What do I do if a body shop does a bad job?
Let’s say you’ve gotten a long-overdue repaint on your car, but once it’s back from the body shop and in your garage you notice it doesn't look quite right. What next? Having to report dissatisfaction with a job to a body shop can be a daunting process, but we’re here to help. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about what to do if your car body shop has produced subpar work, including:
- The definition of a car body shop
- How to determine the quality of the paint job
- What to document if the job is confirmed to be substandard
- How to request a refund
What is a body shop?
An auto body shop is where you would find a panel beater: their job is to restore vehicles to factory condition after experiencing damage. These services include repairing dents, repairing panels, repainting panels, replacing panels damaged beyond repair, and repairing/replacing glass.
This is different to a mechanic, who would perform services on your vehicle’s engine, brakes, and other (you guessed it) mechanical components.
How do I know whether a paint job is bad?
There are many superficial signs that your car’s paint job isn’t up to snuff, and there are other at-home tricks you can use that might be invisible to the naked eye. Read our article on how to inspect a car paint job for more detailed information.
A bad paint job will have one or more of the following:
- Repainted area has a different colour to surrounding panels;
- Overspray paint on panel surfaces;
- “Sagging” paint (this happens when the body shop haven’t mixed the paint properly);
- Uneven bumps from lack of sanding, or uneven coarse textures from working with haste*.
If you follow the steps in our article about how to inspect a paint job, you might notice other damage that was a product of shoddy workmanship by the panel beater. There might be a new dent, ding or scratch in a panel that wasn’t there before.
How to document subpar work by a body shop
If you’re unsatisfied with the body shop’s work, you’ll need to have sufficient evidence to prove that they didn’t execute the job at a high standard. Like an insurance claim, the best way to do this is by providing documentation.
Take photos and videos of any specific flaws you noticed. If possible, gather statements from witnesses that can attest to the poor quality of the paint job or the presence of damage that didn’t exist before. It's important to keep a record of these photos based on when they were taken for example, before repair, at workshop on handover and any thing extra noticed later at home.
How to request a refund
As you get ready to inform the body shop of your unhappiness with their work, prepare yourself for some resistance. Panel beaters usually stand by their work and might react badly. Remember to speak with a calm, considerate tone, and show them the evidence you documented in conjunction with the detailed quote they provided. Point out the ways that they did not satisfy some of the quote’s line items, or if the work wasn’t up to the standard that they promised. If you have the documentation to prove it, there shouldn't be much resistance.
Once the hardest part is over, you will usually be able to proceed one of two ways.
Many body shops guarantee their work. That means that if you experience any problems with your repairs, they will resolve the issue at no cost. Some warranties cover repair/workmanship, some paint, and others cover both; it’s important to confirm what warranties your body shop offers before you proceed with their service.
If you are dissatisfied to the extent that you don’t want to work with the same body shop again—or, hypothetically, if the initial interaction about wanting the job to be redone doesn’t go well—you can request a refund and shop around until you find a different body shop. Some body shops won’t offer full refunds, and trouble might ensue if they categorically refuse to help remedy the situation. If this happens, it’s worth seeking legal advice*.
Avoid a bad paint job entirely by finding a high-quality professional that you trust. Use DingGo’s quick quotes service to help you locate the best in the business, all conveniently in your area.