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Bad repair experience, Tesla needs to open up

Discussion in 'Model S' started by verdee, Mar 2, 2017.

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  1. verdee

    verdee Member

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    So in December, I scraped a guard rail. It was totally my fault, I own that. Damage was cosmetic, to front and rear quarter panels and bumpers. Total about $13k. In Colorado there are only two Tesla repair shops. Neither are super convenient to me, but Stuttgart Auto was much closer. Got set up to get things fixed second week of february, was told it would be three weeks. Fast forward until now, sounds like no repairs have been made because insurance and the body shop do not agree on the rate for painting. Insurance (AmFam) says it should be $50/hr body shop wants $120. Neither are budging, so it looks like I am stuck paying the difference on top of my deductible. The body shop says

    "We charge the higher rate because of the high cost of being certified. We have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in tools, equipment and training in order to work on Teslas. There just aren’t enough Teslas out there to recoup that investment at $50.00/hr. Tesla has also dropped all of their parts costs down to ridiculous amounts, so there is no profit there, making it more difficult to receive any return on investment. These cars are also more difficult to repair, and are more time consuming as compared to other cars."

    So what they are saying is that they are charging more because of what tesla has required of them, and basically because they can. I pissed because I'm stuck in the middle trying to get both sides to work something out. There are other body shops in town that I have dealt with in the past and wound have preferred to have dealt with this time around, but since Tesla will not sell parts, this is not an option. Now I am looking at three more weeks to get the car back.

    My lease is up in a year, and this experience has really soured me to Tesla. I had planned on getting another Tesla, but now doubt it because repairing anything is such a big pain.
     
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  2. patrick40363

    patrick40363 Member

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    It looks like it is your insurance company not Tesla.
     
  3. jeffro01

    jeffro01 Active Member

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    Okay I'm trying to follow this so bear with me... The body shop is complaining that Tesla isn't charging enough for it's parts for the body shop to profit off of them? The body shop is also complaining that they need a higher hourly rate to paint a Tesla because painting a Tesla is somehow harder and more complex? To add insult to injury your insurance company won't pay the shops rate?

    Man that's tough... The insurance company should pay the rate charged by the body shop, end of story. However, the body shop is basically saying "we're not making enough profit on your misfortune so go pound sand" which is equally wrong IMHO... Sounds like you need both a new insurance company and to take the car somewhere else... Unfortunately for you, that somewhere else isn't exactly a long list of options and you can't change insurance companies in the middle of a situation like this...

    Either way, none of this is Tesla's fault and blaming them or deciding not to buy another one because of it, is just short sighted and foolish... Perhaps you should not scrape a guardrail...???

    Jeff
     
  4. verdee

    verdee Member

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    The body shops response really bothers me, however they have a monopoly on Tesla repairs in Denver, so really don't have an option. I will try to avoid guardrails in the future, but sometimes icy roads are unavoidable at 5am.
     
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  5. Cinematechs

    Cinematechs Member

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    The issue is with the insurance company. They should cover the damages. That's why you pay premiums. They usually save money off of 3rd party parts manufacturers and body shops that squeeze out high volumes so that they can be more profitable by not paying higher rates. the problem with high end cars with aluminum is that cost more to fix due to the sensitivity required to handle the panels. They tried that on me as well. Tell the adjuster that if they disagree with the fees, then have them ship it to a Tesla authorized repair shop that will fix it at their approved rates. They will not be able to find one and at that pointe, they are obligated to pay for the repairs. Don't get a sour taste regarding Tesla because of a bad claims adjuster. go up the chain of command with your carrier until you get what you need.
     
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  6. DougH

    DougH Active Member

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    Have the same issue in Oregon, there's only one Tesla certified repair shop and they are booked for months.
     
  7. Cinematechs

    Cinematechs Member

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    remember, fair market average rates for body shop repairs is different with a Lexus or Infiniti as it is from a Tesla, 911, or i8.
    call other body shops which repair those other vehicles and ask them what their hourly labor rates are. they'll be around the same price
     
  8. SocalMS

    SocalMS Member

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    Your situation sucks... I wonder y owning a Tesla can be so @#$ complicated?
     
  9. K-MTG

    K-MTG Sunshade Captain of TMC

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    From my experience the aluminum is fairly rugged, I got no damage at all following this accident:


    I also have a random car insurance, I had to look up the name for this post: Unigard Insurance Company. It is only $600 a year for

    Bodily Injury 100K/300K
    Property Damage 100000
    Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury 100K/300K
    Collision $1000.00
    Comprehensive (OTC) $1000.00
    Rental Reimbursement Coverage 30/900
    Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW)
    NO COVERAGE

    But they listed me as a 70D on the policy even though I have a 90D.
     
  10. Barry

    Barry Active Member

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    Agree. My car was at Stuttgart last year and State Farm agreed to pay their "premium." Time to threaten your insurance company with legal action. The premium the insurance company charges you to insure a Tesla is higher than a Buick. There's a reason for that - higher repair costs.
     
  11. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    no, it is the high/inflated costs associated with the rules imposed by tesla and the very high cost and limited availability of replacement parts. those costs are not caused by an insurance company, those costs are caused by tesla's policies
     
  12. verdee

    verdee Member

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    Follow up on the situation. I sent an email to Tesla regarding my experience, they contacted the body shop. Today I spoke with owner and they will pay the difference and cover if my rental car goes over what the insurance limit. I was very pleased, but the underlying issues still exist. This is a multifactorial problem, with Tesla itself being a problem. The owner of Stuttgart is frustrated with them, as they have set the standards of a body shop so high (and costly) that few are willing put up the money. This puts those that do of becoming almost Tesla exclusive, which they don't intend to be. The slow flow of parts means that they have cars sitting on their lots for months waiting for parts (I saw this first hand when dropping off my car), this fills up their space and creates a big backlog, slowing down business in general. Without other shops there is neither competition in prices or the ability to spread out the volume of work.

    If the Model 3 is supposed to be this high volume every person car, then there need to be more repair shops and a better flow of parts. There are enough Teslas where this shouldn't be the case now. Especially when it comes to damage that is not structural or to the drivetrain. There are many aluminum bodied cars cars, and more coming, so many shops can fix this, it's not that special. Maybe in situations where the battery needs to be dropped, etc, should a specialty shop do it. However, electric cars are the new automobile and with volume models such as the 3, bolt, next gen leaf, etc shops will not only get familiar but also specialized.

    Anyway, my issues have been dealt with, but bigger picture issues need attention. I still love my car, but I am hesitant to get another if this remains the status quo
     
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  13. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    There are now 2 in the Portland area, Precision in Beaverton and Mackin in NE Portland. They only list one Mackin location on the recommended list, but there are 8 in the Portland area including two in Clark County.

    I hope I never need a body shop, but if I do I hope I can take it to the East Vancouver location.
     
  14. robby

    robby Member

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    Tesla is rumored to be working on it: Tesla is working on opening up its service tools and helping owners repair their own cars with replacement parts

    I have a slightly different take on this situation. First, I think it's commendable that Tesla has cut their prices on parts as they've gotten cheaper -- it reflects what they've promised about not using service as a profit center. Second, I sympathize with the body shop -- if they drop their rate to $50/hr every time an insurance adjuster puts up a fight, they will forever be in the red on their Tesla certification. That's not in anyone's interest. Nobody is going to pay for training if they can't make money from it. Third, requiring training and certification seems pretty reasonable to me for the first fully electric brand to market, and being made of aluminum no less. Most shops aren't set up to touch anything aluminum and it would be a disaster if Teslas were being repaired left and right by people who didn't know what they were doing. The current system provides some guarantees, and if you go to an approved shop and something goes wrong, you can let Tesla hash it out with the shop rather than have to prove yourself whose fault it is.

    I agree with others that your insurance company needs to step up. They chose to insure your vehicle, now they have to make you whole on your policy. If you are willing to let them find the best rate by a qualified shop, I don't think they have a case to deny paying that rate. I am going through a similar issue here in Massachusetts but my insurance company (USAA) is realizing quickly that they cannot find a better qualified rate than what I found. Good luck.
     
  15. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    So which way is it?
     
  16. Motomania

    Motomania Member

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    That sucks OP; sorry to hear it.
    -
    But the bodyshops complaining about aluminum repairs is absurd. There have been other cars with aluminum panels around for years. And god forbid, the shop get one of those ultra rare, highly exotic, newer Ford F-150's to work in that are all aluminum. (Gasp!) what ever will the shop do?!?!(sarcasm)
    -
    As for the insurance company not paying on the rates; that's a tough one. Because like your shop said; sounds like they're charging it because they want more money off the job?
    -
    Anywho; it might be worth investigating to see if your state has a Department of Insurance you can contact for some advice. Or possibly file a formal complaint with that DOI.
     
  17. robby

    robby Member

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    Bolting on an aluminum fender is a lot easier than welding an aluminum quarter panel. I would wager 3/4 of that $13k repair is the rear quarter. That issue is not unique to Tesla -- any aluminum unibody will have that problem. Admittedly, the Ford F-150 is body-on-frame and wouldn't -- but being built to tow and haul that construction is the exception these days, not the rule.
     
  18. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    I'm sorry you hit a guardrail and I'm glad you're ok!

    Part of the reason why a certification is even necessary (as others have pointed out) is that aluminum is very different to work with than regular steel. You would get way lower customer satisfaction if you botched aluminum repair jobs.

    Here in California, specifically in the Bay Area, it's not a problem anymore because there are so many shops certified to do this. There are even dent repair mobile services on Yelp that specialize in repairing aluminum due to the high number of [choose 1 of 2]: (a) Teslas in the Bay Area; or (b) Aluminum-body Axura NSXs from the 90s in the Bay Area. Anyways, as the market matures with more and more aluminum cars (or maybe future Teslas just won't be made of Al), this problem should go away. Hang in there in Denver!

    - K
     
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