I like cars. Body shops not so much. With one exception I've had nothing but drama with every one I've ever dealt with since the 1980's. As such this was typical... I had an accident last week with my 99 Miata. Rear tire blew at highway speed on interstate 270, rear locked up and went into a skid. I managed to keep the car from going back into the oncoming traffic and the front end scraped the concrete barrier. Could've been alot worse. So on Tuesday I go to a bodyshop certified by my insurance company. I explain in plain English what I'm planning on doing... getting estimates for the insurance part of the damage and a separate estimate for painting the rest of the car. The idea being if I find an estimate that works for the non-insurance part I'll get that shop to do both. After looking at the car outside the manager suggests I bring it back on Thursday and they can put it up so they can look under the car to do a more thorough estimate. He did not seem confused about what I was trying to do... get estimates from shops in order to figure out where I'll get the work done. He said he'd email both estimates. I signed a form which I was told I needed to do in order to bring the car inside to do the estimate. This morning I get both estimates. $3800 for the insurance part and $4600 to paint the rest of the car. A 1999 Miata, book value $6600. I called them up, the manager wasn't there. I thanked the person I talked to for the estimate and asked when I could get the car, I wanted to take it to the next shop for an estimate. I was told to hang on and when he came back to the phone he told me they had already started the work and that the car was in the paint shop. I told him that the car was just in for estimates and that I hadn't told them to proceed with any work, why would I need estimates that I didn't need to approve? He said the manager was at the dentist and he'd be back in an hour or so and I could talk to him. At this point I had not seen my car. I immediately drove over to the shop. The manager wasn't there as far as I could tell and the owner, who had gotten me to sign the form on Tuesday came out. She didn't know anything about the conversations I had with the manager and said I had authorized them to go ahead and do the work by signing the form. I explained my conversation with the manager again, that I clearly intended to get multiple estimates from more than one shop and she suggested I talk to him when he got back. I get a call from the manager about an hour later. I suggest that instead of going over this on the phone I stop by again. He agreed. When I got to the shop, he takes me into the bay and I see that he's removed all bodywork on the front end of the car except for the hood. Also removed the passenger side skirt, which was not the side that was damaged. We go round and round about what was expected, he says he can drop $1,000 off the remaining work that I'd be paying for, I told him that even at that price it exceeded what the other shops were going to charge for painting the entire car. It ended up with me asking for a price for putting my car back together. He said he'd have that on Monday. At no time did I raise my voice or appear upset. I know that never helps. I came home and called my insurance company. They called the shop and after a lengthy conversation with the manager call me back. First question, did I sign anything. I tell them yes, what I was told I needed to sign for them to bring the car in the shop to do the estimate, not do the work without knowing what the estimates would be. The manager said he had already ordered parts and started the work and gave me three options: pay to put the car back together and a possible restocking fee for the parts ordered, have them do the bodywork but not the paintwork and last, do the insurance work only as estimated. I was told I needed to get back in touch with the manager to let him know what I wanted done. I called the manager and told him to go ahead with getting me an estimate for reassemby on Monday. This IMO was a very simple transaction and he tried to screw me into getting the work done... and he still might get away with it.