Monday, January 19, 2009

Car Repairs: $550 or $1250

The back of our car got run into a stone wall - like most car accidents it happened close to home - in the driveway of our apartment building... The panel above the right rear wheel was dented in and lots of paint was now on the wall rather than on our car. We'd accumulated a couple of other holes in the paintwork on the rear bumper. One had happened on our wedding day when my brother was driving our car and backed it straight into the neighbors car in the underground car park.

Anyway, it needed repairing and we drove to a local industrial area where most of the crash repairers are located. One of the biggest who is approved by our insurer said it would cost $1200 to $1300 (all figures in Australian Dollars). He couldn't do the job until after the 29th of January and it would take a week. The excess on our insurance is $500 and then making a claim would reduce our 45% no claim bonus. Not sure whether this was a good plan we drove round to the guy who inspected our car prior to purchase (for free) and where we'd already got one service (as we promised in return for the free inspection). He had a "mate" in the neighboring town just over the state boundary who could do it in the shed in his backyard. We drove straight there. His estimate: $550, in cash and he could do it right away. At any reasonable discount rate this made sense. Given the damage was non-structural - just a gouge in the side of the car - and this "bloke" was recommended by our friendly mechanic I agreed to the repair - we left the car with him and took the bus the ten miles home on Friday lunchtime.

Sunday morning he phoned us up with the job complete apart from a cosmetic piece of silver trim we can get at the Ford dealer and stick on ourselves supposedly. The car looks great.

2 comments: said...

And by paying "cash" and not getting a tax invoice, you are an accomplice to tax fraud in the amount of $55 GST. ;)

That, and the fact that insurers only pay a fraction of the quoted price to an authorised repairer, explains most of the price differential.

If you'd told the authorised repairer that you would pay him cash personally, rather than claim on the insurance, he'd proabably have quoted under $1000.

It would still be cheaper to get the job done by "a friend of a friend", but the warranty on the repair job may not be as good.

mOOm said...

I imagine there is an income tax differential involved too :)

No warranty obviously but the guy does taxis referred from the Ford servicer who referred us and if there were problems we'd complain to the guy who referred us.....