Hail Damage Repair Delay Frustrates Austin Truck Owners

After receiving an initial estimate of six to eight weeks to complete the repairs, it was nearly seven months before the couple got their truck back.


In Austin, TX, a couple's quest for hail damage repair turned into a months-long ordeal. After their truck suffered extensive damage in a record-setting hailstorm, Ernesto and Cheryl Ojeda expected a routine repair process. Instead, they encountered unexpected delays and excuses.

As the Ojedas told KVUE News, their truck was battered by hail in September 2023, resulting in damages amounting to more than $10,300. The couple took the truck to Hail Specialists Auto Body and Collision on Oct. 9, anticipating a six- to eight-week repair timeframe. However, as weeks turned into months, their frustration grew with each unmet deadline and unfulfilled promise.

By December, the Ojedas were alarmed as their truck sat in the shop, seemingly forgotten, while others were repaired and returned. The couple's patience waned as they exchanged numerous texts and calls with the repair shop, receiving a variety of excuses ranging from sick children to staffing issues. After Hail Specialists asked for another $4,700, on top of the $17,000 the couple's insurance company had already paid, the Ojedas turned to the TV news station's KVUE Defenders for help.

Investigations revealed Hail Specialists, operating under Catastrophic Solutions LLC, faced significant operational challenges. The company had its certificate of formation revoked for failing to meet state requirements, and it was involved in multiple lawsuits alleging misconduct, including excessive storage fees, one of which was dismissed.

Owner Michael Chanata turned down the news station's requests for an interview on camera, but he provided a statement.

"The insurance company once again caused additional delays and apparently, never sent the payment to us and our correct address etc. since they told us they did so," Chanata wrote. "If not mistaken, today (April 19) they spoke to Mr(.) Ojeda and one of our representatives and they are reissuing the payment correctly this time… Unsure if the insurance honored our request to overnight or if they decided to send it snail mail again…We have communicated with the insureds a lot…and we never want anyone to have to feel the need to take action or steps against us, in reality(,) it is the insurance company that needs to properly indemnify them. I believe there has been no wrong-doing by us, but 110% acknowledge and sympathize with the insureds in regards to the situation."

Finally, about seven months after dropping off the truck and a month after the media started asking questions, the Ojedas got the repaired truck back.

Consumer advocate Jon Linkov said such delays are becoming more common in the industry, influenced by factors like cost, inventory management and business practices. He advised consumers to use insurance as an advocacy tool in navigating repair processes.

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