Test Drive Ends with Totaled BMW
It was supposed to be a trip into the shop to get new brakes and tires, but instead, it ended with a totaled car.
It happened to Nikki Harris' vehicle while it was being serviced at Firestone Complete Auto Car on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. "Our brake job and tire job turned into the car being in an accident," she said.
The accident happened while a Firestone employee was test driving the car. "Firestone did not take any responsibility when they gave us the police report number. They basically just threw their hands in the air and said you would have to deal with her insurance company," Nikki added.
Nikki is referring to the other driver in the accident.
Besides dealing with the aftermath of the crash, Firestone required Nikki to pay them nearly $1,400. "We had to pay for the tires and brakes in order for them to release the car," she said.
Nikki paid the bill and said she couldn't get the other driver's insurance company to respond, so she continued to try and get Firestone to take responsibility.
"We left our car with them in good condition, and I expected it to be returned in good condition. They are not taking any responsibility whatsoever," she said.
Nikki got in touch with ABC11's Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. She reached out to the corporate office of Firestone, which is Bridgestone Americas.
They investigated and provided this statement:
"It is standard practice at all our store locations for employees to test drive customer vehicles after servicing them to ensure that the vehicle is operating safely and effectively. Unfortunately, in this particular instance, the customer's vehicle was involved in an accident during a test drive. Local authorities investigated the accident and determined that the Bridgestone Retail Operations employee who was driving the vehicle was not at fault. We are cooperating fully with insurance providers to resolve this matter for the customer. We also have offered a refund to the customer covering all work performed on this vehicle as a good will gesture."
Nikki told me she is still considering her options.
Unfortunately, Nikki was still left with a pretty big bill to pay, even after her insurance company covered the loss of her car. That's because she did not have gap insurance. In that case, they only cover the value of the car not what was owed.
The best advice before you drop off your vehicle at a shop is to take a look at their policy to see if they will test drive your car.
In addition, see if they are responsible if something were to happen while your car is in their possession.
This story, by Diane L. Wilson, first appeared on abc13.com