Parking garage crashes car and still owes

Seven On Your Side
March 16, 2009 3:02:52 PM PDT
The snowbirds left their car with a parking lot attendant near the airport. But when they got back - their car was crashed - with six thousand dollars in damages. The Smith's vacation started in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida and ended in a parking lot in Newark, their car wrecked by an attendant.

"The whole front end was destroyed," recounted Richard Smith, the car's owner to Seven On Your Side's Tappy Phillips. "It was like going into a demolition derby."

What happened? Vista Parking, a parking lot in the shadow of Newark International Airport, crashed the car into one of their own parked vans.

"We insisted on the police coming to file a report, and we waited probably for about 45 minutes," says Richard.

But instead of waiting for the cops, the Smiths had a Vista attendant sign an agreement saying Vista was responsible for the repair of the car and a rental car. "My wife and I talked and we said 'Gee maybe we will just take a chance, we will pray to God, something good happens from this.'"

And it did, Vista got his car fixed like new. What they didn't do was pay Rich's rental car bill, $1500. "We were so disappointed in that, and actually we were quite angry."

So when our calls to Vista were unanswered, we went to the lot ourselves.

The Vista manager on duty said he had no idea about the rental bill and then got camera shy.

Vista manager: "I don't want to be on TV."

Tappy Phillips: "They don't want to wait for their checks for three months. They were promised a check and they didn't get it. If you paid it, then we wouldn't be here. You understand that? If your company had paid the mone, we wouldn't be here."

But after we left, Rich got some good news. "Within hours, I got not one, but two calls from the (Vista) owner. He couildn't do enough for us.

A full refund was sent overnight delivery to Rich. "I'm flabbergasted, it's really great, really great."

The owner of the parking garage apologized saying, despite Rich's numerous calls and a registered letter, he thought the bill had been paid. The lesson? It's always a good idea to get a police report and document the accident with pictures, then enter a claim with your insurance company. ----

Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone