The Self Educated Customer

Most people are not educated in vehicle damage evaluation (estimating) or the techniques of repairing cars. Thanks to the internet I get a few customers that Google “Auto Body Repairs” prior to coming in for an estimate. This can be compared to a college student not paying attention during the semester, then trying to obtain it all in a one night “cram session”. You’re actually only memorizing the material not learning it. Now back to my customer, while outside looking at the vehicle he began to recall the information that was found online. I hear, “Excuse me, I think the quarter panel needs to be replaced.” I pause for a moment, sir this is actually the fender, your quarter panel is in the rear of the car. Most types of metal can be repaired unless the integrity is jeopardized or if it’s not cost effective to do so. I then continued to take my notes and wouldn’t you know it, “Excuse me again, I think my SRS system malfunctioned.” I am now curious, so I play along and ask him why. He stated, “With an impact to the front of the vehicle the airbags should have deployed.” I was happy to know he knew what the SRS system was but he was wrong in thinking a deployment of the bags were needed in this type of collision. I let him know that the airbags are there to keep you from hitting the steering wheel or windshield. It takes a violent impact to activate the SRS (Supplementary Restraint System), all the sensors and modules communicate and have to register the same impact for an airbag deployment. He nodded his head while saying “I’ll just leave it to the experts, you know what your doing.” I’m glad he felt my 20 years experience in the industry was enough. I finished my notes and went inside to write up the estimate. After handing him the appraisal, he briefly looked it over and immediately booked an appointment to have his car fixed next week.