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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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  • 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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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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