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  #1  
Old 03-01-2001, 09:41 PM
troydewan
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Hi


Sorry about the long post, but please take the time to read this as I really could use the help of people with more experience on this issue:

I am posting this to see what rights I have as an insured person whose car was wrecked and repaired poorly - the workmanship was very shoddy. Some of you may remember my posts last summer about the wreck, but I will go over the whole fiasco again. On June 1, the car was hit on the right side and caused extensive damage. We took the car to Eweing ******** in Plano, Texas which turned out to be a disaster. The insurnace adjuster estimated about $7000 of damage which later jumped to $15,000 when they got into the repairs. An entire new rear quarte panel, subframe, right rear door, among others things were replaced on the car as well as most of the new interior dash. Anyhow, ******** had the from about early June to October 24 which is when they returned the car with poor workmanship - ie: the doors had huge gaps and wouldn't close right and there were gaps wider than manufacturer's allowance in many of the body panels like the trunk and bumper were mis-alinged. Subsequently, the car was retunred and I later got it back about a month later with shoddy repairs. At this point (over the holidays) the insurance company (Progressive Insurance) as a recourse offered to let one of their chosen body shops (Caliber Collision) to repair the car again - they fixed the doors and made them better, but widened the gap between the B-pillar and got all the compound off the car and it even on the inside of the car.

I have kept the car since getting it back from Caliber Collission, but the worst part of having the car repaired was it looked great from far away, but up close and inside literraly (because the trunk was leaking water and rusting in the spare tire well). Moving along now, the car still (sigh) has problems, which I was determined to diagonose and I removed the rear bumper to find out where the water was coming in from.

THE FOLLOWING ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH THE CAR

-the trunk leaks water through the holes where the bumper mounts to car frame and in hole in and around the spare tire well area, there was surface rust everywhere especially around battery and the climate control device (i think that is what it is?) the right of the battery, and there was rust on the wires around the batter

-the radio was shorting out, probably from moisture and water on or near the wires

-there is a hole in the yellow vacuum lines in the right rear of the trunk I assume becuase that is where work was performed, and the master vaccum device back there keeps humming trying to correct for leak

-trunk lid is too high on right side

-doors still don't close right

-also, welds weren't finished off in the trunk area correctly (now how the f*** does a legitimate MB body shop not know to do that?)

Well, my mom pays 1400 dollars a month to have our vehicles insured and this entire fiasco is an abomination. I feel I have been victimized by the insurance company and Eweing Authaus at the same time. The adjuster from the insurance company should have totalled the car if it couldn't be repaired right and I'm thinking the B-pillar may be warped since doors won't line up right. And Ewing Autohuas' operation is a travesty - honestly, they are the most pathetic Mercedes Benz dealership we have ever run across.

In conclusion, I asking the knowledgeable people of this board, what to do considering my situation and how many body shops its been too. Also important, is Progresive said my only option is to have Eweing ******** repair their shoddy work since we got to take the car wherever we wanted to instead of place they reccomended. I have an appointment on Monday the 5th of March to take the car back into Eweing ******** and I have spoken with the body shop manager about the entire situation and he resorts to excuses for all his workamsnip that I know in all honesty is downright pathetic.

I honestly believe I'm getting "screwed" here, and I really don't know what to do. I shouldn't have to settle for a shoddily repaired car thats a disgrace to the Mercedes name, the work ethic of the body shop, and a tribute to how poorly an insurance company can estimate and determine the necessary repairs to a vehicle. My mom has thought of threatening the body shop with a lawsuit or reporting them to BBB. Also, I called Paul Hayata of MBUSA and left him a voicemail about this. Anyhow, please advise on my best options and what to do.

Much thanks,
Troy
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2001, 10:31 PM
Mr. BILL's Avatar
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Your Mom is on the right track. You need to find a Pit Bull that has a law degree. These guys (repair shop) will blow off a letter from the BBB, but as a matter of course, a good idea. You should also notify the State Board of Insurance. Your insurance company will not want them on their case, so that should get their attention.

Stay in the face of the MB regional rep, don't let him blow you off!

Most of all, you need an aggressive attorney who handles these kind of cases. You now have a car that is worth significantly less than before the accident, even if it was fixed properly! You have significant damages(financial), but don't try and "cheap out" on this by "doing it yourself".

They are counting on you getting frustrated and going away. If your case is as you say it is, a reputable lawyer who's any good at this, will take it on a contingency. That means he will take a pretty good chunk of what you get. But, again, if he's any good, he'll get you a bunch more than you will get on your own (so far zero).

I to say I told you so, but I suggested the same thing when you posted this last summer.





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  #3  
Old 03-01-2001, 10:38 PM
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We have a body shop but it will be very hard to give meaningful technical advice without seeing the car. Sounds like you really need legal advice.

Two pieces of info I can offer. First is that its probably harder to repair an improperly repaired car than to fix the original damage. Gap distances are the result of poorly set-up inner structure usually. Second, all cars that have been in major accidents are worth much less than otherwise. I have seen owners try to recover this value from the insurance company and it doesn't work because the only way to establish current value is to sell it.

My guess is that you will not be satisfied with the further repairs. I would seek legal advice on how to deal with the second part of my info.
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2001, 10:54 PM
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OK....have PATIENCE, this is long!

Advice From a body shop owner:

If the lines stillll don't match up and gaps stilllll are to big, then the Q-Panel wasn't welded on right. I am assuming the shop has tried to adjust the trunk and doors, but they are probably adjusted all the way. What does that tell you? Q-Panel wasn't put on right. Considering the LIST of problems you have, it sounds to me like the whole job was done poorly. Was this body shop a dealer? I know this might sound biased because I own a private shop, but the dealer really sucks. Customer satisfaction sucks because 1 customer for them isn't going to make or brake them. Follow me? Anyway...this is what I would do: Tell the insurance company that you are not pleased, the situation is ridiculous,it has gone on too long, and threaten to serve them with attorney's papers if they don't correct the problem asap. YOU SHOULD NOT have to start working on your car to fix the SHOP'S problems. State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, Progressive, and a few others were hit with a huge lawsuit recently because of this and the fact they were authorizing repairs with AFTERMARKET parts when they should have been OEM!!! Don't be surprised if the dealer installed an aftermarket Q-Panel on your car. (Don't think the dealer wont do this...they do!) I promise you the last thing Progressive wants/needs is a law suit, and the problem will get taken care of.

About a month ago, State Farm called me and told me they were sending me a customer that had a problem with the dealer, and State Farm was going to cover all charges to correct the problem. I said ok, and a 2001 Accord came in. At first it looked fine. The customer told me he was hit in the Q-Panel, he took it to the dealer, and 3 MONTHS later he got it back and it looked bad. The dealer and the insurance company told the owner they replaced the Q-Panel. So we looked at the car. Upon inspection, I saw Bondo-Scratches and dents in the Q-Panel in question. I went in the trunk, pulled back the carpet, and was disgusted as to what I saw. On the inside of the Q-Panel, there were about 40 small drilled holes with dried bondo oozing through. Well, they didn't change the Q-Panel, and lied to the customer about it. I sent State Farm an estimate for about 2700 to replace the Q-Panel and blend the paint on all the adjacent panels. They paid for it no questions asked. After tearing down the Dealers work, we found more screw-up's. Obviously this was a "lets-make-the-most-profit-we-can-by-using-crappy-workmanship" kind of job. We did the work in 2 weeks, and it came out very beautiful. The customer sent us, as well as a local news station a letter of gratitude. We are now his top shop. Lesson to be learned: I will make more money off of that customer in the future (from him, his friends, family, etc.) than I would have EVER made by doing a disgusting job like that the dealer did to save some money.

Anyway...getting back on subject!

Troy...I would ask around and find a different, reputable shop in your area. If you cant, find one in another area. Progressive, or the other shop, will pay to have the problem fixed. DO NOT settle for taking your car back to the same place. Make it clear with Progressive you will not do that. 1 of 2 things are going to happen with your car: Either it WILL get fixed right, or Progressive will total it. Just stay on top of it, and be prepared to get an attorney if necessary. You do not drive a Saturn, Troy. You drive a Mercedes and you should be treated as so. Please let us know what happens...
Peter
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2001, 10:55 PM
ymsin's Avatar
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Get a good lawyer to take up your case. From the facts you have disclosed, I would rate your chances of obtaining a judgment in your favour as "good", however, the only snag would be the quantification or assessment of damages.

But I didnt quite understand whether you were hit by a third party or otherwise as it would make a big difference on who to sue.

However, I assume that you are claiming on a comprehensive own-damage policy, and thus you are entitled to sue the workshop for negligence in discharging their duties, your insurance company for breach of comtract and negligence in restoring (as far as possible) your car to the original position prior to your accidnt, and you should be able to claim for damages based on the depreciated value of the car, mental anguish, and a BIGGER sum as a deterent to other shoddy workshops and insurance companies so that this WILL NOT HAPPEN again. In other words, you could be famous.

Btw - ths advise comes to you free (for now).

Best of luck!
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2001, 03:36 AM
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I agree with everyone, get a lawyer, and not only have him serve papers to the Body shop, but have him serve papers to the insurance company.

I would also think it would not be a bad idea to report both the insurance company and the body shop tot he BBB. A Mark on their BBB Record will also make them look bad.

Every person you speak with, take down every bit of info you can on the conversation, what was said, who you spoke with, who their supervisor is, what was promised, what was delivered, document everything.

Take pictures of the car before yout ake it back, Take pictures of another car that is perfect, take pictures of cars currently in their shop, get as much information and evidence as possible.

I would keep bugging them, keep hounding them, and keep threatening them.

Get a hold of the owner of the body shop, and explain to him that you are consulting with your attorney, and will be serving him papers. And make sure you make it clear that they will be held responsible for not only the proper repair of the car, but also any rental charges, and All attorneys fees, court costs, and everything else.

I feel bad that you have been ripped off, its shops like the one you described that makes other people think all shops that do repairs are crooked.

I would consult with an attorney who handles these cases all the time, I would even try to get him to show up at the body shop to talk with the manager. I would also see if the attoryney wants to hire a detective to investigate the shop, and catch them doing something they should not be doing.

I would also contact your local news media, the newspaper, news astations and all, and try to see if they are willing to expose the fraudulent body shop, and attach with it, progressives name.

The last thing the bodyshop and progressive want besides being sued for much more than it would cost them to fix it right, is to be bashed by the media.

I would also go to another insurance company and get insured by a different company other than progressive, and I would tell everyone youknow who uses progressive ot mention your story to them and then change to another carrier.

If it was me, thats what I would do. I would go to the ends of the earth until I was satisfied.

If the Insurance company wants to total the car after the fact, then you will have to make them give you full value for the car, because thats what it will cost you to replace it.

And what about all your hard work and modifications you have done? What about your compensation for your loss of time, headaches dealing with it, etc etc. All this is worth money, and a good attorney can probably not only get your car fixed, but get you money for pain and suffering.

Yes you read that correct. All of this is emotionally messing with you. If you are losing sleep over this, getting upset, angry, and stressed out, then this is also affecting you medically, and you need to be compensated for that too.

Don't give up, stand your ground, and make them do the job right.

Alon
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2001, 08:58 AM
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Before you start WWIII... remember its only a car! Let the lawyers straighten out the money, get a different car.

I get restless when I start seeing industry bashing as the result of these episodes.

If I recall the original repair was done by a MB dealer? Poor workmanship does not equal "fraudulent" business practice and in many instances is a qualitative judgement. As I said above, ANY car in a significant accident will have its value depriciated. This does not mean the body shop or the insurance industry is fraudulent. It does mean that no matter how good they are I will be able to tell a prospective buyer that an event has occured. Confidence is the essence of a good sale and the uncertainty of long term effects will stay with the car until the its value is gone.
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2001, 10:06 AM
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I agree with Steve, You have not een the victim of fraud. But, you have suffered a financial loss. You need to consult a professional (lawyer).

Steve is also right aout not starting WW III. It's always better to settle these matters out of court. However, in your case, as you have been "jacked around" you need to get their attention and let them know you won't just go away.

As far as loss of value to your car, you need to pursue the person who hit you for that. (Assuming is was not your fault).

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  #9  
Old 03-02-2001, 02:27 PM
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Good Day Troy,
I live in the DFW area myself and I've been to Ewing ******** before. It love going after thugs like these and I won ALL the time. Anyway, this is what you need to do and trust me, this has worked for me before with Nissan, GTE, Southwestern Bell, Pizza Hut and Stadium Toyota.

1. Copy (CC)ABC News Prime-Time Live's Sam Donaldson's Office in your next written communication with them. Also if you speak to them over the phone, tell them that Sam Donaldson's office is looking into this matter for Prime Time Live's possible nationwide broadcast. You can obtain Sam Donaldson's address in ABC's website.

2. Call Carla Winfrey's Office. (I believe she is with Ch5, may be Ch4, but you can call either one of these channels to be sure). She is one of the local TV investigative reporters and she very aggressively goes after these dealers who practise, in my opinion, pure thuggery. You may also contact Brett Shipp at CH8.

In case the above two measures don't work, get in touch with the local State (Texas) Reps and the Texas Attorney Generals Office. There is a special cell in the Texas AG's office that deals with these thugs. But, I believe the first two steps above should get your problem resolved in a hurry. Trust me, I have had GTE (currently Verizon) refund my money by overnight FedEX after they saw Sam Donaldson's Office being CC'd in my communication. Nissan paid $780 towards a compressor, Pizza Hut gave me $50 worth of coupons, Stadium Toyota performed $410 worth of repairs.
Good Luck and please keep us posted.
smk_texas
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2001, 11:57 PM
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I hope my post didn't come out as saying that I thought they were fraudulent. I was merely trying to give him a list of things I would possibly do if I were in the same situation.

Igenerally just let the lawyer handle it, but I also always document every conversation I have with companies when I call them for help, or when they call me for something.

That way I can reference back and say to them "well on this date at this time, I spoke to so and so and they told me this.

Thats how I got into college actually. They told me I needed to do certain things before they would accept me, I documented the call, and when I did those things and they tried to give me a hard time, I pulled out the documentation and read off to them what they had told me, and I of course got in.

My only point in what my response meant was that he should be as thorough as possible to make sure he gets the problem resolved properly.

I also did point out that shops that do those kinds of things are why some people think that all shops are bad, just because of a few bad eggs.

luckily I am friends with my body shop guy, and I would rather have him take 6 months to fix the car, I know when I get it back, it will look better than it did when it was new.

You wouldn't belive how good my dad's car looks, and he has been in several major damage accidents with it. in fact he has had his previous insurance co, drop his insurance because of all the money they had to pay out for repairs to his car, but my body shop friend made the car look better than new, and when he changed the color of the car, it came out looking perfect, no orange peel, and like glass, and you cannot tell at all what color the car used to be. He strips the car down and rebuilds basically the whole thing, painting everything, inside the panels with factory paints, the engine compartment with factory paints, and he can even match any paint perfectly, including mettalic paint and custom colors.

I've seen him take an extended cab pickup of his, extend the cab, put in suicide doors, and a long bed, and the thing looked perfect. I've also seen him take a wrecked 300e, and I mean the front was trashed, and return it to perfect condition with no hints of any accident.

I've seen him actually remove the outer vehicle sheet metal and replace it on some cars.

I have another friend who owns a body shop and he fixes limos for this limo company all the time, and the cars come out perfect.

He will spend extra time on the rack until he gets the car perfectly square and true.

Not all shops are crooked, and not all shops do bad work, but when one has done bad work and refuses to fix the problem, not only is it bad business, but it is cheating the customer out of his time, and money.

Most shops I know for body work are more than glad to repair someone elses work, that is if they remove all the work the other person did and redo it themselves.

Alon
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  #11  
Old 03-03-2001, 08:40 PM
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I said earlier, and to which I whole-heartedly agree, go get a good lawyer (not saying this coz I'm one .. ).

There are some battles in life not worth fighting for, and this is one of them.

Go on, let the legal minds work for you.
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