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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    3

    Default How to Get Compensated for Damage to a Car During Repossession

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Oklahoma

    My apologies for the long story. This is the email I sent out to the company that my lender hired that subcontracted to work out to ------ auto recovery.

    My vehicle was picked up by ------ Auto Recovery at my home My wife was home at the time, and gave the tow drivers the keys, as they said that they would let her get personal property out of the vehicle if she did. Instead of towing the vehicle, the towtruck driver's wife (name unknown at this time) drove the vehicle from my home to their tow yard, which is appx. 41 miles instead of towing the vehicle. Monday morning I called the finance company to get the payment situation straightened out and had the car released. I spoke with ms. from ------ and met her at 5:30pm (her request). She had me fill out all the paperwork to get the car back, then let me in the yard to see the car. Upon visual inspection, I noticed there was new damage to my vehicle on the passenger front bumper. The bumper was hanging from the car and was clearly damaged (tabs broken, etc.). I then told her that we needed to go fix the paperwork and notate the damage, because it was Not pre-existing (vehicle was in great shape, with only minor scratches, chips to the paint). She got very stand-offish and was raising her voice to me in the office because I wanted to notate that they had damaged my vehicle and I wasn't going to leave them with signed paperwork that said they weren't liable. I eventually had to call a police officer to their office because they wouldn't release the vehicle or paperwork to me as requested. Soon after, the tow truck driver arrived, and stated that it was his wife that drove the car from my house to their yard, and stated that she had seen the damage. I asked if they had taken pictures of the damage, mileage, etc and he said they had not. I then asked how the vehicle was driven so far without the bumper falling off and he had no response. I also asked why the vehicle was driven vs. getting towed (especially with visible body damage and the bumper hanging loose) and he had no response to that either. When the officer arrived, Mr. owner then came outside (he was in the office the entire time this happened and was witness to the entire conversation) and said they would notate the paperwork to reflect the damage and the fact that I would not hold their company or it's associates harmless in this matter. I also have audio/video recording of Mr. owner stating that "I'm not denying we did it" that he just didn't understand how the damage occoured since they didn't tow it, they drove it, Also said they would have the car repaired suggested I take it to a body shop that he knew to have the repairs done, and gave me the name, address and phone number of ----'s Autobody. I then took pictures of the vehicle, as well as the yard it was kept and (slowly) drove the car back to my shop, which is a few miles away. I did some research on the body shop he suggested and wasn't comfortable taking my vehicle there (1 star review online, only classic cars pictured on his website, etc.) so I had a shop nearby come do an estimate. I called Mr. owner who said the estimate was too much and he wasn't going to pay it. I then asked for his insurance information and he refused. I then called the finance company, and they directed me to your company.

    This was to the claims department at the company between the lender and the repo company - was directed to them by my lender to settle this. After 3 weeks of jumping through hoops and fighting to get an answer via phone or email, they finally said that they have come to a decision and the tow company was going to use their insurance. All notes would be forwarded and a claim filed.

    Took me 2 more weeks to get the info for their insurance - had to call the Ok Dept of Public Safety to get it. Now it's another (almost) 4 weeks later and the insurance is saying they are denying it again, even after listening to the tape, and knowing the condition report they filled out containing the damage was done the day I picked the car up (mileage marked was after they drove it 45+ miles) after they noticed the damages.

    They don't have an original condition report (drove the car an unknown number of miles over the weekend, gas was on E when I picked up the vehicle), pics of any damages prior to towing, and said "I'm not denying the deal, just trying to figure out how it was damaged since he didn't put it on the truck" - which I thought was pretty easy to figure out, they hit something.

    Should I keep waiting on the insurance, or just bite the bullet and go to small claims court? This has already taken up far too much of my time and money - just want to settle it.

    Thank you in advance for any help and/or advice!

    Email was edited to delete the names of people, and the towing company*

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    94,787

    Default Re: How to Get Compensated for Damage to a Car During Repossession

    If their insurance company denied your claim, you can see if you can get the repair made under your own insurance. If you don't have coverage under your own policy, you can sue in small claims court -- but obviously, we can't promise that you will succeed in proving when and by whom the car was damaged.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How to Get Compensated for Damage to a Car During Repossession

    They haven't denied it so far. I spoke with them yesterday and the rep said the tow company is denying any damage, but also said she completely understood why I was getting impatient with the situation. She said they were having a hard time getting their insured on the phone to answer questions, and that was the reason for the delay. I just don't understand how they could possibly deny it with everything I sent in, especially since the other company said the claim was valid and the tow company was going to use their insurance to cover it.

    I didn't want to file it on mine due to the amount of accidents on my insurance already - wife caused a 4 car accident, I had to use uninsured/underinsured due to a motorcycle wreck that was the other person's fault, and I've had hail damage claim, and another non-fault claim when I was side-swiped. Even though most are not our fault, my insurance company told me (due to the number of claims, regardless of fault) it would be best to use that as a last resort even though neither of us were driving and it wasn't our fault.

    I'm not even sure if they can use their insurance due to the deductible size vs the damage amount (2800 for car, 800 in rental charges) since it's a company policy. They didn't say the exact amount, but the agent I spoke with said tow companies typically have a $5000-10000 deductible due to the nature of their business and the number of claims filed against them.



    Could I start the small claims process before the insurance claim is settled just to speed things along in case they try to deny it for some reason? I don't want to break any laws regarding insurance fraud, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    14,127

    Default Re: How to Get Compensated for Damage to a Car During Repossession

    Quote Quoting Sidewayz
    View Post

    I'm not even sure if they can use their insurance due to the deductible size vs the damage amount (2800 for car, 800 in rental charges) since it's a company policy. They didn't say the exact amount, but the agent I spoke with said tow companies typically have a $5000-10000 deductible due to the nature of their business and the number of claims filed against them.
    Doesn't matter if they can use their insurance or not. They still have to pay if they're liable.

    Quote Quoting Sidewayz
    View Post


    Could I start the small claims process before the insurance claim is settled just to speed things along in case they try to deny it for some reason?
    Sure.

    In fact, that's how lawyers do it.

    Sue while the claim is pending. When they settle you withdraw the suit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How to Get Compensated for Damage to a Car During Repossession

    I appreciate the responses. I actually received an email from the insurance company yesterday stating they had decided to settle the claim, but only for a ridiculously lower amount than I'm owed. I replied to their email, but haven't heard anything back from them directly. They actually sent a revised estimate telling the body shop how they should fix the car and the amount they thing it should cost, but no communication with me.

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