VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Nearly one month after NEWS 1130 broke a story about body shops inflating repair costs, some serious damage control is being done. A prominent operator says cheating the system is nearly impossible.
In North Vancouver this morning, Craftsman Collision CEO Rick Hatswell hosted a demonstration, explaining a new audit system implemented earlier this year keeps most repairs in check.
“There’s nothing that I can actually change in the system except the judgement times. So, that’s where you say ‘Can you repair or replace a part?’ It’s actually cheaper for us to repair a part. So, within the system, when you click on a panel — say, a door — it will actually tell you how many hours you can apply to that panel if you’re going to replace or repair it. If it goes beyond that, you must replace the panel.”
“There is no over-billing,” says Hatswell.
NEWS 1130 asked Hatswell how often ICBC sends invoices or conducts audits to ensure body shops are doing everything they say they’re doing.
“It feels like every claim, from what I hear from my managers,” chuckled Hatswell in response.
“Somebody at ICBC’s end must click it to either accept or review. So, there’s always oversight,” he adds.
Listen to Marcella Bernardo’s interview with Rick Hatswell:
Ken McCormack, the president of the Automotive Retailers Association, adds there’s virtually no evidence any body shops are over-billing.
“We believe in a system that has checks and balances in place that protect the policy holders and the public, in this case. And certainly, with ICBC, I believe that we have what we need, in terms of the tools to ensure the vehicle owners are properly represented.”
“I suspect that their union is motivated by ensuring that… their members are represented. We would argue with the processes in place and frankly, as an industry and the professional work that we do, we’re in the best place to do a lot of the work that’s currently done by some ICBC employees,” he adds.
Listen to Marcella Bernardo’s interview Ken McCormack:
Last month, six estimators — including whistleblower Lance Leswick — reported they’ve repeatedly dealt with inflated invoices dating back as far as 2001, when so-called ICBC Express Shops were allowed to do their own estimates.