Tell insurer to mail claim check to you; not auto body shop - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Tell insurer to mail claim check to you; not auto body shop

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GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

A Gilbert woman says her damaged car has been sitting at an auto body shop more than two months and the business has no real incentive to fix it fast because they've been paid in full by the insurer.

There is a better way to handle insurance payments to auto body shops and avoid this type of hassle and delay.

"Give me my car back," Stacy Adams said.

Adams says she got into an accident on Highway 101 in Scottsdale on Sept. 26, 2013. The other driver was at-fault and his insurer agreed to pay for the damage to Adams' car. She decided to use First Class Auto Body in Scottsdale for the repair.

"It was a pretty basic rear end.  It's a Toyota part, everything was available, and that it would be six to seven days," Adams said she was told.

The repair order First Class Auto Body provided Adams says "estimated repair time: 10 days." But more than two months later, Adams still doesn't have her car. Adams says First Class Auto Body blames the delay on an incompetent technician they had to fire.

"We're so sorry, it's just this bad technician that we had and we have a good technician on it now," Adams said she was told.

But Adams now realizes she mishandled the claim at the very start. She agreed to let the insurer, Geico, work solely with First Class Auto Body regarding payments.

"What's really hurt me is that Geico has paid out the repair in full and I have absolutely no leg to stand on," Adams said.

Adams feels First Class Auto Body has no incentive to finish the job because the insurer has paid them in full already. She's now learned insurers are more than willing to mail payments directly to accident victims, but only if they ask.

"Always have your name added to the check payable line and hold it until the work has been done and then sign it over once the work has been done," Adams said.

With two names on the check and it coming to you, the auto body shop can't cash it until you hand it over to them. It won't solve every problem, but this strategy will give auto body and repair shops good incentive to get your job completed.

CBS 5 News has contacted First Class Auto Body. The company does not dispute Adams' account of the events and has apologized to her for this inconvenience. The shop has put a rush on finishing Adams' car, but it is still not completed to her satisfaction. We will post an update when it is.

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