02 February 2010

The Saga Continues

At the risk of presenting myself as some sort of over-bearing, self-indulgent whinger (an O.B.S.I.W. with a blog? Perish the thought.), I would like once again to touch on the subject of the fate of my car, the increasingly ironically named GSS Tarrdis. I realise I’ve already devoted one post to her purchase, and another to the fateful night when we crashed into a humpbacked whale. But the saga of my struggle to have the damage addressed by some combination of mechanics and insurance assessors is one that will be sung long and loud in the halls of… people who have little else to sing about. Dentists or something, I don’t know. Unfortunately, singing loud and long in my office is generally frowned upon, so instead I whinge silently yet long-windedly on my blog, which is of course what Cum Tacent Clament is all about.

Anyway, to bring you up to speed, I’ve prepared a montage of the basic gist of previous entries, in prose form. Try to imagine it with the mystic “Eeeeeh-eeeeh” music from Heroes in the background if you can. It makes it all sound much more spiritual.

Previously on Cum Tacent Clament:

…Finally, after a three week ordeal, here are the specs for my brand new spacesh… I mean… car…

…At the time, I believed it to be a dog, but closer inspection of the dent in my car suggested it may have been a hippo. Either way, there wasn’t much left of it after it stepped into my headlights as I approached at 100 km/h…

…Monday morning I called the Ford service centre and had the Tarrdis towed in to start the fun. The mechanic was a little confused…

…She had a strange look in her eye as I approached. I couldn’t decipher whether it was a look that said “Oh good grief, what is it now?” or one that said “Hmm… perhaps he’ll bring me flowers this time.” Maybe both…

…Our environmentally friendly calico shopping bags cost two dollars fifty each. And you'll get the added satisfaction of knowing you're saving the world…

…the insurance assessor then travels to the workshop to inspect the damage and approve the plans of the mechanics to repair it. The mechanics can’t touch the car until they get approval from the assessor. A week later I’m still waiting to hear back from this mysterious and apparently prohibitively busy assessor…

… Um, here’s your pancake sir…

Sorry, I drifted a bit at the end there. And now: the stunning conclusion to “What happened to Garry after he hit the whatever-it-was.”

So to start with, I contacted AAMI. The AAMI girl contacted the insurance assessor. The insurance assessor contacted the Ford mechanics for a quote. The Ford mechanics rang me, which was weird. I rang my mum, just to break what might have otherwise resulted in a vicious cycle that would have doomed us all to spend eternity trapped in a telephonic causal loop.

The crux of the issue was this: Because the oil filter had been torn off the undercarriage and the radiator had been knocked around, it was almost a foregone conclusion that there had been damage to the engine. That was always going to be an expensive problem, which wasn’t such a big deal for me as I had comprehensive insurance.

No, the real dilemma was the tug-o-war between Ford and AAMI over the quote to fix it. AAMI have a policy that if the cost of repairing a car is more than 75% of the value the car is insured for, then they write the car off and buy you a new one. This actually works out well for them, because they keep the remains of old one and sell the surviving parts off, which in my case is most of the car.

Ford, I suspect, were fully aware of this, and aimed to keep the quote as low as possible so that they would get the job of rebuilding it instead of handing it over to AAMI, who were understandably keen to reach a write off deal. So every quote that came back to AAMI via the assessor got sent back in order to obtain a more ‘comprehensive’ quote. This went on for two weeks. Eventually I got sick of the whole charade and stopped smiling mysteriously at the AAMI girl and told her exactly what I thought of the whole process.

At this point, they got over trying to bully Ford into a higher quote and offered to move the car to NT Auto, who were much easier to deal with, apparently. So the assessor restarted negotiations with NT Auto for a quote to repair my dog-smashed Focus.

Here’s the best bit. The Ford service centre in Berrimah is not actually authorised by Ford Australia to sell new Ford engines, unless they are faulty under warranty. So, while the original Ford dealer couldn’t actually quote to replace the engine, some other local mechanic (NT Auto) could, but in order to do it he needed to contact his Ford supplier, which was located in Adelaide.

I’m sure you can imagine just how thrilled I was to be dealing once again with Adelaide, the city which had imbued me with so much commercial confidence in the past. “What could possibly be worse?” I asked myself. I shouldn’t have asked.

“We’ve been able to locate a suitable replacement engine,” said the NT Auto lady. We’re just waiting on a quote for the engine and the cost of shipping it here.”

“Where is it being shipped from?”

England.”

So now, here I am one month on, waiting on a quote from a city I can’t stomach on shipping an engine from a country widely acknowledged as being entirely populated by useless prats. My confidence is not the highest it’s ever been, to put it lightly. Meanwhile, what is left of my car (that is, most of it) still languishes in the car park of the Ford Service (huh?) Centre, where it has been since I had it towed there after New Year's Eve. So I’m going in again this week to whinge to AAMI, only this time I think I will actually take some flowers.

After all, it’s our one month anniversary on Thursday.

So it just remains for me to thank Tony Slattery, Mike McShane, Josie Lawrence and Ryan Stiles. This is me, Clive Anderson, saying goodnight. Goodnight.




Garry with 2 Rs
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