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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 19501
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Two years ago, my car was in an accident and was repaired via

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Two years ago, my car was in an accident and was repaired via my AAA insurance at a Toyota Collision Center in Norwalk, CA. This is a facility that is preferred by AAA, which is why I used it. In the meantime, I have continued to bring my car to Toyota of Long Beach for servicing. About three weeks ago, I brought it in for an oil change, paid for an extra service, to keep it in good repair--and got the call, saying that it required about $600 worth of work plus an additional $600 which was covered by the warranty. I did this work. I took it out of the shop and it was very loud, different to before it was in. I brought it back and they told me it was because they rotated the tires, so they put the tires back as they had been. It wasn't as loud, but the sound was still there. A few days later, the check engine light came on. I brought it back in--they checked it and turned off the light and told me everything was ok--after test driving it 31 miles and emptying my tank of gas. 20 minutes after I took it out of the shop, I was driving along a surface street, heading home and the light came back on. I took it back in.

They then said that they found a problem and it looks like it was related to the accident that the car was in 2 years ago. They said it would cost over $1440 to repair. They recommended I contact my insurance, AAA, which I did.

My claims adjuster basically blew me off and told me to call Toyota Corporate, which I did. They basically blew me off and said that each Toyota dealership is independent and they can not force them to do anything, so my best bet was to work with my insurance.

I called my insurance back AGAIN--I had to call twice. I was told, this time, after much pushing, that they would send an inspector out to Toyota of Long Beach, to assess if the damage was indeed related to the accident. They promised that the inspector would come the next day, so I would not have to pay any charges for a rental car.

Nobody showed up from AAA the next day. So, today, I got a call from Toyota of Long Beach, telling me that they will now charge me for my rental.

I need help. The Toyota Corporate office is obviously blowing off my problem. The dealership is taking no responsibility--they're saying that they are not responsible, even though I had my car in and out to them over a 2 week period, and that the current problem is unrelated. Are they not responsible for not diagnosing something the first one, two, three times? What about AAA? They sent me to their collision repair shop--and told me that I was driving a safe car for 2 years--and now I find that I have not been.

Please give me my legal recourse on this situation. I am now being charged $35/day for my rental car, while this is "up in the air."

Thank you.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

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Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Kindly use CONTINUE or REPLY button to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.

I am sorry to hear about your difficulties and that you have been getting runaround.

I am not sure that I would trust this repair shop about the main cause of your problem. It is quite interesting that your check engine light and the loud noise did not start until after the repair shop did work on your car. Nevertheless, since they have now pushed the problem to your insurance company by blaming the cause on your accident two years prior, you need to call your insurance company one more time to get them to inspect the car to see what is wrong with it and if infact the problem is relating your accident. If they do not show up again, it may be prudent to have the car taken to another shop for a second opinion.

If the problem is indeed related to your accident two years ago, then you would need to sue your insurance company for the repair and for your rental expenses. If the problem is with the repair show damaging something when they worked on your car, then you would need to sue the repair shop for negligence and for damages resulting from you not having the use of your car. So, you may need to sue the insurance company or the repair shop. However, you would not know which one to sue until the car has been inspected or until you have gotten a second opinion from another repair shop.

I am sorry that I do not have a simple answer for you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for following up with me. Here's the latest update:


- My insurance company did not send anyone out to inspect. Instead, they made a call to Toyota. They told Toyota that my vehicle was involved in 6 other claims (untrue) and that they would need to research to see which hands had been in it. My car is involved in no other claims. I also find that sharing that information is a breach of my privacy. But, the main point here is that nobody came and visually inspected my car.


- I spoke to manager at the insurance company and she said that they have photos and that this part of my car was not involved in the accident and that it was only superficial damage. She claims that the Toyota dealership did not link it directly to the accident, however, this is what is written on my paperwork from Toyota:


"Vehicle involved in previous accident at location of damaged failed harness. No work was performed. Customer declined repairs. Customers insurance did not cover or inspect."


So, clearly, the Toyota repair shop is saying that it is related to the accident.


- Toyota is taking no responsibility for not finding the problem, even though it was in their shop multiple times in 2 weeks, nor accepting responsibility for the fact that they may have caused damage.


- AAA (insurance) did cover cost of rental due to them not sending out inspector and my car being in the shop waiting. (If that shows any evidence of culpability on their part.)


At this point, I have not taken my car to any other mechanic. What would you advise?

Take your car to another repair shop and get a second opinion. If the damage is related to your accident, you would need to sue your insurance company. Otherwise, you would sue the previous repair shop for damaging the car.

It would be prudent to retain the services of a local consumer Attorney to sue the insurance company or the repair shop, if or when you decide to proceed with the lawsuit. Most consumer Attorneys do not charge upfront fees and would only get paid if you win your case. Even then, the Courts award Attorney's fees to the prevailing consumer.

You can use the following sites to find local consumer Attorneys:

Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Satisfied Customers: 19501
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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