Lives put at risk over 'dodgy' insurance claim car repairs
"Questionable practices" in car repairs arising out of insurance claims are putting lives and jobs at risk, it has been claimed.
Damaged cars being repaired with non-geniune parts and car owners not being informed that they can opt for a garage of their own choice are two of the claims from the Northern Ireland Body shop Alliance (NIBA).
The organisation is calling for MLAs and the Northern Ireland Consumer Council to directly intervene in the sector to "ensure a level playing field for all".
This latest development highlighting car insurance practices follows a Belfast Telegraph report which revealed how one couple had their insurance premiums significantly increased after two police officers claimed off their policy after being injured while stopping their stolen car.
Neighbours whose property was damaged during the incident also claimed off the car theft victims.
NIBA, which represents 50 independent car repair garages, claims that there is local evidence that policy holders were being wrongly informed about the standard of workmanship of independent repairs in favour of the insurance companies' own approved repairers.
"Anecdotal evidence shows that some insurance companies are beginning to engage in questionable practices which are not in the best interests of the consumer," NIBA chairman Sean Bradley said.
Mr Bradley added that his members were being put under increasing pressure to cut corners in a bid to save money and maintain profit margins.