Cars Collision Complaint - Bad Business - Auto Body Shop
VALPARAISO, INDIANA -- On Father's Day of this year (2006), I was involved in an automobile accident. There was substantial damage to my vehicle, and I was required by my insurance company to gain an estimate of damage at an authorized body shop. The shop recommended to me was Cars Collision in Valparaiso. Upon my arrival, I was convinced to leave my car with the shop for repair, though I protested and wanted the option to shop around. I was informed that if the shop did the estimate for the repair and I decided not to do business with them, that I would be charged $500.00. I felt that there was no other option and made my opinion known that I was unhappily agreeing to allow the shop to complete the work. After that point, most of the conversations I had were pleasant to some degree, as well as informative. I was told that the total estimated cost of repair would be $4900, including the repair of previous damage to the car that was necessary to repair before building upon. According to that amount, the car should have been totaled, as the required 70% of the total value of the vehicle was damaged. A estimate of the cars pre-accident worth was then reported to me as $10,000.00, which was surprising as the purchase price of the vehicle was $9995.00 in 2004 (which was an unfair price as the car had been involved in the previous accident mentioned above. This matter was successfully settled with the dealership from which was car was purchased.) Of course, I insisted that this figure was ridiculous. I was later informed that the estimated cost of repair for the vehicle was $3400.00, reduced from the original amount, taking away the possibility of totaling the car. Totaling the car would have been in my advantage due to gap insurance, but the shop and the insurance company (Liberty Mutual) would not have gained from the deductible or the repairs. I had no way to prove my doubts about the estimates, and I again agreed to move on with protest. On 7-14-06 I was informed that the vehicle would be ready the following day for pick up (Saturday) or at the latest Monday 7-17-06. On Monday I called Cars Collision having not heard about the status of my car. I was told that the car would be ready on Tuesday, 7-18-06. I am writing this letter on 7-25-06, having not yet received my vehicle. I was informed that it was in fact ready for pickup late on 7-24-06, but work prevented me from acquiring my vehicle before closing time at Cars Collision. I attempted to regain my vehicle today, but was unable due to the companies lack of payment-plan policy. Unless I am able to come up with $1000.00 cash, I can not retrieve my car. Unfortunately, I am not wealthy (I drive a Toyota Echo) and do not have $1000.00 to give. My rental car will no longer be covered by Liberty Mutual (as of 7-18-06) nor by Cars Collision as of today, 7-25-06. I can afford to pay $100.00 per moth, though I do not see how that will be possible with rental fees added to my debt daily. I need a vehicle to get to work in, and I can not be without. Without a car, I will loose my job. Without a job, $100.00 will no longer be possible. Without a payment plan for this large sum of money, which I truly believe is gained by way of misconduct in the first place, I will not be able to pay under any circumstances. I feel that it is highly unfair and necessarily bad business to force customers into this position.