The RMI has warned repairers to be wary when providing industry consultants with sensitive financial information about their businesses.
The association claims that some consultants have potential conflicts of interest because they have close relationships with insurance companies or they are part-owned by competitor bodyshops.
It suggests some unscrupulous consultants might pass on information they find to insurers – which could be used to pummel bodyshops on labour rates – or to rival repairers, giving them a trading advantage.
Bob Hood, RMI Bodyshop Services director, said: “We are writing to all of the consultants asking them to provide details of who backs them and which areas of the industry they work in.
“We would like to see a code of conduct to ensure there is a confidentiality agreement on any information provided by the bodyshop.”
Industry expert Robert Hadfield said much information provided to consultants for use as performance indicators was skewed by repairers who had been deceived before.
“Misinformation is used to support industry performance indicators which are offered to those with an interest in misusing the information for control purposes,” he said. “This leads to bad decisions based on flawed information leading to suspicion, conflict and market turmoil.”
He added: “I have yet to meet a consultant who could run a bodyshop better than a bodyshop owner.”