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No one...i mean no one can refuse or not tell where your property is if you want to see it whether it's subbed or not. I would take legal action because the time it's taking is way beyond ridiculous. I would talk to local PD because them refusing to tell you where it is and being gone this long is technically being held hostage or stolen. Cut your losses and get it back and take them to claims court. They will have to refund the money due to the fact no judge would honor repairs being this long in the process. I would have gone ape $h17. You are way more patient then i would have been.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
That'll be the plan then. I didn't care for the first six months because it was a rough winter and I couldn't drive anyways. After that, i was trying to be very careful not to piss of the guy with the paint gun, especially since he was throwing in freebies like refinishing the wheels and painting the center console to match, allegedly. Well, this next week should be interesting to say the least.


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EnderW88,
You are correct, but most small business owners don't know it. It would be a harmless bluff which might yield results without filing for legal action and a "motion to disclose".
Seriously? Have you ever seen a FOIA request? Go here and read up.

Submitting a FOIA request to a private business would make you look like an idiot. The business would then believe they are dealing with an idiot and be even less likely to cooperate concerning the whole issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Finally got pictures!!! ImageUploadedByAG Free1405961874.476751.jpg ImageUploadedByAG Free1405961888.184413.jpg

Some things never change though. He keeps saying the car will be ready by a certain date and then moving the due date by about a week after a couple days. A lawyer has been consulted, and we have a solid case against the guy, but I don't know if it is worth it if he gives me my car in great condition in a few days. We'll just see how it all goes.


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Discussion Starter #47
She's back!!

The saga isn't over though. The body shop still owes me some work like adding the turn signals near the oil coolers and cleaning up some of the body panel alignments. The paint actually turned out really well; they ended up fixing all the issues from the last guy. Apparently one of the reasons this took so long is that the first guy doing the work took his money from me and some other customers and ran. On top of that, they didn't understand how to paint Chrome Orange, and it took them several errors before they got it right. I'm leaning towards believing the guy because he was consistent in his story and some other people I know backed up parts of it. He even did me some favors like refinishing and painting the wheels which came out fantastic. In the end, we reached an agreement on price, an I trust him to get these details finished up as long as he doesn't send the work out to anyone else which sounds like he won't.


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Discussion Starter #49
More good news: So, during this whole ordeal, I moved from Michigan to the DC area. I am getting married in MI in a month, so my fiancé wants the Lotus to be our getaway car (see why I'm marrying her?). I now have the car in a private garage up there instead of driving it back and forth so much, so here's to hoping they don't get an early winter and I can drive it down it November!


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Sorry for all you had to go through, but the car looks amazing! Hope you can now get behind the wheel and enjoy it.
 

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I just read through this thread - what a nightmare. I don't know how you had any patience at all during this time. I had an issue with my car recently and I was on the phone with my insurance company every single day. You HAVE to push them and you HAVE to be persistent. Your priorities aren't their priorities so you have to manage them. On the upside, glad to hear you got the car back! You can sleep a bit easier knowing that the wait is over :)
 

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Discussion Starter #52
I just read through this thread - what a nightmare. I don't know how you had any patience at all during this time. I had an issue with my car recently and I was on the phone with my insurance company every single day. You HAVE to push them and you HAVE to be persistent. Your priorities aren't their priorities so you have to manage them. On the upside, glad to hear you got the car back! You can sleep a bit easier knowing that the wait is over :)

You're right about where their priorities are - at one point they told the body shop "we don't even insure these cars!" (Geico tends not to insure Elises in Michigan) as if that was enough reason to not pay out. The body guy goes "did he pay his premiums??"
"Yes"
"Then fix his car!"

There was so much f'ed up that yelling wouldn't accomplish anything most of the time. There were occasional shouting matches, but my priority was to get through this well rather than quickly even if that meant it would take a while. In the end, saving some bridges that could've been torched paid off, and now I have a higher quality paint job than it was built with and much, much better than when I bought it.


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Discussion Starter #53
So, I went up to Michigan this weekend to get married (woohoo!) and to get the car. Jess had been dreaming of driving off in the car ever since I got it, so it was a mad sprint to get everything ready to go. A day before the wedding while I was in Michigan, I realized I had left the keys for the Elise in my dd. Had to get usaa to unlock the car and a neighbor overnighted the keys to me.

Finally, we got everything worked out and got some neat pics:

ImageUploadedByAG Free1415581811.596810.jpg ImageUploadedByAG Free1415581880.127432.jpg

All was going great until I came across a deer carcass in the middle of the interstate. Jess was driving her car next to me, so I didn't have room to dodge it. We weren't going fast but couldn't see it until the last minute. According to her, the car actually got airborne.
ImageUploadedByAG Free1415582120.334709.jpg ImageUploadedByAG Free1415582152.043356.jpg

Looks like Chapter II will start soon...


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ouch, what luck! Hope chapter 2 works out better. I'd think that finding a better fix would be easier in DC/VA
 

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Discussion Starter #55
ouch, what luck! Hope chapter 2 works out better. I'd think that finding a better fix would be easier in DC/VA

You just had to jinx me, didn't you??

I went to a highly recommended shop today who politely told me to F off. They are worried that their lives will be made harder because of the uncertainty of quality of the previous work. They were not a shop that USAA would guarantee, so they didn't want the guarantee to ride on themselves. Next shop I try is both guaranteed by USAA and comes with a recommendation.


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Discussion Starter #56
Update time:

Found a shop that was recommended by USAA and by a friend, so I took it there. When I dropped off the car, I asked what they'd do for storage, and they said it'd be stored inside. Well, I drove by one evening and it was sitting outside with the front clamshell off. I called them on the next business day, and they said it was just moved outside temporarily. I get that, no problem.

Well, I drove by again when I was in the area a week later around midnight, and guess what? Sitting out in the weather with the front clam still off in the exact same spot.

Yes, I drive my car in the rain, but what ticks me off is that they are lying to me. I don't handle that well when I am paying someone for a service that I'm not getting then they lie to my face. I reported it to USAA, and they are going to confront the shop. They also recorded it in the file so if anything happens (say, blower motor resistor pack that has now been exposed unprotected to a couple rains), then it can be handled.

In other news, the shop said my car should be ready "soon", so maybe I'll have it in the spring...


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Discussion Starter #57
After almost a year and a half, I think I am at the end of the tunnel!! Got the car home today, and it turned out pretty well. Now, I just need to install a clam hinge, new wiring harness, quarter turn kit, wheel studs, and all the other crap I've amassed over the year and a half in anticipation of getting the car back. Now I just need a warm weekend...


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I'be just read the entire thread... and I'm not surprised by anything here. Sorry you had to deal with this crap but in reality, you do tend to get what you pay for. Geico is one of the crappiestinsurance companies out there. They will write a policy for any vehicle but watch out when it comes time to repair. Many high end shops will not deal with Geico because they tend to fix every car the same way - as cheap as possible. That means avoiding paying for many procedures that the shop has to perform in order to bring the car to pre-accident condition. This really becomes an issue with repairs of high end cars in certified shops. Certified shops charge more, but they also have factory trained body and mechanical techs, factory specified repair equipment such as jig benches, better quality spray booths and use top Materials. All of that costs quite a bit of scratch but cheap a$$ insurance companies refuse to acknowledge that and would prefer all their insureds including those driving $100k cars to have it repaired at some "whorehouse" down the street that Geico has contacted with. Meaning your prized possession will be repaired by techs who have virtually zero experience in repairing highly complex high end cars. Many high end cars today should not even be put on a conventional frame machine because their structures are adhesive bonded and conventional pulling clamps can crack the panel adhesive. Yet many "popular" insurance companies will try to steer you to take your 991 to the same place that fixes Saturns and don't even know what a jig bench is.

I suggest you find a good company (AAA, Chubs, AIG Chartis are a few that come to mind). They understand that their clients' needs and are much more flexible when it come dealing with high profile shops. Good luck and congrats on tying a knot.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
I'be just read the entire thread... and I'm not surprised by anything here. Sorry you had to deal with this crap but in reality, you do tend to get what you pay for. Geico is one of the crappiestinsurance companies out there. They will write a policy for any vehicle but watch out when it comes time to repair. Many high end shops will not deal with Geico because they tend to fix every car the same way - as cheap as possible. That means avoiding paying for many procedures that the shop has to perform in order to bring the car to pre-accident condition. This really becomes an issue with repairs of high end cars in certified shops. Certified shops charge more, but they also have factory trained body and mechanical techs, factory specified repair equipment such as jig benches, better quality spray booths and use top Materials. All of that costs quite a bit of scratch but cheap a$$ insurance companies refuse to acknowledge that and would prefer all their insureds including those driving $100k cars to have it repaired at some "whorehouse" down the street that Geico has contacted with. Meaning your prized possession will be repaired by techs who have virtually zero experience in repairing highly complex high end cars. Many high end cars today should not even be put on a conventional frame machine because their structures are adhesive bonded and conventional pulling clamps can crack the panel adhesive. Yet many "popular" insurance companies will try to steer you to take your 991 to the same place that fixes Saturns and don't even know what a jig bench is.

I suggest you find a good company (AAA, Chubs, AIG Chartis are a few that come to mind). They understand that their clients' needs and are much more flexible when it come dealing with high profile shops. Good luck and congrats on tying a knot.

Thanks for the congrats!

A few points:

You don't always get what you pay for, high or low. That's one reason why we all got the Lotus - it punches well above its cost class (unless you look at luxury, just performance). Geico, was absolutely awful to deal with, and you are right about how they assign shops as affiliates

Some good shops can be teamed up with insurance, though you do have to be careful not to just let the insurance company tell you where to go. Do your own shopping, find out affiliated shops (USAA has a list online, for example)

High end shops flat out overcharge by huge margins. Sometimes you just have to take it, the quality of paint on my car is much better than OEM yet it cost 1/3 what the dealership wanted per hour.

I can't say enough good things about USAA. Incredibly cheap yet great to deal with.

You just have to stay involved with the process, even if you go to a high end shop. It'll irritate them, but even the better shops have bad apples (see other thread about a guy whose car was joyridden by a shop).

The biggest thing is to have guaranteed work, either by the shop or the ins co. That way you have leverage. I lacked this leverage with the shop in MI and it meant I could either go to a lawyer or deal with some work myself. With the second shop, they missed a few things here and there, so I was to lean on them and get it done right.

I finally got her out yesterday and had a great drive. Now I just have to be realllly careful...

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Discussion Starter #60
And here I thought I was done with this... I did some major work this past week knocking out two years of projects that have been building up, and I came across some damage that was caused from this last wreck. It looks like the car landed on something hard (deer skull, hips, something) and cracked the rocker panel. The shop had assumed that this was pre-existing damage and didn't note it during the repair, so I took the car back and walked through it all with them. Apparently they thought all the red splatter around the crack was paint overspray from the first shop even though red paint has never been near this car. When I showed them the guts and fur that tracked down the whole side of the car and out the diffuser, they finally believed me. Now they have submitted the paperwork to USAA for a supplement to do the repair.

In the meantime, I used the spring break to completely tear down the car and fix nearly all the known issues. I took her for a test ride around the neighborhood yesterday and it was the best she's ever ran! Now the only things left are new front tires, fix that rocker panel, and some shakedown driving!
 
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