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March 11, 2013

Sharon asks…

What can we do to get our money back on a new paint job on our car we were ripped off on?

We are currently in San Diego, where this has been taking place….

Between the hours of late March 17th and early 18th both of our cars were keyed pretty badly, dinged up and stereos stolen. One vehicle was totaled out and the other ( 2005 Ford Explorer ) came to about $5,245.96 worth of damage.

We found a guy, Steve Adams, with a shop, Nu-Life Auto Body, that would paint it within the mount estimated by the insurance company. We asked him how much it would cost out of pocket to get it painted slightly different. Our vehicle was one solid color and we asked how much he would charge to paint the top half black with a pinstripe separating the black from the stock color. He told us that it would stay within the price range if not under what the insurance company issued.

He told us that he paints his vehicles in a different location than where he lives but to bring the car to him and he would have it back to us within 4 days with a stage 3 paint job looking better than a professional paint job. It took us about 25 minutes to get to his home where we were instructed to drop off the car on April 5, 2009.

We received a call April 8, 2009 stating we could pick up our car. When we arrived we were devastated! The car was not painted properly and significant damage was done to the exterior of the car. The top part of the car was not sanded and was just painted over the existing stock color. We knew this because the black paint was already chipping off around the windows. The windows have marks where he slipped numerous times with a sander and I do not think there is anything we can do to repair them other than buy new. The mirrors, tail lights, headlights and rims all have over spray and sander marks on them. The headlights were damaged as well and added into the estimate. We bought the new headlights and have a receipt showing they were brand new and were inserted right before the car had been re-painted. The lower part of the car looks very matte, not glossy like it was before. There are sanding marks everywhere and the key marks are still very visible. The dings were filled with bondo which is noticeable along with a dent he apparently added while removing one. The paint has bubble marks in it as well as dirt that was sprayed over. You can see where spots were missed completely and the surface feels like a fingernail filer. There are so many large run marks that it is unreal. Door jams were not painted, under the hood was not painted and there is paint on the black stock running boards.

This paint job is not even a stage one . We feel totally taken advantage for and are not sure how to go about this in a legal manner. He said to bring the car back up and he would strip it and fix it but we are very hesitant being as he damaged everything on the exterior of the car. We have 5 children and my husband has to go out to sea. I need this car because I have to take my children to and from school, dr. appts, school appts., and to run daily errands. I cannot drive a manual so using my husbands car is out of the question. We got this paint job while the children were on spring break and my husband was home so I would not have any problems getting anywhere. Geico has already closed the case so I cannot afford to get a rental car while this guy continues to mess up the vehicle worse than he already has.

The guy was already sent the check of $5,245.96 and said the paint job totaled $4,800. He did not order any aftermarket parts that were included in the estimate. He also did not buy the We are so frustrated we do not know what to do at this point. of course a million things are popping up but we do not want to let this guy slip through without paying up for what he has done. Steve told us that he keeps his word and that he would do “anything” he could to make sure we are happy. After asking for the money back he refused and stated he had already $1,000 into the paint job. Steve said that for the hassle he would give us a $10,000 paint job but we would have to pay $600 out of pocket if we wanted the door jams painted.

We are very dissappointed that we trusted this man to take care of our vehicle after the damage that occurred to it. We are very unhappy that he he drove our car until he ran the gas out of it as well. I do not know where he paints his cars but obviously this man does not have a shop at all.

The insurance company states there is nothing they can do because he was not a geico repair facility , which we were not told about any we could go to. We were informed to “Take the vehicle to your choice of shop” and that is what we did. The check was written to him only and he has already now cashed it so we cannot get it stopped.

We do not know what to do and we need as much advice as we can get, without sarcasm.
Here is the link to before and after pictures…

Administrator answers:

GEICO is 100% correct — you took the vehicle to the repair shop of your choice. They have fulfilled their part of the insurance contract by paying you for your loss. He sounds like a total back-yard, bondo-Billy repair shop so even if you sued his socks off, which would take months and thousands of dollars, he probably has nothing anyway. I would probably drive the car to a local attorney and go ahead and pay him/her a small retainer (usually about $250) and let him/her inspect the problems first hand. Be sure and take PLENTY of really good quality photos of all the problem areas. Get the lawyer to write a letter to the dink outlining the issues that need to be addressed and sit his sorry-a** down and tell him that you are willing to give him ONE more shot at fixing his mess. Try not to be combative but let him know that you are prepared and ready to see the judge if he doesn’t at least get the paint and glass issues corrected. Just try to minimize the collateral damage overall in this situation — you’re NOT going to get your money back and I really doubt you are going to get a super deluxe custom paint job but if you can at least get an acceptable repair then you can chalk this nightmare up to experience and call it a day. Talk to the repairer, keep an open mind and remain professional. If it all goes to hell then at least you have a lawyer that has seen the problems first-hand and a stack of photos when you head into court.
Good luck.

Linda asks…

Was in a car crash – ribs hurt, whiplash, i don’t know what i should do?

Hi, well i was in a car and my friend was driving basically due to aqua planing we rear ended a car at 40mph, i could not breathe for a while had bad pain under ribs and they took me to hospital in an ambulance because they thought my spleen was bleeding. then they checked me, was ok i told them my neck did not hurt they wanted to keep me there for 24 hours in case my spleen started bleeding but i went home anyway. then the next day i had alot of stiffness in my neck and alot of pain, and i keep getting bad headaches, also my ribs and under my lower left ribs still really hurts.

the crash was on the 25th February.
i know i should have seen a doctor earlier about my neck, i should hopefully be going tomorrow as i want my ribs checking out again anyway.

What i am wondering is this:
1. Is it too late to see a doctor about my neck and still make a claim?
2. Would there be any point just claiming on my ribs?
3. As my friend is writing their car off, and their insurance will be paying to fix car in front would me claiming really affect her insurance? as i don’t want to be mean! they are a good friend!


Administrator answers:

His/her insurance is already affected by losing their no claims bonus as they are paying for the other car.

All I can say is you were a bit stupid discharging yourself when they wanted to keep you in for observation. That alone could affect your claim. You will have to contact their insurance company and put a claim in. They will ask you to go for a full head to toe medical.

Where personal injury is involved, being mean doesn’t come into the equation. Either you want compensation or you don’t!

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