AAMI Crash Repair Not Measuring Up


Hi John,

I bought my 1st new car this year. A $50,000+ Mitsubishi pajero. I selected a white one so if it had to be repaired there would not be any complications with the paint match etc. I had minor collision, reversed it in to a tree: about $2000 worth.

I am taking it back to an aami assessor tomorrow for the 4th time. I am asking them to replace it with a new vehicle which I told them I would do if it wasn't right on the 3rd attempt. Painting cars is a very trickey job as I have repaired a lot of cars myself over the last 40 years. With state of the art equipment they have today.There is no exuse not to doisfactory job.Regards col.

PS I love your radio shows on Radio 2UE - both the weekend motoring & general midnight to dawn show.




G'day Colin,

I agree with you that matching the paint and doing a satisfactory minor crash repair isn't rocket science. Any half-competent crash repairer should be able to get this right - the first time.

I also know that it's frustrating making a big investment in a vehicle and seeing others not treat it as seriously as you have.

One of the problems with AAMI is: you don't get to choose the repairer. AAMI's focus is to deliver a profit to Suncorp shareholders, not customer satisfaction. You can't shop around for service, so guess what? They don't care so much how you feel about the repair. (You're not really paying the repairer. So you're not really a customer.)

As for getting a new car: you've got no chance. That's not an equitable exchange. You will just look like a fool suggesting it. (But I understand your growing frustration. It shouldn't take four goes to get it right.)

I think your next steps are: Involve the insurance industry ombudsman, and the Dept. of Fair Trading. You need to let them know, very firmly, that you're not accepting a second-rate job. So they can either fix it this time around or you will be complaining to these agencies, whose jobs it is to resolve your issues.

This is of course subject to your position being reasonable - that is, that your claim that the repair is sub-standard in some way is in fact accurate. (I'm only saying this because in my experience about a third of people who complain about this stuff have a problem in their own heads, rather than a repair defect.) The acid test for this is: Would a collection of 10 reasonable, random people in the street, agree after due consideration of your car, today, that the repair was dodgy? It's always good to reality-check your position on the matter. (Remember that Fiar Trading and the Ombudsman aren't on your side. They're impartial. So the more reasonable your position, the more likely you are to get a positive outcome.)

I wouldn't be threatening the 'get me a new car' thing. It's no good pulling out a gun with no bullets in it, no matter how heated the negotiations get... And it's no good going into a dispute looking like a goose. Also, it's no good going into a gun fight too emotional - too much cortisol in the blood makes it difficult to keep the sights on the target. Be rational. Getting the sword out never helps, but it is strangely therapeutic in the moment.

If they dick you around in those fourth negotiations, give me a call in Tim Webster's program on 2UE (3pm to 4pm Sundays) and we can publicise the crap out of it. AAMI would hate that.


John Cadogan