On November 10, 2015 I brought my VW motorhome into this dealers service department to repair the vehicles cruise control. Unknown to me the vehicle was immediately damaged through the negligence of one of this dealers employees as it was being driven out of the service bay. It was driven into a steel post damaging almost the entire right hand side of the vehicle from just behind the passenger door all the way to the back. It took the Service Manager 2 days to contact me and inform me of the damage done. Current estimates for repair of this damage range from $13,000 to $18,000. Although the company's Service Manager has admitted they are at fault, and has promised to have the vehicle repaired to "original or better condition" as of this writing ( December 3, 2015 ) it has been almost one month since the incident and absolutely nothing has been done, and no money has been released, to repair this vehicle. It has been sitting in a repair shop waiting for their authorization to proceed with ordering of parts and the associated repairs. The Service Manager has stopped responding to phone calls or emails. By any reasonable standard of customer care this delay or repairs, ducking of responsibility and level of communication is scandalous and irresponsible. Furthermore the damage done on November 10, 2015 has completely scuttled our plans to drive to Arizona for three months this winter. The vehicle is completely drivable without the cruise control; in fact I prefer it this way. But my wife wanted the cruise installed before we left on our trip on November 11, 2015 which is why we brought it into this company's shop in the first place. Now however, with the damage, and the total lack of this company's effort to repair it our lives and travel plans are being held hostage for who knows how long. As a consequence, in addition to the repair of the vehicle damage, it must also compensate us for "loss of use" for the total duration, as well as our time spent dealing with this issue.
1. Immediate financial authorization to repair the damage their negligence has caused to my motorhome.
2. 2. Immediate use of the same kind of motorhome for the total duration that my motorhome has been, and will be, unavailable for use, as follows:
2.1 report of damage delay 2 days
2.2 insurance payment delay 24 days
2.3 parts order ( est. ) 42 days
2.4 parts delivery ( est. ) 14 days
2.5 vehicle repair ( est. ) 21 days
3. Some consideration for my effort to find the necessary repair parts that the experts failed to find
4. Immediate repair of the subject vehicles cruise control, the original reason I brought the vehicle to them, without charge.
Our client, Fifth Avenue Auto Haus responds as follows to the complaint:
On or about the 10th of November, 2015, the customer brought his 1997 Rialta to their shop requesting a diagnosis due to his cruise control not working. While leaving their check-in bay, Fifth Avenue accidentally damaged the right side of his vehicle. After viewing the damage, the Service Manager thought it best to immediately request the advice of a qualified repair shop, being Continental Auto Body as he thought it was pretty minor and believed it would be reasonably inexpensive to repair at the expense of Fifth Avenue. The owner of Continental Auto Body was asked to view and estimate the damage. Note as it is the customary policy of Fifth Avenue to contact the customer with a solution when notifying the customer of any damage, the Service Manager waited until the next day for the estimate as he was informed from the customer that he was not intending to travel for days or even weeks.
The Service Manager was then informed that the repair cost would exceed the amount of their insurance deductible such that Fifth Avenue made the business decision to report same to their insurer. Further, and in any event, Continental Auto Body advised that the customer's vehicle would not fit in Continental's body shop. At this time, Fifth Avenue notified their insurer and requested someone immediately send someone to look at the customer's vehicle. As the Service Manager had personally never dealt with the body repair of a motor home, he requested a reference from the owner of Continental. After some research, the owner of Continental recommended Western Paint and Body the following day. Prior to the decision on where to send the vehicle, the customer and the Service Manager had a phone conversation where the customer stated directly to the Service Manager that "he did not want us diagnosing his cruise control and he would rather have us remove the cruise control module that he was sure was the issue so that he could send it to a place in the US where it could be repaired". Fifth Avenue honored his wishes and thus removed the module. When the customer arrived, the Service Manager informed the customer of the damage and Fifth Avenue's plan to take his motorhome to Western Paint and Body and reassured him that it would go through Fifth Avenue's insurance. The customer agreed and Fifth Avenue immediately brought the RV to Western Paint and Body, Fifth Avenue's insurer was notified of the location of the vehicle, and their expectation of having it dealt with in a timely manner. At this time and as is customary with insurance claims, the insurer has the right to deal with the customer directly as it is a true subrogated claim.
Fifth Avenue states that the company was not involved in determining the repair or compensation estimates, nor any offers for the customer as it relied on its authorized agent, the insurer, to deal with same. Further, Fifth Avenue was advised that the insurer was communicating with the customer and doing so in a reasonable manner. Fifth Avenue has since been deluged with social media postings from the customer and from his self-identified friends directly aimed at causing the company financial distress and a loss of profits. Further, Fifth Avenue has been forced to engage the services of legal counsel in an effort to deal reasonably with the customer however his response has been to further escalate his defamatory conduct.
Fifth Avenue has offered to diagnose and repair the cruise control module as an gesture of good faith in exchange for an end to the social media postings and a commitment to the insurance process however their offer was rejected. Further, Fifth Avenue has offered to pay for the diagnosis and repair of the cruise control module another shop however that offer has been rejected as well. The customer has been advised to seek legal advice regarding the offer of the insurance company and his postings on social media but to date he has declined to seek same. It is the position of Fifth Avenue that the customer is simply bent on destroying their hard built reputation with defamatory lies aimed at costing them business and goodwill.
(The consumer indicated he/she did not accept the response from the business.)
Fifth Avenue Auto Haus' (FAAH) written response to my complaint includes at least eight factual errors, as explained below. However, before I address each of these, I **** repeat the following basic facts of my horrible customer experience with FAAH so they don't get lost in the details ( I've included a complete and formatted *.pdf version of this reply in the files section of this complaint ):
i. On November 10, 2015 FAAH negligence significantly damaged my RV while it was in their care for service to the cruise control.
ii. On November 12, 2015 I was contacted by FAAH, through its' Service Manager, who admitted fault and initially promised to repair the RV to "original or better condition." Canadian law states that ""A plaintiff in a negligence action is entitled to succeed by establishing three things to the satisfaction of the court: (A) a duty of care exists; (B) there has been a breach of that duty; and (C) damage has resulted from that breach". It also states that "Where he ( FAAH ) is endowed with reason and fails in this duty, he is responsible for any injury he causes to another person by such fault and is liable to reparation for the injury, whether it be bodily, moral or material in nature." So clearly FAAH is negligent and liable in this matter. Unfortunately, FAAH has tried at every step of the process, through their Insurer, to control and limit their reparations without any reasonable discussion or oppourtunity for appeal, as described below.
iii. On November 20, 2015 I wrote to FAAHs insurer asking for a rental motorhome, the same as ours, for the total duration for which ours would not be available. I indicated that, at that time, the estimated total duration was "current loss of use = 2 weeks, estimated parts delivery time = 6 weeks, estimated repair duration = 3 weeks, total duration = 11 weeks, and growing". On November 26, 2015 FAAHs insurer initially replied that they would "not consider paying what you have requested." When I asked for clarification of what that meant FAAH's insurer replied they would only pay" for the rental of a similar motor home for the period of repair only. They **** not pay for any mileage charges or insurance for this unit." The "period of repair" would only be 2 to 3 weeks of the, then estimated, total duration of 11 weeks.
iv. On December 3, 2015 FAAHs Insurer emailed me and informed me, contrary to what FAAH had originally promised, that "***** Canada **** not consider repairing your vehicle". Instead, based on what is an incorrectly low value assessment of the vehicle, they offered to purchase the vehicle for less than half it's actual market value, or for even less than that they would write it off as "salvageable" and let me keep it. Except that all the potential repair risks ( e.g. possible hidden structural damage, etc. ) and hassle would now be mine, as would the additional responsibility, cost and hassle of getting the vehicle recertified by the province as safe and road worthy. Obviously neither of their offers were acceptable, or even reasonable. I sent them the data showing the error of their low assessment, but they just repeated the offer described above.
v. On December 4, 2015 I posted a factual review of my experience with FAAH, as described above. By the end of December as many as 40 concerned friends, friends of friends and people I don't even know had commented on my post and posted their own supportive, factual, non-profane, non-hateful reviews of FAAHs actions as described above. On December 8, 2015 FAAH retained a lawyer rather than do anything to repair my motorhome, and sent me a Cease and Desist ( C&D ) letter which, while saying nothing about what was not factual about what I had written, explicitly threatened court action claiming "damages and all legal costs". On December 29, 2015 FAAH again rather than do anything to repair my motorhome, sent C&D form ( not personally addressed ) letters to at least 10 to 12 friends, friends of friends, and people I don't know, through Face Book ( FB ). FAAH probably would have sent the threatening C&D letters to all people who had posted reviews supporting me, but I asked FB if FAAHs letters constituted SPAM or Abuse. FB responded by blocking the threatening C&D letters and prevented FAAH from sending anymore of them. But, again, the December 29, 2015 letters said nothing about what was not factual about what they had written but explicitly threatened "Court of Queens Bench" ( not small claims! ) court action stating they "**** be pursuing the matter against all individuals" and claiming "legal fee reimbursement on a full indemnity basis. Govern yourselves accordingly." On December 30, 2015 I replied in writing to FAAHs December 8, 2015 C&D letter asking what exactly is "non-factual ( or defamatory in your opinion )?" about my review, so I could consider their demand. FAAH never responded to my question.
vi. On December 7, 2015 I made a service appointment with FAAH to complete the half-finished repair to the cruise control. On December 8, 2015 we received an email from the FAAH Service Manager stating "I cancelled your appointment. Considering the circumstances I thought it best you seek another shop to reinstall the cruise control module. I would suggest *********** ...". When contacted, the other shop had never heard of us, knew nothing about FAAHs offer, and declined the work stating that neither they or anyone they could suggest were not qualified to do the work since the cruise control is effectively a VW proprietary system.
vii. As of January 14, 2016, more than ten weeks after FAAH damaged my motorhome, and FAAH has still not done a single thing to repair either the cruise control or the damages caused by their negligence.
I expect FAAH to stand behind its original promise to repair my motorhome to "original or better condition", and to complete their half-finished repair of the cruise control ( the original reason I brought my vehicle to them ). FAAH's written comments do not result in these two repairs, without condition, so I cannot, and do not accept FAAH's response.
As to the details of FAAH's written reply, I provide corrections or clarifications as appropriate, in the following text:
1. re: "...when notifying the customer of any damage, the Service Manager waited until the next day for the
estimate as he was informed from the customer that he was not intending to travel for days or even
This statement is not true. I did not tell the Service Manager that I was "... not intending to travel for ... weeks." The following sequence of events is what actually occurred.
My vehicle was damaged by FAAH on November 10, 2015 shortly after I left it with them to repair the cruise control. At the end of that day the FAAH Service Advisor telephoned to ask me if they could keep the vehicle for another day because their mechanic needed to bring a special diagnosis tool from home.
During the November 10 call the Service Advisor told me nothing about the damage they'd caused. I didn't learn about the damage caused to my motorhome by FAAH until called by the Service Manager on November 12, 2015. During that call I expressed my horror at what they'd done as well as concern about the delay this might cause to our planned three month road trip south for the winter. I'd not heard of or talked to the Service Manager before he called me on November 12, so it is not possible that "he was informed from the customer" that he could wait "until the next day" for anything.
The next day I went to the FAAH shop to view and photograph the damage. The "bump", as the Service Manager described it to me on the phone the previous day, was actually an 12 ft long, approximately, swath of damage to the passenger **** of the motorhome coach. So not only had the FAAH driver of my vehicle hit the steel post while exiting the service bay, they kept on driving despite the noise they must have been hearing.
2. re: "... the customer and the Service Manager had a phone conversation where the customer stated directly to
the Service Manager that "he did not want us diagnosing his cruise control ..."
This statement is not true. The FAAH statement is a small part of the discussion taken out of context. The following sequence of events is what actually occurred.
On November 10 the FAAH Service Advisor called me at the end of the day to say their modern diagnosis tools were having trouble "decoding" what my 1998 VW Rialta was telling them. He told me the mechanic needed to bring in an older tool from home to see if that would work better. On November 12, before I'd been contacted by the Service Manager and told about the damage they'd caused, I sent an email to the Service Advisor indicating the following:
"the Rialta eurovan has the same cruise control system as the
Golf and Jetta (XXXX-XXXX) and Cabrio (XXXX-XXXX), Passat *** VR6
(XXXX-XXXX) and Jetta GLX VRX (XXXX-XXXX).
Here's a link to a video on di