In May my Ford Focus was towed by Hampshire Towing to a storage lot adjacent to Pleasant Street Auto. I spoke with the body shop manager and decided to leave the vehicle there for the estimate of damages. My initial intention was to have Pleasant Street Auto do the repairs if the vehicle was not totaled.
The appraiser looked at the vehicle a few days after the accident. The initial estimate was written for $5,140.46. When I spoke to the representatives from the insurance company, I was told that Pleasant Street Auto was not a referral shop. I was pressured by [the insurance company] to bring it to a referral shop and was told that they would guarantee the repairs. The impression given by the insurance company was that a referral shop would do a better job.
I decided to bring the vehicle to the referral shop in Springfield. Pleasant Street Auto advised me that the only criteria for referral shops to get on the list was they do what the insurance company wanted and that the main focus of referral lists was for cost savings to the insurance company, not necessarily to do what is in the best interest of the vehicle owner. I trusted my insurance company, not Pleasant Street Auto.
On June 30th a supplement of $1887.41 was written for additional repairs needed to my vehicle. I got my vehicle back from the shop on July 6. Six weeks had elapsed since my accident and I was glad to have my car back. My joy was short lived. The vehicle did not seem right and it just did not steer and ride like before. I brought it back to the insurance company referral shop about four weeks later due to scheduling problems on the shops' part. They had the car for another two weeks. On August 31 a second supplement was written for $1090.56. Net cost of repairs was now at $8084.20, which is about what Pleasant Street Auto said it would be to begin with when they said they could not fix the car for what was written. The insurance company said Pleasant Street Auto was just trying to inflate the repair cost to the car. They assured me the referral shop could repair the car for what was written.
After receiving the vehicle from the insurance company referral shop I still was not satisfied with the drivability of my vehicle. After two weeks of not feeling safe in my car I decided to bring the vehicle to Pleasant Street Auto to be inspected. I brought the vehicle in to Pleasant Street Auto at the end of September. Below is the letter of what they found.
"...My Insurance Company Steered Me from Pleasant St Auto to a referral shop and it was a nightmare."
Pleasant St Auto has made an inspection of your vehicle as you requested. We found the following problems with your vehicle.
- The uni-body is not within factory specs. (See attached inspection report)
- Transmission pan is leaking probably not sealed correctly. (The corner of transmission was hit in accident there may be a hair line crack?)
- Lt Front shield is broke and not attached at places.
- It appears there should be an RT shield. (see attached diagram from Ford)
- Cowl cover screen on Lt Side does not fit? The clips may be broken or there is pressure on it due to the cowl being pushed back.Battery cover clips are broke and cover is cracked.
- Battery tray may be broken also?
- Lt Door has lip damage that was not noted on estimate.
- Lt Door was not blended as requested on the first supplement the texture is different between the fender and door. Also there is an existing scratch on door that would be covered by clear if a blend had occurred.
- The RT side of the hood has bubbles. Either the clear is separating or there was a repair that is failing.
- Drip marks Rt fender in paint
- Drip mark Lt side of bumper cover.
- Lt fender has damage at end where it hit door and pillar.
- Lt windshield pillar was brush touched instead of repaired and painted.
- Emission canister on cowl may have a piece missing on the plastic casing?
- Emission sticker on hood appears to be for a 2002 Focus
- Oil filter appears to be dented from accident and not replaced
- No finish work where rail was sectioned on left side.
- Buckle Lt Inner fender in shock tower.
- Rocker panel pinch weld marks not undercoated on inner rocker.
- Hood prop hold down clip missing.
Henry, the Mechanical shop has not made a determination on the squeaking brakes when the pedal is depressed or pumped and the rear struts or the rear bearings. We will get the car to the mechanical shop to have them see if any of those problems are accident related. We did check the rims and they are not bent but are out of balance. The clatter sound may go away when the uni-body is repaired and the shields replaced and installed properly. This list, as we discussed is visual, upon tear down we may find hidden damage. I want you to be aware if we repair the vehicle and repaint the panels, unless we strip the paint from the existing parts or use new parts, we cannot guarantee the paint work. I have not included those operations in the estimate I prepared.
William E Johnson
The dollar amount written by Pleasant Street Auto to put the vehicle back into pre-loss condition was $5105.68. With the information provided to me, and my lack of confidence in the referral shop, I gave all this information to my attorney. I told him I wanted Pleasant Street Auto to do the repairs and that the insurance company should pay for it as they assured me they would when they persuaded me not to have Pleasant Street Auto fix it. They, the insurance company, said they would guarantee the repairs if I brought the car to their referral shop.
I guess promises are a lot easier to make than keep. It took my attorney weeks, but the insurance company finally agreed to look at my car. The insurance company had my vehicle picked up at my house. For weeks I did not hear anything about the disposition of the vehicle. Finally I was told that the insurance company was not going to pay to have the car repaired properly but the referral shop was going to buy the car from me. Feeling defeated, betrayed and totally disappointed, I agreed. The referral shop made out a check to me in December for the agreed amount for the vehicle.
I have nothing to gain by writing this letter. My only hope is people read this and learn. I was without the full use of my car for over six months. The insurance company, at least my insurance company, backed away from the promises they implied when I was told about the referral shop program. My car was not repaired properly. If it was, why did the insurance company force the referral shop to buy it from me? I wonder who it was sold to. The insurance company should have totaled it. At least a buyer would see the salvage title. I wrote this letter in January and the thing that scares me the most is that body shop is still on the insurance company referral list. It makes you wonder why.