Brevard, NC asked in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation and Small Claims for North Carolina

Q: Does a vehicle repair shop incur liability if my vehicle is damaged while on the business's property awaiting service?

My RV's catalytic converter was stolen overnight while the RV was parked on the repair shop's property-- which has no fencing or lighting--while awaiting various repairs. The shop replaced the converter and billed me for ALL parts and labor. My auto insurance reimbursed me for the costs minus my $500 deductible. So I've suffered a net loss of $500 while the shop has lost nothing. (The shop's owners took no photographs of the damaged exhaust system. It is unclear whether they even contacted the police.) In fairness, it seems they would have incurred some sort of collateral liability.

I have delayed paying the shop's bill for the converter replacement until I determine my legal standing.

(My home and the shop are both in NC.)

1 Lawyer Answer
Lynn Ellen Coleman
Lynn Ellen Coleman
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: You would have to prove that the shop knew there was a security problem there. As in, it's happened before there very often, but they failed to warn you or take steps to increase security. If no police reports are filed, that would be very difficult to prove. You may be able to search police or sheriff reports online in your area - contact the local authorities to see if this is possible.

If the RV is still at the shop, you definitely need to pay the bill asap and retrieve it, because they can charge storage fees and put a lien on the vehicle. You also need to determine if it is worth the time and effort to argue with them, and potentially sue them in small claims court, over $500.00.

Contact your insurance company to see if they are willing to make the claim for you to recover what they paid out plus your deductible. Vote with your wheels and don't use this shop again.

1 user found this answer helpful

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