UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan - He was parking at the garage for eight years. But after an attendant dinged his car, he couldn't get reimbursed to get it fixed. Here's the lesson one iron worker got from 7 On Your Side.
It was typical morning for iron worker, Chris Panza, handing over his Toyota Corolla in time for the $16 early bird special at a Quik Park on the Upper West Side.
He pulled down the ramp and left his car, then went to work reinforcing the iron on the new hi-rise a few blocks away. But when he came back? You could see gashes, a dented fender and several scratches from the cell phone video Panza smartly took while still in the garage.
Whoever parked the car, hit something red with it. Before leaving, the 30-year-old called over a manager, pointed out the damage, and insisted on filing a claim form before even leaving the garage.
"There was no problem with that. It's when they came time to pay me everyone decided to lose everything," Panza said.
As requested by the garage, Panza sent in to two repair estimates, both for more than $1,400 in damages. But weeks later when he followed up with the claims department, they were gone.
"All the claims were gone. The estimates were gone. Nobody knew about them. His boss didn't know about them," Panza said.
So he got the boss's number at ICON Parking, which manages several hundred garages in the five boroughs.
"She would say, 'Oh I'm getting back to you," and two-to-three weeks would go by. I wouldn't have a phone call or anything. I felt like I was getting the runaround," Panza said.
Three months after the accident, there were still no answers from Icon the parking giant.
"I'm just a working class guy. I can't afford $1,500 laying around," Panza said.
So 7 On Your Side contacted ICON and got results.
"You guys have been an amazing help. I wouldn't have been able to do this without you," Panza said.
After three months the garage finally paid up, $1,488.
ICON apologized to Panza calling it a "complete mishandling of his claim," but said to prevent this type of problem in the future, it's now overhauling their claims process using iPads instead of a paper trail.
The big takeway: before you leave a garage or valet parking. Inspect your car for damage. If there's a problem, take pictures of the damage while at the garage - Panza did. And get a manager to sign and date an incident report. Get a copy of it, without that you may not get reimbursed.