The Guardrail Saga, Part 2

Monday, December 12, 2011
(If you haven't read Part 1 of The Guardrail Saga you can read it here: Oh Deer, I hit a... Guardrail?. You shouldn't read Part 2 unless you have read Part 1 seeing as Part 2 won't make any sense unless you have read Part 1. Duh!)

Day 4: Sunday, December 11th. My roommate Tom's family was in town and it just so happened that they were leaving their car at our house (some long story that I only half understand), so Tom let me drive his car to church. (And what an amazing day at church it was! We had our annual Christmas Pageant program that night and it was awesome!)

For a minute during the day I felt bad about calling my mechanic a "nitwit" in my last blog post, but then I remembered why I was driving someone else's car and I felt better.

Day 5: Monday, December 12th. At 10 AM my mechanic finally got around to calling me, but seeing as Monday is my sabbath (day off) I was still sleeping, so he left a message. When I got up (the time of which is not important) I listened to the message which went something like "Oh, sorry for not calling, I had a family issue come up. Oh, and we found more damage inside, so it will be another $550 to fix it correctly."

First of all, I don't buy that he didn't call because of a family issue. I am not saying I don't believe that he had an issue, I just don't buy that the reason he didn't call was because of it. If, say, he had found out about the problem in the morning on Friday, why did he not call at all for the rest of the day? Remember that according to his coworkers he was out making a delivery at 5:15 PM, so he would have had to wait all day to make the phone call and then have something come up at the last minute. Another option was that he waited until late in the day to fix my car, but why would he if it was only going to take a few hours like the estimate said it would? AND even if he did have something sudden come up, couldn't he tell a coworker "Hey, can you call this guy for me? I have a family issue I need to attend to and I don't want him to not have his vehicle over the weekend." Problem solved. But no, he simply didn't call, and that made the problem so much worse!

Anywho, because they found extra damage I now had even more decisions to make. Should I spend an extra $550 to fix my car (now at $1200+)? Should I now get insurance involved? Should I even leave my car with these guys, or should I demand it back and take it somewhere else?

I wanted to know how much filing an insurance claim would add to my premium, so I called Geico and the nice lady said "there is no way for me to tell, it would be up to the underwriters. However you are supposed to tell us about any incidents anyway..." So I told her about what happened and she took notes.

Then, thanks to the advice of several family members, I decided that I needed to talk with the manager at Caliber Collision Repair, so I gave him a preemptive call before I left to see him. The conversation started out something like this:

Me: I have an issue with a repair that I want to talk with you about.
Him: What vehicle is it?
Me: Jeep Liberty.
Him: Silver?
Me: Yes.
Him: Didn't we find additional damage on that one?

This surprised me. It told me that my mechanic wasn't working in a void, that even his manager knew what was going on, and that impressed me.

Anywho, I hinted that my frustration was with not getting a phone call and that I would meet with him in 20 minutes.

I had a friend pick me up and drive me over. I was expecting to meet with the manager in his office where I would tell him about how mad I was, give him a sob story about having to borrow cars, and demand that it be fully fixed for free and that they owe me $1000 for my emotional distress... or something like that. (See, I am really a nice guy, and my niceness has a way of hiding the anger inside of me, so I was actually trying to work myself into getting mad.) But instead of leading me to his office the manager took me right out to see Jackie (my Jeep Liberty who looked kinda sad with her front bumper missing). But before he talked about my car he apologized for my mechanic not calling me because the two of them were out trying to make a delivery, had bad directions, and ran out of gas.

Now, I honestly have no direct evidence of what actually happened Friday afternoon so I don't want to call either man a liar, however the two stories do somewhat contradict each other. I mean, if they were on a delivery and ran out of gas, then why couldn't my mechanic just say so in his phone message to me? Or, once they knew they were running late, why couldn't my mechanic call a coworker and have the coworker call me?

Anywho, I digress. The manager then went on to say that the mechanic never should have promised me a quick turn around because the entire shop is very booked right now, and have been booked for six months. He said that the mechanic was wrong, and he would talk to him about it.

He then went on to show me the "damage" to the inside structure of my bumper. It wasn't much damage, but there was damage there (I regret not taking a photo of it). On the subject of how important it was to fix it the manager said "If you are in another crash there is a 50/50 chance of it not working like it should." (Which makes sense, either it will or it won't work like it should.) One always wants the bumper to work as it should, because its primary function is to collapse in an impact, absorbing energy as it goes.

To make a long story short (too late), we decided that I would just leave Jackie with them and we would use my insurance to pay for all of it to get fixed. He said he wanted to make it right for me, and I told him that what is worst for me is that I don't have a vehicle to drive. (Remember that on Thursday I was told that it would be ready "Same day, next day max", and here we are five days later and my car is still in pieces.) He then offered to pay for a rental car until my vehicle was ready to go, and I took him up on that offer. Seeing as insurance was now paying everything off, there really wasn't a way he could lower the price on something, so I saw this as the best way that he could make it right.

So, after my conversation with him, I am content with the outcome. I am still not happy about their poor communication skills, but he did take a step to make it right, and seeing as he has to pay for the rental every day that my car isn't fixed, I hope that gives him an incentive to get it done faster. On the money side: It ends up being cheaper for me going through insurance (my deductible is $500), and the manager said that insurance agencies don't usually worry about claims less than $1000 (the claim being what they pay after the deductible). This claim should be less than that, so I am optimistic (but not counting on) my premium not going up.

Anywho, there is your update. My car will be fully fixed and until then I am driving a paid-for rental. I will let you know if anything else changes!

UPDATE: You can read the next (and hopefully final) chapter here.



Matt said...

YAY!! What are you driving in the mean time?

Katanna said...

According to the keychain it is a 2010 Hyundai Elantra (at least I think that is what "HYUN ELAN" stands for).