To not go through a legal maze, always read before signing a contract

All day every day we have to agree with forms online that are too long to be worth reading. Much in the same way, we often fail to read contracts in real life, but this could have costly consequences. Take a man who brought his Audi S4 to a body shop for repairs only for an employee to wreck it and then refuse to pay for the damages.

Apparently, the client had signed a contract that exempted the shop from having to pay for any damages that occurred while the car was in their care. However, the owner has since sought legal help as he aims to somehow get the body shop to pay for the gross negligence.

"A case of buyer beware"

Florida-Based Tuner Crashes Man's Audi S4, Refuses to Pay for Repairs
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It’s not the first time nor the last when we hear about a customer handing their car over in good faith to an auto repair shop thinking that he’ll get it back better than it was when he left it. Instead, through the carelessness - or utter recklessness in this case - of the staff, the car ends up damaged or nigh on destroyed. Who is to blame if that happens? You’ll be quick to point fingers at the shop but you may be in for a surprise.

Vincent Hansen took his Audi S4 to Titan Motorsports in Orlando, Florida, to have it upgraded with some aftermarket parts. Just a couple of days later, Hansen headed back to the shop to pick retrieve his prized possession.

Upon arrival, he found out that one of the company's employees was out test driving the car to make sure everything works as intended.

All seems normal up until now but, moments later, "the phone at the shop rang and the news was, ’Hey, we don’t really know how to tell you this, but your car was just in an accident around the corner from the shop,’ and I was like, ’Is this a joke?’" Hansen said to WESH 2 News. ’Accidents happen’, thought Hansen as he heard the news. After all, the employee was at fault, crashing into an oncoming car after making an illegal U-turn. In fact, he even received a ticket at the scene of the accident.

Florida-Based Tuner Crashes Man's Audi S4, Refuses to Pay for Repairs
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Hansen’s universe shattered again moments later when he came to the realization that some paperwork that he’d signed prior to leaving the car at Titan Motorsports absorbed the body shop from any liability in case something happened to the car while it was in their care. "It was, ’Hey, you know, you have insurance for your car, and you should open up a claim under your policy,’ and that really didn’t make sense to me," Hansen said.

Apparently, Titan actually refused to send to Hansen’s insurance company their insurance information as "our terms and conditions clearly state who’s responsible for the damage," according to Nero Deliwala, the owner of Titan Motorsports. A judge who was asked about the matter by WESH 2 News argued that the body shop wasn’t in the wrong. "The auto body shop can make the argument that they are not responsible to pay for those damages. Which really brings us to a consumer beware. Before you leave something at an auto body shop, be sure you know what you’re signing away," the attorney said.

However, Hansen isn't deterred and he hopes to get TItan Motorsports to pay for his beloved, and now ruined, S4.

His view is that, since the body shop’s employee was found at fault for the crash, the contract he signed should be considered null and void.

According to information found on freeadvice.com, the body shop’s insurance policy pays for damages unless the event that led to the car being damaged wasn’t random and impossible to predict by the staff. There’s also another scenario where the body shop is exempt from paying a dime, and that’s where Hansen’s story falls into.

It’s all about what you sign and, if you sign a hold harmless agreement, what you’re basically saying is that "you will not hold the auto repair shop liable for anything that happens to your car while it is there. Once signed, a hold harmless agreement, which can be as small as one or two sentences in fine print found at the bottom of a repair agreement, releases the auto repair shop from any liability." For a court case against a reluctant body shop to stand, you must be able to prove that you didn’t sign the kind of agreement that Hansen did so, in other words, his chances are slim at best. Let this be a warning to all of you out there who hush through paperwork without giving everything a second look.

Further reading

2017 - 2018 Audi S4 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Audi S4.

Source: Wesh News

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