Do I Have to Accept After Market Bumpers? Do I have any recourse?


#1

Here’s the deal. I have a 2002 Civic Ex with about 40,000 miles on it. I have generally taken excellent care of my car. A couple weeks ago, someone backed into my parked car, from the side hitting the rear bumper on the passenger side. The bumper on the passenger side slightly popped out and the frame apparently sustained some damage. I have three questions here.



They left me a note and their insurance is covered the repair and recommended a local body shop (I am living in a city, just for a summer and will leave this Friday for good.) The body shop put an after market bumper on my car. The edge of the bumper on the passenger side is curled out a little bit and the part doesn’t line up smoothly or evenly with the neighboring panels. He told me that insurance companies would only pay for after market parts on my car and that there was nothing I could do about the bent and poorly aligned new bumper.



Now, the first time I take my car somewhere after visiting the shop someone again bumps into my bumper from the rear toward the passenger side of the car and left without leaving a note. “Coincidentally”, the exact same damage as before occurred.



My feeling is that the shop that fixed my car did a cheap job on the bumper, improperly fixing it, which caused it to be ready to pop back out as soon as someone lightly tapped my car. Is this possible? They did a poor job in other respects, missing a big dent in the metal floor under the trunk. They also broke my right read blinker and did something weird to the panel covering the gas cap, which is on the other side of the car from the damage.



Finally, is there anything that I can do to avoid paying the deductible on my insurance to have the car fixed again?


#2

First of all you don’t have to use any insurance company’s repair shop. The practice of “steering” or making you go to a specific shop is illegal, at least in most states.

Secondly, insurance companies like to make you feel that you HAVE to accept aftermarket parts but the truth is you are allowed to choose from aftermarket OR comparable (used) OEM. The reason they don’t like you to choose the OEM is that if the shop cannot locate a comparable USED part then they must give you a NEW one. When my Honda Accord went under the knife I took it to the repair shop I wanted and chose OEM and the insurance company (Allstate) paid the whole tab minus the deductible. Since they could not locate much used OEM equipment most of my replacement parts ended up being brand new OEM.


#3

bloody knuckles is (are? :wink: ) absolutely right. If you want OEM, you get OEM.


#4

Do I have any recourse now that the car has been fixed and damaged again?


#5

You do not have to accept anything the other side offers. You are free to choose your own repair shop.

The only sticky spot here may be if you signed a release form absolving them of all responsibility.


#6

The car has to be returned to the same level of protection as it was before the accident, and it has to be returned to the same fit and finish. You should not have accepted it from the body shop in the first place.

If you documented the damage, and the poor fit and finish of the repair with pictures or witnesses, then you can get a lawyer and take the body shop and the insurance company to court. I’m sure you will win, but I’m not sure it won’t cost you a lot more than you get.


#7

From what you describe, I think you did get an OEM part, your own. They probably repainted it and reinstalled it with new clips, but the metal frame of the bumper was probably ready to spring back to the deformed position as soon as someone tapped it hard enough to break the plastic clips.


#8

I was told that the part I have was an aftermarket part. That I know for sure.
-R


#9

I’m sure you were told this, but it has all the earmarks of a repair and return, and not a very good repair at that.


#10

Let me add some more. The bumper hangs from a couple of bolts that are not screwed in all the way. They stickout about a quarter inch. There are two on each side under the rear fenders and the bumper has two keyholes with tapered slots. The bumper goes up to where the bolt heads pass through the big end of the keyhole and then is slid either forward or backward into place. The these little plastic caps with expansion plugs go in all the rest of the holes to hold it in place.

If the new bumper has torn slots where the plastic caps go through, the it doesn’t take much to push the bumper off the bolts. This causes the forward most part of the bumper to go forward and out.

This should have broken at least some of the clips so check to see if they are all in place. They should have used all new fasteners but I have reused the old ones on occasion while waiting for the new ones.

If the new bumper wasn’t mounted correctly, or if it was an aftermarket part that wasn’t quite an exact replacement, it wouldn’t have much trouble falling off the bolts. If they did a paint and return, charging for a new part, it probably had torn holes for the plastic fasteners and that also would be easy to pop back out.

Check for missing fasteners and holes torn holes where they go.