Car stolen from repair shop, owner on the hook for repair bill
BATON ROUGE - One man says he's on the hook for car repair costs even though that car was stolen from the collision center. He contacted 2 On Your Side and feels frustrated about the whole scenario.
Last week, thieves got the keys to two cars being repaired at Complete Collision Center. The cars were driven off and one rear-ended the other.
A similar situation happened to Tasmin Williams in July. His 2021 Kia Telluride was at Complete Collision Center being repaired when it was stolen. Sheriff's deputies say thieves climbed the fence and attempted to steal one car, which they used to ram the gate. That car was stuck on a curb and abandoned. The suspects then took Williams' car and left.
The owner of Complete Collision tells 2 On Your Side that the keys were left in the unlocked vehicle.
Williams says he didn't receive a call from the collision center telling him the work was finished.
"At this point, we never got a call saying your car's complete come pick it up, the insurance never got a call," he said.
Williams never got that car back. He says it was found by State Police in north Baton Rouge crashed and riddled with bullet holes.
In early August, Complete Collision called Williams looking for the balance due on the vehicle repairs, about $3,500. It was a bill he didn't agree to pay because he didn't get the car back. He also never laid eyes on the car, and therefore was unable to tell if any repairs were made or what repairs were left to make.
"At this point we felt like we're paying for something, we don't know it's done or completed," Williams said.
Complete Collision took Williams to small claims court and a justice of the peace ruled in the collision company's favor.
In that ruling, the judge says that because Williams couldn't prove that repairs were not made he'd have to pay the bill. The judge also said that wording in the contract covers Complete Collision being paid for its work.
The contract says all parts and materials purchases are final and if the automobile is removed from Complete Collision Center before repairs are complete, all parts and refinish materials will be billed at vendor list price, and labor expended at the duly posted rate.
Williams says if he knew then what he knows now things would have been different.
"Make sure you read that contract and if you see something in there that you don't like or if you think is worded a certain way, ask about it," he said. "If they don't want to change it bring it somewhere else."
The owner of Complete Collision Center did not offer a comment to 2 On Your Side. Williams says that he is considering his options to either appeal the case or pay the bill.
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