Vancouver, WA asked in Civil Litigation and Consumer Law for Oregon

Q: My car was broken into while at a dealership for service. They say they are not liable

My minivan was being held overnight for service at the dealership (located in Oregon). I did not have the opportunity to remove my belongings because I was told the work would be done that day. They did not complete any work and told me they would have to keep it. When I called for an update the next afternoon, I was informed my windows had been smashed in by thieves overnight. When I went to go see what was stolen, I was told they were not responsible for damages and that was what car insurance was for. My car was kept in an unsecured parking lot. Are they not responsible for damages? I am trying to determine the Bailment laws in Oregon.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Oregon, when your vehicle is left at a dealership for service, a bailment is created, which means the dealership may have a duty to take reasonable care of your property. However, the specific terms of the service agreement and the dealership's policies may affect this responsibility. If the lot was unsecured and your car was broken into while in their possession, they might be liable for the damages.

Yet, it's common for businesses to attempt to limit their liability through various disclaimers. It's important to review the service agreement you signed and consider consulting with an attorney who can assess the specifics of your situation, advise you on the bailment laws in Oregon, and help determine the best course of action, including potentially negotiating with the dealership or your insurance, or pursuing legal action if appropriate.

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