Fleet News

New code of practice for bodyshop industry

LEADING accident management companies have launched an industry Code of Practice aimed at regulating their relationship with vehicle repairers. The Accident Repair Partnership's initiative aims to bring order to a bodyshop market rocked by the demise of accident management operators such as Fleet CARS and Drivemaster, which left a number of repairers out of pocket.

The Code of Practice details that accident management companies must place any payments made by customers in a designated accident repair bank account, which is separate from both bank accounts for other trading divisions, and from accounts paying business overheads until the repairer's account is paid. It also specifies that referral charges are only to be debited against payment for completed work, and that all accounts should be paid in strict accordance with the contract, including interest for overdue payment.

The Code offers further reassurances for repairers by ensuring that accident management companies identify their management structure and all directors, as well as their parent or holding company. Operators which sign up to the Code pledge to set out clearly the duration and conditions of their contract with the repairer, and establish a solid complaints and appeal procedure.

The Accident Repair Partnership currently comprises Accident Assist, The Accident Management Company, Automanagement, DAS Legal Expenses Insurance, Elite Repair Services, Lease Plan, Masterdrive Management, 3 Arrows, and Town & Country Legal Protection. It held detailed consultations with the RMI, VBRA, and the Association of Car Fleet Operators before finalising the Code.

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