9/22/2008

A Bit of Advice on Paint and Body Shops


As indicated in an earlier blog entry, I had to have some body work on my ’06 Honda Civic. There was a dent just above the rearview mirror. Whatever it was that landed on the roof, it caused the windshield to crack also. Likewise, on the rear-side drive panel, there was a small dent. After filing my claim with my insurance, I had to go to a paint and body shop that does all their appraisals. I didn’t like the idea at first. It just seems a conflict of interest to have a local body shop doing your appraisals for customers. But, I knew the body shop in question. I know they have an excellent reputation locally.

They couldn’t have been more professional and courteous. But, they seemed taken aback at some of my requests. After getting burned by a paint and body shop, I make it a point to do all the following: 1. Always, ALWAYS get a quote before you release the car to be worked on by the shop. You would be amazed at how many people who don’t do this simple little act. And it winds up costing them hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. 2. Always ask when your car will be ready. In most cases, paint and body shops will do this voluntarily. Make sure you get it in writing when the car will be ready also. I know one woman who didn’t bother to get this written into her quote. Instead of waiting the usual 4-5 working days, she was without her car for a month. Those rental car fees add up if you didn’t request rental car insurance when your insurance policy was written. 3. Ask to see a car they have just finished within the past day or so. Look and see if you like their workmanship. If you see unevenness, the paint will eventually start chipping and peeling away. 4. Ask to see the body shop itself. Many will tell you they can’t let you back there because of insurance restrictions. But, there is no reason why they can’t let you look in through a door or an entrance way for cars. 5. Just use common sense when you decide what paint and body shop you decide to use. These people are out to make money. They aren’t into social welfare. They want your money. If the appraiser starts pressuring you to commit to their shop, leave and go elsewhere. If they advertise “two-day paint and body work,” don’t walk, RUN from that shop.

My advice may seem like overkill to you. But, having dealt with paint and body shops as a young man, I know how they can fleece a customer very easily. If you don’t remember the first four examples I gave for dealing with body shops, at least remember the last one…use common sense. If they start pressuring you, it’s for a reason. And it’s a reason that most likely is intended to separate lots of cash from you and to the coffers of the paint and body shop.

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