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Protection concerns over WNS contract

A number of body repairers have been seeking legal advice before signing up to a new contract issued by WNS Assistance.

Andrew Moody, director of Retail Motor Law, says he has clients concerned about several elements of the new agreement, issued since WNS won the claims management business of Saga Insurance. One issue he highlights is that the new contract is between repairers and WNS, and not with Saga itself.

Moody cites the liquidation of ARMS, also an intermediary, last year because those contacts did not make reference to ensuring that repairers’ money was adequately protected. In the case of ARMS, this led to £1.2m worth of unpaid monies to repairers who completed repairs for ARMS’s client, Endsleigh Insurance.

“I am concerned that repairers are still not reading repair agreements prior to signing,” says Moody, who also believes that repairers were not given enough time to read the contract and seek consultation on it.

“I am staggered that such a large number have apparently accepted this contract.”

A number of well known businesses in the industry have declined the new agreement, including AJC Wilson and AM bodyshop of the year, M&M Vehicle Repairs.

M&M managing director Paul Glover says: “The financial rewards just weren’t there for our business. The clause regarding courtesy cars was a particular problem. It just didn’t match up with our financial models.”

A new clause in the contract says that WNS will supply a courtesy vehicle when the repairer has none available, but will deduct the cost from the repairer.

Under another clause WNS reserves the right to state how long the repair of a vehicle should take, as well as being able to charge the repairer should it be completed late.

Tim Rankin, managing director at WNS, refutes claims that repairers have a problem with the contract.

“There are only four repairers out of 286 that have not signed the contract and these have been replaced. We also have more parties interested in joining,” he says.

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