"Lost or Damaged" Who's Responsible?
Our investigation started after three consumers contacted our Call for Action Center. Each had their cars vandalized while being serviced. In all three cases, the businesses said 'it's not their problem.'
Who's watching your car while it sits in the service lot??? Is it a sitting target for thieves? It just may be.
"At 20 minutes to 5 i got a call that the car was stolen."
"I got a call from the Smithfield police telling me that my 2001 Maxima had the tires and rims stolen."
"The ash tray was ripped out, there was just like plastic and screws everywhere..."
Three different consumers with one very similar story, while their cars were in for service at three local businesses, their cars were vandalized while parked in the outside lots. The consumers assumed that the businesses had insurance that would pay for the damage...but they were in for a rude awakening when they learned that the financial burden is on the customer.
"I was...ah,..ah..in absolute disbelief!"
Linda Norcross had just purchased a car, but while the dealership was getting ready to deliver it to her, it was stolen!
"I guess they left the keys in the ignition with the car running in the lot!"
Two days later the car was recovered..but it was so heavily damaged Linda didn't want it.
"They basically said I didn't have a choice!"
Lisa Briggs dropped her car off at a dealership in Smithfield, the next morning she finds out all four tires and rims were stolen!
"I asked them if they were going to cover this for me and they said no, that they weren't liable and that I would have to go through my insurance company!"
Dan Humphrey says his car was vandalized while in for service at a local service station in West Warwick..once again, the financial burden is on him.
Christopher Lefebvre, Consumer Attorney
"Well, I will tell you that I think in my opinion, I think it is deplorable customer relations."
Deplorable as it may seem, Call for Action obtained police reports and found more incidents of thefts and cases of vandalism occurring at local dealerships and service stations state wide.
"Generally speaking, when someone brings their automobile to a place for service, under common law doctrine, they are required to exercise due care in preserving or protecting the goods that's been entrusted to them."
Call for Action did resolve two of the cases. But bottom line, as long as the service business provides reasonable security, then the customers insurance company will pay for the claim, leaving the consumer with a hefty deductable.
Our Problem Solvers are waiting to hear from you. Our Call for Action Hotline is open from
11:00am until 1:00pm, Monday through Thursday. 228-1850.