I'm unsure of what kind of liability the company owes to me, but at the very least I have a complaint. My husband was in a car accident in Feb. of 2011, our vehicle ended up being around $3800 in repairs which our insurance did pay for minus the deductible. We tried to take the car to Honda in Coeur D' Alene, Idaho as per instructions from Progressive. When we got to Honda for the repairs we were turned away because they don't do the body work at that shop and needed that done first. Honda referred us to Coachman Body & Frame Shop, Progressive OK'ed the work and we towed it to Coachman instead. About a week later I received a call stating that my car was completed and to come get it.
After receiving my vehicle, everything was fine for about 5 minutes... I start driving up HWY 95 toward I-90, when I hit the on ramp and started accelerating, the car became extremely wobbly (they had fixed the front passenger axle) and was almost acting as if it was in terrible need of an alignment to say the least. I didn't have time to go back to the shop and was afraid to drive it back anyway. I pulled off the highway as soon as possible, parked the car and called my dad for a ride to work. While waiting for him, I tightened the lug nuts with my bare hand on the axle that the shop just repaired (I am a 120 lb female... I don't think I should be able to do that.) My dad comes and gets me, the business OK'ed me to leave my car there for the day.... Call Coachman on the way to work they say that they are only there til 5 and since it's Friday I'll have to wait until Monday to get my car fixed. Friday afternoon I receive a call stating that there is a problem with my payment and come in tomorrow (Saturday) to take care of it and they'll fix my car. Ended up that Coachman sub-contracted my car to Perfection Tire company for the replacement axle, alignment and pretty much all mechanical work on the car. I asked why it didn't go back to Honda where I initially tried to take my car and they stated that they get all of their mechanical work done at Perfection, but my insurance company paid for it so no harm no foul. (I'm thinking you just sent me down the road with 3 tires.) I'm an easy going person, let it go the car is driving fine now (turns out not only did they not tighten the lugs but the "mechanic" also didn't tighten down a part on the axle causing my car to drive like it was drunk.) I'm sitting there thinking great, they didn't even test drive the car. Wonder what's next. Well.....
The car was fine for about a year and a couple months... until late August, my ABS light came on but no sounds or difficulty with the brakes. Mechanic said there weren't any codes popping up and reset the light for me (about $40). About 2 weeks later the light popped on. Of course, we were in the processing of moving from Spokane, WA to Vista, CA (just north of San Diego). Set up an appointment at Honda a couple weeks later, car still driving fine, no noise, can tell ABS is struggling somewhere in the back but disks are working great no give. Once I get my car to Honda they do diagnosis and inspection and find that the clip on my ABS sensor and broken off and ended up ruining my sensor. Got that replaced, ABS light still on... They take the wheels off to inspect brakes and Honda's shop manager tells me "it looks like someone was hitting the drums with a hammer" and it's gonna be about $800 to fix it. I authorize the repairs and call Coachman (I'll admit I was instantly mad, that is the last time my car has been in any shop having the rear even touched and they had already tried to kill my by not checking the sub-contract's work.) I speak to one of the employee's there Shaun, he tells me that there is no reason that anyone would ever hit a drum with a hammer but he will try to dig my file out of the archive and see what he can do to help. Called me back the next day, which is fine, I needed to research all this a little anyway. He states that there is no record of me coming back with unfinished work, there is no reason that anyone would ever hit my drums with a hammer, but he would talk to the owner who wouldn't be in until Monday. I tell him that I found out last night that it is actually very common to hit drum brakes with hammers if it a domestic vehicle. Dodge, Ford, and GM all use a little stamp on the drum that you hit with a hammer and Chevrolet's you also hit with hammers. Here is a forum link (was also confirmed by the shop manager at Honda confirmed as true):
Basically stating that it is common place to hit drum brakes with a hammer.
Import vehicles do not have a stamp instead they have a little port hole that you put bolts in and tighten and they work the drum off. Here is a link for how to remove Honda drums: http://www.ehow.com/how_6578404_remove-honda-brake-drums.html
By Saturday, my car was fixed and driving good.
Well, Monday came and went and I didn't get a call. On Tuesday, I called the shop and actually ended up getting the owner himself, I stated that I had spoken to one of the other guys and that I had a problem that needed a solution. The owner said he kind of knew what was going on and that he could not help me. I sat down and spoke with him for a couple of minutes trying to explain the situation and he just kept telling me that it was so long ago that there is nothing that he can (I say will) do for me, and that he can't look at the brakes so that's that. I offer to send him pictures of the brakes, the brakes themselves, I forward all of the information for Honda down here to him and he wouldn't even contact anyone to see what was going on with my car, just washed his hands of me completely. After arguing with him for a couple of minutes, he finally comes up with "they never touched the back brakes they replaced the front passenger axle and did a front wheel alignment, I asked him, you mean that they didn't do an alignment on the back just the front? He said yes, the car was running fine and didn't need any further adjustments. I asked how could they know that the car was in good running condition, mechanically speaking, when they sent me onto the highway with 5 loose lugs and the axle nearly falling off? I drove that car maybe a mile and really thought I might die when trying to get off the freeway. I'll be honest, I had a few unchristian words for him and hung up. It felt like he was trying to give me a lesson on Cars 101.... I'm thinking - I may be female but I just did 5 hours of research and talked to 3 mechanics that all say he's wrong - which leaves me to assume since they don't do the mechanical work maybe he is just uninformed or maybe he just flat out doesn't care. I found all of the claim information for what was billed on my vehicle, and low and behold page 2 the ABS sensor was replaced and drums were removed. I call Coachman back to state that I found paperwork to the contrary and the owner basically put me on hold and then gave the phone to one of his employees to tell me there is nothing that they can do for me (because I have moved, they no longer have any need to do anything for me). I pretty much had to beg them to call the subcontracted company, and they've already assured me that no one is going to foot this bill, unless I want to take them to small claims, that is also "an avenue that I can follow". This is just insane.
I have also attempted to contact Progressive Insurance and have left 2 messages for the claim's adjuster that authorized all of this. I still have yet to hear back from him. I have no standing to contact Perfection tire since they received no monies from me, basically I don't know what to do. I don't feel like going 1600 miles north for small claims court but I do want this on record, and I want people to know how this shop treats people after you get $4000 worth of repairs from them. This work that was done at Perfection but subcontracted by Coachman can't be define as anything but extremely negligent and now they're stating it's been too long to even care. We'll I'm sorry I don't pop my drums off every time I gas up, there was no way for me to tell that something was wrong with the vehicle until rust started forming and the brakes started wearing. I am at 105,000 miles on a 2006 Honda Civic, I shouldn't need new drums yet, they are still in pristine condition (minus the cracks from where they were hit.).
I would really appreciate at least some follow up on what the shops' liabilities are. I would like to be reimbursed for the repairs that I had to pay for that I don't believe fall under the category of "general maintenance". Anyway, I got ripped off. Hoping to get it resolved. Please don't spend your money here.... you'll be spending more elsewhere if you do.... You've been warned.
Leslie - Post Falls, ID (now vista, CA)