Took a work vehicle to Imperial Auto Body of DC for repair work which was going to be paid for through insurance – primarily replace a front bumper. I have chose them because of proximity to work and decent online reviews.
Gave them the check from the insurance co. so they could order the parts in advanced so I wouldn’t be without my work vehicle for long. They said the parts would be in in a few days. 2 weeks later I hadn’t heard from them – no missed calls, emails, or voice mails so I called them… oh yeah your parts are here you can drop your vehicle off today.
Once they had the vehicle they completed the work fairly quick… Got the vehicle on a Thursday, ready to be picked up the following Tuesday afternoon. Once I saw the vehicle and was doing the once over with a staff member I could see that the front bumper was a very obvious different shade of white from the rest of the car.
Staff guy first said that it was the same shade and “white is white”. Once I explained that there are actually different shades of white and even different shades of the same kind of white depending on the brand of paint, manufacturer…etc. He agreed. Then he told me that the difference in color was due to the fact that the rest of the vehicle is “old paint” and if I were to buff the rest of the car it would brighten it up and match better.
He said this right after he talked about all the scratches they took the extra time to buff out. Didn’t seem any lighter to me. His final excuse for the poor color match was that the bumper is plastic and the rest of the car is metal so that changes the color as well… at this point I felt that pointing out that the perfectly matched PLASTIC rear bumper would just be a waste of time. Then I brought up the uneven gap between the bumper skin and fender (which is a border that is only about 10″ long).
At one end of the gap there was the correct 1/16-1/8 inch gap, at the other end they were touching. I tried to explain that this unevenness was incorrect and asked if there were any mounting points underneath that may have been bent/tweeked from the accident. He insisted that this was the way it was supposed to be and that it is how it bolts to the car. Again I refrained from bringing him to the rear of the car and showing him what correct/even spacing between panels looks like on the rear bumper.
Overall I would say the work done was poor if you have even the slightest attention to detail and customer service was good in that everyone I dealt with was always very friendly but poor considering how long it took for me to get the car in.
It was VERY poor when considering the stereotypical nonsense the staff member was trying to give me as reasons for the work not looking right. This is the kind of crap that gives shops a bad name and makes me so untrusting of places like that in the first place.
I understand body work is not an exact science but an honest, intelligent conversation goes a long way instead of standing there trying to tell me the sky isn’t blue.
In the end I just took the car and left… if the work hadn’t been paid for by someone else insurance, it was work vehicle, or the fact that I was already late for work… I would have spoken to a manger. I would not pay to have them do work nor would I ever bring my personal vehicle to this shop.