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RMI demands pay-back over paints option

Repairers are being short-changed by up to £55m a year because the Audatex estimating system does not include a pearlescent paints option, according to the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

It says pearlescent paints, which are more expensive than solid colours, are used on 85 per cent of new vehicles and is gathering evidence from repairers to make a retrospective claim for lost profits. Audatex has dismissed the claim as “misleading and unhelpful”.

Bob Hood, RMI bodyshop services director, says: “Our calculations show that Audatex repairers are losing some £27,500 a year each because the option has not been included. This money should be recovered and paid to body repairers to help reintroduce profit back into the accident repair trade.”

Audatex, which intended to add pearlescent paints to the system in 1998, has advised repairers to apply a 15 per cent uplift to the agreed paint index, but several companies have complained that insurers will not accept this artificial mark-up.

In a statement, Audatex says it is “not in any way responsible” for compensation.

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