20th August 2018

The Crisis is here, the crisis never left the building.

The Crisis is Here. The Crisis Never Lett the Building Right to repair continues to be pervasive a nd pernicious. Commercial Auto Glass remains as committed as ever to, give the command, light the bloody fuse How’s this scenario.. Cool, calm collected salesman has just finished serving a customer at Commercial Auto Glass in Selby, Johannesburg, when suddenly there’s a commotion at the end of the sales counter. A taxi driver who the sales person knows well is shouting and wanting to jump over the counter. Suddenly, another threatens to do the same. It’s like all hell has broken loose. Threats of grievous bodily harm swirl around. Salesman keeps on thinking of a crime drama movie he’d seen the other night. He panics. He doesn’t know whether to fight or take flight. Then, as quickly as the incident started, it’s over. The owner of the business, Gilo da Silva, has rushed to the scene, and, being the kind of the guy he is, sorts out the situation quickly. This has not been concocted to grab the reader’s attention. It was, and occasionally still is, very real and scary situation. It’s on a security camera disc if anyone wants to look. What’s it all about? Here’s the thing it resolves around an issue called Right to Repair meaning that every vehicle owner should have the right to repair his car where he chooses. That’s not the case. His insurance company will tell you where to go, meaning that there’s collusion going on. Heard of free enterprise? It’s not happening friend. But you knew that already. So, as long as the parts and service are up to standard, this should be the concern, and the only one. Not who you are doing business with. It’s a situation that incenses and disturb Da Silva greatly, and we empathise to the hilt. “People will ask me the price of a windscreen and tell me who they are insured with, and I’ll have to tell them that I have to first check to see whether we are allowed to do the job, and in most cases, we’re not. The client now is forced to go to the dealer chosen by the insurance company, and he’s in for a terrible shock when he’s forced to pay R3 000 for the windscreen. The excess is 20%, and that price is more than the allinclusive price of my windscreen!” He says that in the past 10 years everything has become more monopolised. “The smaller guys, those that don’t have a giant footprint, or those that don’t have the correct BEE requirements just can’t get the work, and it’s not because their services and quality is not as good as the rest. It’s part of the auto rights capture. We’ve had state capture, now we have rights capture!” The shop used to do a lot of work for the taxi industry, but rights capture has curtailed that to a large extent. The incident that played out at the beginning of this story has direct bearing on this. Clarendon Transport Underwriters CTU no longer has CAG as a preferred supplier for whatever incongruous reason. If a client goes to one of CTU’s preferred suppliers, their excess is R350. If, however, they got to CAG, which many still want to do because of their quality products and superb service, the excess is R1 000. Hence the drama. The drivers thought Da Silva was trying to rip them off! The irony of the situation is that, quality wise, CAG is streets ahead of most outlets. Da Silva wrote the SABS fitment standard when one didn’t exist, his stock conforms to the very best, and his business practice has been praised by all who know and support him. He says he doesn’t want to be appointed as a preferred supplier as he believes in fairness for all, as long as everyone commits to the same standards. He says that 80% of his business is not allied to the insurance industry. Some 70% of vehicles are not insured, or in other words, selfinsured. The answer here lies in the cost of premiums and the autocratic behaviour of the industry. It may come as a surprise that many big companies, and not just individual drivers have chosen this route. CAG picks a lot of this business. If this doesn’t speak volumes, nothing will. Please note this article was first published in ABR Magazine.