Body Shop Satisfaction

Q: After a car accident, I had my car repaired at a body shop my insurance company referred me to. But I'm not happy with the work that was done--is there anything I can do about it?

After a car accident, your insurance company may recommend that you go to one of its preferred auto body shops to have the damage repaired. Choosing a preferred shop may expedite the repair process, but as with any auto body shop, the possibility exists that you may not be satisfied with the work that was done or the parts that were used.

Fortunately, there may be something you can do about it. Often the best and quickest solution is to talk to the body shop directly, especially if the work done on your car was relatively minor. Explain what your complaint is and what you would like the repair shop to do about it. A service-oriented facility might be more than willing to try to make things right. Further, in some states, repair shops registered with the state are legally responsible for safe and proper repairs.

But what if the repair shop is uncooperative? First of all, don't sign anything saying that you're satisfied with the work done on your car. Next, it may be time to involve your insurance company. If you have a legitimate gripe, there's a chance your company will step in and straighten it out with the repair shop. You can contact the company's claims department directly or, better yet, go through your insurance agent. Depending on the state, some insurance companies that use preferred shops may stand behind the work and guarantee quality.

If you still aren't getting anywhere, contact your state's insurance division and find out if you have any recourse (e.g., arbitration). As a last resort, you might think about hiring a lawyer if the damage to your vehicle was substantial.

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