I’m back. Again. With a title befitting a B-grade movie, no less.
So let me tell you a story. It will be a long story. If you like a little bit of schadenfreude this will be right up your alley. I might actually find it a little amusing, were it not ME it was happening to!
It’s all about the car. You may have guessed it wasn’t going to be that simple. This is me, after all! I have to retell some of the backstory here, to properly introduce all the players.
It starts way back in August 2005, when I was involved in Incident#1 (which may or may not be part of this story, I’m still not sure). Incident#1 occurred when a (young, uninsured) driver ran into the passenger side of my Camry in a parking lot. My car was then repaired at my insurer’s cost by RepairGuy#1. Ok. Various fun and games were involved in Incident#1, including a not-quite-properly-repaired car and a suddenly-denying-fault-third-party. Anyhoo…
Incident#2 occurred in September 2005, five days after finally getting the car back. My brother-in-law backed into my car in his own driveway. The rear bumper needed replacing – this was repaired at brother-in-law’s insurer’s cost (he happens to have the same insurer as me, which is very helpful for what happened next). This repair was carried out by RepairGuy#2 (I’m not being sexist here, they are all men!)
Fast forward to three weeks ago. Incident#3 occurs when, as told in my last post, Mr ImpatientGuy rear-ends me at an intersection. Rear bumper again needs replacing, along with some other rear panel work. This repair is financed by Mr ImpatientGuy’s insurer, but facilitated by my insurer again – also very helpful for what happened next. After the car is assessed by the insurer’s assessor (let’s call him Assessor#1), the repair is carried out by RepairGuy#3. Incidentally, not my preferred repairer, not that it probably matters.
The car was repaired quite quickly, and RepairGuy#3 even drove it back around to my house. Nice. Only… the rear bumper is quite clearly a different colour from the rest of the car. And he goes into an elaborate explanation of how this is the fault of a previous repairer (RepairGuy#2) and the paintwork blends which had been carried out by that person. Oh. Kay. Here’s where it gets messy.
I phone my insurer (who very helpfully offer lifetime guarantees on any work that is carried out by their assigned repairers) to indicate I’m unhappy with the outcome of this latest repair. They send around Assessor#2. Assessor#2 agrees with RepairGuy#3 (it’s difficult to explain without photographs and diagrams, but basically, they both believe that the paintwork on the rear side panels was blended to match the bumper installed and painted by RepairGuy#2, and the blends (and the now ex-bumper) were slightly ‘off’ from the rest of the car, so that’s why the new bumper looks so out of place). I am dubious, but sent off to RepairGuy#2 to have him assess the situation, and hopefully agree to remedy their rear-panel blends.
Got that? Okay, deep breath, here we go again.
RepairGuy#2 disagrees. He agrees that his blends appear ‘slightly mottly’, but thinks that the big issue is the new bumper is an entirely different colour, and that RepairGuy#3 should fix it instead. He calls Assessor#2 to see if he can come out and look at the car (different light, different location). Assessor#2 is unavailable, but can have Assessor#3 check it out if we can drive over to the insurer’s location. Fair enough, it’s only just down the road. RepairGuy#2 and I both make our way down to meet Assessor#3. (Niamh is sleeping peacefully in the back of the car through all of this, might I add).
Assessor #3 agrees with both RepairGuy#1 and RepairGuy#2. There are bad blends and a bad bumper… but he seems to lean towards having the blends fixed first (RepairGuy#2) and then seeing how it looks. I joke that perhaps the RepairGuys could get in the boxing ring to decide the matter. RepairGuy#2 (who seems to be a very reasonable person) suggests maybe RepairGuy#3 could do the bumper and the blends, and he (RepairGuy#2) would wear the cost of the blends (this, frankly is the best suggestion that is made all day, and I wish it had stopped there). Assessor#3 says he’ll discuss it with Assessor#2 and get back to us. I think we’re done, and am about to leave. Suddenly, Assessor#3 reappears with Assessor#1.
Who checks out the car as well. And puts another finger in the pie, deciding that no, the problem definitely lies with the new bumper, and RepairGuy#3 should blend the bumper to match the rear panels. And hey… whaddya know, he’s got RepairGuy#3 here in the office right now, so he’ll bring him out too.
Now the boxing match is looking like a definite possibility. RepairGuy#2 and RepairGuy#3 don’t even look at each other, they are both clearly pissed by the whole situation (as, understandably, am I, by this point, and Niamh has woken up in the back of the car, so she’s not that thrilled either).
Anyway, Assessor #1 also picks up on the rear panel blend issue, but argues that repair of those would be further complicated by the fact that the passenger side paintwork doesn’t quite match the driver side paintwork – and this would be the fault of…
RepairGuy#1. Remember him?! Geesh. Bet you thought he was never re-entering the fray. The paintwork he did was also blended to ‘match’ the car, not quite 100% accurately.
Anyway, they all agree (I think!) that RepairGuy#1’s job is ‘close enough’. Short of a complete respray (which is out of the question), the car can never be perfect – that’s just life with car ‘incidents’. I can live with that. I just want the bumper to be much less obvious than it currently is, because we plan to trade this car in the somewhat near future, so I don’t need the paintwork to scream “Hey, I’ve had work done” if you know what I mean.
Assessor#1 seems to have some authority over Assessors#2&3, because at this point he makes the decision that what will happen is RepairGuy#3 will blend the bumper to match the rear panels as best as possible, and in a ‘worst case scenario’ (huh?) he will also try working on the rear panels. RepairGuy#2 takes off as soon as he hears he’s off the hook, and RepairGuy#3 looks even more pissed, but books in the car for Monday for me.
I’m not even certain that the story will be over after this happens, but all my fingers and toes will be crossed next week in hope that the car comes back looking acceptable, because I. Do. Not. want to go through all of this again.
And – if you’ve reached this far – neither, probably, do you!