Unsatisfactory DIY paint job, now what?
March 16, 2011 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Someone gouged my parked car and has been attempting to fix it with touch-up paint and clearcoat. The results are unsatisfactory to me, and this someone refuses to do any more. I would rather the scratch be completely gone, instead of remainder marks remaining. So far, the professional opinion has been to repaint the area for a few hundred bucks. What is my recourse here? Settle via insurance? I do not care to pay out of pocket for something that was clearly not my mistake.
posted by Xere to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Best answer: Who is the "Someone"? It sounds from your phrasing like it might be your Mom, boyfriend, or roommate? If so, the situation is at least marginally more complicated because of that.

Did you agree to allow him/her to fix it themselves? Do you have anything in writing saying they're responsible?

Smartest thing regardless is to call your insurance company ASAP and report the incident. Just bear in mind that reporting it and having the insurance company fix it might cost you significantly more in the long run (premiums, etc) than just getting it fixed yourself.
posted by arnicae at 4:19 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Small claims court?
posted by mikeh at 4:28 PM on March 16, 2011

Response by poster: Roommate's friend, whom I barely know. I don't have anything in writing. I agreed to first go with a diy attempt.
posted by Xere at 4:33 PM on March 16, 2011

I do not care to pay out of pocket for something that was clearly not my mistake.

Your insurance policy will probably have a deductible that you would still need to cover out of pocket. So, unless you can get "someone" to pay the estimated cost of repair up front, your options are to pay for it yourself or to get insurance involved.

Insurance companies don't sell the platonic ideal of auto insurance policies. Your policy is exactly what it says in the contract you signed, and what you signed probably didn't say "We will find the money to pay for 100% of everything that wasn't your fault." Even if you bear absolutely no responsibility for what happened, you may still be required to bear some costs. Sorry!
posted by Nomyte at 4:34 PM on March 16, 2011

I think you may have entered into a compromise too early. You offered a chance to make amends in good faith, and they took it in good faith, but the results are imperfect. Perfect results are more likely to come from professionals.

Me, I'd say chalk it up to 'next time, get insist it get done properly from the get-go' because I think you'll have a hard time explaining to the insurance company that the problem they're paying to fix isn't a scratch but a botched paint job.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:35 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go get it done in the manner you'll be happy with. Then let the roommate's friend know what it costs to have done right. This person will either step up and cover it or he won't. Either way it's better for you mental health not to have the constant reminder of a poor repair every time you go to get in your car.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:51 PM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If they scratched it with their own car, their insurance should pay, and there shouldn't be a deductible for you.
posted by galadriel at 5:09 PM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agreed to first go with a diy attempt
This decision will likely end up costing you more, as the 'proper' repair will be larger than it would have been and professionals are always wary of fixing botched repair jobs. An insurance company will almost certainly not accept a claim on this now.

If it bothers you to have the damage to the car, you will have to pay to get it fixed whether or not they end up reimbursing you. It's really a question of whether it bothers you more than paying for the cost of the repair would bother you.
posted by dg at 10:11 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

The simple plan is to take some pictures, go get the work done, and bill the person for the cost. If they refuse and you want to press it, take them to small claims court (I doubt the cost is going to be more than your insurance deductible).

However, if they really don't want to pay you, it can turn into a lot of work extracting that money (even with a judgment in your favor). Best to try to be diplomatic about things, maybe offer that they pay the bill, less the cost of the supplies and time this person already put into trying to fix the damage?
posted by Menthol at 10:31 PM on March 16, 2011

Here is a situation you can have with or without lawyers.

That person screwed up...and you screwed up accepting their DIY attempts.

This is what you should do to fix everything:

"Hey dude...this DIY isn't working...so this is what I am going to do:
I'm going to have you pay for the cost of it being fixed by a professional...but I will subtract the costs of the paint/touchup stuff you used. That way, you only pay for what you should have from the beginning...and I will pay for the extra stuff that didn't work at all. Thats the fairest way to fix this. Is fair good for you?"

That should do it.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:35 PM on March 16, 2011

You've (probably) screwed your chances, by entering into a verbal contract to allow them to DIY repair it. If you didn't very explicitly spell out the terms & conditions under which the DIY job would be judged... you essentially agreed to the repairs made. Even if you did agree to those terms, are they going to be backed up by testimony of the defendant in small claims court? No written agreement; no luck.

Lesson learned? On the grand scale, it wasn't as expensive as some.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2011

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