Newspaper Archive of
Bellevue College
Bellevue, WA
May 9, 2001     Bellevue College
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May 9, 2001

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Wednesday May 9, 2001 Features 5 Auto body shop of horrors Jeff Guth Jibsheet Reporter I recently had a bad encounter with an auto body shop. The first day of winter quarter, I got into an accident. My car was still in running condition, but the front was smashed to oblivion. I took the car to an auto shop that belongs to a chain called Collision 1. Collision 1 agreed to fix it and gave me an estimate of $1,000. I brought my car in and they gave a couple more estimates from what they saw, and we agreed to $1,400. The shop finished one month later, but the bill was jacked up to $2,500. I immediately asked why the total was $1,100 more than the estimate, and they replied by giving me the information on every ordered part and the paint job. I can understand if the total was $100 above or below the original quote, but $1,100 over is too much. In addition, I told them not to paint it before they even worked on it. The next month followed with legal letters sent back and forth. My letters criticized about them painting the car when told not to, and the law specifies that auto shops must gain permission of the owner if the cost exceeds $100. Collision 1 letters claimed that they originally quoted me at $2,500, and that I said they could order as many parts as they wanted. I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and they retaliated by saying they were trusted members of the BBB. I threatened tO bring them to small claims court if an agreement wasn't made. Finally, they agreed for me to pay the split difference, which added to $2,050. When I got the car back, I noticed that it was acting strange. The gears were not shifting properly, the temperature gauge was broken, and no hot air was coming through the vents. I asked my uncle, a car expert, to take a look at it since I trust his judgement the best. We opened the hood and looked inside and were shocked at our findings. There was no anti-freeze in the radiator. The tube that connects, part of the radiator to the anti-freeze container was missing, so anti-freeze could leek when the engine gets hot. There was no or little transmission fluid. My uncle said I was lucky to even get home. If I had not looked earlier, I could have easily overheated and broken my engine just by driving it to BCC without even noticing. L(uz Nguyen/Jibsheet Experience speaks: always put things in writing to avoid being ripped off by dishonest auto body shop mechanics. Why would any auto body shop do this? Were they unaware that they made this mistake? Was Collision 1 aware and tried to sabotage me? Any professional would make sure a car is in drivable condition before giving it to the customer. If it is in any less condition, the customer deserves an explanation why. Most students who attend BCC are probably just coming from high school and have not fully experienced the horrors of the real world. Technical and communication problems and unethical employees can create for some of the worst situations. Here are some tips to help you deal with auto body shops: If the person looks nice and ensures that everything will go right, DO NOT TRUST THEM. Make sure to get everything that is going to happen with the car in writing before letting them work on it. Make it clear verbally and put it in writing that the auto body shop must get your approval before going further with any repair that was not discussed. Written consent overrides verbal communication. The only evidence a court will use to help your case are written documents with signatures, not something that is verbally claimed. An employee can say anything they please and can get away with it. Before leaving with your fixed car, inspect everything you can. Open the hood and check hose and electrical connections. Check the fluid levels. Look at your tires and make sure they are not flat, Turn on your car and rev it a couple times. Look under the hood while your car is on. Make sure to do a thorough inspection because once you leave and find something wrong, you cannot prove it. If you are still unsure of how to deal with auto body shops, ask around and get more information. It will help a great deal in the future. PTK, Cont. from page 4 Charted Accountant of Pakistan, where I studied business, and then transferred to BCC. Another officer,Jack S. Osara, is currently in his fourth quarter at BCC and plans on transferring to the University of Washington, Bothell campus, in the fall of 2002. Ben Brooks6I began attending BCC this last fall and also attends Issaquah High School where he participates in ROTC and band. Gabriela Fedorova completes the list of Hallmark officers. Phi Theta Kappa ( ) Now It Comes) With A List Ingredients. ., Drinking Water Know What's In It For You ....... ri ....... Only at Evergreen ... Eve,rs h)novarve apech mphasis interdisciplinary dies, close interaction vh fc W. .rrat, evaluations and zI-*aorld )earning thremh iependenc study a,5 ):emships. Now accepting applications for fall 2001.