Performance Shop Crashes Customer's Audi S4, Denies Obligation to Pay for Repairs
Can a contract really release a shop of responsibility, no matter what?
An Orlando performance shop employee reportedly crashed a customer’s Audi S4 while making an illegal u-turn, causing significant damage to the car in question. However, instead of offering to fix the damages, the worker then allegedly asked the customer to have their own insurance cover the damages, leading to an ongoing legal battle between the two parties.
When Vince Hansen went to pickup his Audi from Titan Motorsports, the shop tech took his car out for a test drive while we squared up on the bill. While the tech was gone, the shop got a call that the customer’s car had been involved in an accident—the employee crashed into another car as a result of the illegal maneuver and was then found at fault before being ticketed on the scene. Despite all this, Hansen wasn’t mad, chalking it up to the simple fact that "mistakes happen," but his saint-like attitude about it wouldn’t matter as the shop owner told him they weren’t liable.
According to WESH 2 News, the shop owner explained that Hansen signed a contract that released Titan of responsibility for any damages while the car was in their possession. Even though they would seem to be confident about their lack of liability in the situation, Hansen showed the news station a letter from his insurance company stating that the shop has refused to provide them with requested insurance information.
Attorney Hank Hornsby was shown the contract Hansen signed when dropping his car off, and had the insight that "The auto body shop can make the argument that they are not responsible to pay for those damages, which really brings us to a consumer beware. Before you leave something at an auto body shop, be sure you know what you're signing away.” It's worth noting here that Titan Motorsports is not a full-service body shop, but the lawyer seemed to be making the assumption that it is.
This might be a case in point example of read what you sign, but the entire situation is still unnerving to anyone who takes their car to a shop, expecting to get it back in better condition than when they dropped it off.