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#3372867 - 05/15/14 09:44 PM Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault?
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
I dropped of my truck with a mechanic about 3 weeks ago. It was only supposed to take a couple days, but it took 3 weeks. He only billed me for 12 hours of labor during that time. Anyway, as soon as I got home I realized there are two giant circular scratches/gouges in the hood and another big gouge in the door. It is very deep, these panels will need to be repainted.

Of course, my mechanic has no idea how this could have happened. He would never do anything like that. I've only talked to him on the phone, not in person yet, but it sounds like he's not going to own up to it.

His excuse is that it was outside much of the time he had it. Anybody could have done it.

Does it matter who did it? If I hand over care of my truck to my mechanic and somebody else damages it in the parking lot, is he still liable? Isn't it his fault for not keeping it secure?

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#3372872 - 05/15/14 09:55 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
crgstvrs Offline


Registered: 06/14/13
Posts: 25
Loc: tennessee
mechanic is responsible, now he will probably say they were already there, but legally he is responsible for the damages. many garages have to park cars close together on lots, I had an honest mechanic one time explain that a gouge on a door of my car occurred when an employee was turning sideways going between cars and his belt buckle scratched my door. as for the hood someone could have set something on it that slid or got knocked off, but it is all speculation.

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#3372874 - 05/15/14 09:56 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
LT4 Vette Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12311
Loc: USA
Photos would be helpful.

Lots of shops could care less about a customer's car.

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#3372885 - 05/15/14 10:11 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 620
Loc: MA
Excuse or not, that's why a reputable shop has insurance.

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#3372886 - 05/15/14 10:13 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
bvance554 Offline


Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 885
Loc: VA
You're gonna have a hard time convincing anyone the damage was not there when you dropped it off, and that it was the fault of the mechanic. Some pics would be helpful.

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#3372893 - 05/15/14 10:17 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
Kuato Offline


Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 3044
Loc: Northeastern MT
Simply report it to your insurance company as vandalism. It is covered under your Comprehensive coverage. There is no way to prove the mechanic did it, and, if you like the mechanic then you don't want to sour the relationship you have with him.
_________________________
04 Jeep Wrangler 2.4, 4.10, MT 183k
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Amsoil

Common sense isn't common any more. Is it.

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#3372908 - 05/15/14 10:41 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
Rolla07 Offline


Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 1696
Loc: MTL, CANADA
Once its off his lot.. I think its a tough argument you will have.. your word against his. Now if it was still on his lot.. you might of had a better argument.
_________________________
2007 Corolla Red Pearl 120,000 miles
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#3372911 - 05/15/14 10:44 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
spackard Offline


Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 694
Loc: CA
Agree with Kuato.
Don't know about your neck of the woods but everyone around here has release of liability you sign when you drop off the car. They are only repairing the car, and not responsible for other things that happen to it that aren't due to negligence directly related to the repair.

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#3372933 - 05/15/14 11:18 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: spackard]
turtlevette Offline


Registered: 12/24/13
Posts: 685
Loc: Massachusetts
File a police report on the damage. It shows you're serious about getting compensated. Helps when filing on your own insurance also.

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#3372947 - 05/15/14 11:31 PM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
ram_man Offline


Registered: 03/15/13
Posts: 1624
Loc: southern mo
It could have happened on the lot then he is not responsible. We even have a sign posted where I work stating that. Last week someone stole a drive shaft from a jeep wrangler in our lot....sorry should have picked your vehicle up amd not let it sit all weekend is what we told them.
_________________________
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#3372987 - 05/16/14 03:35 AM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: spackard]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23916
Loc: ME
Originally Posted By: spackard
Agree with Kuato.
Don't know about your neck of the woods but everyone around here has release of liability you sign when you drop off the car. They are only repairing the car, and not responsible for other things that happen to it that aren't due to negligence directly related to the repair.


This is like the "don't tailgate me" sign... IMO it intimidates customers to not sue and it's free on the mechanic's part to put that blurb on the repair order.

If OP has full coverage insurance the company will know if they can recover from the mechanic and go after the shop if it's worth it.

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#3372996 - 05/16/14 05:20 AM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
salv Offline


Registered: 04/21/11
Posts: 1142
Loc: Morrisonville, NY
Legally he is not responsible for what happens to vehicles while they are in his parking lot. That is like trying to hold walmart responsible for someone hitting your car in their parking lot.
Regardless, we have a disclaimer on our work orders that informs customers that we are not responsible for damages that may occur on our lot because of other customers.
All that being said, yes we usually will take care of damage to customer vehicles that occurs on our lot. A few hundred dollars to a body shop is nothing for a dealership. For a small garage, it is a big deal.
_________________________
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#3373001 - 05/16/14 05:45 AM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: salv]
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
Originally Posted By: bvance554
You're gonna have a hard time convincing anyone the damage was not there when you dropped it off, and that it was the fault of the mechanic. Some pics would be helpful.

Funny enough, right before I dropped it off with the mechanic I met with my insurance adjuster. There is other damage from a different incident, some panels are getting repainted. They went over the entire truck with a fine tooth comb and I had to argue about every last scratch. Each one is well documented and photographed by my insurance company. The panels damaged by my mechanic were not supposed to be painted.

Also, one gouge on the door was showing fresh bare metal when I found it, today it is already oxidized. I have a picture of the bare metal.

Originally Posted By: Kuato
Simply report it to your insurance company as vandalism. It is covered under your Comprehensive coverage. There is no way to prove the mechanic did it, and, if you like the mechanic then you don't want to sour the relationship you have with him.

I really shouldn't have to if the mechanic is at fault. That's for his insurance, or pocket book to cover, not mine. I'm not happy with the mechanic, he will get sued if he doesn't put up the money on his own.

Originally Posted By: spackard
Don't know about your neck of the woods but everyone around here has release of liability you sign when you drop off the car.

I never signed anything.

Originally Posted By: ram_man
...sorry should have picked your vehicle up amd not let it sit all weekend is what we told them.

I couldn't pick it up because he was still working on it, long beyond what we had originally agreed upon. I was there to pick it up before he was done with it.

Originally Posted By: salv
Legally he is not responsible for what happens to vehicles while they are in his parking lot. That is like trying to hold walmart responsible for someone hitting your car in their parking lot.
Regardless, we have a disclaimer on our work orders that informs customers that we are not responsible for damages that may occur on our lot because of other customers.

That is not an accurate example. Walmart is not in charge of your car, you did not hand over custody to them. The mechanic had full custody of my vehicle, very different. Just because you have a disclaimer does not remove you from all liability, and, I signed no disclaimers, nor were there any signs.

I'll post some pics in a minute.

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#3373004 - 05/16/14 05:51 AM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
This is the gouge on the door, you can still see the fresh metal. It looks like it was in a crowded shop and somebody opened the door into something.


Pictures don't do these justice, it's like taking a picture of a mirror. There is a circular mark like this on either side of the hood. Looks like maybe a metal can was placed there.




My paint needed to be buffed out before, but it was not scratched down to the metal!

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#3373035 - 05/16/14 07:08 AM Re: Vehicle scratched while at mechanic - at fault? [Re: Number21]
Plumber Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 115
Loc: Northern Illinois
If the mechanic is reputable, and cares about your business, then I am sure you can work it out.

I will say that not finding the damage BEFORE leaving does present a problem.

Dunno!

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