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Top level talks may end courtesy car wrangle

TOP level discussions look set to take place between the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association and the Association of British Insurers in a bid to resolve the long-running courtesy car wrangle before the bodyshop industry collapses.

The VBRA, which represents 2,000 accident repairers, and other organisations including the Retail Motor Industry Federation and the Motor Vehicle Repairers Association, believe insurers must foot the bill for courtesy cars through insurance premium increases.

VBRA chairman Ron Nicholson said: 'It is important to allow the efficient operators to develop and the time is right to put all areas such as the courtesy car burden in perspective. This would produce a more diverse and vibrant industry from which the insurance companies could only benefit.'

He said he was optimistic that the discussions, to be held later this month, would produce 'a mutual, satisfactory solution to the current courtesy car disaster'. And he presented the VBRA's solution to the controversy - a courtesy car controlled invoicing proposal under which a fixed charge would be invoiced by the bodyshop with the insurer recovering the cost through the third party thereby transferring the cost burden from the repairer. If the repairer exceeded the agreed repair time no further charges would be made for the car replacement.

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