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HELP, I think I need a good Lawyer!

9395 Views 37 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  cmr
I was scheduled to take delivery of my new Volt on Friday, I could not find one that I liked close by in GA and ended up working with Classic Chevrolet in NJ, they were great and we did a deal (it helped that it was February 29th at closing time).

I scheduled the transport of the car through one of those annoying broker sites, again all went well with the transaction, and I wanted the car by Friday so the wife and daughter could take it to Augusta for a tennis tournament, so I was very happy that the car showed up Friday at 2:00 pm as promised.

Then the trouble began, the driver must have pulled the lever the wrong way or the trailer was adjusted to close to the roof and the trailer bounced against the roof of the Volt while in transport crushing the roof and breaking the windshield.

I was forced to take delivery of the car, I wrote on every open space the damage and the situation, I talked to the transport company and the transport company’s insurance broker who is scheduled to come out next week and appraise the car.

My problem is the car is severely depreciated even if they do a fantastic repair, what should I do, sue them for a new one...

I need guidance!

Thank you all in advance!
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Wow that sucks! I don't know what to suggest but I hope you took lots of pics while it was still on the truck. That will help prove they did it.

I wish you good luck, you've had your dose of bad.:(
Crushing the roof?? Ouch.
Did you already sign all purchase documents before the vehicle showed up? If that was the case, you should probably call your own insurance company and see if they can deal with the transport company directly.
I wouldn't worry too much about depreciation unless there was frame damage. If the roof is just dented, a good body shop should be able to fix the roof and repaint it such that you'd never know the difference. If the damage was more substantial than that, then who knows...
Wish you the best with a crummy situation.
Many states and localities have a Bar Association referral service. I had occasion to use the Atlanta Bar Association Referral service. It seemed pretty cool. One fills out a form, and for $35 an attorney will speak with you for an initial half-hour consultation. In any case, I hope you get this worked out to your satisfaction.
I don't understand how they could force you to take delivery of the car. I'm sure you had to sign something and if you refused, then they keep the car. I guess it's all water under the bridge now.

I think you should contact your GM or your Volt advisor, they may be able to offer some assistance.

Good Luck!
That is just terrible, what an awful way to receive a brand new car ! I hope all gets resolved to your complete satisfaction, and don't forget to leave a comment about that shipper in the appropriate online critique pages so others may be aware.
Ouch.. good luck

If they are having at the roof.. maybe have them put in a sunroof.. the added sunshine might eventually make up for the pain they are causing (and any depreciation).
They can't force you to take the car, you should have left it on the carrier, called the transport company directly and told them the situation...
They can't force you to take the car, you should have left it on the carrier, called the transport company directly and told them the situation...
Exactly this is what I would have done.
My problem is the car is severely depreciated even if they do a fantastic repair, what should I do, sue them for a new one...
Unless the car is totaled, I can't imagine any situation in which the shipper's insurance will replace the car.
Unless the car is totaled, I can't imagine any situation in which the shipper's insurance will replace the car.
You might be surprised. These kind of accidents aren't as unusual as you might think, and the insurance company may wish to avoid a protracted and expensive fight.

In Georgia, State law requires that insurers pay for Diminished Value in addition to actual property damages and repair. Combine that with potential legal fees and loss-of-use damages, and the insurance company may run towards a full settlement.
Thank you all. I especially like the sound of that last post!
Keep us updated. I'm interested in hearing how this plays out.
i spent 34 years in the body shop industry mostly working for dealerships. transportation damage is rare but it does happen. lot damage from sitting at the dealership and being moved around and test driven is where most of the problems start. this type of thing is why i never take a car from the lot.... ever. mine is on the rail car as we speak. if it shows up damaged? they order me another one and do what ever they wish with the damaged car. the value of the car is diminished, make them pay for it because a car fax will show the repairs to any perspective buyers.

taking another car from a dealer somewhere else? never ever do that. it always costs you more money from the shipping if nothing else, in the end and the car will have miles on it when you receive it. at that point it's just another used car.
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Thank you all. I especially like the sound of that last post!
The idea behind insurance is that if someone damages your car, they are required to restore it to the condition it was before they damaged it. Put another way, you can sue anyone for anything, but if their insurance company repairs the car to the condition it was in before the accident, you really do not have a case for a lawsuit.

The typical situation is someone with a 6-month-old car that gets totaled, and they paid $30K and get $25K (while owing the bank $28K). Everyone hears about how a car loses X% of its value when you drive it off the lot. They talk about how the insurance settlement was unfair. But if they can go out and buy a 6-month-old car for $28K, it is fair.

Your situation is *DIFFERENT*. Your car has never been driven off the lot! It is a brand-new car. If it was totaled, the transport company would owe you the full value of the car, with no deduction for depreciation.

If the transport company isn't calling you immediately and doing everything they can to be nice to you, or it looks like they aren't going to satisfy you, it might be worth checking with a lawyer. Write down everything that the employee said/did that made you feel that you had to sign for delivery (that could be very important). You can try telling the transport company that you are thinking of getting a lawyer involved, and mention that it is a car with no depreciation, and they might end up having to pay your lawyer fees. A lawyer can also check to see who the legal owner of the car was when the damage was done (probably you, but if it was the car dealer, the car may still belong to them if you did not "accept" it).

Note that while others talk about how they would not have signed the papers, if you were the legal owner of the car (as opposed to the dealership), there may have been no reason not to. It's possible that by not signing the papers they might have legally been able to sell the car to cover their fees and give you the difference. So it may be good that you signed the papers.

The (slight) good news is that there was 0 depreciation on the car when the shipping company picked it up. So you could probably argue that even fixing the car isn't good enough (as the value will be less than a brand-new car; when you sell it, someone will pay less given that there was damage that was fixed). They transported the car knowing that it had 0 depreciation, and accepted that responsibility.

If it were me, after doing a lot of research about this type of situation, which I'm sure happens occasionally, I would fight for a new car. As you point out, delivering a damaged-but-fixed car is not the same as delivering a new car, and the damaged-but-fixed car is worth less than a new car. With a used car, value is subjective. But the value of a new car is crystal clear, there is no wiggle room. You can ask them point-blank "If you just fix the car, it will be worth less than when you took possession of it, so how do you expect to compensate me for the difference?"

I've rambled a bit, but hopefully given you some ideas.
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Very helpful.

Thank you, I will update the post, the insurance company is suppose to call me today or tomorrow. I think I will try to find an attorney before they even show up, if nothing else it will send the message that this is not going to be easy!

Thanks again everyone!
You really don't need an attorney. You got several things working for you:

1. It was a new un-driven car.
2. The repair may be complicated enough they may total the car.
3. The damage was clearly the transporter's fault.

So I see three likely outcomes:

1. They will pay to fix the car to as-new condition and you request and get a check for any loss in value due to repaired nature.
2. They will purchase the car (total it) and give you a check (or your bank) for its new purchase price + expenses.
3. They will pay to fix the car to as-new condition and decline to cover the loss in value.

Only in the 3rd condition would you need a lawyer, but you can usually successfully argue the loss in value with most insurance companies, especially if never driven. So I really don't think you will need a lawyer. Your money is better spent buying a copy of "Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In" (a very easy read) and preparing yourself for the 3-4 negotiating calls it will take to calmly explain your situation.

Personally? I'd take option #1 since the car will be fixed as-new and you get a nice decent check for your pocket.

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^ +1.

lawyer, will eat up 30-33% of YOUR repair bill.
they have up to 30 days to pay (after first demand letter)
I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't totaled. 5 door hatches are really pretty fragile on the top end. If it isn't, make a "diminished value" claim on top of the damage claim to the carrier. Ask the selling dealer to provide a written estimate of how much they would reduce the trade in value of a car when a CarFax reports significant damage. When you trade in the car, you will take a bath with a positive CarFax, so you need to be reimbursed.
who picked this shipping company?
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