After reading the article with headline “Investigative Report Highlights Alleged Steering in New York” I would like to make a few added comments regarding what just happened to our Automotive Dealership this after, September 30, 2008.
A customer of Bruce Chevrolet, Inc., who had bought a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and was involved in an automotive accident today, contact a towing company and asked the towing company to deliver his vehicle to Bruce Chevrolet Body Shop. The vehicle arrived at the Dealership and I asked the tow truck driver if they needed a Purchase Order (PO) for services. The tow truck driver said yes. So, I opened a Repair Order (RO) at 15:29 PM, walked over to the Parts Department to ask for a PO for the tow bill. I received the PO, handed the copy to the driver, who then wrote the PO Number on the invoice. This is all standard operating procedure. The invoice was handed directly to me, and I took the invoice to the Parts Department to add the bill amount to the RO.
The tow truck driver then left the Dealership. I moved the vehicle next to the front Automotive Body Shop office so I could write a preliminary estimate for repairing the vehicle to pre-loss condition.
At 15:38 PM a Progressive Insurance Automobile Claims Representative called the Dealership and left a message with the Cashiers Office. A service department advisor came to my office and handed me the note. The message reads, “Norman w(with)/Progressive 503-403-3738 would like B/S (Body Shop) to release veh (vehicle) w(with)/no estimate to towing co. (company) also spoke w(with)/cust (customer) to verify.”
I quickly called the number listed on the message and received a voice message. During the voice message Norman says his supervisors name is Woody and can be reached at 503-403-3915. So, I called Woody’s number and explained who I was and read the message. I then added by citing Oregon Bill SB523a-engrossed Oregon ORS 746.280 which states “You have the right to select the motor vehicle repair shop of your choice. Oregon Law prohibits an insurer from requiring you to get repairs to your vehicle at a particular shop.
Woody asked me for my telephone number and name and asked if I had a claim number. I gave him my name, telephone number and stated I do not know what the claim number is.
Approximately twenty minutes later I received a telephone call from Norman, the original person who left the message. Norman proceeded to instruct me that he is sending a tow truck to have Ryan Behnke’s vehicle picked up and towed to another Body Shop. I explained that the vehicle did not belong to Progressive Insurance and that he had no rights to tell me to release the vehicle what so ever. He then said I have Mr. Behnke on a three way call and he says release his vehicle. I said, hello is this Ryan Behnke? I heard a voice that said, “Yes this is Ryan will you repair my vehicle and stand behind it for life?” I said, “Yes Sir I will”. While I was saying “Yes Sir I will”. Norman interrupted and said, “Our Network shop will stand behind the repairs for life too”. I then added, excuse me Norman, we will not be releasing the vehicle to the tow company. You are in violation of steering customers away from the shop of their choice.” Norman then started yelling at me that they are going to tow the vehicle out of there”. I handed the telephone to our Sales Manager, Dick Lee who spoke with Norman and Mr. Behnke. After the telephone call ended, it seemed the customer had authorized this Dealership to repair his vehicle and give him a Life Time Warranty for the repairs to pre-loss condition.
There happened to be a tow truck parked outside the Body Shop and a tow truck driver stating. “I am here to pick up the Red Silverado and take it to Doherty Ford Body Shop” (In Forest Grove, Oregon). I stated, “The vehicle is not going anywhere unless the customer gives this dealership the authority to do so.
Approximately ten minutes later, Dick Lee received a telephone call from a supervisor Mike Rossi at Progressive Insurance. Dick paged myself and Larry Cole, Service Director for Bruce Chevrolet, Inc. Mr. Cole placed Mr. Rossi on a speaker phone and explained he was doing so. Mr. Cole listened to Mr. Rossi’s statements and stated they were not steering our customer away from the dealership to their Network Shop.
Approximately ten more minutes passed by and I happened to get a page over the PA System saying, “Body Shop 349”. This means there is a call waiting for the body shop direct extension #349. I was up beside the cashiers office when I heard the page. So, I entered the cashiers office and answered the telephone. It was Mr. Behnke. He said, I want you to release my vehicle to the tow truck or I will call the police”.
Mr. Cole was standing in front of me and had me write down this statement and told me to go ahead and release it. I said, “Okay Ryan I will release it”. I then asked Mr. Cole who is going to pay for the tow bill now before I release it to the tow truck driver? Mr. Cole said “Have the tow truck driver pay the bill”.
I called the tow truck companies dispatch office and asked for a PO for the Repair Order Tow Bill. The dispatch person asked me to hold. I was connected to the manager of the tow company who said his name is Mike. Mike said, “I will be right over.” Mike arrived around 17:15 PM and had Mr. Cole with him. Mike asked Larry what they needed to pay in order to have the vehicle released to them. Larry asked me and I printed a copy of the front page of the invoice repair order. Mike stated he is going to pay Bruce Chevrolet for the charges and Larry agreed to release the vehicle.
For any further information regarding this matter, please contact myself or Mr. Cole.
Question: Would you editors feel this is a story for the world to hear about?
Auto Body Shop Manager
Bruce Chevrolet, Inc.
1084 SW Oak Street
Hillsboro, OR 97132
Direct telephone: 503.619.8349
Auto Body Shop office fax: 503.693.6675
Company telephone: 503.648.2131 x 349