Shouldn’t Be Driving

We had a 2014 vehicle towed into us this passed January. The owners of the car were a young married couple. This was the husband’s car and I am pretty sure it was a lease. He was driving driving home from work one night, since it was winter it was already dark and where we live in the winter the roads get really icy. We have this thing called black ice, which means that there is ice on the road and you can’t tell, usually ice is reflective because it is water and shiny but black ice is not. You cannot tell if there is black ice on the road. Well, the husband rode over some black ice and his car ended up going off road.

The next morning after this when I got into work i saw that we had an assignment from this couple’s insurance company and I called the number listed, which ended up being the wife’s, she answered and told me that the car was being towed into us because her husband had crashed into a tree and went in the ditch. I asked her if he was alright, she said yes and that he had just broken is wrist. I then told her I would call once her car got here and then we would start our estimate and let her know what was going to happen.

Usually when we get a car towed into us it’s a fifty fifty chance that it will be totaled. It just depends on how new the car is, since this car was a 2014 there was a good chance that we would be able to fix it. When the car came in, we saw at once that it was going to total, it had a tree branch stuck in the engine. This car was so smashed it surprised us that he only broke his wrist.

Earlier this week I received another assignment for this couple but with a brand new 2016 vehicle, I called the wife again and asked her what happened. She said that the new car was being towed into us sometime that same day. Her husband was driving again and wasn’t hurt in this accident. I said that was good and that I would call her once the vehicle arrived. When it came, my manager said at once that it was totaled. The husband while driving felt light headed and hit a pole and rolled the car. It was destroyed. Again, we couldn’t believe he didn’t get more hurt.

So in a manner of five months this man has totaled two vehicles, one brand new and one only two years old. This man should not drive anymore cars.

Thanks! Vera

Too much free time- Part 2

Part 2 of  the fun!

The next day he comes into the shop, and we all groan silently, he says that he has a couple things to tell us. One, we are to use all OEM parts, we jsut stare at him for a second and than the manager says to him, yes don’t worry we will use all OEM parts on your car. Two, he wants us to save all his old parts including all the clips, this isn’t unusual so we say no problem we will return all your parts to you. Three, he wants us to waive his deductible, we tell him we cannot because it is against our company’s policy, he says that some shops do and we say yes some do but we do not, it is against our company’s policy to do anything with the deductible, if his deductible applies to his claim we have to collect it. He says OK, he goes to leave but before he goes he reminds us to use only OEM parts and to save his old parts. We say we will.


He comes back about two hours later to say that he has two more cars at his house that he wants us to write estimates on.  Our manager asks him if has one of the cars here with him. He says no because the cars do not drive and the tabs are expired. Our manager tells him that we need the car to look at it to see the full damage on it, other ways it would be a complete guess. That the price could go up or down once we do see it. The husband says that all he wants is just to know around how much it will be. He than goes to say that one in a 1991 car that has a ding in the door and the other is a 1996 car that has a dent in the hood. My manager says that it will be impossible to know until we see them so we can see how big the dent and the ding is, the husband says that they are very small. All customer say this. My manger says to him that he will need to bring in the cars, the husband says that he can’t drive them because the tabs are expired and they don’t run. My manger’s patience are running thin at this point and asks the customer why he even wants an estimate on them then? The husband says to just see how much it will cost. My manager says that he will need to see the cars than, so once you get them running bring them in. The husband finally relents and goes to leave but before he does he reminds us to make sure to use all OEM parts on his car and to save all his parts and asks us to see about waiving his deductible, then he walks out.

His car is still here, so we’ll see how the week goes. I have asked my manager to move up this guys car in the line so we can get him out sooner so we do not have to deal with him anymore. I hope we have at least one day that he does not stop him to remind us about those OEM parts.

Have a good day!


Too Much Free Time Part 1

We have a good relationship with our local tow company, we use them for every one of our customers that need a tow and they will always try to get their customers to take their car to us. So a couple of days ago our tow company dropped off a vehicle to us, he usually stays and chit chats with us but he was in a hurry because he wanted to be gone before the customer stopped in. Apparently he had had enough of the customer in the few moments that it took him to get their car hooked up to his truck. He could not get out of our shop fast enough. We were all put on guard waiting for this customer to come in, how annoying or rude can someone be so that the tow driver didn’t want to see them again?

When the customer finally came in, it was a husband and wife, and they were the sweetest, funniest couple. They were laughing and made us laugh, they were confused and a little shaken up with the situation but we know that we need to have a little patience with our customers. They are never upset with us just with the situation that they are in, so we never take it personally. You can’t in this business, all people want is a little understanding and guidance because 90% of the them have never been in an accident before. So after they left we were talking about the tow driver and wondering why he thought that this couple was that rude or annoying. Well, we found out.

It took them three days after the accident to file their claim but they came into our shop everyday wanting to know when it will be finished and if we have sent copies of the estimate to the insurance company. We have told them every time that we cannot send the estimate to the insurance without a claim number and that we won’t know when it will be done because we need to send it to the insurance first so they can approve it. We have asked them everyday to file a claim and it took them three days to finally do that, all the while still coming in and asking when it will be done.

The husband has stressed many times that he wants all OEM parts on his car, which are Original Equipment from the Manufacturer. For example, it would be a brand new bumper for a Ford made in a Ford factory as opposed to a used bumper or a bumper for a Ford made at a facility that is not a Ford factory. We told him many times that we will gladly use all OEM parts if his insurance allows us to. We we order parts we have to abide with the insurance company’s guidelines and policy’s and it usually depends of if the customer has paid to have OEM parts on his or her policy. So we say to him that once he files his claim we will find out about the OEM parts. The next day I get a call from his insurance, his adjuster is on the line with me and his is also along with his wife. The four a us are on a three way call together, the adjuster is letting us know that he does in fact have OEM parts on his policy and we are to use only OEM parts. I say no problem and that we will get them ordered today, the husband and wife say OK as does the adjuster. All four of us agree that we will use OEM parts on his car. We hang up. Five minutes later the husband calls me at the shop and confirms again that we are to use all OEM parts, I say yes we know because I was just on the call with the adjuster. He seemed satisfied at that point.


The Bragger

Every once in a while we will get a customer in our shop that thinks they are just awesome. I call them the bragger, for obvious reasons. There are many reasons that they think they are awesome. It could be because they live in a fancy house, have a lucrative job or because they think that their car is just the best thing in the world. I have seen people with a car that’s ten years old and they treat it as a their baby. Sometimes the car will be in good condition and sometimes not, it doesn’t really matter. It’s their car and it’s their baby. Most times though it is not a car that you would even put on a pedestal when it’s brand new. Today’s topic is a male customer that came in to our shop thinking that every aspect of his life is just the bees knees.

If I had to guess he was either in his late 70s to early 80s. He owned a 2015 vehicle, it was a sedan of a car company with a good reputation, not super expensive but not a cheap car. He walked in the first time and announced his full name, he said I’m First name, Middle Initial, Last Name. Every time he called that is the first thing that he said every time and he called a lot. He was retired and we had his baby in our shop and he called every day to make sure that we were taking could care of his car. We only had his car in our shop for ten days, including the weekend. If he didn’t call he would stop in and announce his full name. I swear, I’m not lying, he would seriously announce his full name before he said anything else.

He wasn’t in an accident, he was going to his high school reunion and his car had some minor scrapes and bumps in it from just normal wear and tear of driving the vehicle, he wanted it to look brand new for the reunion so he could show off the car to his fellow classmates He told us this. We worked on all four sides of the car that’s why we had it for ten days, he is an old man and I’m sure he bumped into many things and scraped his car a lot.

So when he came in the first time and after he announced his full name and that he used to be a head honcho at a carpet cleaning company, he told us what he wanted us to fix and why. He sat down while our manager went out and took pictures and assessed the damage so he could write this guys estimate. While the manager was outside, our customer told me all about his life and how excited he was about this reunion. He went to school with many famous people. People that are successful today, he named a few and I had no idea who they were. He went on to talk about his job that he is retired from now, he was not the company’s president but the president wouldn’t have been able to live without him on the job, everybody loved him so much and he pretty much single handed-ly made the company what it is. Everyone came to him with their issues because he could solve them all. Since he is retired he has a lot of time on his hands and he goes back to that company now to visit it and see how things are and even though all the people that are currently working there were not employed when he was they know him by reputation. I feel like I know more about this guy than I do about some of my friends!  I even know the address for his old companies website! Just for proof…

I need to mention again, that he talked about his reunion, the famous and successful people that he went to school with, his job and his car every time he called or stopped into the shop. He thought he was so great and that we just thought the world of him. He wanted us to understand how important he was. It made me sad, to see this old man act this way. It was almost like he felt so inadequate because he was so old and not as useful as he once was that he needed to tell the world how important he was when he was younger. It was sad but also extremely annoying. I dreaded everyday that we had his car because I would have to sit through hearing his life story over and over again. I was always polite and acted like I was interested but as the days went on I gave him the impression that I was listening when I really wasn’t, he never noticed because he loved telling the story of his life.

The things I put up with…



The Repeat Customer

The way a body shop makes money is when people crash their cars. Its terrible I know. As long as people drive cars body shops will always be around. However, we do have “favorite” customers and those would be the repeat customer. Most people will go their whole lives with maybe one or two accidents under their belt, a small percentage will never have an accident but there are those people that car their car more than they don’t and we love those people! I know, its terrible. Having a car accident is a terrible thing but as long as ever one survives then I feel I can be a little happy about the repeat customer. I am happy of the fact that since I have been working in a collision shop that I have not had a vehicle in here to repair that has been involved in a fatality. Knock on wood.

We have had this one guy in our shop six times. Two of those time have only been to fix the side view mirror and then the molding around the door, nothing major, we call those wear and tear fixes. The other four times have been with him in accidents. The first two of those four were with his 2011 vehicle. He was driving home from work, he works the night shift, and he merged over a lane on the freeway and didn’t see the car that was in that lane and he scrapped up against the side of the other car. We had his car in the shop for two weeks. Needless to say, he had quite an expensive rental bill. Than about three months later he was back in our shop again. This time he misjudged the distance of where a poll was and clipped his front bumper. When I say clipped his first bumper I mean completely smashed in his front bumper. We had his car in for about a week that time.

We went another three months or so and he was back. He had gotten a new vehicle that was a 2016, it only had  about 4300 miles on it. He was on a on ramp trying to merge with the traffic on the freeway again, he says that there was another car that would not let him in and it got to the point where he just had to get over so he did and the tow vehicles smashed into each other. His vehicle had to be towed into us this time. The other times he was ale to drive it to us. We had this new 2016 vehicle in our shop for literally one month. It was the worst accident yet. Then one month later, he was back in with the same damage to the car. We had just replaced the whole front and left side with brand new parts and now they are all damaged and need to be replaced again. The mileage this time was 6400. So he basically drove another hundred miles and crashed his car again. It was not as bad as the first time we only had his car here for about a week and a half. He was never hurt in any of these accidents or I wouldn’t be writing about it.

All but the two that were the wear and tear repairs went through his insurance. Can you just imagine how much they have hiked up his rates by now. It has been less than a year and he has made four claims on his insurance. Wow. I wonder when he will be back in here for more repairs. He picked up his car the last time about two weeks ago. In this kind of situation I’m always torn, I never want people to get into an accident because the risk for serious injury is always high but this is how I make my living.

Thanks for listening!




This is a bad one

So we had this vehicle towed into our shop last night, the guy who was driving the vehicle hit the car in front of him head on and he smash his face against the windshield, he was not wearing his seat belt and his head cracked the glass and made it spider web out. He ended up breaking his nose and spraying blood everywhere. It was on the windshield, steering wheel, dashboard, drivers seat, drivers door and it actually ended up on the passengers seat and door. It was everywhere, he was hard to believe that it all came from just his nose but it did and it was everywhere.

Now, we are not allowed to go into a vehicle if it has any sort of human or animal bodily fluid in them in any amount. It is consider a bio hazard and we have to get a professional company to take the car to so they can get all the blood out or “other” fluid that is in the car. With this vehicle we will have to have it towed down to them and can only start working on it once they clean all the blood out of it. To do that they will have to take apart everything that the blood is on, clean it, then put it all back together again. For example, for the blood that is on the seat, they will have to take the upholstery off and thoroughly clean it and then put it back on. This doesn’t take too much time because they have the tools and equipment to do a good and fast job but it the cost that is a killer. It is really expensive. This vehicle is a 2006 model year, and it’s only worth so much. If we didn’t have to deal with the blood and only had to fix just the collision damage it, then the vehicle would be in good shape. However now we have to add this bill for the blood into the damage of the vehicle and it’s possible that the vehicle will total.

In all honesty, no one wants to have a vehicle total. It’s just a matter of money and worth of the vehicle. For insurances, it just depends on what will cost less, if the amount of damage exceeds the value of the vehicle then they deem it a total. We, the body shop., hate when cars total because we don’t make money off of a total, we make our money on fixing cars. And of course the owner never wants their car to total, they were just in an accident and that is stressful enough, they don’t want to worry about not having car until they can purchase a new one.

My manager has told the insurance company the situation and the owner about the cost of removing all the blood, the insurance needs us to submit some forms and invoices just to document and they want to review everything before they make a decision. The owner however, is very upset and told us that they will come and clean the blood out. That would seem like a good idea and we actually could do that for the customer but it is not allowed. The EPA would probably shut us down if anyone other than a professional company cleaned this blood out, plus the insurance wouldn’t allow that to happen either, it just all comes down to it not being safe. It’s a bummer too because the vehicle is repairable but it will probably total with the cost of the cleaning the blood.

So as it stands it’s 50/50 right now, I hope that the insurance sees the potential of repairing this guys car and I know he does too. That’s it for now, stay tuned for more stories of a body shop


car crash


Emotional Distress

Way back, like a month or two ago, I received this assignment from an insurance company. I will receive an assignment when a customer files a claim with their insurance company, then either the customer or the insurance company picks a repair shop and then the insurance company sends that shop all the important information regarding the claim. For example, it will come with the name of the insurance company, the claim number and the name and number of the adjuster who is handling the claim, along with all the customers info and how to contact the customer. It will also have the vehicle information along with the details of the claim. So then I call the customer when I receive the assignment and get them scheduled in for an estimate.

So I call this customer, I won’t say anything about her except that she is a women. Just to start, we have issues with men as well. This first story just happens to be about a women. So I call her and we decide on a good day and time for her to come in for an estimate. She comes and is one of the more pleasant customers that we get. We actually don’t get many rude customers because we try to do what ever we can to make this experience as easier as possible for them. So she comes in and is very nice, the estimator writes up her estimate while she’s waiting and her and I are just talking about silly things. The estimator gets done and starts to tell her about the damage to her vehicle. He tells her that the worst case scenario for days to repair will be a full two working weeks, so pretty much ten days but we will try to get it done before that. She says she needs to think on what she is going to do because she does not have rental coverage on her policy and needs to figure out what she can do about getting a car. She says that she will call us once she figures that out.

A couple days go by and she calls and asks me to giver her the numbers to the local car rental places that are near here so she can figure out who will give her the cheapest price. She then asks me again on how long the repairs will take, I tell her again that more than likely it will be about two weeks but we will try our hardest to be done sooner. She says OK and will call us back. A couple days later she calls back to say that she has figured out the rental but is stressing also about her deductible amount, which is $1000. She asks us if we can help her out with that. I tell her we cannot waive her deductible for her. That’s up to the insurance, if she is responsible for it, she needs to pay us the full amount. Since the accident was her fault her insurance will not be waiving her deductible. She says she will call us back to let us know when she can drop off.

A whole week goes by and on a Thursday she calls to set up her drop off appointment for the following Monday. That way the vehicle won’t sit here over the weekend not being worked on since we don’t work Saturday or Sunday. Monday comes and she drops off her vehicle. I do need to say that during this whole process she is still being extremely nice and we are as well. She has made no indication that she is upset with us in the least. So she drops off and we drive her down to the rental car place so she can pick up her car. The next day, our manager decides to bump up her vehicle in the line of progress. He wants to have it completed this week so she doesn’t have to pay for a rental for a second week. So we put her vehicle ahead of other vehicles and get hers done by Friday. 5 days total. We have given her updates throughout the week letting her know that her vehicles progress is coming faster than we thought. I call her on Friday to tell her that her vehicle is complete and she can come at anytime before we close to pick it up. She is so happy.

She gets to the shop around 4pm after having dropped her rental off at the rental shop. My manager explains to her that we bumped her car ahead in the line to get it fixed for by today so she wouldn’t have to pay for the rental any longer. She expresses her gratitude over and over. I then tell her that she will be receiving a survey and hopes she lets us know how happy she was. She says she’ll take the survey. After she pays her deductible and signs the paperwork we had her the keys and she leaves. Yea, another satisfied customer…until we receive her survey.

Our survey is ten questions long, most questions are on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most happy, a couple are yes and no questions.  For example, we ask “on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the quality of repair?” ” was it necessary to bring your vehicle back for repairs?” and so on. She answered mostly 9s or 10s and said yes in the positive. However, she gave us two terrible remarks on two questions that brought our score down tremendously. She gave us a 6 on the quality of repair and 6 on if she would recommend us to friends and family. We were shocked. My manager called her to ask her what she thought was bad about the repair job and if she wanted to bring it back to us to fix. She told that the repairs were great and everything that we did was awesome. My manager asked her then why she gave us such a low number on the repairs and why she wouldn’t recommend us in the future. She said flat out, and I’m not joking here because I was listening to the conversation, she said that she gave us that low number because of the emotional distress she had to go through with this accident. What?!?

My manager said that he was sorry for all that and then they hung up. We can’t fix that. How do you fix that? How crazy are people sometimes to actually do that and admit it? Oh boy. Let’s just hope that she decides to go to another shop next time because you can’t fix crazy.

OK, gotta go now, hope you enjoyed that antidote, another crazy customer coming soon


Side note:  I was looking for a photo booth rental in Ann Arbor last week and I found one that had a kick butt green screen effect that made it look like I was in Jay Leno’s garage. I had a dozen awesome cars behind me, very cool.  I will have to download the photo so I can share it with you guys on my next post.




Dear Car People

Hi everyone, full disclosure here, this is my first time blogging and I’m going to attempt to share some of my experiences in the car repair business. I have been working with the same company for almost two years now and have a ton of stories. I will not mention the company I work for or any info on customers, such as names (obviously), their vehicles or the city and state in which we live and work. I’m going to keep this fun and I hop I don’t offend anyone with these stories but I’ve learned a lot here about people. Which typically happens when you work in the customer service industry. Hope you all enjoy the experience!