The Office of Small Business has agreed to meet with The National Body Repair Association (NBRA), to discuss steps to encourage motor insurers to review their repair contracts with vehicle body repair shops with more reasonable timeframes.
Many NBRA members who provide car body, scratch, dent and other repair services to motorists across the UK, experienced a significant decline in demand for their services due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chris Weeks, NBRA Director comments, “Despite this decline, the cost of doing business has continued to climb for members, including inflationary costs in areas such as technician training and machinery maintenance. In other sectors of the economy, contracted companies can increase their fees to cover these costs to remain profitable. However, smaller body repair operators feel that they cannot negotiate these changes with their insurance partners, due to their weaker bargaining position and a fear of placing a commercial relationship into difficulty.
“Body repairers are now at risk of a gradual squeeze being placed on their bottom line due to older contract terms failing to keep pace with the cost of doing business. We believe body repairers have a right to a reasonable annual review of their contracts.”
In 2018, the NBRA met with the Small Business Commissioner to discuss and understand the challenges being faced by NBRA members, including an attempt to rectify the late payment culture that inhibit the UK economy and threatens the survival of thousands of bodyshops every year.
Weeks continues, “If progress is not made on these issues, our members will suffer, and we are concerned that the long-term effects could have a detrimental impact on consumers.
“We look forward to meeting with the Commissioner and readdressing the balance of power between large firms and small businesses.”
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.