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The case of the damaged door

I took my 2000 Honda Accord to a body shop after my driver side door lock broke. It’s a tricky thing to fix and they had to replace the left front door latch assembly, which includes taking the driver’s seat out. They charged me $238 in labor plus $106 for the latch assembly for a total of $353 including tax. They forced the door open and there are deep scratches in the metal and plastic panel where the door meets the car, and the lock knob was too high. I took it back to the shop (had to pick the car up after hours) and they told me they could fix the scratches in the metal and the knob lock position, but not the scratches in the plastic panel. They did not inform me that their work would damage the panel prior to performing service. Should I be satisfied with their proposal to fix only the metal and the knob lock or not?

Here’s a photo

Wow. Was this their first day on the job? Terrible work and worse customer service. Sorry that happened. Did you talk to the owner of the shop? Don’t deal with the grunts. I question their competence.

I believe it was the owner who I spoke with but will verify. Assuming it was the owner, any advice on what I might do? I don’t want to threaten small claims/poor yelp reviews/etc until I’ve exhausted everything else.

This door lock problem, was the door stuck closed and locked so you couldn’t get into it? If so, then the door has to be pried open and some damage will result. I don’t think you can hold them liable for that.

The damage looks like it isn’t visible with the door closed, except for the scratches in the interior panel. They should fix the door lock properly and paint over the scrapes so they don’t rust. I do think that they could have avoided the damage to the panel if they had started with removing the seat and the panel first before forcing the door open. They probably thought they could save time and money by going straight at the door first.

@keith, yes, the door was closed and locked. I really only care about the damage to the interior panel as that is all that is visible, as you pointed out. Of course it would be good to paint over the scratches and avoid the rust. But the damage to the interior panel will make the vehicle harder to sell, which I’d like to do sometime soon.

You have a right to get angry and raise holy hell. Right in their waiting room. This is appalling work and they should accept responsibility and fix it…all of it…properly.

Other than small claims court, you really have no other recourse.

Sincere best.

You may be able to get a door card off a junked vehicle for not crazy money. They are pretty easy to replace.
I’d search craigslist for ‘parting out 2000 honda accord’ and no doubt you will eventually score one.

It is kinda sloppy they did that sort of damage, though.

This Car Is 12-1/2 To 13-1/2 Years Old !
It Is Not Going To Be A Classic. It’s Not A Late Model Luxury Car.

Let them touch up the paint scratches and inquire about the door trim panel scratches if you’d like, but for crying out loud it’s no big deal, if the door is now operating properly. This car is going from “senior citizen” status to “antique” status as we write.

Buy or bake the guys in the shop some cookies and thank them. You can make yourself sick over nothing.


CSA–would you say the same if this botched job had been on your personal car and they charged you $353 to do it? Didn’t think so.

I really don’t think this is a big deal and especially on a 12 year old car will have no effect on resale value. If they are willing to touch it up, I’d be happy with that and forget the door panel. They should have told you to start that some damage might result trying to get a locked door open again.

" CSA–would you say the same if this botched job had been on your personal car and they charged you $353 to do it? Didn’t think so. "

Did I stutter ?

Sometimes a shop has to use a nibbler to cut through the steel door shell to get the door open. Then what would the repair bill look like ?

On a car that old stuff happens (and will continue, unfortunately). It’s Mother Nature’s way of hinting at when to consider updating.

I know humans who proudly show off the life saving scars on their chests. This is just an old car. Give me a break, please. The owner can look at the little scratches on the door trim as a badge of honor for reaching that ripe old age and keep on going.