Fraudulent people are everywhere and these days they can reach you by phone, email, and anywhere else it seems. Con artists threaten, trick, and steal identities and money. They are also representing themselves in every legitimate business field, including fast and easy auto body repair. They cruise around for victims in parking lots, looking for drivers with car damage. Then comes the pitch, “I’ll offer to fix your damage right here and now, I work fast and I promise a wonderful repair at a cheap price.” This person is known in the industry as a “Dent Gypsy”. They prey on people who rush around on errands and who are too trusting or uninformed. Dent Gypsies are “classic scammers”, in that they’ll either take your money and disappear the moment you are out of sight, or they will do a horrible job and make your car look worse than previously. Dent Gypsies who actually do the work they promise, will use Bondo, colored wax, and cheap paint. Depending on the nature of the repair, a fraudulent body repair is risky to your safety. Therefore, we at Pete Solis Collision Center want to help you avoid auto body repair scammers.

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The first example of an auto body scammer that was set in a parking lot is pretty obvious, however, there are scammers operating auto body shops as well! Everything is set up legally, but ethically, these shop owners are really scammers in disguise. In a featured article from Consumer Reports, unscrupulous auto body shops try to “scare” their customers into expensive and unnecessary repairs. That is why, when you do work with an auto body shop, do some homework and check out their records of customer satisfaction and see if any complaints have been lodged against them with the Better Business Bureau.

 

 

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According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, before you get any work done on your vehicle, ask for recommended shops in your area. This can come from your insurance carrier, or even trusted family and friends who have had good shop experiences. When first taking in your vehicle to a shop, ask for a written estimate for repair. This should include both parts and labor costs. Also make sure the shop agrees, in writing, to contact you for approval before performing work that exceeds a certain dollar amount. Be on guard if a shop offers to help you recover or “waive” your deductible. For example, a mechanic might suggest installing a used part, billing your insurance company for a new one, and passing on the illegal cost savings to you. This is insurance fraud. It’s a crime that can put you in jail and ruin your family. When your repair work is completed, ask the shop you use to show you the repairs they made and to explain what was done. You should also be shown the old parts that were replaced. If your final bill was higher than the estimated cost, ask the shop to explain the extra charges. Make sure all work is itemized on the final bill, including parts, repairs and guarantees. If a problem occurs later, you can prove that service guarantees covered the repairs. Finally, when categorizing a good auto body shop, the ideal one to use has a neat and well-organized service floor, and modern equipment. The staff should be courteous, and willing to answer all of your questions. Also look for updated professional certifications.

In Conclusion, YOU THE CUSTOMER have the power when it comes to choosing who fixes your vehicle. If you feel wronged by a shop, you have options to correct the problem. Speak with the shop owner and get them to fix the issue, complain to your local Better Business Bureau and have the offending shop reported, and if you suspect insurance fraud, contact either the insurance company covering the repairs, and/or your state insurance fraud bureau.

 

Drive Safely!

 

Pete Solis Collision Center is El Paso’s Auto Body Shop! With over 47 years of experience behind us, we are the top choice for bodywork, paint, and more. We are the home to ICAR certified professional body shop technicians, as well as quality Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes. Pete Solis Collision Center is located at 1434 Lomaland Dr. in El Paso, Texas. Give us a call today at (915) 599-8666. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

 

 

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