Consumer Groups Urge California to Approve Auto Repair Fraud Legislation

September 29, 2008

The Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Action and Consumers Union are united in urging California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign Assembly Bill AB 2825, designed to protect motorists from auto body repair fraud. The legislation was passed by a strong bipartisan legislative vote and is awaiting action by the Governor.

“Consumer groups are united behind AB 2825 to put a dent in parts switching and auto body repair fraud in California,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. “By signing AB 2825 the Governor will be taking a giant step toward smashing parts switching, deterring auto repair fraud and saving California consumers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

Current law requires consumers be provided an itemized written estimate prior to work commencing and a final invoice listing work completed and parts provided. Under AB 2825, consumers would be notified at the time of the initial estimate and again on the final invoice, that parts switching is illegal and constitutes fraud. The legislation also requires auto body shops to provide customers with copies, if requested, of the invoices for installed parts.

“AB 2825 will better educate consumers and provide customers with an important new right to receive actual copies of invoices for all crash parts installed on the vehicle,” added Ditlow. “Some car dealers support the bill because they lose business to dishonest body shops.”

The insurance industry pays out more than $3.2 billion annually for collision repairs in the state with the average claim approaching $3,000, according to the Center for Auto Safety. About 1 million accidents occur in California each year — or about one every thirty seconds. As a result, most Californians will find themselves in need of collision repair services at one point or another. It is estimated that 40 percent of these motorists are likely to become victims of fraud, the group said.

Led by the Center for Auto Safety, other groups supporting AB 2825 include:
-Consumers Union;
-Consumer Action;
-Public Citizen;
-Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; and
-Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

To read Assembly Bill 2825, visit 2850/ab_2825_bill_20080821_enrolled.pdf.

Source: Center for Auto Safety

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