More stores are being paid to delete personal data


According to the latest “Who pays what? investigation, more and more body repair shops are being paid for the work of erasing the personal data of a customer whose vehicle has been declared a total loss.

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Synchronizing the phone with a vehicle makes it almost the equivalent of a cell phone on wheels. Stores are therefore increasingly offering to erase all this personal data for a customer whose vehicle has been declared a total loss.

A “Who pays what?” A survey of U.S. stores last summer found that more than a third (35%) said they were always or most of the time paid by the eight largest U.S. insurers when charging for labor for this procedure. That has more than doubled since the survey first asked about the procedure a year earlier. Despite this, more than four out of five stores acknowledge that they have not sought compensation for this work, perhaps because many stores do not.

“A vehicle owner today can have their home address stored in their vehicle’s navigation unit, and their contacts stored when they sync their phone,” said Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, who conducts the “Who Pays ” with CRASH Network. “Garage door opener codes may be stored, so we need to ask the vehicle owner, when the vehicle is a total loss, if they want us to delete their personal information.

Anderson said the steps needed to erase this information are usually found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

The finale “Who pays what?” The 2022 survey is now open until October. It focuses on labor operations related to scanning, system calibrations, and labor. Stores can complete the survey here.

Survey participants receive a free report containing the full survey results along with analysis and resources to help stores better understand and use the information presented.

Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes, can be completed by anyone at a store familiar with the store’s billing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each store’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is published.

The results of previous surveys are available here.

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