Auto Body Chain Closes Shop

Monday, October 29th 2007, 10:23 am
By: News On 6

A chain of collision repair centers is on a crash course with the insurance industry. Tulsa-based Fox Collision Centers closed all of its 18 repair facilities in four states. The owner says it's because of unethical practices in the insurance industry. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports Fox is closing locations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

Citing pressures from the insurance industry, Fox Collision has closed all of its facilities, including five Tulsa locations. The move puts hundreds of employees out of work and leaves customers caught in the middle.

In an open letter to the media and the industry, Todd Fox, president of the company, wrote the decision is based on what are called Direct Repair Programs or DRPs. Those happen when insurance companies contract directly with repair shops to do work.

DRPs are common in the industry, and shops have to meet certain qualifications and guidelines required by the insurance companies. Todd Fox claims some of the DRPs often force collision repair businesses to make the cheapest and quickest repairs possible, sometimes sacrificing quality and safety.

Todd Fox plans to take his concerns about DRPs to state insurance regulators and lawmakers.

Many car owners who have left their cars at Fox to be fixed and customers who brought their cars in on Monday to get body work done were caught off guard by the closure. Several car owners are now forced to start the process over to find a body shop. That means more delays.

"Apparently they are closed. I had no idea. They didn't notify me or anything. I had already gotten a rental car and was ready to have my car fixed,” said Tulsan Joseph Warner.

So, what do car owners do if their vehicle is at one of the Fox facilities?

Many of those cars have already been taken to other repair shops. Tulsa Collision Repair at 41st and Memorial is working to make space for dozens of cars that were at Fox Collision Centers. They’ve already taken in 35 of those cars that need repairs and body work. And, they're now working to free up space for all of the additional work.

"What we've really been trying to do is put a lot of energy and a lot of focus working with the insurance companies to bring those cars here, to get those cars repaired and painted and get those customers on the way,” said Bill Knight with Tulsa Collision Repair.

The best step for car owners who had a vehicle at Fox is to call their insurance company to find out where their vehicle is, how to get to it, and to straighten out any questions about repairs and rental cars.

Todd Fox sent out another e-mail on Monday indicating he has been advised not to do interviews.

Watch the video: Auto Body Chain Closes Shop