Unfortunately, most of us will experience a vehicle accident at some point in our lives. Whether that accident is large or small, there will almost certainly be damage to repair. Not only do you have to worry about getting the damage repaired, but you also have to worry about whether the repairs will be done correctly. Of course, you can greatly reduce that risk by choosing a trusted and reputable repair shop. However, when expensive repairs are needed it can be very tempting to go with the cheapest possible option. So, what happens when you end up with a shoddy repair job?
1. Thoroughly Inspect The Work
When you go to the shop to pick up your vehicle, don’t just pick it up and drive away with no questions asked. You have every right to inspect the work that has been done and make sure that it’s up to your standards. Any shop that tries to keep you from doing this should be avoided in the future, as it’s a little bit of a red flag.
You might also consider doing some research before you make the pickup. You probably aren’t a mechanic, but anyone can do a quick self-education session using the internet. Since you should already know what is wrong with your vehicle, you can narrow down your research to a specific problem. Even a little bit of extra information can help you an awful lot.
2. Make Your Concerns Known
If you inspect your vehicle at the shop, and you find that it hasn’t been repaired correctly, ask to speak with a manager immediately. If you drive off without saying anything, it will be harder to make a complaint later. It’s kind of like those people who go into a restaurant and complain about the food when they’ve already eaten most or all of what they ordered. If you don’t raise those concerns right away, they are less likely to be taken seriously.
3. Ask About Post-Repair Inspections
Many shops will offer post-repair inspection services for a small fee. Since this is mainly a diagnostic procedure, it doesn’t tend to be that expensive. You can get it done by the same shop that did the work, but it’s better to take it somewhere else. Otherwise, there will be obvious issues with bias. Expecting any company to critically investigate itself is not realistic or smart. This inspection should come with a printed report detailing any problems that may have been found. This is important because it gives you a way to verify that the repair job wasn’t done correctly.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company If Necessary
There will be times when a substandard mechanic or shop will simply refuse to take responsibility for anything. If you have inspected the work and raised your issues with management, and if they simply refuse to address your concerns, it is time to call your insurance company. They can certainly exert a little more pressure than you and so it can be helpful to get them involved in the process.
5. File A Formal Complaint
Most states have some sort of regulating body that governs auto repair. For instance, California has a “Bureau of Automotive Repair.” Most other states have similar agencies, so do a quick search online and find the correct agency for your state. If you cannot find anything else, you can always file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Getting a bad score from the BBB will definitely hurt a shop’s business, so they will be a little more motivated to listen.
Avoiding Substandard Shops
As we said earlier, the best way to keep these sorts of issues from happening is to choose the right repair shop in the beginning. Most repair jobs don’t involve these kinds of hassles, and that’s because most shops aren’t shoddy enough for the whole complaint process to be necessary. An auto shop depends on its reputation, as that is the best way to stand out from the competition. Even if they don’t think your complaint is valid, most of them will try to make sure their customers leave happy.
The most common way to filter out the dregs is to seek a recommendation from friends or family. You can simply ask them: “do you know of a good auto body shop near me?” to find out which repair shop they prefer. You should also ask them about their experiences with that shop.
Online research is another helpful tool, as you can look up all sorts of reviews and testimonials to help guide your decision. Just be aware that people sometimes try to “review-bomb” their competitors while “astroturfing” support for themselves. So, we can see that both good and bad reviews have the possibility of being fake. Because of this, you should never trust a single review or even a handful of them. It’s much better to look at the total picture and see if the majority of this company’s customers are pleased with the service.
When your car is returned to you without being properly repaired, you do not have to simply walk away and deal with the problem. You have paid that auto body shop to do a job and you have every right to make sure they do it correctly. Of course, choosing a reputable auto shop will keep you from having to deal with all that hassle. If you are looking for some hassle-free accident damage repair, you can call Elmer’s Auto Body at (856) 218-0202.