Car Park Rip Offs

Anybody had this happen? You leave your car in a commercial parking lot and come back to find it damaged. Then you put in a claim to their “insurance” and it never gets paid, because as my insurance broker told me, they are self insured and not subject to state regulations.

What to do?

Read the fine print on your parking ticket…“We are not responsible for ANYTHING>>>”

They can say anything on the receipt. That doesn’t make it true, or even legal.

On thing you could do is go to small claims court and sue them for it. If the cost is high enough, you may not have to use small claims court. Contact your state Attorney’s General office and see what they recommend.

I believe it depends on whether a bailment was created or not. If they had control of the car and the keys, then it should be their dime. However, best is to simply have your insurance cover it under collision coverage and have them go after the garage if there is a case. Why make life harder on yourself.

If it was struck by another vehicle in the lot then file a Hit and run report with the local PD. PD will investigate, if there are cameras in the lot and they get a good description or tag they will find and cite the other driver. The parking company is not liable for this at all. If you were parked in a parking garage and part of the building fell off on to your car or your car fell into a sink hole then you should file a claim with their insurance.


Was this a self-park garage or was it parked by a garage employee?

I once worked parking cars in a garage. I was a real mind opener from the stand point of how people take care of their cars. I had one that the power steering was always on full left. That was fun. I had one accident while on the job, the brakes totally failed.

It was an employee parked lot, the Parking Company of America lot near Kennedy Airport. The exhaust system was wrecked.
Their "insurance coverer sent me a release, I signed and returned it and never received the check.

State and local laws can vary widely on things like this. Find out what agency licenses and regulates parking lots in NYC and make a direct complaint to them.

That’s true. I would speak to a lawyer who might be willing to take the case on a contingency basis.

Actually, I would first contact my insurance company. Since I carry full coverage, their lawyers should go after the business on my behalf.

If they damaged it, then they are liable for the damages. Can you prove that it was OK before they drove it? You may have to prove that.

Correct. Generally speaking the law says whoever touched it last is responsible.

So if you park the car yourself, you take responsibility for anything that happens to it assuming the guy that did it can’t be caught.

If on the other hand you have a valet do it, then the valet company is responsible, since they chose the parking spot.

Since they’re not only responsible, but they admitted as much and had you sign a release (though it would be helpful to know exactly what that release said) then they should be cutting you a check.

At this point, if they’re being completely uncooperative, I would start acting like any other creditor who is dealing with an outstanding debtor - - i.e. sending a letter telling them to pay up or they get sent to collections…

Maybe if you mention something about the local news channel wanting something to put on the air for tonight’s 6pm news…

You are wasting your time…YOU will have to prove the damage occurred while parked on their lot…You will need a witness who saw that damage occur…In big cities, the true ownership of parking lots is buried under three or four layers of corporate boiler-plate…

File a police report a week later after you have moved the car?? Good luck with that…

First you said they were self-insured, then you said their insurance coverer gave you release. Do you know what self-insured means? It means they don’t have an insurance company. So you are contradicting yourself. Why would you sign a release? According to your story, THEY OWE YOU.

What means “the exhaust system was wrecked”?