Wednesday, March 14, 2018

'Pervasive' auto body shop scams in Ontario - 9 in 10

Auto body shops deliberately damaged cars, installed used parts but billed for new ones, or invoiced for phantom repairs, according to an investigation by a Canadian insurer. Aviva Canada found about half the total expenses submitted for repairs to crashed vehicles during its investigation in Ontario were bogus. In its investigation Aviva deliberately crashed 10 vehicles. The company had experts detail the damage and estimate repair costs, then put hidden cameras in and, at various times last year, put them on highways in the Toronto area. Investigators posed as hapless drivers just having gone through their first crash.
Only one repair outfit acted honestly. The other nine cases showed various degrees of "clear cut" fraud. While Aviva's experts had estimated total damage for the 10 vehicles at about $30,000, the repair shops invoiced Aviva for over $61,000.

Aviva says tow-truck drivers billed for towing and storage that didn't happen, drivers who were asked to sign blank work orders, cars were maliciously damaged at body shops, and fraud over repaired or replaced parts. It is honest motorists who pay the bill. Industry estimates suggest upwards of 15 per cent of premiums drivers pay for car insurance go toward covering fraudulent claims.