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How would your shop react to this letter from a customer? 10 Replies

Started by Bob Collins in General. Last reply by Truman Fancher III Aug 6, 2015.


I have an insurance company asking me to straighten bent radiators and condensors.  I have never been asked to do this before. I am looking for some opinions on this?

Thank you

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Most radiators and condensors are made of aluminum.  Aluminum does not have the memory characteristics of other metals and will crack when straightening is attempted.  I would suggest this to be a poor practice and straightening would be a very short term fix.  As the components heat and cool as intended the areas repaired would stress creating leaks.  The only repairs that should be attempted on radiators and condensors would be to comb fins bent but not broken.

Hey Darren... Thanks for posting. 

It's an issue that comes up from time to time across the country. A few things that might help you get past this request. 

First, you have to sort out is this an insurance company position or an adjuster position? Over the years when this repair request would pop-up around the country it was due to some misunderstood information. For example, a guest speaker at a unit meeting or an off handed comment from a trainer during a class. As corporate trainers we sometimes forget that the young impressionable minds in front of us work in absolutes and no grey. So why there may be unique and rare occasions where repair MIGHT be possible, as an estimating practice for field adjusters.... a bad idea. 

Take this as a chance to offer some education and guidance and really grow your relationship with that adjuster/estimator as well as their management. Keep an open mind, not all strange request from adjusters are an attempt to cut cost, pay less or give customers bad repair. Sometimes it's as simple as a little information is a dangerous thing. 

For example, I invited a shop in one time to speak to my adjusters. He felt that any frame could be fixed for 4 hours and anything over that was another shop trying to overcharge??? Do you know how many 4 hour frame estimates I got calls on for the next month?

If it all goes south.... as these dialogue sessions can sometimes be, just respectfully request that they warranty the repair apart from your warranty. 

I have never been asked to do this.  But I did have a condensor that had a slight curve to it.  We straightened it and put it back in the car.  Two months later it came back leaking.  I did supplement it and got paid.  Any radiator or condensor now gets replaced if there is any impact.  Leaks are inevitable, maybe not right away but they will happen.  Not worth it. If you get in a jam to do this, I would photo and document on the estimate the person who required you to do it.  If it comes back there will be no question.

Tell them "No."

If they bug you again for an answer tell them to drive their personal vehicle in so that you can bow theirs out and bend it back into shape.

Thanks for the input.  I have been in this game for 15 years now and this was a first for me.  I was wondering if shops were actually doing this. I might expect this from one of the "substandards" but this was one of the big boys.  I dont want to say the name of the insurance company but they give lots of discounts on their commercials and I guess this is one of the ways they make that possible. To make a long story short I informed the customer and the insurance company that I could not warranty that kind of repair.  I dont know who did more convincing, the customer or myself, but we were able to convince the insurance company to spring for some aftermarket parts. 


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