Hello all, so I will start off by saying I have not had the best luck with body shops since I owned my V for the past 3 years. The car had a dent in the driver's side door when I got the car, and in the first six months or so of owning it, my father backed into my front bumper cover with his trailer hitch on his truck, my brother backed it into his friends car in my driveway (took my keys to move it), it was keyed all along the driver's side while sitting in my driveway one night, and it was hit in the parking lot at school. This was all back in 2010. Oh and the car was hit in the front driver's side corner before I got the car, so it had a cracked headlight on the driver's side, and the bumper apparently was bondo'd up a bit much in the front. So, 1st body shop experience: A place my family brings their cars right in town. My father didn't want to go through insurance, because the damage was mostly stupid mistakes done by my family. Guy told us 3k to fix the trailer-hitch sized hole in my front bumper, replace rear driver's side door skin (dent from when car was purchased), fix rear driver's side quarter panel (damage from hit&run at school), replace rear bumper cover (brother), and re-finish spider cracks and key mark in front quarter panel, and refinish driver's side door due to the key mark.
So I get the car back, and everything looks pretty good. The bondo job in the rear quarter panel wasn't very good, I could see the swirls underneath the paint, but it wasn't terrible. Well a few months later the paint on my front bumper starts cracking all over the place and the spider cracks in my front quarter panel are visible again. Bring it back to the shop, and he says that because my car is so low, there are scratches under my bumper from pulling up on curbs while parking, which is true. He also says that there is so much bondo on my front bumper from before I got the car and since his job, that the bumper is too stiff to flex at all, which is why the paint has started to crack. Even so, I would hope to expect my bumper's paint to stay in-tact for more than a couple months after having it refinished. He refinished the bumper once for free, even though he's convinced it will crack again; which it does. At this point I give up and live with a crappy looking bumper for a while.
Now fast forward about 3 years. While driving in downtown Indianapolis one night last October, a car runs a red light while I was passing through an intersection, and I get hit in the front driver's side corner (Same corner that car was hit before I got it, according to carfax). Hood, front bumper, headlight and foglight were damaged. My insurance (Allstate) covered this claim and gave me about a $2,400 estimate for the damages, and a recommended body shop, which is the Church Brother's in downtown Indianapolis on McCarty street. I was upset at first, but then realized, sweet, I'll get a brand new bumper to replace my old cracking one, my cracked headlight will be replaced too, and my hood with original paint and many rock chips will be refinished. So I get the car back after a few days in the shop, and it looks okay. The paint finish on the hood was very fuzzy and you couldn't see a clear reflection off of it. Also the fitment of the front bumper around the driver's side headlight was not optimal, with the bumper not siting flush with the headlight (pushed out) and a slight wave underneath the headlight. Being a full time student, I didn't have time to bring the car back into the shop until this past semester was finished, the car looked okay, and Church Brother's offers a lifetime warranty on their work. So I wasn't worried and decided to wait to get it fixed, and I decided to bring the car back into the shop Monday of this past week. I go in to show the car to one of the service reps after I called the shop and told them I was unhappy with the quality of work performed on my vehicle. He agreed that the hood was not finished right, and they would wet sand it down for me, and the bumper looks like it wasn't fitted right. I leave the car there on Monday, and get a call on Wednesday from them saying that they fixed my hood, but they won't fix my bumper because it appeared as though the bumper had been hit since them fixing it. He said there are marks on the bumper that prove this and that I can come by to look at it. Now I knew that there were no marks on the bumper, so I went in to see what the heck they were talking about. He pointed to the scratches on the underside the bumper, which are of course from the occasional pulling too far forward in parking spots. I said, "You really think that those scratches underneath the bumper had something to do with the fitment up in this driver's side corner?", He said something like, "I mean, it's possible that when the bumper flexes, this corner could be pushed out like it is." Now I know that the bumper wasn't finished correctly when it left the shop, even before those scratches were there, but of course he doesn't believe me. So we stand and stare at my car for a few minutes, and I realize that there's nothing that he's going to do. So I asked him if there was anyone else that could look at it. He brings out his manager, Jason, and he, already having seen the car when they made the call not to touch the front bumper, says "Yeah, the car was hit and re-finished since it left our shop, look, there's rock chips underneath the paint, there's spider cracks here in this corner, and you have scratches under your bumper". I told him that I knew about the scratches under the bumper, but didn't think they really affected anything, and that I was confused at how rock chips supposedly got "underneath the paint", since they told me they purchased a new re manufactured bumper, painted it, and installed it on the car. He tells me that they had nothing to do with the current finish on my bumper, and he told me that I must have gone to another body shop and gotten a cheap job done on my bumper. Well first of all, the car has not been in any shop since it left Church Brother's that day in October, and even if the bumper had been refinished since then, why would I be going back to Church Brother's to ask them to fix it? The manager told me that "We do quality work here, and this is not our work". So basically, the manager is accusing me of lying to him, because I told him why yes, this is your work, and after about an hour of heated argument, he tells me listen, I'll cut you a deal, what you should really be worried about is your front quarter panel. It has those spider cracks in it, and moisture will get in there and it will eventually rust and fall off. If you source a new quarter panel, I'll have it painted and installed for $200. (Mind you that those spider cracks have been there shortly after I had the first round of body work done about three years ago). All this and he still won't do anything about my bumper. At this point I am extremely frustrated of being accused of lying, and that this body shop is taking no blame for the poor quality of work that they had performed on my vehicle. I decide to leave, but told him that I'm leaving my car in the shop until this gets sorted out. He, wanting to be done with the matter, convinced that there is nothing to resolve, tells me, "Well if you leave your car here, then we're going to have to start charging you storage". Now I've really had enough of this guy. I only just turned 20 years old, and can't help but feel like I'm being taken advantage of because I'm young. So I leave the shop yesterday and decide to call my insurance company (Allstate). Told them what happened and they told me they have a department that deals with this, and that they will look into it and give me a call tomorrow. So after talking with the agent today, she tells me that she talked to Josh, the service rep at Church Brother's, and that they are convinced the bumper was refinished since leaving their shop. He sends her pictures of the bumper, and the "rock chips" that are in the paint, and behold, it appears that the bumper was indeed refinished since leaving their shop. Now my problem is that I know for a fact that it was not. No-one drives my car but me, I have my keys on me 24/7, and the spare is back home in New York (The car has been with me at school in Indiana since last August). During the school year I would drive my car to rowing practice and to get groceries, but not much asides from that. It sits in my 1 car garage. At this point I don't know what to do. I don't know how to prove to them that they indeed did a poor job on my bumper, and for them to admit fault. Honestly I can live with the bumper, I just hate being lied to and hate being taken advantage of and I want this solved. Sorry for the long post but I needed to vent! I'll upload some pics once I get them onto my computer.
Sorry you have to endure this kind if treatment. I remember when I was your age, I used to deal with a lot of shit like this. People think they can take you less seriously because you're young.
You're in college right. Pick a major that will make you rich.
05-23-13, 06:42 PM
Wow dude... I would be so pissed. Call up the better business bureau, call your insurance again and talk to a manager, get a quote from another insurance company and get a new company. I had AAA and I really regret leaving them I had the best coverage with them. I had rear ended a chick in my old pickup. When they put on a new hood I could see fish eyes and orange peel in it. I made them redo it. The paint cracked not to long after and I took it back, the shop didn't want to fix it basically a similar situation as you. I was 18 they said I had it redone elsewhere etc. I called AAA and they told the shop if they don't fix the shit that they will not send more business there. So the shop fixed it and I went over everything with a fine tooth comb, me and my buddy... We sat there with rulers and shit measuring gaps to make sure it was perfect. I won't ever leave a shop again unless I make sure everything is absolutely perfect.
05-23-13, 07:44 PM
I also remember this type of crap and being treated like my "daddy" bought my cars for me back in my college days, which was anything but the truth, since I worked full time and went to school full time to support my "lavish" taste in fine automobiles, LOL. Sorry you're getting the run around.
I know you also know that not taking it back immediately is the biggest issue here, I too am at fault for letting someone wreck my stuff and not taking it back immediately for them to fix. Case in point the damage the tire shop did to my wheels the last time around, after two trips there and the guy saying he'd check with the owner, I quit making it a priority and now I'm sure they'll do nothing in my case too.
Back to your issue ... We had the back bumper painted on my wife's car after a not at fault accident. I recall Allstate touting that they offer a lifetime warranty on any repairs that are made under their "authority", I would dispute with Allstate if the body shop is being a pain, for the reason above ... They cause rifts with Allstate and they lose future business.
05-23-13, 07:51 PM
Re: Body shop problems
once you take posession, it basically indemnifies them of any wrong doing. always inspect and bring up issues before you drive off the lot and raise a stink then. ask for the old parts if they did indeed replace them. or at the very least have them show you the old parts which is technically the insurance carrier's since they paid for it.
assuming the red light runner had insurance, wouldn't they be footing the bill for damages not your carrier? unless you both have the same.
05-23-13, 09:31 PM
Re: Body shop problems
First, like others mentioned, always inspect before leaving. Time is a big factor and certainly is coming into play in this case.
That being said, I own a custom shop that does high end paint and body work, and whoever re-finished that front bumper last did a S****y job. I looked through the photos you have and there is no way I would have let that leave the shop, even as a insurance job. Between the horrible orange peel, previous chips in the bumper cover, poor fit around headlight, and dry edges. Honestly, it looks like typical insurance body shop in and out work.
Body shops that do insurance work are paid book rates per job, so they make more money by doing jobs as quickly as possible. Now not all body shops are bad, but some (many) will cut any and every corner possible to end up with more $$ left over. In your case, if the story is as you say, I would imagine this is the case. I'm betting that bumper was a used take off part, which is fine and normal practice from insurance, but any chips/scratches/blemishes should have been repaired and would have been paid for by the insurance company. The spots in your picture are just that, chips or marks in the bumper cover that they did not sand, fill, and prime before they painted, they just painted over the chip. The dry edges are just laziness and poor workmanship. The orange peel is most likely due to using a cheap quality clear coat and/or a super fast activator so the clear dries immediately to get the job out the door quicker (slower activators will allow the clear to lay out flatter before it hardens, but can take much longer to cure). The fitment around the headlight is rediculous, I can't really tell from the picture whether is is an issue of damaged head light mounting or just horrible bumper cover fit.
Sadly, I would say about 75% of insurance jobs are similar to this and go un-noticed by regular Joe-shmo that just uses the vehicle as a mode of transportation. Always inspect upon accepting the car back. Unfortunately in your case I do not see you getting anything from the body shop or insurance because it's been so long and there is no way to verify it came out of their shop like that, unless you have date stamped photos from shortly after they performed the work. Regardless of what happens or what they offer you, I would steer clear of that shop. They did a crappy job when they were getting paid to do it, just think what they'll do when they have to do it for free. If you have questions, feel free to ask.
05-24-13, 12:01 AM
Re: Body shop problems
Thanks for the replies guys. I know, I really should have inspected it more thoroughly when I first got it back, but I was just ready to have my car back and I felt comforted by the lifetime warranty that they offer. Big mistake. Now I know for the future. I just hate how these stingy people get away with these things. There's no way that they actually think I had the bumper re-done elsewhere. If I had, why would I be going through this whole ordeal for them to fix it? I don't feel as though I should have to prove that they were, indeed the ones who f***'d up and are now avoiding the blame, simply because they can. Well anyway, I'll see what the woman from Allstate has to say tomorrow, and if nothing will come of it, I will certainly be filing a complaint with the BBB and writing them horrible reviews/posting pictures of their terrible workmanship.
05-26-13, 03:20 PM
Re: Body shop problems
Oh man, do I feel for you. In my fifty-six years, I've lost count of the number of times I've been jerked around by some careless and/or arrogant moron who can't believe his workmanship is so poor. I would always tell myself something like, "Well, a few years from now it won't matter because I won't have this (car, house, appliance, etc.) anymore. But until then, you still have to look at it everyday and relive the frustration. Good luck, my friend; I hope you get it straightened out. I agree leaning on Allstate is the way to go.