LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A customer has filed a lawsuit against a Lakewood body shop after it took three months to fix her hail-damaged vehicle.
Denver7 Investigates reported several StormWise Automotive Hail Repair customers waited months for their vehicles to be repaired and returned. One day after the initial story aired, Shirley Dale's car was returned.
"I have my car back," Dale said with a smile, looking over the recently completed repairs. "The car is not perfect, but they did a reasonable job. Let's be fair here."
Dale brought in her Honda CRV to StormWise on July 11 for a hail dent repair, which was supposed to take four weeks. The shop had the car for 12 weeks.
Google and Yelp reviews show StormWise has seen an increase in negative reviews.
While StormWise has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, similar complaints have come in this year. The BBB reported an influx of complaints in Colorado about body shops in general, possibly tied to the increase in people needing repairs after storms earlier this year.
Owner David Hobbs said insurance companies have been slow to finalize claims, and sourcing parts has been a problem due to backorders and the United Auto Workers strike. He acknowledged a "snowball" effect in regards to communicating with clients who wanted their cars.
"There was definitely a time when we did not have the staff to handle the inbound calls that we were having," Hobbs initially told Denver7. "(It's) frustrating for them, and I absolutely get it. We're definitely working better, harder every day to try to get a better hold of that."
Denver7 | Investigates
Customers waiting months for Lakewood body shop to repair hail-damaged vehicles
In September, Dale hired Dan Vedra, a consumer protection attorney, who sent StormWise a letter warning about protections in Colorado's Motor Vehicle Repair Act.
"The amount of time and a lack of communication was really concerning," Vedra said. "I sent a letter to them in September, I got no response from that. And it wasn't until (Denver7 Investigates) was able to show up at Stormwise and light a fire, and then she got her car back."
Even though Dale is happy to have her car back, she is suing Stormwise to send a message.
"I shouldn't have to send demand letters. I shouldn't have to hire an attorney," said Dale. "That's just not the expectation when you do business with people."
Dale is asking Stormwise for at least $10,000 for loss of use of her car and damages, plus legal costs and fees.
Hobbs said in an email he had not received the lawsuit but Dale was very happy with the repairs.