In this issue ...
CNN recently aired a story on Anderson Cooper 360 about insurance companies that push cheap and dangerous repairs on consumers. Recycled or used auto parts and aftermarket parts were continually mentioned in the piece as unsafe.
The story focused on a lawsuit, brought on by more than 500 body shops in 36 states, against dozens of insurance companies. The lawsuit claims that insurance companies steer policy holders towards body shops that use cheap and unsafe repair practices to save costs. It also stated that shops which don’t use “junkyard parts” are blackballed by these insurance companies.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood were both interviewed in the piece. Not surprisingly, both support the lawsuit. In September 2014, Caldwell received a letter from ARA because of his public mischaracterization and disparaging comments about recycled parts being junk.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) Conn. was also interviewed for the piece. He said, “Safety concerns are raised by this practice of steering because often it involves the use of parts that may be salvaged or inferior or even counterfeit and that is a real urgent and imminent safety concern for the consumer who may have no idea what the origin of the parts are, who made them, or even whether they're installed properly."
State Farm was singled out as being one of the insurance companies that is involved in this practice. While State Farm did not comment, it directed CNN to Neil Alldredge of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Alldredge defended the use of used, remanufactured and aftermarket parts and said consumers get a choice about whether to use them.
You can watch the entire piece here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/11/us/auto-repair-investigation.
The Automotive Recyclers Association (“ARA”) announced that it has filed a class action lawsuit against Takata Corporation, its subsidiaries TK Holdings, Inc. and Highland Industries, Inc. (collectively “Takata”), and numerous automotive manufacturers relating to the massive recall of vehicles containing defective air bags manufactured by Takata.
ARA brought the class action on behalf of all persons and entities that operate professional automotive recycling facilities in the United States who have purchased for resale any of the vehicles containing undeployed and allegedly defective air bags manufactured by Takata. The complaint alleges that Takata and the auto manufacturers withheld and / or misled automotive recyclers about the safety and reliability of the allegedly defective air bags, which led recyclers to over pay for now worthless air bags.
According to the complaint, Takata was aware of the air bag defect as far back as 2004 when it conducted secret tests on several air bags.
The complaint further alleges that following the disclosure of the air bag defect, recyclers are not able to sell or trade these air bags because they are valueless. ARA alleges that it and the auto recyclers involved had an expectation that Takata and the auto manufacturers would disclose known defects in a timely manner pursuant to federal, state and common law. The failure to properly disclose the defect caused recyclers to purchase vehicles containing the Takata air bags for amounts greater than their worth.
ARA is represented by Kessler Topaz Meltzer and Check, LLP. The complaint was filed in the United State District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Alter Trading Corporation announced it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase all of the assets of Wausau Scrap and Recycling Corporation (WSRC), located in Wausau, Wis., effective January 30, 2015.
WSRC has been the leading area recycler since its founding by the Wallach family in 1951. The business was operated by Peter Wallach from 1966 until his passing last year.
"Peter ran a great business and was a strong supporter of all local business in the Wausau area; and we look forward to continuing in his footsteps," said Bill DeWindt, Regional Director of Operations of Alter's Northern Wisconsin business.
Toby Wallach, Peter's wife of 53 years and WSRC Chairman stated: "After working for decades to build this business and maintain good family-supporting jobs for our community, we were committed to finding a buyer that would continue our traditions of integrity and fairness by valuing the employees and providing excellent customer service. With Alter, a family-oriented group with a great reputation, we found the honest, dedicated leadership that will continue this company's success into the future."
Alter Trading Corporation (www.altertrading.com) has processing facilities across the central United States, including 10 in Iowa. It also owns the Des Moines, Iowa Wrench ‘N Go.
Our condolences go out to the Aikey family. Family patriarch James Aikey died on January 31. He was 74 years old.
Aikey owned Aikey Auto Salvage in Cedar Falls, Iowa for 35 years. James’ sons, Jamie and Jeff, and one of his daughters, Julie Feckers, are also in the auto recycling industry. Jeff now owns Aikey Auto Salvage, and Julie works there as well, and Jamie owns Midwest Auto Parts, Inc. in Waterloo, Iowa. Both businesses are members of the Iowa Auto Recyclers (IAR) association.
Services were held on February 2. Read the obituary here: http://www.kaisercorson.com/obituary/James-A.-Aikey/Cedar-Falls-IA/1476522.
The Carolina Auto Recyclers Association (CAR) will hold its annual education and training conference on February 26 - 28, 2015 at the North Raleigh Hilton / Midtown in Raleigh, N.C. The event features sessions for members and vendor partners. There are also entertainment events, like the Friday night dinner and casino night. Go to www.carolinaautorecyclers.com to register.
The Automotive Recycling Industry of Nebraska (ARIN) will once again host the Greater Midwest Automotive Recyclers Exposition (GMARE). The 2015 event is “Focused On The Future” and will be held March 5 - 7 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center in Kearney, Neb. It will be ARIN’s 22nd annual convention. Go to www.ari-ne.org/gmare.html for more information.
The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association is set to host Canada’s largest recycling event, the 2015 OARA Trade Show and Convention. It will be held March 26 - 28 at the Hilton Toronto / Markham Suites Conference Centre in Markham, Ontario. The event features presentations and seminars, along with a trade show and entertainment. Download the registration form, or register online, at www.oara.com.
February 25, 2015: Listings for The Locator Magazine.
March 2, 2015: Display ads for The Locator Magazine.
March 5, 2015: The Locator Magazine goes to press.