Tag Archives: auto body repair

HI! How can I not help you today?

I think I might have completely irrational expectations from customer service.  I have this vision of people who answer the phone or work at the front desk who say things like, “I can’t do that, but I can solve your problem this other way” or “I don’t know.  Let me ask my boss.”, or even “Yes.”  Reality is not so…..useful.

About three months ago The Hubs and I took the kiddies out to dinner at our favorite local Cajun seafood restaurant.  While we were there a vicious thunderstorm blew up, and we ended up driving home in a hailstorm.  Scared the peewaddle out of The Girl and The Hubs, and The Boy still gets kinda weird every time he sees a cloud.  After we pulled in the garage we noticed a bunch of little dings in the car.  Well, crap.  They weren’t bad, but the car is less than a year old.  We decide to get it fixed.  We have insurance, right?

We call the insurance company.  This is the new agent – not the one we The Hubs started getting insurance with back in the 70s or something.  I think that guy had the nerve to retire.  Just ’cause he’s been doing this for 50 years he thinks we don’t need him anymore.  Anyway, these new folks aren’t very invested in us.  When The Hubs called them in January and asked to be sure we have rental car coverage and “anything else we might need”, they didn’t think he meant rental car coverage for non-collision.  So, we pay for the rental car out of pocket.  Joy. 

We call the place that did the bodywork when my car had a run-in with a stray shopping cart at a big-box store.  They tell us that getting hail damage fixed is a big stinking deal, and that everyone has hail damage at the same time, so they’ll call us when our number comes up to let us know when they’ll fix it.  This is around the first of April.  In mid-May they call and tell us that we’re lucky – they can fix it starting on July 22. Yeah, we sure are lucky that after six weeks they were able to tell us that it would only be another two months before they got started on the work.

We get back from vacation in late June and I call them to ask how long they think they will have the car – I want to make plans for things like us maybe visiting my parents and The Girl going to camp.  The girl who answers the phone tells me that there’s a process and they have a waiting list, so I’ll have to bring the car in for an estimate and go through our insurance company before they can even start the process.   

What?

Sweetheart, that’s why I started the convo by telling you that we have an appointment with you to begin the work on July 22. We’ve already done all that. All I’m asking is how long it usually is, like a rough estimate. Gimme a days/weeks/months guess, based on your experience.

She tells me she really doesn’t know, and that they’d have to see the car first, which is why she told me it’s a process and I have to bring the car in before they can start the process. It’s like the world’s biggest circle jerk, and she’s pulling it all off completely on her own.

After several trips on this merry-go-round I ask if there is anyone there who can help me figure out a rough estimate of how long they’re going to have my car. Mike, her manager, gets on the phone and tells me that it’s a process and he’s going to explain how the process works.

They can’t both be this dumb, right? I interrupt him to say that I really don’t need another round of “the process”, and I’d appreciate it if he could just give me a rough estimate of how long they will have my car. Again, I ask for a days/weeks/months estimate, and tell him that after 30 minutes listening to the explanation of their “process” I’d appreciate it if he’d go ahead and cut to the chase. He actually has the nerve to say, “if you start acting like a human being I might.”

What the Hell? Clearly the company policy is not “the customer is always right”. In this case they don’t even adhere to “the customer is always a human being.”

Anyway, I hang up on him. When I walk in the door to the house The Hubs is sitting there playing on his computer, and I ask him to please call these people and try to get some kind of estimate on the time frame. He asks what’s going on and I give him the blast. He calls them.

The same Mike guy gets on the phone and explains that they have a process and launches into the 10-minute stock explanation of the process. The Hubs listens politely and then asks how long they think it will take, explaining that we know it’s an estimate and it might end up taking more or less time, but roughly what should we expect.

At this point the guy explodes and yells at The Hubs about how he is prohibited from giving out that information. Seriously, I’ve never run into anyone, from house painters to surgeons, who couldn’t give me at least a rough estimate of how long something was going to take. These guys are prohibited from doing it, though.

After that was when we decided to call someone else to fix the car. Their first statement: Well I don’t see why you would wait months. How’s Monday sound? It’ll take about two weeks.

The new place has the car now. I’ll let you know how it works out.