I took my 2005 Sentra in for $4,500 worth of collision repairs, and I got back a sloppy mess. Approximately $5,000 worth of re-repairs now needs to be done. The car looks like it was tossed back together, with everything being crooked – the bumpers, lights, doors and interior plastic parts. The whole car was painted without my permission and looks like it was done in a dust storm. The welds were left bare metal and are rusted. The shop denies my claims, stating, "If we don’t have the paperwork to account for it, then we didn’t work on it." A visit from the Bureau of Automotive Repair proved that the shop had in fact painted everything but the door jambs. My problem, among many, is that there is no law against poor quality. What can I do to motivate the shop to pay for a professional to fix their slop and repair the car correctly?
Asked by Jamie Reum, Super Collision and Customs, Victorville, Calif., on behalf of a customer.
Because the information is limited, it will be difficult to offer viable input. However, what I can do is invite you to contact Auto Damage Experts (ADE), and we will ask for additional information such as:
• Was a repair authorization (contract) signed?
• Were promises as to quality and satisfaction provided to you by the repairer?
• Does the shop have phone book or other ads that describe the quality they offer?
• Does your state have specific wording to be included in the repair authorization?
While you state there is no law against poor quality, there may indeed be laws which can offer you relief. I believe you may have a cause of action to go after the repairer for not providing their work in a "workmanlike manner" and to a level of what a “reasonable, prudent person” would expect. You also may even be able to levy a claim of "breach of contract" and/or "deceptive and unfair trade practices" against them, but once again, additional information will be needed to allow an attorney of your choosing to make that determination.
If you have the coverage, you may wish to seek correction by making a claim against the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy, just as you would for vandalism…but again, an attorney would need to assist you in determining a proper course of action.
I hope this helps in some small way!