Monday, January 25, 2010
Help Me Howard: Valet
Have you ever valet parked your car? Ever wonder who is responsible if your car is damaged? The answer might seem obvious, but its not, and its why one man called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
WSVN -- Sam Sugar is a physican, spending each day worrying about his patients, but at least he doesnt have to worry about his car.
Dr. Sam Sugar: "Parking every day when i come to work valet parking, very very convenient."
For five years, Sam was happy with the valet company till he came out of work the other day and the driver brought out his car.
Dr. Sam Sugar: "I opened the door and i just happened to glance to my right where i noticed this, and this, which had not been there before."
The left rear fender on Sams car had been slightly damaged. The valet told Sam he didnt know how it happened.
Dr. Sam Sugar: "Have they ever admitted that they did it know anything, but nobody admits it. Nobody has admitted a thing."
Sam took his car to a repair shop and got the estimate to fix it $666, then filed a claim with the valet companyhich denied it..
Dr. Sam Sugar: "I was very surprised. The attitude was its not our problem, you have insurance report it to your insurance company."
True, Sam does have insurance, but he also has a $500 deductible.
Dr. Sam Sugar: "I thought that wasnt fair for me or my insurance company to be responsible for damages that i didnt. Obviously, i didnt do."
Now clearly Sam is a bright guy, but he has hit a brick wall. He's convinced the valet company damaged his car. They are convinced they didnt damage his car.
Dr. Sam Sugar: "Well its impossible to prove that they did it and its impossible to prove that they didnt. You cannot disprove a negative."
Cant disprove a negative, but he knows he can get an answer. So Howard, when you valet park your car are they responsible for anything that happens to it.
Howard Finkelstein: "It may surprise you but valet companies are only responsible if they cause the damage or park it negligently. If another driver hits your car while its in the valets possession, that driver is responsible not the valet company."
When i spoke to Parkone they knew Sam saying he was a regular parker for years at the facility and never complained. A representative said there was no evidence at the facility to support his claim such as a damaged column or another damaged car. The company believes the car was damaged somewhere else and since it was so small no-one noticed. However, they said since Sam was a regualr customer and to aviod litigation they sent him this check for $666 to repair his car and even offered a rental car while his was being repaired. Sam was lucky, but if had gone to court he might have had a good case.
Howard Finkelstein: "You do not have to prove the valet company damaged your car. They have to prove they did not..and one way to do that..is to shift the blame to some other driver."
Sam is happy the valet company paid for the damage. This wasnt a big deal for him, but it did get a question answered.
Dr. Sam Sugar: "Is this somebody being thrown out of their home is this somebody with a life or death crisis. No of course not, but i think this is something that everybody whoever valet parks their car should know about."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, if you are going to valet park and in many places you have no choice, walk around the car to make sure there is no damage because once you drive away it makes it tougher to prove a valet did it. The other thing, cross your fingers when you hand them the keys."
A problem parked in your lap? Wanna let someone else take the wheel? Hand the keys to us, we'll scratch the surface of a lawbook of course.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD: