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Paint Experts - Need help with Damage Claim


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I had a customer claim that we damaged his car in multiple spots on the driver side rocker panel during an oil change.   We don't lift vehicles for oil changes, so at best, the closest we come to touching the rocker panels is entering the vehicle.   One of our shoes might get caught when entering.   This is an elderly gentleman and I do think he's being honest, but also think he is confused.    He saw some of our guys milling about near his car (actually working on computer in the bay) and thought they were looking at some damage on his car.   So, when he got home, he inspected it thoroughly.  This guy waxes / polishes his car daily, but has problems bending over anyway, so I don't think he's paid strict attention to the rocker panel.  In fact, he blamed us for some road tar that we were able to scrape off.   Not sure that his vision is great either.   But he loves his car.

In our observation, it looks like a scuff mark maybe from hitting rubber debris on the road, but at the same time, it appears to be under the clear coat as it won't rub off.   See the attached pictures.  I'm hoping someone that knows paint might be able shed some light on what I'm seeing.   We've only taken pictures and tried to rub it off with fingers and fingernails.  We have not tried any solvents or cleaners.   I'm sure he would bring the car back for another inspection.

2013 Mustang Scuff 1.jpg

Edited by bantar
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This is a tough situation, if you have no proof the damage was not there when the car was brought in, you may be responsible.  People have an heightened sense of awareness when they pick up their car. And if this guy really loves his car and takes care of it, it just intensifies the situation.  

If you haven't done it already, you need to make it part of your workflow process to perform a walk around and document any damage. Many shops create video's of the car's exterior before any work is done, even before a tech gets into the car.  You need to protect yourself. 

As far has any help with the exterior finish, consult a detail shop or body shop. 

I hope this helps and good luck. I have been in this situation, so I know what you are going through.

 

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

I keep several things handy. A wax stick will take off tar and scuffs without damaging paint. A very good polishing cloth and some machine polish will remove light scuffs and scratches. Anything deeper then that needs to see a body shop. I always try first and am able to remove most anything but a scratch you can feel with a finger nail. A 3M headlight polish kit has everything you need to remove light scuffs and scratches.

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Hey, thank you for the guidance.  We did try to remove it with fingernails, but this blemish was under the clear coat it seemed.    Body shop told him it needed to be repainted.    I told him that it wasn't our doing and was subsurface.  He left (back in April), was a reasonable guy all things considered, and I've not seen him back nor heard from him.   Hopefully this is over at this point.

Just yesterday, we received a threat to call the police for damage to a car while in my care.  We reviewed the security camera footage and I had video of her driving away with no damage.  She did have real damage - a glancing blow to the rear bumper... just not by us.  Explained this to her, gently and calmly and I think this one is done too, but video is archived just in case.   And a few weeks ago, one of my guys "stole" some paper plates out of a car.  These plates were on a different car later that day on the tollway and photographed.   After some digging, he called me back and said that the last digit was garbled and he was charged by accident... we didn't take the plates.   Again, he was really just giving me a heads up of possible shenanigans, but it's nerve wracking.   On the flip side, if we had been responsible, I would want to know about it.     Sadly, I can keep going.  

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This experience taught me a lessen on human nature.

As I'm inspecting the paint on a first time customer with a Porsche Turbo, the customer says, "I see you found my 2 nicks."

I said I found 4 and pointed them out to him. He was shocked and surprised.

Point being: he came in believing he had 2 nicks when he had 4.

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