Running a Shop Law

West Virginia Attorney General sues insurer, shop for use of salvage repair parts

Order Reprints

Dec. 19, 2011—West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed a lawsuit Dec. 15 against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and Greg Chandler’s Frame & Body in St. Albans, W.V., for allegedly repairing vehicles with junkyard parts, a violation of state law.

The suit, which was filed in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, claims repeated violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act on behalf of Liberty Mutual and Greg Chandler’s Frame & Body. The suit alleges that Liberty Mutual required body shops to repair vehicles with reconditioned used parts in violation of West Virginia law. In addition, Liberty Mutual failed to provide the proper notices and written statements to consumers, according to McGraw.

According to West Virginia law, McGraw said it is illegal for insurance companies to require the use of salvage, used or reconditioned OEM crash parts on repairs of motor vehicles less than three years old without acquiring the vehicle owner’s consent.

McGraw said his office began investigating Liberty Mutual and Greg Chandler’s Frame & Body after receiving evidence that new vehicles were being repaired with junkyard parts. An investigation by McGraw’s Consumer Protection Division confirmed that Liberty Mutual employed a policy that violated state law.

McGraw’s lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the defendants from future engagement in the illegal activity, seeks restitution for consumers whose cars were illegally repaired with junkyard crash parts, and asks for civil penalties.

“My office will always work to ensure that West Virginians receive safe, high quality, competent and lawful repairs to their vehicles,” McGraw said. “Implementing policies that thwart state law in an effort to increase profits is unacceptable.”

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