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No. 1 complaint of Bay Area consumers: body work done improperly

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July 13, 2010—Nearly half of all complaints among Bay Area consumers indicate that body work was done improperly on their cars, according to a recent article from Consumers’ Checkbook.

Forty-one percent of consumers complained that body shops had done improper work on their vehicles. The top ten consumer complaints were:
1. Work not performed properly;
2. Slow turnaround;
3. Poor customer service;
4. High costs;
5. Damaged vehicle or missing property;
6. Incorrect estimates;
7. Unable to deal effectively with insurer;
8. Poor quality of parts;
9. Performed unnecessary work;
10. Difficult to get an appointment.
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However, 55 out of 184 shops in the San Francisco Bay Area received a “superior” rating from 90 percent of their customers. These numbers, according to the report, suggest that while many shops in the Bay Area offer excellent service, there are other shops that are “an accident waiting to happen.” A total of 196 shops were used in the study.

The new report used consumer surveys paired with pricing research to complete a table of ratings for both quality and cost. The article listed the following as part of a checklist to help consumers pick a shop:
• Choose a shop whose workers are able to clearly explain how and why the fix needs to be made. An articulate shop worker is key to dealing with the insurance company.
• Pick a shop with a high quality rating and tell your insurer to send its estimator there, rather than going to you insurance company’s drive-in appraisal center.
• Damage can be seen and felt. By checking your vehicle prior to the repair, you can ensure the fix has been completed and done right.

The article will be available for free for a limited time at checkbook.org/chronicle.

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