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Anti-competition bodyshop report handed to OFT

The Body Repair Industry Campaign (BRIC) was due to submit 'unsupressable' findings on anti-competitive practices in the sector to the Office of Fair Trading this week.

The report, made available to the RMI, VBRA and MVRA, makes an “overwhelming case” against a market that is not functioning properly, according to industry consultant Robert Hadfield.

“It encapsulates the problems faced by the industry over a number of years and presents them in two documents: one containing findings by consultant Autopolis, the other the competition argument,” he says. “This report will not be buried like others before it.”

Evidence from repairers concerns practices by industry suppliers and anti-competitive activity by insurance companies. It accuses them of directing customers towards approved repairers, using misleading language to restrict choice.

The report also highlights concerns over the VAT-exempt status enjoyed by insurer-owned bodyshops, giving them an unfair advantage over repairers. It is expected to reveal evidence showing that insurers are using profits from their personal lines business to offset losses in the motor division.

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