Panelbeaters almost come to blows

Panelbeaters almost come to blows

ALLEGATIONS of favouritism in the handling of car repair quotations appear to have caused a split between the two associations representing panelbeating companies.

On one side of the debate is the Independent Panelbeaters’ Association of Namibia (Ipan), which claims that the older association, the Namibia Panelbeaters’ Association (NPA) is keeping their members from generating business. Ipan president Paul Doyle, who spoke to The Namibian yesterday, claims that there is a “buddy-buddy” relationship between members of the MPA, the insurance industry and tow-in companies operating out of Windhoek.This, Doyle claims, has led to a situation where tow-in companies and insurance brokerages specifically direct clients to MPA member panelbeaters instead of allowing all panelbeaters to market themselves fairly and give the client a better choice of service and price.”The MPA is the elite group in the panelbeating industry,” said Doyle, whose association claims to represent all “previously disadvantaged, marginalised groups” in the industry.”They manage to dictate a lot to the insurance companies.These guys go hunting together, they go fishing together, so when a car is dragged into a tow-in company’s yard and this company gives the owner’s information to the insurance company, the insurance guy tells the client to contact his friend at this or that panelbeater,” Doyle alleged.On Thursday, Jan Kritzinger, owner of the breakdown service Tow-In Specialist, called a meeting between the two associations and the insurance industry, apparently in an attempt to sort out the matter.The meeting was chaired by Eliphas Owoseb, Deputy Chief of the City of Windhoek’s Traffic Management Department.The meeting however ended without consensus, as many of those in attendance believed it to have been a ploy by Kritzinger and Doyle to put the MPA and insurance companies in a bad light.Also invited to this meeting was former Prime Minister Hage Geingob, who declined the invitation, citing short notice and prior commitments.The Vice Chairman of the MPA, Dippies Dippenaar, yesterday rubbished Doyle’s account of the tension between the two associations, claiming that it was Doyle and Kritzinger who were in fact making themselves guilty of favouritism.Dippenaar argued that Kritzinger ordered the meeting as he held a grudge against the MPA because it recently rapped him over the knuckles for refusing some MPA members entry to his premises.”We wrote him a letter asking him to streamline his operations,” Dippenaar said.A gentlemen’s agreement exists between panelbeaters and tow-in companies, Dippenaar said, in terms of which no panelbeater is allowed to shop for quotations from tow-in companies before 12h00.The MPA had apparently received complaints that while MPA members were expected to adhere to this agreement, Tow-In Specialist allegedly allowed other panelbeaters to slip through earlier or made client information available to these panelbeaters beforehand.Dippenaar said yesterday that many of those invited to attend last week’s meeting were displeased with what they witnessed, and added that he was considering taking legal action against Doyle for remarks and allegations made against him during that meeting.When contacted for his perspective on the situation, Kritzinger said he did not feel comfortable discussing the issue in public.Ipan president Paul Doyle, who spoke to The Namibian yesterday, claims that there is a “buddy-buddy” relationship between members of the MPA, the insurance industry and tow-in companies operating out of Windhoek.This, Doyle claims, has led to a situation where tow-in companies and insurance brokerages specifically direct clients to MPA member panelbeaters instead of allowing all panelbeaters to market themselves fairly and give the client a better choice of service and price.”The MPA is the elite group in the panelbeating industry,” said Doyle, whose association claims to represent all “previously disadvantaged, marginalised groups” in the industry.”They manage to dictate a lot to the insurance companies.These guys go hunting together, they go fishing together, so when a car is dragged into a tow-in company’s yard and this company gives the owner’s information to the insurance company, the insurance guy tells the client to contact his friend at this or that panelbeater,” Doyle alleged.On Thursday, Jan Kritzinger, owner of the breakdown service Tow-In Specialist, called a meeting between the two associations and the insurance industry, apparently in an attempt to sort out the matter.The meeting was chaired by Eliphas Owoseb, Deputy Chief of the City of Windhoek’s Traffic Management Department.The meeting however ended without consensus, as many of those in attendance believed it to have been a ploy by Kritzinger and Doyle to put the MPA and insurance companies in a bad light.Also invited to this meeting was former Prime Minister Hage Geingob, who declined the invitation, citing short notice and prior commitments.The Vice Chairman of the MPA, Dippies Dippenaar, yesterday rubbished Doyle’s account of the tension between the two associations, claiming that it was Doyle and Kritzinger who were in fact making themselves guilty of favouritism.Dippenaar argued that Kritzinger ordered the meeting as he held a grudge against the MPA because it recently rapped him over the knuckles for refusing some MPA members entry to his premises.”We wrote him a letter asking him to streamline his operations,” Dippenaar said.A gentlemen’s agreement exists between panelbeaters and tow-in companies, Dippenaar said, in terms of which no panelbeater is allowed to shop for quotations from tow-in companies before 12h00.The MPA had apparently received complaints that while MPA members were expected to adhere to this agreement, Tow-In Specialist allegedly allowed other panelbeaters to slip through earlier or made client information available to these panelbeaters beforehand.Dippenaar said yesterday that many of those invited to attend last week’s meeting were displeased with what they witnessed, and added that he was considering taking legal action against Doyle for remarks and allegations made against him during that meeting.When contacted for his perspective on the situation, Kritzinger said he did not feel comfortable discussing the issue in public.

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