The City of Toronto passed a by-law banning insurers from recommending auto repair shops. The municipality received several complaints from the public stating that some tow truck operators were taking damaged vehicles to certain auto repair shops in return for payment. In addition, the complaints also stated that on-site insurers were also urging owners to go to specific repair facilities for the same purpose.
Eventually, an insurer challenged this by-law and took the matter to court. It cited that this law was a violation of its right to freedom expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The municipality then appealed the decision and won the appeal. The appeal court ruled that it was in fact not a violation of freedom of expression because the insurer had many other ways to express its preferences for repair shops. The court also upheld the necessity of the by-law to protect the consumer’s freedom and right to choose an auto repair shop without pressure from the insurer.
What About In Alberta?
The government of Alberta upholds a consumer’s right to have one’s vehicle repaired at theauto body shop of one’s choosing.
Car owners should exercise their right to research shops in their area without being pressured or strong-armed by insurers to go to specific “recommended shops”.
It is also important to review aCalgary auto body shop’s warranty information before beginning repairs, since the insurance company does not do warranty work on your vehicle. Instead, theauto body shop that carried out the repairs is the one that does the warranty work. While some shops only offer 1 year in-house warranty, MP Auto Body offers a lifetime warranty on workmanship.
Allstate Insurance Co. of Canada v. Toronto (City), 2002, 208 D.L.R. (4th) 712
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