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Scotch Plains/Fanwood — News

Auto Repair Dangers Exposed

Sean Conklin

Monday, August 11, 2014 • 8:00am

If you have ever had your car repaired due to an accident, you may have gone to an auto body shop recommended by your auto insurance company.  While it may seem that they are doing you a favor by cutting out the leg work, the motivation is tied primarily to their bottom line.

Several TV stations have investigative the motives for auto body shops to cut corners on repairs, especially when the referral is made to an auto insurance company’s direct repair program shop (DRP).

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Sam Mikhail, owner of Prestige Auto Body in Garwood, NJ, explained that shoddy repair jobs are frequently completed at insurance company’s DRPs, which are under enormous pressure to get the job done as fast and as cheaply as possible.  This sometimes leads to cutting corners in order to save money on the workmanship and on rentals that the insurance company pays for.

As a result, aftermarket parts are often used, and inferior service is done even though consumers are paying the same deductible, regardless of the repair quality. Repair costs beyond the deductible are typically covered by the auto insurers, who want the work done at the cheapest price.  Mikhail claims that insurance companies will often use scare tactics to get the claimants to bring their cars to “approved” DRPs.

“They will try to deter customers from taking their cars to an independent auto body repair shop by delaying time or making false guarantees for service warranties,” said Mikhail, who immigrated to America from Egypt in 1969 and holds an MBA in accounting.

He says some auto insurance companies will take their customer entirely out of the repair process, while promoting the “convenience factor.”

“Don’t be fooled,” explained Mikhail, who has been in the auto repair business since 1978. “They remove the customer from the repair process to benefit the insurance company, not the car owner.”

“Consumers should look for brick-and-mortar body shops that have been in business a long time and have a solid track record of satisfied customers,” explained Philip Reed, a senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com in an article about the hidden motives of some auto body shops.

Prestige Auto Body is an independent auto body shop that has been built on the motto, “We work for you, not the auto insurance company.”  Mikhail, who has been honored with many community service awards over the years, is dedicated to consumer protection and high-quality, safe, and complete repairs. He personally inspects every vehicle that enters and exits his shop.

Prestige Auto Body has received an I-Car Gold Class Professional Certification – a designation that identifies the repair shop has trained technicians who know how to repair a vehicle properly – as well as an ASE Certification.

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Editor's Note: Prestige Auto Body, located on 7 South Ave. in Garwood is an advertiser on The Alternative Press of Scotch Plains-Fanwood. To learn more about becoming an advertiser, call (908) 663-2121 or email spf@thealternativepress.com.

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