Damaged beyond repair?

INDEPENDENT smash repair businesses across western Sydney are crying foul over moves by NRMA insurance to redirect business.

Businesses like Hans Sauer Smash Repairs in Castle Hill have been struck off NRMA's approved repairers list after 25 years of service.

Mr Sauer said the move was designed to cater for NRMA's bigger business customers and leave small independent operators like him "out in the cold".

"We've lost 55 per cent of our business and up to $10,000 a week," Mr Sauer said.

In July, NRMA changed the required criteria for approved repairers, citing a greater need for adequate facilities to accommodate customers, modern technology to fix complex cars and active communication with customers on the progress of repair works.

NRMA's decision has left Mr Sauer's shop in a vulnerable financial position with the prospect of staff cut backs.

"There is no loyalty — I've gone from the NRMA's platinum class to not even existing on their system," Mr Sauer said.

And he isn't alone in his grievance with NRMA.

Earlier this month, Prestige Smash Repairs in Richmond accused NRMA of pressuring customers to choose one of the company's preferred smash repairers.

Smash repairer Darryl Raynor called it "bullying tactics" from the insurance giant.

"[NRMA bully] customers who may have just had a traumatic car accident into taking their business away from their usual repairer," Mr Raynor said.

An NRMA spokesman dismissed the claims, and said the insurer made no apologies for explaining to customers the benefits and services available from using partner repairers.

"We want to work with the best suppliers and this was a transparent and open process," the spokesman said.

"We chose to work with the best applicants, however unlike some insurers we continue to offer our customers a choice of repairer."

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