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After getting run off the road a few weeks ago, my car suffered a cracked front bumper, and received a complementary boot-shaped, softball-sized dent above the driver's wheel. So, I called the insurance company, who sent me to a Caliber Collision location.

When I got the car back, I noticed:

  1. They installed the wrong bumper. My car is equipped with a sport suspension package, which includes, among other things, a different front bumper cover (spoiler, different shaped vents, etc.). The car has all the marks of that package, including orange stitching on the wheel, misc. body trim components and, of course, different shocks.

  2. They installed the wrong bumper incorrectly. There is now a gap of about 0.75" between the bumper and driver's headlight. The rep who went over the car with me said that they had to use aftermarket parts for the repairs, and couldn't get it to fit. (This may have something to do with them installing the wrong bumper.)

  3. The paint is already flaking on the edge of the bumper closest to the driver's door. (I picked up the car less than 24 hours ago.)

The body shop has said that they can't have installed the wrong bumper because they "Go by the VIN." While it is not inconceivable that the previous owner swapped the bumper (he is a good friend of mine, and not the type to modify a car in any way), I doubt that the steering wheel, seat covers and suspension would also have been changed.

The Questions

What recourse do I have since the shop seems unwilling to correct their shoddy work? I'm not having much luck going through my insurance company.

Is there a way to look at the car (VIN, etc.) and tell what option package(s) it came with?

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Don't accept "no" for an answer.

The company you are dealing with has a lifetime warranty on their repairs:

Because Caliber places such importance on the high quality of our materials and workmanship, we are confident in our repairs. That’s why we back all of our repair work with a written lifetime warranty. If there’s ever something in relation to your repair that needs to be corrected, you can bring your vehicle to any one of our convenient locations for a quick fix.

This also implies to satisfaction as well.

Take them to task. Don't accept the repair as is. If you are talking to the service manager, take it to the manager of the store. This shop is advertised as a Nissan/Infinity Certified Collision Repair Network shop, which means they should have known the difference in your car and repair it accordingly. What they are trying to do is attempting to get you to accept their mistake so as to save themselves money.

If the manager doesn't want to make it right, start a campaign against them using any/all social media available, including Yelp/Google which they ask you to respond on.

Next, go back to the insurance company you dealt with telling them you are not happy with the repair, telling them nicely the shop is trying to screw you over. The shop will respond to the insurance company due to the fact they stand the chance of losing business from the insurance company, which is a huge chunk of their business.

Next, take it to your insurance company, especially if you have full coverage insurance on the car. When you tell them what is going on, they will contact either the other insurance company and/or the repair shop (for the same reasons as above). Your insurance company does not want to insure a "lesser" car than what they started with. Most companies will help you get satisfaction.

If all else fails, have a lawyer write a letter to the repair company telling them litigation is incoming if they fail to repair (haha, using an Army term there, lol) what they were paid to repair and to do it right this time.

More than likely, you won't need to follow this entire process. Somewhere along the line, they will agree to finish the repair correctly. Hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.

  • Thanks for the encouragement. I'm doing some breathing exercises. – 3Dave Jun 17 '15 at 19:34
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    I would not recommend going the social media route until AFTER you've exhausted other options. The problem with this approach is if it goes viral, it will swing way out of control, and end up hurting all parties involved. – barbecue Sep 5 '15 at 14:13
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You can search for parts by VIN on Infiniti's official parts site. I don't have an Infiniti VIN so I can't tell you what the search results look like.

Your insurance company is your best bet for recourse and anything more detailed than that will involve legal issue which are not on topic for this website.

Since you feel like calling them out, you can post negative reviews online in places that will be much more effective than your scolding here. Be as cool headed as you can in your reviews so people will trust your judgement more.

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