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Dealership TOTALS my car car while in for minor repair. What do you think?

Hello, so I was at a reputable dealership which (for now) will remain withheld as i was leaking fluids. Upon my first visit, issue was claimed to be repaired but when I went to pick it up, I was still leaking fluids. Needless to say, I had to return twice with the same problem.
Second time, they found out my waterpump was bad and they were going to replace it. no problem. under warranty. This was Monday. Tuesday I called to follow up and they said it should be done by 5. Fine.

3:00 I get a call from not my service writer but the Service Manager saying while they had my car in for repair, they had an “Accident” with my vehicle. “SUPPOSEDLY” my car was on the hydraulic Lift and the Lift “SUPPOSEDLY” collapsed and my car experienced some severe damage. Needless to say, I immediately went to dealership to meet with manager who walked me to my car which was now outside in the parking lot.

Long story short, Their insurance adjuster came out to inspect my car and my car was deemed TOTALED. When I drove it in, only problem I had was a bad water pump.

A settlement offer has not been submitted to me yet, but what do you think the dealership needs to do to handle my situation? I have already contacted an attorney should I need him. I am waiting to see how the dealership handles the situation, before I take the next step to resolving the matter.
So far they have provided me with a rental, but obviously I will need a new for of transportation.

My car was a 2007 and had 84,500 miles on it.

Would love some SERIOUS input only please.

Thank You.

if this happened to me i would get an attorney and let him or her talk to everyones insurance. this is pretty weird, because i have a friend who is an attorney and we were just talking about scenarios like this and he says if you get in an accident. get an attorney tell them the details and then do not talk to anyone else about the accident, so in your case the insurance companies and dealership. let the attorney deal with all the matters of this that way you are not getting any wool pulled over your eyes.


The best you can hope for is retail blue book. You did not suffer any injury, there won’t be any “pain and suffering”, so you really do not need a lawyer. A lawyer is just going to cost you 33% of the settlement and the only thing you lost is the car.

What you need is to find out how to take this to arbitration in case the dealer tries to low ball you. Talk with your insurance agent, usually they can help you.

Dealers and most repair shops have insurance for this type of mishap because it does happen.

They’ll either cut a check for the current value of the vehicle, or offer a vehicle from their used car lot of equal or greater value of your vehicle.


I agree. Accidents happen. The insurance company will pay you the value of the car. That’s pretty high mileage though for an 07 so you might want to check Blue Book and some of the others for the retail value so you are prepared. You could always ask for a similar car with similar mileage but I don’t think you’d really want that.

While I agree with the others, there is one more thing I want yo ask you. Is the car paid off??? Personally if it is, and I was you I would hate to take on a car payment because of this. It’s not going to be an easy fight, but know they don’t want this going to court.

If they’re offering you full retail on the car as reimbursement then they’re doing exactly what they should.

Do not read anything suspicious into what happened. Lifts do fail and at times a car may inadvertently fall off. It has happened in the past and will happen again in the future.

I saw a car fall of a lift at a dealer I worked for and it almost landed on both the mechanic and the service manager; missing both by only a few feet because they were alert enough to jump out of the way. The car was declared a total and the car owner fully compensated.

I think viewing this with suspicion and contacting an attorney already is a bit premature.

The son was under a vehicle that fell off a lift.

He was under a Ford truck with his head between the starter and the frame. When the lift failed, the starter forced his head onto the arm of the lift stopping at the point of crushing his skull. It took three guys to push the truck back far enough so he could slip his head out of the trap.


Wow. I take it that he’s ok with no permanent injuries. That is too close for comfort.

In the case I mentioned, the mechanic had complained for months about that lift being likely to kill someone and the dealer would not fix it. AFTER it failed, they fired the mechanic less than 10 minutes later and repaired the lift the following day.

Depending on the situation with the OP, it could be that the mechanic who was servicing that car is now unemployed. It’s often a case of guilty no matter what.

He still wears the scar.


Thankfully no worse than that. He’s extremely lucky.

I think that looking at the facts from a different perspective than that of the broken car owner might be helpful.

The fact that you had the car in for previous service that didn’t correct your complaint isn’t relevant to the accident. Whether they were repairing the water pump under warranty or not isn’t relevant. What is relevant is that your car fell to the ground while in their shop.

I think using quotation marks around the words “accident” and “supposedly” implies you think they purposefully damaged their shop equipment and dropped your car from 6 feet up. Is that what you think?

Ultimately, what they owe you is a check for the “blue book” value of your car based on the condition it was in the moment before it fell off the hoist, and a rental car for the duration of the settlement process.

If you haven’t already done so retrieve all your personal belongings from the car now.

It sounds to me like the dealer is trying to make this right by getting an adjuster on it and providing a rental car until it’s resolved. I don’t know what else they can do at this point.

The only fly in the ointment might be the OP’s expectations over how much money or what kind of car should replace an '07 model car with 80 something thousand miles.
I would say an equivalent car or NADA retail value (not excellent condition) along with a refund of monies spent on the repair before the car took a dive would be fair. :slight_smile:

I’d see what they’re willing to offer before jumping the gun on litigation, arbitration, etc. If it’s fair, everyone is (mostly) happy. If not, see what you can negotiate. If all else fails, then take the hard road of finding out if it would be worth suing.

If they won’t work with you, perhaps a call to one of your local TV stations that have a “call for action” or similar segment where they intervene and give bad PR to companies that are hassling customers would be useful. Or even just suggesting it to the manager. Good luck.

I am certain that your car falling off the rack was an accident. Nobody wants these accidents to happen. If this happened to my car, my first concern would be that nobody was injured even though I had nothing to do with the problem. I have heard of this happening. In one case, a coworker had purchased a new Oldsmobile 88 with the diesel engine back in 1978. He had ordered this car exactly the way he wanted it equipped. At any rate, while the dealer was doing the new car preparation, the car fell of the lift and was totaled. He had to wait several weeks while the dealer located a replacement. After he had replacement for a year, my colleague wanted the dealer to drop the replacement diesel off the lift and total it. Ten years earlier, I was on the road and had to replace a tire. I went to a K-Mart while they still had a service center. THe employee who replaced the tire was really shaken up. The day before, he had a Studebaker Lark fall of the lift. He told me that K-Mart settled up immediately and two hours later the owner of the Studebaker was in a different ride. The employee was still visibly upset over what had happened.
I’m sure that the dealer will make good on what happened and be glad nobody was hurt.

If you are offered the full retail value for your car or a comparable replacement that you are happy with, that is a fair and reasonable offer. Don’t settle for anything less.

Comparable means the same year, model, and trim level and in clean to excellent condition.

He’s truely extremely lucky. This is one of those rare cases where I support the ex-employee going after the shop in court. What happened is wrong on many levels, and this is a shop owner that needs to be brought to account.

Money should not be the issue. You are dealing with a dealership. It they damage your car so that it is totaled, you should be offered another car of comparable value or trae in in a new car. Dealers trade with other dealers, so it should be very easy to settle. Because of the inconvenience factor I woukd assume you get a car of a reasonably better value. Just my thoughts. Just giving you a cash settlement is not sufficient as that puts a hardship on you to purchase another car…it’s up to the dealer to,provide that car.

Even Ray had a car fall off a lift.
I found a mechanic that lets me into his shop floor.

at ASEMASTER - No by no means do I think they did this on purpose. I only feel it wasn’t a faulty Hydraulic Lift but more of a Faulty Emplyee not putting the car on the lift correctly causing the fall.