I have a 2004 Mustang that was hit and had driver’s side rear quarter panel damage. I drove it for two weeks while working out insurance/appraisal issues and the rear window defroster worked just fine during this time (I use the defroster every morning)…this will be important later. I took it to a top rated body shop that my family had used previously and had been very happy with. Body work was great, but after I picked up the car, I immediately noticed that a section of the rear window defroster no longer worked…and it was right in the center, so visibility was severely compromised. Note that the body shop paperwork stated that the rear window was pulled and reinstalled in order to do the quarter panel replacement. I immediately reported this to the body shop and was told to bring it back, no problem. I left it there for a day, but they called and said they couldn’t fix it and to come pick it up.
Finding it quite a coincidence that the defroster was fully functional when I drove it into their lot and not working properly when I picked it up, I wasn’t happy that they were not taking responsibility. I was told that sometimes these things just break down…weird. During a subsequent conversation, the body shop front office person mentioned that damage can happen when pulling and replacing the window and the insurance should pay because if not for the accident, the window wouldn’t have had to be pulled. They said they had called the insurance company of the driver who damaged my car, but they wouldn’t pay to replace the rear window, which made sense to me because, again, it wasn’t damaged in the accident. At one point the body shop manager implied that they might possibly replace the window at cost, but he never called me back. In fact, they promised to call back six times, but I heard nothing from them.
Feeling like I wasn’t being treated fairly, I sent a polite email to the shop owner, who responded today. He said he regretted this unfortunate incident but they had the rear window glass inspected by xxx glass company, who determined it wasn’t damaged due to their work on the car. He suggested that I take it to a reputable glass shop for inspection and to respond to him with their findings, which I will do. I consider this a positive step, since I had been ignored for weeks by the office staff and shop manager.
I admit that I don’t have any knowledge of what is involved in removing/replacing a window with imbedded defroster. I want to be fair, but based on the fact that the defroster was working when the car was delivered to them and not working when I picked it up, plus the fact that the window was removed and reinstalled, it seems extremely likely that damage occurred during the body work.
My question, oh wise car gurus, is…am I being unreasonable in expecting the body shop to replace the window? Can the defroster grid be damaged when removing and replacing the window? If so, is this common knowledge among glass technicians or is it a rare occurrence? What criteria would a glass technician even use to determine if pulling and replacing the window caused part of the grid to fail? I feel like I could use some input from expert, unbiased parties…I’m trying to be fair and reasonable, but just want my car to be restored to the condition it was in before the accident. Thanks in advance; I know this is long and I appreciate any insight you can share.