Being a vehicle owner, the chances of your vehicle being damaged is greater than most people think. Just the other day, we heard someone say that he hit a construction cone causing damage to his front bumper. What was interesting was that he said the cone came spinning down toward him… from the sky! “It must have come from the bridge above the highway”, he said. His story just shows just how unexpected anything or anyone can damage your vehicle.
Knowing that, vehicle owners should know their choices of auto body repair shops before they are in an accident or have damage to their vehicle. Why? So that a vehicle owner is more prepared, steady-minded and have an auto body shop you can trust to take care of you.
Here’s what our friends at ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) have to say about choosing an auto body shop:
Many times when people are involved in an accident they think “the insurance company will take care of it for me.” In fact, it is your responsibility to choose who will do the repairs for you. This is not a choice that should be taken lightly, as it can involve protecting a major investment.
- Start shopping for a body shop before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
- Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Even in this high-tech era, old-fashioned word-of-mouth reputation is still valuable.
- Check with your local consumer organization regarding the reputation of the facility in question. Ask about the number of complaints, if any, and determine how the complaints were resolved.
- Always try to visit the shop before making the decision on who will repair your vehicle.
II. At the Shop
- Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Ask how long the shop has been in business.
- Look for a neat, well-organized facility with modern equipment. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend specific repair procedures and equipment for the repair of their vehicles. Ensure that the facility you choose is trained in these procedures and has the proper equipment.
- Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff willing to answer all of your questions.
- Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area: civic and community service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, customer service awards.
- Many times you can see the vehicles being repaired by the shop. Are you impressed by the type of vehicles the company is repairing and the way the vehicles are being handled?
- Also look for signs that the staff is technically competent, such as trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work training from I-CAR (the Inter-Industry ASE Conference on Auto Collision Repair, and certifications—a national standard of technician competence issued by the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
- All policies, guarantees, and methods of payment should be posted or explained to your satisfaction.
If anything, remember that It Is Your Car! It’s Your Choice! Not the insurance company that chooses where you have your vehicle repaired.