Blind-Sided By Shady Repair Shops

auto. accident. fraud. AP

Some people know art. Some are tops in business. Allen Wood, as CBS News Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports, knows crashed cars.

He's the top cop of the auto body shops in California, the state with more cars and crashes than any other in the United States. Wood sees the results as the supervisor for the state's Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Wood looks out for automobile owners like Michael Brody. Brody was blind-sided by another car at an intersection.

Then, an unscrupulous repair shop clobbered Brody by improperly securing a bolt that could have resulted in the suspension falling off the car.

"To think that the guy would send me out onto the street to drive this car around, endangering myself, my wife, my kids and every other human on the street makes me mad as heck," he says.

Wood says he's not surprised by anything anymore. And it happens a lot more than you might think.

"Forty percent of the time people have been victimized in some respect as far as fraudulent repairs," he says.

Sometimes it's shoddy workmanship. It can also be cheap replacement parts.

"One of the major things we see is parts being charged for that aren't being put on the car," he says.

Repair shop owners, who asked not to be identified, told us it's common to use cheaper parts instead of parts made by the automobile manufacturer.

"We're talking about inferior parts that do not fit," said shop owner.

What it means is that you could be paying for the more expensive original equipment that's supposed to work. But what you're getting is a cheaper replacement version that falls apart.

"It's all about the money," says Wood. "It's cheaper."

Michael Brody did not go to a repair shop recommended by his insurance company. You might think that was a mistake.



In Part 2 of our story, we'll investigate charges that the insurance companies are a big part of the problem.
  • Jaime Holguin

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