My Mechanic drove my car without my permission and get hit

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:26 pm   Post subject: My Mechanic drove my car without my permission and get hit  

Took car for minor repair My Mechanic drove my car without my permission and get hit in rear damaging my spoiler bumper headlight and now the alarm keep sounding everytime i try to lock the car. His reason for driving my car was he needed to buy the paint for the car so he needed to make sure that it's the right colour. The problem is his insurance would not help as he is only insured for third party when driving other car.



He gave all details of ther driver i contacted the other driver who gave me the broker (kiwk fit) when i contacted kwik fit they refused to supply any details for the underwriters so were do i go from here.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:10 pm   Post subject:   

Look to your state statutes with regard to bailment laws. By giving your mechanic a written, or an oral and implied authorization to make repairs you may have given express or implicit permission to drive the vehicle for reasonable purposes related to the repair they were making to your car.



Transporting a vehicle to a sublet repairer, the car wash, road test, and even driving to the paint store to get an accurate color formula retrieval with a computer would be considered a reasonable purpose. Using the customer's car to run errands or to buy a cup of coffee while they were road testing may make them liable. If you signed no repair authorization or had no contract for repairs that had language alluding to certain uses of the vehicle you may be out of luck. It will simply be a civil matter that you may resolve in small claims court.



As a shop owner, I routinely use a local car wash and sublet alignment shop and my contract and repair authorization that the vehicle owner signs gives me permission to drive the vehicle. Since it is not a substitute vehicle and I am driving with the vehicle owner's permission, the coverage that applies is that of the policy written on the car.



Personally, I would probably take care of the deductible portion of the claim if the vehicle owner had to use their own policy or because the other at fault vehicle driver had no coverage. Check your state statutes online on bailment or talk with a local attorney. Your agent if you even have one these days, may have a clue with regard to liability but most likely they would just give you an 800 number to file a claim. Good luck!



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:16 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
Took car for minor repair My Mechanic drove my car without my permission
What were the 'minor' repairs? many times a test drive is required after repair...even before to see/feel/or hear the problem...also did you sign a work authorization? This most likely had something in it about liability and them driving your vehicle.
Quote:
His reason for driving my car was he needed to buy the paint for the car so he needed to make sure that it's the right colour.
Well that's a load...first of all he was doing body work? what exactly was he doing...secondly every shop i know the vendor delivers the paint, AND the paint code is on your car, AND he has paint chip books...so none of this makes sense...
Quote:
The problem is his insurance would not help as he is only insured for third party when driving other car.


Of course they won't...
Quote:
He gave all details of ther driver i contacted the other driver who gave me the broker (kiwk fit) when i contacted kwik fit they refused to supply any details for the underwriters so were do i go from here.
Ok so was he rearended by another vehicle is that right? Were the police called and if not why not? Who is the insurer of this other vehicle? NOT the broker, the ins. company...did the 'mechanic' that was driving your vehicle not even get the ins information from th is driver? What information EXACTLY did he get?



You do have collision coverage under your own policy right? If so probably the best thing is to file it with your carrier they will handle it and then they will go after whomever is at fault for this damage...



Couple more questions that will help us...what state are you in? What 'type' of shop is this, body shop, mechanical? How did you come to take your vehicle there? Was this another insurance claim that you were having repaired? Have you spoke to the owner of the shop directly? and why didn't they just do the repairs?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:59 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
Why couldn't the shop owner have just taken the paint numbers off the door instead of driving the car. Is this paint shop




Not specifically picking on you, but the misconception of the talent required to color match is under appreciated and most consumers have not a clue as to how the paint refinish is applied or matched. Too many think the packaged paint from a paint store is taken from the paint used at the assembly line. Besides just getting the formula close, there are spraying techniques, air pressure, type of equipment, and reduction of paints which can alter the color match.



If a paint vendor comes to your shop to get a computer reading of a color match for a car and the shop is mixing their own paint. what incentive is there for the vendor to give a shop a free reading. These computers can run as much as 7 to 10 thousand dollar and require maintenance and calibration. Not all shops can afford to maintain these computers. It's much easier to go to a paint store for them to perform a free computer color analysis unless you have a part that you are removing. You could then take the old part in for a reading. You want to get a computer reading on the adjacent panel to get the best color match for blending. You want to also get a reading from several areas of the car to see if the color is standardized or no one has painted the vehicle before.



Some vehicles have as many as 7 or 8 alternate formulas for one color all depending on various factors such as which plant the vehicle was built, the manufacturers choice of paints line, water base or solvent base, and numerous other factors. If a paint formula was matched in 2000 from the paint company, the original formula will not likely match today so a paint code is of little use for obtaining an accurate formula. Variations of formulas are made to compensate for age of paint. Sometimes you can remove a gas lid to get a computerized formula but then it might not match a front fender or hood



Some paints can run as much as 90.00 a pint. Insurers would balk if you sent them a bill for trying 4 attempts at matching paint at 90 dollars a pint. It makes smart business sense to get a formula retreival reading from a computer to put you in the ball park where you can begin to attempt to match a paint color. What if you have a car that had both front fenders previously painted with different alternates and now you are installing a bumper and no time was allowed for blending fenders or a hood. It would require to computer readings and two formulas to paint the bumper so each side of the bumper would have a reasonable match to the fenders that would not match each other.



Not enough credit is given to the talent that a quality painter must possess and the skills acquired to properly paint a panel where the finish matches and the texture of the clear matches as well. Add the fact that paint manufacturers are constantly upgrading and changing paint lines which require constant retraining and altering of application.



You might think that life would be simpler if all colors were black or white. Did you know that there are 5 variances of black and different matching formulas. Fords typically have bluer blacks and some browner toned blacks. There are probably more than 300 shades of whites.



What about tri coat colors with pearlescent? A painter may have to spray a sample panel with a base color that he is guessing on and spray as many as 10 coats of pearl masking each one, then clearing it to just see how many coats of a pearl finish is required for a close blendable match. The painter could have 2 or 3 hours in painting test panels just to paint a 2.5 hour job and only be paid for the 2.5 and nothing for the attempt to get the vehicle owner the closest match available for the paint line they are using.



If you saved the paint label from your living room paint and went to get it mixed again 3 years later, do you suspect the paint would match just because you had the paint number? Highly unlikely! Talented painters are underappreciated. I appreciate mine. We could just let the insurer pick your color from a data base with 8 alternate formulas or from a computer and make them liable for the match.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:41 pm   Post subject:   

Mike I couldn't agree more with your post! (oh my gosh this is becoming a trend..i'm getting a little scared! ShockedWink ).... Maybe it's the shops I'm in, but I've never seen a vehicle go to the vendor, the vendor always comes to the shop...whether it be dupont (what's it called color eye maybe?) ppg, sickens, whatever...the shops paint vendor comes to help them at the shop...not driving the vehicle to the paint supplier...Mike do you all routinely drive the vehicles to your vendor? What if it's non-driveable? Even my little rural shops their vendor comes to them...they all certainly spend enough money with the vendor to get this type of service...I've just not heard of this...unless of course it's a one man shop in the garage out back...then maybe i could see it.



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:38 pm   Post subject:   

We try to remove a portion of a panel that is to be discarded to take to the paint vendor. Having the paint vendor come to the shop is not a problem but they don't jump when we say jump. If my painter needs to begin color matching at 8 o clock and the vendor can't make it til 1 o clock, he has lost 4-5 hours of productivity on that particular job.



We save many of the hard to match colors spray out test panels or the actual old car part square we have cut for future reference when dealing with the same color in the future. We basically create our own library of test panels. Dealers that see the same colors over and over have an advantage if they save their old test spray panels. We may see a certain color once in 2 years in an independent shop. That forumla won't match two years later after the car has faded but will help with a newer car of the same color perhaps.



We generally inform customers that we may require taking the car to the vendor for a reading and ask if they have a problem with it. I haven't had one question the need but insist what ever it takes is prudent.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:36 pm   Post subject:   

Do your work orders have any wording at all about premission for test drives, or trips to the paint vendor?



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:03 pm   Post subject:   

i have several repair authorizartions depending on the level of involvment of the shop with regard to communcating with insurers.



My five page contract which includes assignment of proceeds, storage options, insurer involvement, insurer specified parts useage, hold harmless agreements with consumers on the use of a/m parts, and other things has the following language on the express consent to operate vehicle.



Quote:
1. Authorization

Customer expressly represents and warrants that Customer has the lawful right to authorize repairs to be made to the Vehicle, whether by right of ownership, leasehold interest, or direct authorization from the owner of the Vehicle. Customer authorizes Repair Facility to repair Vehicle and further authorizes Repair Facility to move, test drive, or otherwise operate the Vehicle for purposes of repairing the Vehicle and determining its functionality.




One would have to claim that moving the vehicle to a sublet repair shop or taking it to a paint store for colormatching purposes was not for purposes of repairing (I would think) to prove the shop negligent in the use of a customers vehicle under my contract.



What if the shop has a pickup and delivery of the customer's vehicle policy. Is that an implied consent even if they haven't signed an authorization? Say the car was towed in the cosumer only gave an oral authorization, the repairer completed repairs and delivered the car?



I wrote an estimate many years ago on a total loss for the vehicle owner because his insurer was paying the loss when a mechanical dealership driving the vehicle to his home for delivery was t boned by the at fault driver. The dealerships insurer was not liable.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:27 pm   Post subject:   

See that's what I think too in this case, the poor tech didn't do anything wrong he was rearended...so the payment and fault lay on that party...There is no garage keepers policy that I've ever seen that would cover this...



It's certainly best to have (like yours) in your authorization for repair that they are giving you expressed permission to drive their vehicle...the general public (i don't think) understands about sublet repairs and how much many shops have to move or drive their vehicles in order to complete these repairs....and another thing, is it not implied permission when they drop the car off up front, and see the tech get into it and drive it around to the shop? Confused I would think so...now if the tech on his way to the alignment shop rearends someone, there we have the shop (IMO) on the hook...but any shop worth it's salt, will call the owner tell them what happened and fix the dag gum car rather than turn in a claim.. Wink



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:35 am   Post subject:   

I am sittong here racking my brain and trying to think of one time a garage has informed me they have permission to drive my car if I sign anything. Is this not told up front when you drop off the vehicle? I also do not believe I have ever even signed a paper until after the vehicle was repaired. I am talking about past deer damage claims and usually the vehicle was dropped off, keys taken inside and the garage letting me know they would call when the repairs were completed.

I am not saying they would not have permission. I just think it would be good to inform the owner up front. Gosh I know I have never signed anything before hand.

Mike, I do not doubt your skill or your painters when it comes to painting. I would imagine alot does go into color matching, especially older vehicles. Usually we always let a garage handle these things unless of course it is a project or quick repair on an older vehicle then we just spray it ourselves. To us if its not woth reporting due to the deductible then we go to the paint store and let them do their magic. Usually they ask for the paint numbers inside the door though.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:11 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
have ever even signed a paper until after the vehicle was repaired
well they shops are playing with danger, most of the time there 'should' be an authorization for repair signed at the beginning, this could include many things including a POA for your insurance draft..they typically also lay out that you as the owner are ultimately responsible for the bill, we only have to call you if 'x' amount over the estimate to get prior approval, blah blah...but they are VERY important for both the owner and they shop (IMO)



In 'theory' without this authorization for repair a real jerk could say, 'i didn't tell you to fix my car, and i'm not paying for it' then the shop won't release the car, then the owner will sue the shop and it will take forever and a judge will eventually make the decision...



There is a HUGE difference between working on your own vehicle and being in the business of repairing other peoples vehicles...he (and any other shop) have to have that color dead on (or blend out until it is Rolling Eyes )...when you are working on your own vehicle and not paying someone to do a great job...you can deal with a little mis match of color or dirt in the paint, little fish eye here or there...but again giant difference when it's your work product.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:04 am   Post subject:   

Guys, I was just wondering that aren't the bodyshops required to maintain insurance against such claims? I mean since this is a business hazard and like any other business the bodyshop too may require to maintain certain coverage for claims arising during the repair work.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:36 am   Post subject:   

certainly bandit, they have several policys/coverages...just this particular loss would not be covered most likely.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:34 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
In 'theory' without this authorization for repair a real jerk could say, 'i didn't tell you to fix my car, and i'm not paying for it' then the shop won't release the car, then the owner will sue the shop and it will take forever and a judge will eventually make the decision...




This is a risk a shop takes when it chooses to negotiate with an insurer and assumes it has authorization from the owner to repair their vehicle. Just because a shop has a written agreement with an insurer that insures a vehicle owner's car, it doesn't have the implied authority to repair that car without owner's permission.



I recently repaired a 2008 Honda Accord in which the dealership had ordered all the parts to repair a car and partially disassembled it without permission from the owner. They assumed since it was towed to the dealership at the suggestion of the third party insurer, (can you say steering?) that they had some implied consent since they had agreements with the third party insurer. Guess what repair shop called me and pleaded with me to buy those parts when the owner authorized my business to repair that vehicle. You bet I took them off their hands at nearly dealer cost rather than the usual dealer discounted price.



Written on every insurer estimate that I have seen, it states we can not authorize repairs to your vehicle. I know of instances where shops failed to get authorization and did not get paid for any repairs they had made. Another reason for the shop to have a written authorization and a contract is to include language that informs the owner that they are the only ones that expressly approve of the parts and methodogy in the repair since it is their property; they are ultimately responible for all payment; written notice of failure to pay for all authorized repairs would allow the shop to place a lein on the property to secure payment for those authorized repairs.



After the repairs are completed is a poor time to authorize those repairs. More than likely a consumer may have signed acceptance of repairs upon completion of them. Some states have statutes that require that any deviation from the estimate be reported to the consumer if it exceeds ten percent of the original estimate or quote before additional repairs are completed.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:16 pm   Post subject:   

Mike, I have been reading this thread, and I was wondering if you charge for time or have a fee for a test drive or are somehow compensated for the risk associated with sending a tech out on the road in a customer's vehicle?

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