Saturday, June 07, 2008

Auto Drama

In addition to the bumper episode the starter needed to be replaced. Being tired of the nonsense, I decided to shop around. My mechanic (A) was charging $140 ($70 for the part) if he could get the starter which would take him a few days since his car was down. Plus I had to take the car into another station because he doesn't have a lift. Here's the catch. If the shop had to get the starter it would cost more. Enter Mech-B who also wants the bumper repair job (more on him later). He was able to get the work done the same day. In addition he replaced the side lamp. The cost for the starter $140 tax incl. plus his labor of $80. The total job came to $230, which was a good deal since Good Neighbors 1 and 2 told me the lamps are close to $100. The only thing I didn't like was the fact Mech-B never called me to tell me the additional work he was doing.

Now let me take you back to the day after the accident. Mech-A took me to a collision shop who didn't give me a quote then and there but told me to check w/the other party's insurance co. to see if they were going to pay for the damage. New to the game I really didn't get it and I was crazed cause my baby was naked w/no bumper. He verbally walked me through the process, told me who to contact, etc. Seemed like he was looking out for my interest. He also told me if the insurance peeps. didn't find in my favor he would give me a good price. Riight.
Lesson #1: Get a quote. If not then, bring the car back later for one. All you want to do is get your car fixed. The only bottom line is what's the price(not how much is the insurance company is offering).

Now since he was the person Mech-A suggested, when it came time for the adjuster's visit I left the car at his shop. When I went to pick it up he handed me the report and asked me if I was going to leave the car. Since I still had no clue as to whether they were going to pay and the car was driveable I took it with me. A girl still had to get to the JO. By this time I was starting to get some vibes about this guy.
Lesson #2: Never let a mechanic know what the insurance company is willing to pay. Have the adjuster see the car away from the body shop, especially if the car is driveable.

Earlier on Mech-B who works on my block, left a note on my window saying he could do the repairs. When I called him he gave me a rough quote of $1,700-$1,800 and told me if I got more $ from the insurance peeps the rest was mine to keep. Sounded good. And that was the first time anyone had said anything like that. Now while this seems like something I would know. 1- it isn't everyday I have a car accident and 2-Common sense isn't always common(thanking my pops for that one).

A few more days go by and I'm still driving. That is until the starter died--as a matter of fact I was on my way w/Good Neighbor 1 to get a quote from his guy.

I decide to go w/Mech-B for the starter job. Although it's going to cost more, I'm able to have my baby the same day. When he returned the car I asked him for an estimate. He came back with $1,000, $500 of which would be for parts. However, that didn't include the paint job. His words were, "you could drive it as is or I can get you an estimate for the paint job once the bodywork was done." Mulled it over a day or so. I don't think so! Yeah the price sounded okay but then I'd be on the hook for more cash when I decided to get it painted. Ah hell naw(common sense kicking in)!

Finally Good Neighbor 1 and I were able to catch up w/his body man, who after inspecting and going into his shop came back with a $700 rate. What? I digress....First of all I never called Mech-A's body guy back once I found out I was paying for the job myself. The deal: I assumed his good rate would have been somewhere between $1,500 and $1,700 since he knew the adjuster put a $1,900 valuation on the job. Besides, what would I a novice and mere woman have known. Riiiiiiiight!

Back to Good Neighbor 1's guy - I missed the word complete as part of his quote. So I like an idiot asked how much for the paint job. He said to me that's the total price. Well hell. I told him I'd bring him the car tomorrow. Good Neighbor 1 ragged me to no end. A note about Good Neighbor 1. I had no idea he'd had a collision shop in a past life so when he originally told me the job should be no more that $800 I was like how could that be.
Lesson #3: When in doubt ask questions and then ask again till they break it down in real talk.

Savings - $1,000.
The absense of guilt because I won't feel like I got taken - Priceless.

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