Nothing strikes fear in me more than getting a routine oil change. For $75, I should get an oil change, and that’s it. Instead, I get the dreaded “we found a problem ” routine. Now I’m out $500. I know it’s all a pretty basic scam for a shop to get some add-on business. Every day auto shop fraud gets more and more sophisticated, and that’s the idea behind Joseph F. Alexandre‘s reality show pilot, The Body Shop Cop.
Our “cop” is Rocco J. Avellini, the president of Wreck Check Car Scan Centers. His job is to stand up against fraud on behalf of the unsuspecting consumer. It’s simple: if you buy a new car, the car should be new—not new looking. If you and your insurance company paid for new body parts, you should get new parts!
In the pilot episode, Avellini comes to the defense of a consumer who purchased a car brand new from a dealership only to find the car had been in an accident. He then investigates a repair of a vehicle involved in a collision. The shop reported the fender had been replaced when it was actually repaired using Bondo. Avellini is then hired to inspect the alleged repairs of a $130,000 Porsche involved in a rear-end collision.
“His job is to stand up against fraud on behalf of the unsuspecting consumer.”
With decades of experience in auto body repair, Avellini knows precisely where to look when examining a repair and spotting the subtle signs of fraud, to the point that what crap the body shop tries to pull is no longer surprising. He’s seen it all, and it’s not always the shop owner at fault. One owner admits the insurance company pressured him and other shops into using imitation parts to help increase the corporate bottom line to keep the steady flow of clients coming.
Consumer advocacy has always been a popular subject on television with its David v. Goliath stories. The Body Shop Cop is no different as Avellini confronts the scammer face-to-face, with cameras in tow. Full disclosure, The Body Shop Cop uses re-enactments at times as the primary target was not willing to be filmed for obvious reasons.
Would The Body Shop Cop make a good television series? Maybe? That’s above my pay grade. I’d love to see a few more episodes, though. If director Alexandre is trying to get into the reality show game, he’s taking the right steps by following a compelling subject and issue. He’s got to work on his camera skills. He captures the action well, but the interviews are done with a handheld camera and are shaky as hell. You gotta lock that baby down, or we’re going to get carsick. I’m also not sure re-enactments are the right way to go either. Reality should remain reality if that’s how it’s billed. I think he’d be able to sell the idea, but not sure he’s the right guy to produce it. It’s a good pilot nonetheless.
"…knows precisely where to look when examining a repair and spotting the subtle signs of fraud…"