Van dropped off to be fixed in Sears ends up in accident in repair shop

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Nina Pineda in a 7 On Your Side segment has a report on a man who took his car to Sears for a routine checkup and it came back wrecked instead. (WABC)

In just 5 minutes, a car owner says his prized passenger van went from smashing to smashed up. And when he tried to get paid in full for the fixes, he says one of the country's largest companies pushed back in a big way.

It was time for us to step in and learn some tips on what you should do when you bring your car in for service.

It was a van that went from spotless to smashed in just minutes.

Chatterpaul Shiwbaran took his van to Sears Auto Body in Jersey City for four tires and alignment, and what he got back was a smashed in front end, a busted bumper, shattered side window, even a flat tire with rim damage.

He says he got the bad news call from Sears minutes after dropping it off.

"They ran into the tire rack," said Shiwbaran.

The police were called. The officer requested a Sears manager to write and sign a letter admitting an employee caused the accident.

Sears Insurance estimated $3,193 in damage but Chatterpaul says there was a catch.

"Sears is willing to pay half, because they are telling me the ABS light was on," he said.

He said insurance blamed the accident on him for having no brakes, but he says the brakes were never a problem.

So we asked a certified mechanic at the shop where his car was towed to test it.

"So just because the ABS light is on doesn't mean you don't have brakes," we asked.

"The anti lock brakes won't work but the regular hydraulic brake will," the mechanic said.

So in his opinion, he said, there is nothing wrong with the brakes.

Making matters worse, his body shop also estimated the van damage to be a lot higher, nearly $5500, $4,000 more than Sear was willing to compensate.

"Can you afford to pay this money out of pocket?", we asked Shiwbaran. "I can't, this is a lot of money out of pocket. I take good care of my vehicle," he said.

So we asked Sears Insurance to take another look. And after a few days, Chatterpaul has something good to chat about.

"Thank you, they paid $5500, and it's all because of 7 On Your Side," he told us.

The big take away: before you bring your car in for any kind of service, it's a good idea to document it's condition. That means take a few minutes and snap some pictures of the outside and inside of the car.

And if there is trouble, get the incident down on paper and have a company rep sign it. If they won't, call the police and get a report.

As for Sears, their rep said it regretted what they called "an isolated accident."

Related Topics:
automotivesearsaccidentconsumer7 On Your SideJersey City
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