Last Sunday, I went to a wedding reception in a hall in Koyambedu, Chennai. Had given my car (nothing fancy, a Maruti SX4) for valet parking. When I returned and asked for the car back, it took a long time to come. I gave a tip to the driver and drove home. In the morning, I noticed a huge dent in the rear left door of my car. It was surely not there when I took the car and not on the way back home. I should’ve failed to notice it in the dark when I took the car back.

Valet Parking token

Valet Parking token

Luckily, I had the tag with the valet company’s name, phone number and the ID, still attached to my keychain. I called the number, the owner of the company answered. Initially, he flatly refused the incident like this had happened at his end. I then sent him the picture by WhatsApp and patiently told him, check and come back. After ten minutes or so, he called me and said one of their drivers had done the damage but failed to inform them – after my call, they had to get him to confess with the threat of CCTV footage. Now, the owner offered to come in person to my house, inspect and negotiate.

The owner came today and told what had happened at his end. He begged for forgiveness as he doesn’t make any great monies in the service. I agree it is difficult to run a labour intensive, temporary staff business. But what got me mad was not the accident had happened, but the driver on that day not informing me when he gave me the car or when he accepted my tip! That is an act of stealing according to me.

Maruti service is going to charge me around ₹8,000 for the repair. I can charge it to my insurance, but that will mean I forgo the no-claim bonus. Even then the insurance company will have me pay ₹2000 for this incident (~deductible). I reminded the owner of the valet company, that if we don’t agree on this between us, I am going to inform the hall (Kalyan mandap) which will mean he will lose his regular business from that place – that threat is what had got him to come to my place, I suppose. After negotiations, in which I was refusing to get anything less than the deductible and no-claim, we settled for ₹2000 which the owner paid and apologised – during the whole negotiation he was docile and nice.

I should be lucky to have got at least this money, generally, these incidents are always settled in favour of the one who is rough ‘n’ tough, and generally, I am not that guy.

Update on 20th September 2018:

To repair it, Maruti’s official service station quoted ₹7000 (USD 94) as my out of pocket (deductible) expenses (total being ₹17000 that will get charged to the insurance firm) and I will lose my no-claim bonus too. They will be changing an otherwise fully functional door just for the dent. It didn’t feel right.

That’s when my co-brother Mr Rangarajan Raviraajan referred a local car mechanic in St.Thomas Mount, who took the car, removed the dent and repainted the area professionally and charged me only ₹4850 (USD 67). Now the car looks as good as new. And it was cheaper by several thousand rupees.

After repair, notice the rear-left door looking as good as new now!

#Car #Valet #Parking #Accident

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