A couple of days ago, I spoke with Mark from the insurance company. He was going to get in contact with the body shop as if anyone was liable for my problems, it would be the body shop he said.
He followed up and said that Mike from the body shop wanted me to bring the car out for him to look at. I contacted the shop yesterday and I was able to get the car out there yesterday afternoon. Mike was very cordial and he seemed sincerely concerned about my problems. He spent about 15-20 minutes looking at the car, and while he was doing so, I gave him all of the background. We briefly talked about the subsequent incident I had that damaged my rear bumper, but I assured him that the gentleman from the dealer that looked at the problems was convinced that the rust problems were unrelated to the bumper damage.
I have rust in 3 places on the car:
- Along the edge of the trunk lid, and inside the trunk. I noticed yesterday that this extends under the rear window and it's pretty bad inside the trunk -- must worse than I had first thought.
- Where the quarter-panel meets the wheel well and the rear bumper (this is also pretty bad)
- Under the driver door, in the door jamb (just a small bubble)
I told Mike that I wasn't trying to pull one over on him and if he thought the rust was a direct result of the incident that damaged the bumper, I'd like him to tell me so. He said that he does believe the rust at the wheel well is a result of that damage, but he does not think the other problems are related -- they are from the original wreck and repairs. I was glad to hear him say this and I thought that assessment was perfectly reasonable. Right near the rust at the wheel well, the rear bumper is pulled away from the quarter-panel... So again, I think his assessment is reasonable.
However, it's been over 6 years since the repairs were done. The body shop has since changed names (not sure of the details, but it became a franchise for a nation-wide company), they've moved locations, gotten all new management and staff, etc. They have no paperwork on site for my repairs. And I can't find my copy of the warranty or receipt for the work. But we all know the repairs were done there and paid for by the insurance company.
Mike got a copy of the original estimate from the insurance company. And he asked if I had any pictures of the damage. I will upload the pictures in a subsequent post. He said that they typically only have a 5 year, 50,000 warranty on all aspects of their work, including workmanship, and I'm well beyond that. But he was going to contact corporate to see if paperwork could be located for my repairs and to discuss how to proceed. Something strange is that the company's web site claims that they have a lifetime guarantee on their workmanship and service.
I still think this is going to lead nowhere and I'll be stuck fixing all of the problems myself, which will likely cost me a couple of thousand bucks -- but it has to be done. We'll see though, maybe I'll be shocked and surprised and the body shop will pick up the tab on the repairs. If they don't, I certainly won't be taking the car there for the repairs, or any other car for that matter.