When Auto Body Repair Shops Cut Corners
Watch Out for Less-than-Honest Shops
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, one of our core values is uncompromising integrity. It has mean that we lost customers because we were unwilling to cut corners. We control our own integrity, but there are shops out there that don’t take the same standards. While you may save some money in the short run, you have to ask yourself where else are they cutting corners?
Today we want to go through a few of the ways that customers are often misled, lied to, or even cheated on their auto body repairs. Keep in mind, we aren’t singling out a specific shop in Billings, or anywhere. We want to show you that even if you get a cheaper product, you may not have won the game.
Understanding Auto Body Repair Charges
No matter what you purchase, there will always be a range of prices. For instance, let’s think about restaurants. You can head to the fast food joint and get a burger for a dollar or two. You can go to the sit-down place and get a burger for $5 or $6. Or you can go to the upscale restaurant and get a burger for $12. Fundamentally, they’re all offering beef on bread. But the quality and service are going to be vastly different.
When it comes to auto body repairs, there is a range of options. The quality and service will range depending on where you go. Knowing how the work is done, the materials used, and the core values of the shop are the best way to determine if you’re dealing with a reputable company.
6 Ways Collision Repair Shops Cut Corners
We all need to make a living. But we have to watch out for those businesses that cut corners so that they can make more money by selling an inferior product or service. Here are a few of the ways auto body repair shops do that.
Offer to Waive Deductible
We see this often when a hail storm sweeps through the area. Here’s how it works. You go in and get an estimate for hail damage repair; let’s say it comes out to $2,500. Insurance agrees to pay $2,000 (full cost, minus your deductible). When the work is done, the auto body repair shop collects the insurance money, and discounts your bill by $500. The problem is that they aren’t going to lose money on the deal, so they inflated the cost they reported to the insurance company. Bottom line, it’s sleazy and immoral at least, and illegal fraud at most.
If you see a collision repair shop that is offering to waive the deductible, they are skipping out on some sort of service, or reporting false costs to the insurance company. Regardless, it’s a red flag for you to go the other way.
Use of Aftermarket Parts
Sometimes you have to use aftermarket parts; the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) just isn’t available. Aftermarket are sometimes just as good as the original, but more often than not they aren’t. The problem isn’t with the part itself, it’s with how it is portrayed.
An auto body repair shop should be transparent with you. If your bill shows something was replaced, you have the right to know if it was original or aftermarket. Attempts to hide this information means they are likely cutting a corner.
No Breakdown in Estimate
Just as transparency is important when it comes to the type of part used, it’s important when it comes to what is all included in the repairs. For instance, would you trust a repair estimate that said:
Fix Dented Fender: $2,763
Or would you want it listed as to what is going to be done, what parts need replaced, and whether or not the vehicle will need repainted? Anything can be hidden in a vague estimate.
Skipping Parts or Repairs
When the estimate is transparent, it’s harder to skip replacing parts or repairs. But if a company doesn’t care about lying to their customers, they might do it anyway.
Much of the damage to a vehicle is not seen from the outside. Suppose a plastic part is bent, and there’s really nothing wrong with it other than some scuff marks, so the repair shop just puts it back on. But in their estimate, it’s listed as replaced. Skipping these parts means you (or likely your insurance company) are paying more, but getting less.
Even worse is when things should be repaired or replaced, but they aren’t. For instance, what if a part of your vehicle cracked and it should be replaced to maintain structural integrity. But instead, the repair shop welded the crack and made it look like it was replaced. Your vehicle is weakened, and another wreck could have far more serious consequences.
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we have an entire room dedicated to repairing aluminum. Why is that important? Because aluminum and steel don’t get along together (check out one of our previous blogs for details on that). When these two metals are mixed, corrosion happens.
Because of this, to do aluminum repairs you have to separate the repair facilities. Technically it can be done by installing what is essentially just a tent, but we have taken it further: a building for aluminum.
No Post Scan
All vehicles are now hooked up to computers. Before the repair process starts, a pre-scan shows all of the issues that are coming up. This gives a clear guideline on what needs replaced. Some shops will do the pre-scan, do the repairs, and call it good.
A post-scan, however, is necessary too. During the repair process other issues can come up. Wires can be damaged, parts bumped, and countless other problems. Without a post-scan, there’s no way to ensure everything is fully restored.
Come to Big Sky Collision Center for the Best Auto Body Repair Shop
Our goal is to be the best collision repair shop in the area. That doesn’t happen when you cut corners. If you want your vehicle repaired the right way, give us a call at 406-259-6328 and we’ll get you scheduled.