Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- September 17, 2014 -- Louisiana Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell filed a lawsuit in August charging that State Farm is illegally forcing collision repair facilities in that state to install unsafe parts on vehicles that endanger consumers.
"State Farm has created a culture of unsafe business practices in which consumer vehicle repairs are performed with cost-savings as the primary goal, rather than safety and reliability," said Caldwell during a press conference as reported in the Shreveport Times.
In public comments related to a recent lawsuit filed by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office against State Farm Insurance for allegedly steering consumers to direct repair providers who must comply with insurer requirements for replacement parts, Attorney General Caldwell is quoted as saying: â€œIn some cases, we've found that these parts are nothing more than used junkyard parts."
Thatâ€™s a phrase almost guaranteed to make a progressive auto recyclerâ€™s blood boil. David Gold is the co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, operating locations in Toronto, Ottawa, and upstate New York. He also currently sits on the board of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), a US-based organization similar to the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC).
â€œHonestly, itâ€™s disgraceful,â€ says Gold. â€œSome recyclers have opened their doors to town councils, hardcore environmentalists, members of legislative assemblies, and others, and they all changed their tune. I can say that some of the biggest detractors are blown away when they see whatâ€™s really going on in a modern recycling yard.â€
The ARA has replied to Caldwell in a letter, and issued the following statement on its website: â€œThey are OEM parts, designed by the OEM, and built to meet the OEM requirements for fit, finish, durability, reliability and safety. Attorney General Caldwell's mischaracterization of recycled automotive parts does a disservice to consumers in Louisiana by seeking to limit their access to safe, affordable and environmentally friendly automobile repairs.â€
Removing still useful parts from an end-of-life vehicle (ELV) is good business. Itâ€™s also environmentally sound.
â€œVehicles need to go somewhere when they become an ELV. Recycling them properly is the only responsible thing to do,â€ says Gold. â€œClearly, Caldwell needs to visit a local auto recycler thatâ€™s a member of the ARA, meet the people, and see whatâ€™s going on. Education is the key when it comes to changing these attitudes.â€
In the September 8 letter, ARA CEO Michael E. Wilson pointed out that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals recently affirmed the use of salvage/recycled OEM crash parts in vehicle repairs. The Court also found that neither the West Virginia Automotive Crash Parts Act nor Consumer Credit and Protection Act statute prohibited collision repair facilities or insurers from utilizing these parts.