Here’s the story :

Tree branch fell on my car during a snowstorm. Damaged the roof very badly. I called Geico, they made an assessment (and then re-made it, once I pointed out that they got some of the details wrong) and wrote me a check for repairs. The check had to be a 2-party check, with Toyota’s name on it, as I am still paying for my car.

I wanted to take my car to Curry Toyota, where I bought it, because it’s still brand new and I thought they could match up the paint and contours the best. I’ve had body work done at other shops, and it’s been awful. So, I take my car to Toyota, who inform me that the check is written out wrong, and that they’ll have to send it to some faraway land to get it signed correctly. They also notice a ding in the trunk, which was also caused by falling branches (which I have the photographs to prove). They tell me that they’ll get Geico to look at it again and adjust my check – don’t worry about anything.

I leave my car with Toyota, and I relinquish my check.

They do not handle the dent in the trunk, at all. They claim that Geico would not approve it, and neither party had the courtesy to call me and ask me if I wanted to go ahead on the repairs anyhow, or to provide evidence of the source of the damage. Instead, they just ignored it.

I get my car back, I pay for the completed repairs in full, with the understanding that I would get the check back once it is signed and I can deposit it in my bank account to make up the difference. A month passes, and the body shop guy cites ‘Jewish holidays and vacations shutting banks down’, which is a bullshit answer. I call, he says that he’s going to follow up, I am not called back. It is implied that Toyota lost the check.

I take things into my own hands and call Geico to see where the check is, and I find out that Toyota cashed it into their own bank, instead of giving it to me. So now, they have about $950 towards a $730 repair. Once again, someone dropped the ball.

I call Curry Toyota, and body shop guy tells me (after literally seven transfers, one of which I was cut off mid-sentence) ‘they’re all backed up, we don’t know what happened to your check yet’, so I tell him, check number and all, and that I expect an immediate refund to my credit card for the exact amount of the check. He says he’ll get on it right away.

I’ve lost all patience, and it was all I could do to not start spewing profanities at this guy who kept on trying to talk over me instead of hearing what I was told by Geico, as I was obviously the only person who could handle the situation intelligently.

One illustration job lost my W2 and invoice and has not paid me months later, Toyota cashes my check into their own bank account, my blogging gig owes me over $2100 bucks, and something tell me that if people could manage their own shit, I wouldn’t have to be swimming through theirs all of the time.

I’m never going to be able to afford that unicorn.

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4/19/2010 UPDATE : The fax of the cashed check came in from Geico, and it seemed to indicate that instead of returning my money to me (as originally stated), Toyota decided to keep it without telling me – because I owe them money for my car still.

I’ve made every single monthly payment on time. I live paycheck to paycheck, and I have very specific expenses coming out of different areas of my finances – bank, credit card and PayPal. The fact that Curry Toyota would just outright take money that they FEEL they are owed, and well ahead of the scheduled payment date, is unconscionable, and it’s throws my entire balance off.

When I talked to body shop guy Armand, he actually had the GALL to blame 9/11 for not being able to help me (in addition to phones not working, bank holidays, and any other number of excuses for being unable to get his shit together). I don’t know anyone in their right mind who is so desperate to save their own asses that they invoke a national tragedy to distract from their own ineptitude, but this guy did it. I told him that he, personally, was supposed to handle this entire situation, and that he fed me misinformation, and all he had to say for himself was ‘yeah’. No apology, no nothing.

So, Curry Toyota, you fucking suck a whole fucking lot. I’m glad this is finally over with.