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Cheap Collision Repair Estimate...Beware

 

Article by Don Stec
6-1-2014

He phoned to say…sorry you didn’t get the job. The other shops bid was $700 dollars lower than yours was. The Insurance Company chose the other shop.

We had written him a collision repair estimate for his vehicle. He had been a customer for many years and we want our customers to be customers for life. I could hear the disappointment in his voice. He had placed his trust in us for all these years and now he felt we were charging him too much. A business relationship was being destroyed. But more important we had developed a friendship and that too was now in question.

I could imagine how he felt. Did he now think we had been overcharging him for all those many years?

I had to do something to regain his trust and friendship. I asked him to count the lines of repair they have on their estimate. He said about six lines. I said I have a page and a half. I can’t believe they have all the damage listed. Look at the estimate and tell me if they caught the buckle in the roof. There’s nothing about the roof he said.

Did they catch the dent in the wheel? There’s nothing about a wheel.

If the wheel is damaged as badly as yours is and the roof has a buckle, it is a good indication of possible frame damage…There’s nothing he said.
Obviously there is no wheel alignment either I said. No, he replied.

Did they write to gauge the frame? No he said.

It’s easy to write a cheap estimate and give excuses later. A common excuse is to blame the vehicle owner. “I repaired the vehicle as per the estimate. If there was additional damage, you the car owner should have pointed it out to me.”

Vehicle owners have to trust the shop to write a complete estimate. Then they have to depend on their insurance representative to make sure the estimate is complete to restore their vehicle to a pre-loss condition.

I often had to argue with insurance adjusters in the past. Why is the cheapest estimate the correct one I would ask? Because your estimates are too expensive was the reply I most often got. I replied, but I can always justify what I write as necessary for a complete repair.

I realize that Insurance Companies must contain repair costs. However, they do have a contract with the policyholder and an incomplete repair is not upholding their part of the contract.

In this particular case, the adjuster told me because you find too much damage. Well isn’t finding all the damage the correct way to return the vehicle to a pre-loss condition I asked? Yes but you have unnecessary repairs. Name them I said.

We went over the estimate. The adjuster acknowledged the other estimate has 6 lines and I had a page and a half. It’s simple I said. Call the other shop and ask them why the damage is not listed on their estimate.

He called back later and said they had seen the roof buckle but did not feel it was related to this collision. Obviously then, they did not see the wheel damage did they I asked? They did not look at the wheel he said. If the wheel is damaged as badly as this one and there is a buckle in the roof, it is a good indication of frame damage. They also missed the frame gauging and the wheel alignment. He agreed and approved my estimate.

I phoned the vehicle owner and advised him my estimate was approved.

When can I get an appointment he said?

In conclusion, several years later, this same insurance adjusted got in a collision with his new car. Since the car was new he took it to the dealer for an estimate. The dealer told him he was not equipped to repair frame and suspension on the car and doubted any one in Shasta County was either. The Insurance adjuster said to the dealer, “I know someone who can repair it.” He brought the car to Coachmaster and we repaired it.

Coachmaster is a full service collision repair shop. We specialize in complete vehicle geometry collision repair. We have the largest frame machine in Northern CA. Utilizing laser beam technology and 3-D imaging for the most accurate repair possible. We have also painted thousands of vehicles since the shop opened in 1969. Contact us at 6851 Eastside Rd. Redding CA. or call at 530-243-1310