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Help --- Dealer Dropped car off of lift

Looking for a little help on the legal end of this… or what is stated in the dealer service contracts.

  1. 2011 Taurus was at the dealership for an oil change — car is 6 months old with 6000 miles — grandma (my mother) driven!

  2. Dealer informed us that the car fell off the lift and there was damage.

  3. Dealer wants to quickly fix the damages… says it will be “just like new”.

I disagree. It will not be just like new. There is a substantial loss of value on a new car like this when it has a CarFax injury history. In some cases, I have seen dealers refuse to take cars on trade in because of an accident on the CarFax.

I understand that if we damage our own car, our insurance gets it back to where it was during the repair and does NOT compensate us for loss of any value on resale or trade in.

However, the dealer severely damaged an essentially new car that was in their care — at minimum ALL FOUR doors are damaged. 2 need to be completely replaced. They have been reluctant and have not yet shown us the enitire itemized list of what was damaged and needed to be repaired.

So, step 1 is to have a separate facility appraise the damages.

Then what?

I think that an equitable solution would be to have some sort of compensation beyond the repair. I know that they may not be required to do this as I have not (sorry) looked at the service contract yet.

So… any thoughts? Anyone with any (inside) experience on this?


If the dealer repairs it, I doubt it will show up on CarFax.

I think that the dealer should replace the car. I think that the dealer would have insurance to cover this. IF the dealer wants to repair the damaged car and resell it, it is his business.
I have a friend who purchased a new diesel Oldsmobile 88 and while doing the delivery preparation, the car was dropped off the rack. The dealer ordered another diesel Oldsmobile for my friend. After a year with the new Oldsmobile, my friend hoped that this car would be dropped off the rack.

Whether it shows on the CarFax or not, there is a loss of value… would ANYONE want their new car dropped? What else is broken that isn’t found? Or that will break sooner?

Good comment on the Olds diesel…

I am kind of thinking the same thing about the replacement… but, it comes down to what is said in the fine print of the service contract.

I doubt the service contract will say ‘if car falls off lift and has less than X miles customer gets a new car’. You’ll need to have a sit-down with the dealer.

I think I’d talk with the service manager and the sales manager and see if they could swap the car with a new one. If not speak with an attorney to find out exactly what rights you have. Also let the dealership know if this is not handled to YOUR satisfaction you’ll do your car shopping elsewhere from now on.

Speak to the service manager, and arrange to have an independent assessment of the damage. Use that information to negotiate what you feel is fair.

If the car were several years old then I could see fixing it and even that’s qualified with a maybe.

Sine this is an '11 model with only 6k miles and is essentially a new car I would settle for nothing less than a new '11 model with a charge for mileage accrued (6k in this case) on your old car.

With all 4 doors bent and apparently 2 of them bent so bad as to be unrepairable I would strongly suspect the chassis that the doors are attached to is also bent to some degree. Of course they will say it will be like new.
They screwed up so let them eat this one, not you.

With damage that bad, I’d be raising hell with them to replace the car, not fix it.
Talk with YOUR insurance agent and see what they say about it; they may want to get involved as well.

I think what the dealer did was essentially create a lemon.

They owe you a new car.

I disagree with a charge for accrued mileage in this case. The dealership severely damaged this car and should provide an equivalent car in a reasonable amount of time. In this case, it would have to be a new car. I’m concerned that the mileage charge might be a few thousand dollars. It seems outrageous that the OPs mom should pay a few grand to make the dealer whole when the dealer is solely responsible for this problem. Maybe you know better for your days in the dealer’s shop, OK4450.

Josh, when you and Mom talk to her insurer, ask them what they think is a fair settlement.

My fellow cyberbabes passed these old columns along for your consideration:

Actually Mr. Sanders, I’m in agreement with you on this. I think the dealer should eat the entire thing including any accrued mileage charge; whatever that could possibly be.
My point was that it could be looked at as use of a car for 6k miles and I certainly do not think the OP should pay even a couple of thousand dollars for that privilege.
Maybe 500 bucks if they want to be benevolent about it.

The dealer says it will be good as new? Fine, then give the OP a brand new '11 model car, repair the current damaged one, and send it out for resale if they feel so confident about it.

A car fell off of a faulty lift at a dealer I worked for and it went like this. Ten minutes after the car hit the floor the mechanic (who had complained for months this was going to happen) was fired, the insurance company declared the car a total the next morning, and the day after that the dealer had a service lift company in there repairing all of the lifts; after the fact of course.

The dealer will balk and stall on a new car but I think the OP should really push this issue and get a new car outright.

number20, In my opinion, if the fall was bad enough to damage all the doors, the dealer owes you a new car. If I may digress, (and who among you will stop me?), a few years back, one of our customers brought his Dodge Dakota in to the dealer for the ubiquitous upper ball joint recall. After sitting for 2 hrs. in the waiting room, he took a walk over to the window looking into the service area. lo & behold, there his truck sat, on its side, between the rack posts. First words out of the service manager’s mealy mouth were “Don’t worry, we have a good body shop.” Our customer replied, “BS, I’m getting a new truck out of this deal.”, and he did.

Sounds like the dealer is trying to resolve the problem but they need to show you the estimate. FYI…it might not show up on Carfax. Carfax is a marketing tool so it might show up but maybe not.

I think that an equitable solution would be to have some sort of compensation beyond the repair. Basically what your saying is pay you for pain and suffering. This is nothing more than revenge…forget about that.

OK… thanks for the feedback…

I had a chance to look at the car today.

It’s kind of in damage purgatory… bad enough that you know there is a problem, but not enough to say, “wow, this is totaled”.

It didn’t fall far… 3 feet or so… well, that is still far enough for a 4500 pound car.

Now… the damage… dealer said…

  • 2 doors would be replaced and 2 needed to be replaced.
  • 1 rim completely rashed
  • all lower trim totaled below doors
  • doors on both sides out of alignment, slightly, but noticeable.
  • looks like 2 small dents under the passenger side frame
  • another dent a little more underneath - bigger, but small chance it could just be a contour in the frame.
  • and, finally, the hood is out of alignment, very wide gap by drivers side windshield and very narrow on the passenger side.

So… while it doesn’t look like much and would be an easy fix to sell with a salvage title… or, as so eloquently stated it sounds like they created a lemon… with what appear to be tweeks in the frame, that is the route of problems that can go on and on with alignments, shakes, etc.

Many of you have stated it well…

  1. It CANNOT be “as good as new”

  2. If it were a car with 40,000 miles, it would be a completely different situation.

  3. Seriously, it is a “Grandma driven” car. It was pampered and perfect.

  4. NO ONE wants a car like this… or more to the point, no one wants to pay full ticket for a car like this… which is the point, since people don’t want to pay full ticket for a car like this that is where the lost value was caused by the dealership.

Now… for a final thought…

If, for example, a drunk rips through the parking lot a 2 AM and hits a car when it is there for service… then I would understand the dealer’s insurance fixing it and nothing else as it was a random accident that could have happened anywhere… or if a tree or telephone pole was blown over in a storm.

However, since this was clear dealer negligence… they were lifting a car and it fell… an accident, yes, but still negligence… because of their careless actions or faulty equipment my mother has lost significant value in here 6000 mile car - even after it has been repaired.

Thanks guys! Another meeting tomorrow!

Correct… not revenge… and, if I actually used this dealer, if it was resolved correctly, I would still use them… it was an accident… however, even though it was an accident their negligence cause a loss of REAL value in the car… compensation for this loss in value is actually all that we are looking for.

Side note… my boy is 6… so 10 years from now, it would be a car that is passed down through the generations… it is a great car - loaded, leather, big… it was going to be in the family for 200,000+ miles… that was the plan.

In the short term, it is EASILY quantifiable that something like this will lower resale/trade-in value.

In the long term, something like this is what can seriously affect a car lasting for 200,000 miles.

That is what the compensation is for.

I don’t see that they owe you (legally or ethically) any additional compensation other than replacement of the vehicle and any incidental expenses incurred (rental cars, etc).

If you walk away with nothing more than a brand new car, and maybe incidentals, you should be dancing in the streets.
At this point the dealer is concerned with nothing more than washing their hands of this incident in the fastest, cheapest way possible.

“replacement of the vehicle” is the vast gray area between “new car” and “fix the areas that were damaged”.

New car = dancing in the streets

Fix the areas that were damaged = getting screwed royally

As ok4450 points out, the dealer is trying to get this done quick and cheap.