I was misled as to the type of work needed and the time frame by which it was to be completed. I believe it's a classic case of bait and switch.
On August 25th, 2015 I brought my 2013 Hyundai Accent in for an estimate for a dented trunk. Previously that day I had received 2 estimates from 2 other body shops both stating that the trunk lid needed to be replaced. When asked I told both shops that my insurance carrier was ******* ****** and both shops indicated that they would require used parts. Both shops indicated that if they were to get the job they would begin the search for the trunk lid on the day I dropped off the vehicle for the sake of quicker job completion time and they both estimated it would take approximately 8 calendar days to complete the work. I then went to Johnson Collision where the estimator asked me if I had anybody else look at the damage and what their estimate of the damage was. When I shared both indicated the trunk lid needed to be replaced I was told replacing the trunk lid 'would not be necessary because of the clear access from inside the trunk to the dent.' He then demonstrated in elaborate detail of how he could correct the issue due to his years of experience with the exact same damage. I told him that I used the car as a part time Uber driver and if he could assure me that he could repair the car in a quicker turnaround time that I would give Johnson the job as to mitigate my loss of income. He asked me when I could bring the car in and I said the morning of 9/2. He said that I could expect to have the car back on 9/8, 4 business days later. On 9/4 I received a call from ***** the Service Manager stating that they were behind and the car would not be finished until 9/11. She made no mention of replacing the trunk lid. On 9/10 I called to confirm that the car would be ready on 9/11. Renee told me the car was 'in the bay' and would be ready later in the day on 9/11. On 9/11, ***** called and said the vehicle wasn't ready because they had to order a trunk lid and it just arrived due to ******* ****** policies of using used parts. I asked about why I was told it was 'in the bay' yesterday when it fact the work hadn't even begun. ***** again said it was all about ******* ****** and I could have a rental. I can't use a rental for Uber. I was told to expect the car on 9/15 and 'these things happen.' On the morning of 9/15 I was called once again and told I could pick up the car but over the last 2 weeks they failed to notice a cracked rear tail light and I would have to bring it back in to finish the job. They expected the part on 9/17. No call on 9/17. They called on 9/21 to say I could bring it in. On 9/15 I left a message to speak with '*****' the owner. He called back on 9/16. When I shared my experience he said, 'he had no problem with how his staff handled this. We fix thousands of cars and if I wanted to judge them on this one situation, that wasn't fair.' I explained that I can only judge them on my experience and not those of other customers. When I asked about being told up front I wouldn't need a trunk lid he said, 'Other garages don't like to fix things when it's easier to replace.' When I countered that wasn't the issue. The issue was not only was the diagnosis incorrect from the start I wasn't informed of it until over a week later when I specifically told his estimator that the reason I was choosing Johnson was because he assured me I wouldn't need to replace the trunk lid. I informed him of the impending BBB complaint to which he said in a condescending manner, 'Go ahead if it makes you feel better. You have nothing to complain about here' He then asked what I wanted to settle this. I said a refund of my $250 deductible would be fair. He said he would get back to me the next day, 9/16. He has yet to call me back.
I would like two things to settle this dispute. As previously discussed with *****, I would like the $250 deductible refunded. In addition, I would like a letter of apology indicating Johnson staff taking full responsibility for handling this situation in an untimely and unprofessional manner from the first point of contact with me until the delivery of the vehicle. This was a string of errors at best was the result of gross incompetency and at it's worse a classic, clear cut case of 'bait and switch' tactics often associated with those in this business.
Johnson Collision sincerely apologizes for this customer's experience. A collision repair is not an easy process to go through, and we try hard to make it as easy as possible.
Our shop notes on this repair:
9/4 CALLED MR W/STATUS. TRUNK LID HAS TO BE REPLACED, REPAIR ATTEMPT FAILED, DOUBLE WALL CONSTRUCTION. ORDERED AND EXPECT NEXT WED. WILL CALL NEXT WEEK W/STATUS.
9/10 mr called, in booth now, eta 9/14-9/15
9/11 CALLED MR W/STATUS. IN PAINT AND WILL NOT BE READY UNTIL LATE MONDAY OR TUESDAY. SET UP RENTAL IF HE NEEDS VEH UNTIL DONE-SHOP PAY, MR DENIED.
WENT OVER TIMELINE:
ORDERED TRUNK 9/3
SHOP CLOSED SAT, SUN, MONDAY-LABOR DAY
RE'CD TRUNK 9/9
IN TRIM OUT 9/10
IN PREP 9/11
ETA LATE MONDAY 9/14 OR TUESDAY 9/15. WILL CALL W/PU TIME.
9/15 CALLED MR TO PU TODAY @ 1:30. HAIRLINE CRACK FOUND ON RT TAILIGHT. WILL ORDER & CALL FOR INSTALL WHEN IN, CAN DRIVE IN THE MEANTIME.
9/21 LM W/MR, TL IN. NEED ABOUT 20 MIN
9/22 INSTALLED TL THIS MORNING AT 9:30 WHILE MR WAITED.
An estimate given by our shop or any other body shop is a starting point. Many times a supplement is required for additional repair or additional parts needed, resulting in additional costs and time.
The "bait and switch" concern does not seem to apply to what happened with this repair, but more so if we had quoted to replace the trunk lid and would have repaired it instead. We do not employ tactics such as this to earn business.
Again, our sincerest regrets that this customer was not satisfied with the repair process.
As fitting with their lack of urgency regarding the repair, it took Johnson 2 1/2 months to respond to my complaint. There are several discrepancies with the time line quoted. I was not told on 9/4 that the trunk needed replaced. If so, I would as stated in the Johnson reply would not have called on 9/10 for status on the repair. It was only then I was told that the trunk lid needed replaced and the previously assured date of 9/11 could still be met. Their own timeline indicates that the ETA was 9/14, although their own timeline indicates I was called on 9/11 that the promise of 9/11 should be met. Using their own timeline indicated deceptive business practices. Also, there is no mention of the 30 minute discussion with the owner who promised he would call me back regarding the proposed resolution of restitution of the $250 deductible. Of course he never called back. In sum, the timeline presented by Johnson demonstrates a deceptive ETA provided to me and a lack of honesty by withholding notes regarding a discussion between myself and the owner.
As fitting per their lack of urgency to repair the vehicle and nearly 3 month response time to the initial filing of the BBB complaint, I figure they will respond to this follow up complaint by Memorial Day. If I'm lucky. Or perhaps they lack the organizational character to respond at all. Simply put, they could not have handled this situation more poorly from beginning to end. In an industry with a well deserved dirty reputation for deceptive practices, Johnson more than willingly caked themselves in mud.