My wife was involved in a car accident on March 26, 2003 while I was away supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was broad-sided (left T-bone) by a negligent driver (Kingsley A. Otighigbo) who was subsequently cited in the accident for running a red light. My wife was driving a new car (2002 Kia Optima with 7,656 mi) and the damage was severe. My wife also sustained some non-life-threatening injuries. She called me the day after the accident to get help resolving the issues surrounding the accident (her injuries, repairs, rental vehicle, insurance claims, etc.). The car was taken to J&J Auto Body, Inc. for repairs as recommended by USAA, Otighigbo's insurance company.
The initial repair estimate provided by J&J Auto Body, Inc. was 45 days to complete the repairs and $9,311.54 for the repair work (parts & labor). The car was not completed/returned to us until over five months later on August 8, 2003 and the total repair bill was $14,708.30. J&J Auto Body, Inc. took 163 days (3.62 time longer than estimated) to complete the repairs and the repair bill was $5,396.76 over the initial estimate or 58% more! The excessive repair time was due to gross mismanagement and incompetence. J&J Auto Body, Inc. never called me to give me a status report; I had to call them and they always had excuses (wrong part delivered, delivery delays, gone on vacation). They also kept slipping the delivery date two weeks every time they reached the delivery date of their previous estimate, but I was not informed of this unless I called them.
When the vehicle was finally returned, the windows were filthy, the floor mats were soiled and oil/grease stained, there were scratches on the interior trim that were caused by J&J Auto Body, Inc., the chrome molding on the passenger side (not damaged in the accident) was dented, the left rear door could not be opened without hitting the chrome molding above the left rear door, the left rear door would not lock so it was impossible to secure the vehicle normally, the car alarm would activate every time the remote lock button was used, and the wheels on the driver's side of the vehicle made a thumping noise whenever the brakes were applied. The car was not finished.
J&J Auto Body exceeded the normal repair time by nearly a factor of four so I was not interested in returning for follow-up repairs. The cost of repairs exceeded the Blue Book value of the car and the estimate was probably underbid intentionally in order to get the insurance company to approve the repair rather than total the vehicle; the initial estimate provided by J&J Auto Body, Inc. was borderline in the decision to repair or total the vehicle.
I informed Otighigbo's insurance company and they initiated an investigation. They also agreed to allow me to take the car elsewhere and to reimburse me for the follow-up repairs which were made by Antwerpen, the dealership I purchased the car from (they completed the repairs in just a day). I would never take a car to J&J Auto Body, Inc. for any kind of repair work and I strongly advise anyone reading this not to do business with them either. They are not honest, can't manage a project, and they have very low quality assurance standards.
Final note on USAA: I am also insured by USAA and they were going to process this claim under my policy (no reimbursement for rental car and I would pay the $250.00 deductible) even though Otighigbo was cited in the accident. I had to fight for neary six months to get them to cover the claim on Otighigbo's policy. I had gotten a lawyer and was about to sue when they decided to settle.