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Is the dealer responsible for your car while it's in their possession?

Old 9/16/14, 06:43 PM
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Is the dealer responsible for your car while it's in their possession?

I'm just curious on everyone's opinion or if they have ever had any experience with damage to their car while the dealer had it for warranty or repairs?


The reason I ask is because today I dropped off my 14 GT to get the bubbling paint on the underside of the trunk lid fixed under warranty. They provided me with a loaner Explorer from a car rental place and one of the stipulations was that I had to do a walk around of the vehicle to see if there was any existing damage so it could be recorded.


I asked to do the same thing for my Mustang and the SA said he would but that the dealership and he personally was not responsible for any damage done to my car while in their possession unless one of their staff did it and it could be proved and that they were not responsible for the car while it was in transit to the local body shop that does their work for them as well as not responsible for the car while at the body shop.


I understand not being responsible while it's at the body shop but I question not being responsible for it while one of their dealership workers takes it to and from the body shop as well as being responsible for it while it's in their care at their dealership.


Has anyone else been told this by their dealership or actually had their car damaged at a dealership and the dealership deny responsibility?


Hopefully nothing happens to my car but I was just kind of surprised at being told all that.


Wayne
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Old 9/16/14, 06:59 PM
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In insurance and legal terms it's refered to as care, custody, and control. Once you turn over the keys the car temporarily becomes theirs and their responsibility. Regardless of whatever steps they take to protect your car, if something happens to it, damages would be covered under Garage Keepers Liability. It doesn't matter if an employee does the damage or if a vandal is responsible. As long as they have the keys, the duty is the dealer's to protect it 24/7.

I once handled a claim for a mechanical shop that was my insured. A customer left the car in the shop's possession for several days. There was fence around the property with a locked gate. The car was inside and the shop was alarmed. If I recall correctly the shop also kept all his customers keys in a lock box. He took all reasonable steps to protect his property and his customers cars. But the gate was broken into, the alarm disabled, the thieves broke into the shop, found the lock box, and stole a car.

The customer filed a claim with his own company, and they in turn subrogated against us and we had to reimburse them.

The same holds true if you have your car valet parked. Once the valet takes your keys and gives you a receipt, they assume liablity.
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Old 9/16/14, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TripleBlack14 View Post
In insurance and legal terms it's refered to as care, custody, and control. Once you turn over the keys the car temporarily becomes theirs and their responsibility. Regardless of whatever steps they take to protect your car, if something happens to it, damages would be covered under Garage Keepers Liability. It doesn't matter if an employee does the damage or if a vandal is responsible. As long as they have the keys, the duty is the dealer's to protect it 24/7.

I once handled a claim for a mechanical shop that was my insured. A customer left the car in the shop's possession for several days. There was fence around the property with a locked gate. The car was inside and the shop was alarmed. If I recall correctly the shop also kept all his customers keys in a lock box. He took all reasonable steps to protect his property and his customers cars. But the gate was broken into, the alarm disabled, the thieves broke into the shop, found the lock box, and stole a car.

The customer filed a claim with his own company, and they in turn subrogated against us and we had to reimburse them.

The same holds true if you have your car valet parked. Once the valet takes your keys and gives you a receipt, they assume liablity.
Thanks, that makes me feel better. They are going to have it longer than first expected due to the fact that I discovered some paint issues on the underside of the hood and they now have to get authorization from Ford to fix that.
When the SA told me all of that, I almost didn't want to leave the car there. He made it sound like they could damage and abuse my car and no one would be held accountable. This SA has helped me out in the past and has gone out of his way to help me get things resolved on other matters even though I didn't buy the car from them so I don't think he would do anything to it. I think it's probably what he's been told to say. I just didn't know if that was something that would hold up in court. Thanks again.


Wayne
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Old 9/16/14, 08:49 PM
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Wayne, I think your SA was just wishing out loud. I have a real good attorney who just loves his job when it comes to rooting out companies who repudiate their legal responsibilities to his clients; I'm betting that, if necessary, you could find a similar counterpart in your neck of the woods.

On a side note, I once dropped off my old Electra-Glide at a small local dealership for a complete clutch rebuild. After completing the job, due to a lack of space, they rolled the bike outdoors so as to make room for the next client's work order. As it happens, a good ol' Indiana frog strangler whisked over the Illinois border and dropped a buttload of rain on the pristine Harley I'd left in their care. When I came to pick it up, it looked like they'd been using it to haul mud. The lazy barstids couldn't even bother to wash it for me. No, I didn't have grounds for a lawsuit, but that shop has never seen me or my checkbook again. They say a satisfied customer tells someone else about his happy dealings with a business, and an unsatisfied customer tells ten of HIS acquaintances. I told at least that many. Most shop owners/managers will do their best to keep their clients happy; they know that their livelihood may be at stake. And whether or not they like to admit it, you can bet that they know very well what their responsibilities are.
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Old 9/17/14, 04:16 AM
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Thanks again for the info. It just makes me nervous when I get told something like that and when you hear stories of dealerships abusing a customer's performance car, it doesn't inspire much confidence. Out of all of the local Ford dealerships, I like this one the best so hopefully nothing will happen so it won't even be an issue.


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Old 9/17/14, 08:37 AM
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I don't know how you feel about your SA, but if it were me and he spun me this can of BS, I would at the very least be contacting the Service Manager/Director of that dealership and informing him of the SA's incorrect statements. That SA could get the dealership in serious problems if he keeps spewing nonsense.

Now, if the dealership itself is making that policy... then I'm not even letting go of the car to them, and I'm reporting them to... well, somewhere. Because that's not even close to a good place to be if your car is in danger due to their lack of coverage.

But that's me.
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Old 9/17/14, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by houtex View Post

Now, if the dealership itself is making that policy... then I'm not even letting go of the car to them, and I'm reporting them to... well, somewhere. Because that's not even close to a good place to be if your car is in danger due to their lack of coverage.
I can guarantee that the dealer has coverage. He couldn't do business without insurance.

There's sure to be some type of packaged comprehensive business policy. The dealer needs workers comp for employees, property coverage, business interuption, errors and ommissions, to name just a few, and of course, liability (and probably high limits) for slip and falls, defamation suits, and the situation that the OP described.

The dealer would have show proof of insurance before building, occupancy, and licenses are approved by his town, and I'm certain that the manufacturer would not grant a franchise without adequate coverage.
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Old 9/17/14, 07:46 PM
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Yes, show proof. I can show proof of insurance right now... but does that mean it's current and paid up?

That's why you report it, if they're saying otherwise. Make sure they're keeping it on the up and up, AND/OR you get a shoddy SA from spewing stupid.
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Old 9/18/14, 04:11 AM
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I don't know if this is a dealer policy or them just scaring a customer. I also highly doubt that they don't carry insurance. That would be a huge liability for them if they didn't. Like I said before, I have always had a good relationship with the one SA so I don't think he would just tell me that if it wasn't something that he is being told by the people above him. For what it's worth, this dealership probably has the best reputation around here out of all of the Ford dealerships.


Ford denied my claim for the front hood so the car went over to the body shop yesterday so I may get it back sooner than first thought. Thanks again for all of the input.


Wayne

Last edited by 70monte; 9/18/14 at 04:13 AM.
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Old 9/18/14, 02:17 PM
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Yes. they are responsible. Take pictures with date/time stamps. If it comes back damaged. The dealership has to eat the cost to fix it. Regardless of what they want you to believe.
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Old 9/18/14, 03:36 PM
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Are they responsible for your car?

As Curly Howard of the Stooges would say...

Soitenly!
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Old 9/18/14, 05:06 PM
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Each State is different. In Florida once you drop off the car and hand them the keys they are in possession and are responsible.

YES!!
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Old 9/19/14, 07:57 PM
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I got the car back today and no damage that I can tell or any unusual engine noises so all seems good.


Wayne
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