When a hailstorm hits your vehicle, prompt repairs are necessary to prevent further damage and maintain your car's value. Yet, it is important to be cautious regarding whom you allow to work on your vehicle. As reported by Arizona Daily Independent, the leader of a mobile dent repair company advertising its services to the elderly has been arrested after the discovery that the organized crime group took thousands of dollars for repairs that were never completed. Unfortunately, these types of scams are not uncommon, and they happen all over the country following storms. While it may be too late for those victims, you can protect yourself from fraud by using these strategies to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.
Check the Company History
An online search that reveals nothing about a vehicle body repair company should always be a red flag. This is because scam artists often work fast to recruit potential victims, and then disappear quickly before they have a chance to be caught. Look for companies that have an established online presence, and check their contact information to make sure it is legitimate. Ideally, a company should have at least a three-year history of quality services in your area, and local references or reviews that vouch for their expertise.
Understand the Complications Involved
Many auto repair companies advertise that dents can be repaired in minutes, which makes it appear to be a simple process. However, the location of the hail damage, the materials used for a car's body and any paint damage involved can all influence the techniques that must be used for proper repair. As the Chicago Tribune reports, plastics can be especially time-consuming, and the various metals used in luxury vehicles can require extensive training to correct dents. For these reasons, you should always be wary regarding a company that claims to be able to fix your car in your driveway or a parking lot as you shop.
Request a Written Contract
In addition to leaving repairs unfinished, storm-chasing scammers will often quote a small price and demand a larger sum later. For this reason, you should always ask for a written contract that outlines the work that will be done along with the agreed-upon price. It is also important to note that while some companies may ask for a deposit, a reputable one will never ask you to pay in full until the project is complete.
After a storm damages your vehicle, the last thing you need is to be dealing with dings to your pocketbook. Since there will always be nefarious individuals willing to turn someone else's tragedy into their personal windfall, you should be on guard against potential scammers, especially if your community was hard hit. By spending a few extra minutes checking into a company's background and experience, you can then sign your contract knowing you have done everything you can to preserve your car's value.