer will always try to get you to use their own repairer, this is not always in your best interest.
CHECK YOUR POLICY!
You may well find that if you use your insurer's recommended approved repairer that they will fit none original parts. This is only of benefit to older vehicles that may not be economical to repair otherwise.
There are concerns these NON-ORIGINAL cheaper copy parts may not react in the same way in an accident as original manufacturer parts they are not the the same quality as the original , if you have a newer car, do you really wanted it repaired using non original parts? It may affect the warranty, for example if you had a non branded headlamp fitted after an accident, if not the same as the other, it could highlight your car has had an incident and affect the resale value.
Using an approved repairer can be detrimental to your car! But we always suggest to check their reviews online and make your own decision. Our job is to inform you. The beauty of being independent is just that. We are sensible repairers, our estimates are based on manufacturer and insurance estimates. Our labour rate is far lower than main dealers yet our repairs are of a similar if not better standard.
As an independent body repairer we choose not to have extreme pressure's put on us to repair your car as cheaply as possible and work on something called "AVERAGE REPAIR COST". It would be down to us as an 'approved repairer' to keep repair cost as low as possible or we get penalised by the insurer.
It's not suprising that corners are cut, and the quality may not be as good as using a repairer you have chosen yourself.
YOUR INSURANCE POLICY will state ,that you should be put in the same situation you were in prior to your loss (ie repair your vehicle) "UPTO" ITS MARKET VALUE.
So they should NOT be using non original parts unless stipulated in your policy.
If your insurer tries to "total loss" your vehicle as cat D total loss, you CAN insist on it being repaired when the repair cost are less than the market value if that is what you prefer. We at Brooklands can assist you in all parts of the claim. As our customers take pride in ownership, so do we. We only use genuine parts and we don't cut corners. We also chase insurers regularly so you are not waiting for endless period of time for your car to be repaired.