W5: Hidden camera investigation of auto body shops

W5: Hidden camera investigation of auto body shops


[Music] CTV’s w5 thousands of cars damaged on Canadian roads but what’s really going on in the body shop honestly it’s a really really good shop well this time someone’s watching we equipped the vehicles with covert cameras Kevin Newman he investigates an undercover sting they left those decisions up to the tow truck driver unnecessary work missing parts and inflated bills that I was shocked absolutely shot where sometimes more damage is done after the accident I can’t believe that what happened and in the end everybody pays what you in effect have are fraudulent claims being subsidized by honest customers and with a string of highly rated bistros people want to believe that they only go to restaurants because the food’s good she’s turned a few heads she’s very smart she’s as good as any man in the business and ruffled a few feathers I deserve to be judged for my work Santi Ronaldo with the career of outspoken restauranteur Jenner did you set out to build an empire 100% taking on the male-dominated world of restaurant culture I always will win you know everything all the time win with a vengeance she’ll go after the shit she’ll flambe you know tableside and where’s her reputation with pride so are you a bitch here is Kevin Newman hello and thanks for joining us on this edition of w5 we’re revealing the exclusive results of an elaborate undercover investigation that wasn’t mounted by police or journalists it was financed and executed by one of Canada’s leading insurance companies to provide an unprecedented view of what sometimes goes on inside unregulated auto body shops and what the cameras reveal helps explain why your car insurance rates keep rising [Music] so this is never a good day when a roadside accident leaves you in the hands of people that you’ve never met tow truck drivers and auto repair shops how do you know whether you’re being ripped off well chances are you don’t but you’re not alone even one of Canada’s largest insurance companies can’t always tell who’s done an honest job so Aviva decided to find out using hidden cameras and private eyes portraying customers they’ve captured what’s going on when no one’s looking to see what’s being repaired or not it was an elaborate covert investigation and here’s how it worked first step take undamaged cars and drive them into one another [Music] so this is the warehouse here yeah that smashing start was just the beginning of what Aviva fraud investigators Paul Miller and Doug Dunstan helped design they’re both former Toronto cops so they know something about setting up covert investigations that will stand up to scrutiny Aviva took the bold step of allowing us to purchase a number of vehicles and we equipped the vehicles with covert cameras that would record video this is one of them yes yes we would manufacture damage on these vehicles whether it be a single vehicle accident or a two car collision by pushing the cars together so that we it would create the impression that they had been involved in a motor vehicle you basically ran these into one another that was just to create very low impact minimal damage damage you could chart pretty easily after the cars were damaged every dent scratch and busted light were documented and videotaped cars would be all photographed and pictures taken before the damage was done and then we would damage them and then once there they are damaged they would be basically tape torn apart to see what’s wrong and what has been damaged in interior and an exterior then an experienced independent appraiser in a forensic engineer were brought in to thoroughly examine each car and record exactly what needed to be repaired or replaced and then estimate how much it should cost damages are into the fender that needs to be replaced there’s a slight impact on the right front wheel to watch what happened to the damage on places that they couldn’t see each vehicle was rigged with hidden cameras small enough so that no one would spot them our main objective was to stay objective in this project and put the cars out into the field and kind of let the cameras roll as it were and see what results we ended up with so here’s what happened next undercover private investigators hired by Aviva took those pre damaged vehicles and drove them out to random locations on busy highways then they pulled their vehicles over parked them and waited for whichever tow truck driver would show up now it’s important to remember that all of this was left to chance they also didn’t choose which repair shop their cars were towed to they left those decisions up to the tow truck driver so over a year with 10 bait cars left by the roadside around Toronto here’s what the hidden cameras revealed we have a show up on we have rented out over the PA picture random tow truck drivers pitching the best place to tow the car honestly it’s a really really good shop we give you a lifetime warranty on everything then those cars were taken to different repair shops with the cameras secretly recording repairs were made and behavior watched and then once the repairs were done and the cars picked up Aviva’s independent experts tore the cars apart again comparing what they knew needed to be fixed or replaced with what work had actually been done and invoiced for and what they discovered is an eye-opener almost every single shop overcharged for repairs padding bills by hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars in many instances parts were either not replaced or properly repaired but charged for anyway for example this car taken to car aid the body shop billed more than two hundred dollars to replace a grille assembly that wasn’t damaged and then didn’t even bother to replace it and that was just one of many discrepancies w5 contacted car aid requesting an explanation and they replied with a long legal letter denying any wrongdoing and blaming the appraiser for authorizing unnecessary repairs another shop falken Auto Center charged three hundred and eighty nine dollars and 56 cents to replace the left headlamp on a Mazda but it was neither replaced nor repaired falcon told us that wasn’t possible and was not interested in responding further in all dozens of parts bumpers headlights engine covers hood latches wheel hubs axle bearings that were damaged were invoiced as being repaired or replaced at the Enzo body shop Aviva claims it was overcharged by almost $12,000 despite agreeing to respond Enzo to did not provide any explanation for the discrepancy so why go to such lengths to test the honesty of repair shops well it Aviva headquarters they were watching the cost of repairs at some auto body shops skyrocket in recent years and they wanted to know why so Ron how many of these body shops do we insure Christopher laying Ren’s Aviva’s fraud management operations has any insurance company to your knowledge ever tried to trick out a bunch of cars and put them on the highway and watch what happens to our knowledge no so you even gave this an undercover name oh yes would you call it project bumper how important was it for you that whatever you did could potentially stand up in a court of law so extremely important and that’s the way we we conduct all of our investigations Aviva claims that from the 10 cars used in the sting invoices were inflated by more than $33,000 but the hidden cameras revealed something even more disturbing this Ford Fusion was towed to the McLaren collision center in Mississauga of course the damage to it had already been appraised by Aviva’s experts but the body shop didn’t know that so check this out the video captures a worker taking what appears to be some kind of bar and smashing the hood panel but here’s the thing there was no damage here nothing that needed to be fixed according to Aviva but MacLaren’s billed the insurance company five hundred and fifteen dollars and 20 cents to repair that hood panel here he takes a hammer and appears to be creating a dish damage to the right front corner of the car where again Aviva says there was no initial damage and there were many more questionable repairs for just this one car Aviva’s inspectors claimed they were charged almost 2500 dollars more than necessary so w5 wanted to ask MacLaren’s for an interview and share the evidence the sign has been recently taken off the building but two companies are listed at this address McLaren collision and Mississauga automotive collision provincial business documents show that various members of the warda family are associated with these repair shops but when we showed up wearing a hidden camera to deliver our interview requests we were told there was no one by the name of Warda no one by the name of warden but this recent surveillance video shows roni warden and his son fatty ward are going in and out of that shop so after several attempts to contact MacLaren’s we went back this time with our camera crew only to find the door locked in the middle of the day during business hours its people in there they just saw us and then we’re behind that door they’re back into the garage we spotted someone outside locking up the gates to the collision center excuse me sir do you work here that I can ask I’m trying to deliver on a letter as ready as this office open right now is there someone inside that we could talk to you sir would you be mr. worte and then after we went back to the street MacLaren’s called the cops hi I’m Kevin Ewing with ctv’s so they didn’t understand why you were there if cameras that sort of stuff we’re trying to interview the owner of the property because there’s a story that we’re working on currently and we have made three attempts to deliver a letter to request a formal interview so today we thought we’d come and see whether we could do that the door was locked we didn’t try to gain entry I slipped it another request a fourth one underneath the door and and then somebody came out and we left the property right away nobody told me awesome I have no issue with that um but they did advise me there the manager of the front office they don’t they would not like you guys to attend the property so at this point I have to advise you that under judgments appropriate you no longer law to attend okay good luck we’re trying to get a hold of the the gentleman who try to interview oh yeah widespread auto-repair deception you didn’t expect Amity certainly not w5 looks for answers here there’s someone in your auto body shop who seems to be taking a hammer and a chisel to it when w5 continues [Music] ten undercover cars deliberately damaged rigged with hidden cameras then towed to random auto body shops for repair and when the invoices came in the insurance company was shocked to discover dishonest billing for nine out of the ten cars christopher lang oversees a Vivas fraud management department what was your expectation of how many might be picked up by a fraud in my wildest dreams I probably would have thought you know perhaps we know 1/3 1/4 something to that effect for 9 out of 10 to come back with one or multiple elements of fraud was obviously extremely concerning and alarming 9 out of 10 correct 90% of the cars that you put out there have some sort of fraud I was floored I was floored because you didn’t expect that many certainly not investigator Doug Dunston was also surprised I was afraid that we wouldn’t get a hook that’s that’s I honestly thought there can’t be that many people out there that are ripping insureds off and insurance companies in the long run and I was shocked absolutely shocked in total Aviva paid the body shops a little more than fifty eight thousand dollars for all the repairs and it calculates that just over half of those charges were not justified so if people think that this is a victimless crime it really isn’t no not at all Aviva executive Gord respec was the driving force behind the undercover sting and he says this investigation exposes an industry where cheating consumers is part of the game I don’t consider myself a cynic I consider myself a realist and this thing was more telling than even I even thought so you were surprised at how often some of these auto body shops are jacking up their bills yes I was and also what I was really surprised at was the extent of fraud and when you’re deliberately damaging a vehicle for your own profit or when you’re adding parts that have absolutely nothing to do with the repair or when you’re saying you towed a vehicle and you never todavia chol that’s the criminal side of it so do you think you found just the tip of the iceberg or the whole iceberg no I think we found a good chunk of the iceberg 9 out of 10 9 out of 10 that’s incredible it is I thought so it wasn’t planned but two of the 10 bait cars same project bumper were towed to McClaren’s remember the shop that locked us out and then called the police in order to not get us back well Aviva claims that more than 10 thousand dollars worth of repairs on these invoices are fraudulent two other undercover vehicles Alexis and a Chrysler ended up here at Lyons Auto Body Shop in Mississauga and again the covert video tells the tale this worker takes what appears to be a hammer in some kind of object to the right front side of Alexis but according to Aviva there was nothing here that needed to be fixed it alleges that this is deliberate damage to run up the bill Lyons charged Aviva more than eight hundred dollars to replace that right headlamp assembly but the investigators found they didn’t replace it they just fixed the part they damaged on this Chrysler the video shows a worker pounding on the left front fender with a hammer and a piece of wood Lyons got paid to replace that fender but Aviva says it was repaired instead for both cars Aviva calculates Lyons overcharged by more than $3,800 now the owner John Lyons agreed to speak to w5 if we showed him some of Aviva’s evidence so off-camera we showed him some of Aviva’s video the invoices the expert documentation and then he agreed to respond so the investigators said that this car in particular this was the Lexus wasn’t damaged at all and yet here there’s someone in your auto body shop who seems to be taking a hammer and a chisel to it and that doesn’t make sense to me how could how could we no damage to it what’s your reaction to it my reaction to it looks like somebody’s working on the car but remember the video the Vives says there was no damage here that needed to be repaired no reason to be taking a hammer to it there was no damage that right headlight assembly because someone in inspected this before it came in and then your shop replaced said it replaced it charged eight hundred dollars to replace it on the invoice but then in fact it was just repaired and it was not replaced I I can’t believe that I’ll look into it oh I can’t believe that would happen it you’re saying this never happens in your shop never you’ve never had a complaint by an insurance company or a customer about this kind of we don’t I don’t I don’t tolerate damaging cars and I am gonna take the time to show you what I’ve got in place so this doesn’t happen okay do you ever tell a customer that you’ve replaced a part when in fact you’ve just repaired it no we were straight up with the customer again remember the video of the second car Aviva says the left front fender was repaired but Lyons got paid to replace it Lyons then showed us some of the measures he’s taken to keep an eye on workers and this is what I look at all the time a lot of cameras watching the shop floor I see the cameras there they’re all over there keeps everybody honest it keeps everybody on us well Aviva insurance disputes that despite the video and the experts Lyons denies being aware of any fraudulent activity in his shop but he admits there is a problem in the industry you know there’s a problem you’ve already done your ear you’re doing your investigation there’s a huge problem and you know it and your show is gonna expose it so if it is being done here you’re gonna be pretty disappointed I’m gonna be completely disappointed I’m gonna be off the rails disappointed so if Aviva was overcharged for nine out of ten cars which shop passed Aviva’s test well this car star collision shop the franchise owner Adrian Vigna douzo didn’t know about the covert investigation until Aviva told him that w5 was doing a story that was a shock that we were part of that investigation with him Eva and I’m glad that they did we’ve heard from some of the independent shops that you know this is a tough industry you have no idea just how hard it is to do things the right way in this industry do you find it hard no it’s actually easier to do it the right way the first time than to do it wrong and trying to fix something that’s wrong car star is the country’s largest collision repair company with more than 500 shops across North America are we dealing with people’s carts here the president of car star Michael Macaluso says because it’s a franchise they audit their shops regularly so are those surprise audits because you know what happens you know the guy from head off is gonna be there out of Tuesday’s in our situation within car star absolutely surprise audits as well as from the insurance companies side so if you run across a franchisee that isn’t quite up to your own expectations and your own standards what do you do you pull their franchise absolutely Carr starve all antara Lee conducts audits to ensure quality control there’s no government or industry agency that requires it no they wouldn’t have a clue and Aviva’s Court respect says insurance companies compound the problem by not keeping track of bad actors half the problem is the insurance company don’t even count they don’t even count they don’t even record they don’t even tell each other when when these things happen so it’s almost a Groundhog Day effect you get up every day and you start all over again dealing with each shop on a claim by claim basis instead of trying to amass all of the information and make sure that the people who are doing this don’t get to do it from one company to another so government has a role here in making the insurance companies exchange the information that they keep to themselves absolutely the government has that role for to protect all the consumers out there the insurance companies don’t get their act together what you’re telling me then is that the insurance companies themselves have left this open field for bad guys to take advantage of yeah not not consciously but but by default that’s exactly what’s happened the insurer should be made that when they find out about a criminal element to report it so adding up all the invoices in its undercover sting Aviva says it overpaid the auto shops by 57 percent now if that holds true across the industry the potential fraud is staggering Aviva calculates it would add up to five hundred and forty seven million dollars a year just in Ontario that’s two billion dollars a year across the country billion dollars billion dollars a year a year that’s a lot of money yes it is if you were to scrape that out and have a completely honest and upfront industry what would that mean for people’s insurance rates let’s say in Ontario well it would mean a dramatic decrease people would be paying a lot less yes they would well that would certainly be good news for Ontario’s three million drivers who pay the highest premiums in the country Chris Lang points out that at the end of the day everyone who buys car insurance is a victim we have on in some of our video interactions a tow truck drivers and and body shop employees telling our drivers well you know what’s the difference it’s only the insurance company’s money and that’s simply not true it’s it’s consumers who pay for insurance not insurance companies and as the cost of claims rise and if that cost of claims is is again exacerbated or driven in large part by fraud what you in effect have are fraudulent claims being subsidized by honest customers and consumers and that’s simply not right Aviva’s undercover experiment seems to be a timely reminder of that old adage about how to measure integrity it’s not what you do when people are watching it’s what you do when you think no one’s looking so an investigation this detailed requires a lot of paperwork and it’s available to you right now on our website for each body shop and also includes their response to what have IVA discovered here’s what straight ahead brash bold and difficult were you an easy kid to raise what do you think is the recipe for success she’s brilliant at what she does when w5 continues


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *