Caliber Collision Center Damages Car Brought In For Repair

Sean’s car had a blowout over the Easter weekend, and he had it towed to Caliber Collision Center for repair. Three weeks later he “forcefully retrieved” it from their lot—they kept telling him it wasn’t drivable due to “very serious suspension damage,” but he visited the shop in person on April 11th “to find that their shop gate is wide open, and my vehicle is unlocked.” Now there are scratches on the bumper and one of his speakers has a hole in it, and when he called USAA to complain he was told the scratches would constitute a second comprehensive claim within a month and that his premiums will consequently go up.


I am Writing from Austin, TX. My car goes into the repair shop for a blowout; comes out with over $2500 worth of physical damage that happened at:
Caliber Collision Center
12322 Highway 620
Austin, Tx 78750
Back story:
I work 3 jobs, Tech Support for a Networking Company, in the National Guard for 4 years, and also as a Circuit City Firedog Car Installer. So I should know about cars, if I didn’t I would be causing damage to vehicles, and I would be negligent for damage. It took me 1 deployment just to buy my car, and 1 repair company to help destroy it.
I had a blowout on 23 March 2008 on Easter. I had my car towed to be repaired; this is what happened at the repair shop
I forcefully received my vehicle on 11 April 2008, and after a close inspection, I saw that the Body shop had hit my car.
On 11 April 2008 I received a call from the repair facility. Bill King stated that they had lifted up the vehicle and had noted “very serious suspension damage” and that “there is absolutely no way this vehicle is drivable.” So later that evening after I got off work at 7pm I go to their repair facility to find that their shop gate is wide open, and my vehicle is unlocked. Under Duty of care I know that if anything happens to my vehicle that they are held liable. I mean who would leave a 33k car unlocked and open.
I was able to take photos of the vehicles underbody to send to my insurance company and leave that night, knowing that there indeed is not any damage, and that they are forcing me to pay out of pocket for all this. Friday morning rolls around, I talk to the great Bill King my adjuster, and I mean scammer. He once again tells me all the extensive damage to the suspension and that there is absolutely no way that this vehicle will roll. I calmly state that in the state of Texas, I have the right to take my vehicle to any repair shop of my choice. 5 minutes later the Center Manager Jason Fohn approaches me, I once again state I want my vehicle now. He drives the vehicle up. I say “Wow its amazing, the vehicle is drivable.” And I am off to NTB for my free alignment. 3 hours later at NTB the employee and I both walk the underbody and see that there is minor superficial damage, no damage that would affect operation of the vehicle.
Later that Day I wash the vehicle, which is when I see that Caliber Collision had hit the Vehicle from behind. I call up USAA and they say that is another Comprehensive Claim. Great 2 Comprehensive claims in a month, now my premiums will be as much as my mortgage. I call Caliber Collision and tell them that they struck my vehicle causing $2500 worth of damage. They Deny Deny Deny, until they see the damage from the before and after photos of the vehicle. But they deny the $1200 worth of damage to my Car Audio. The vandals had successfully punched a hole in 1 Sub and the other one was removed; now neither are working.
Center Manager Jason Fohn’s Analogy Response: “We can’t cover you car audio, that’s like a restaurant being held liable for a break in their parking lot.” Are you serious? Did you fail English? Anyone can see through this argument, Analogies are supposed to relate to one another. Why would a restaurant have possession of my car and leave it unlocked? If a Restaurant had possession of my vehicle, left it unlocked, and it was broken into, they would have to cover it, it’s called negligence.
Now I am forced to pay my deductible x2, use my insurance, and pay higher premiums, all over someone else’s stupidity.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Uriel says:

    Sue their asses into the motherfuckin stone-age.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Your not forced to do ANYTHING. This was a scam pure and simple, and if you do not take your insurance company and this Caliber Collision Center place to court you are a FOOL.

  3. yikz says:

    Small claims court. They held your vehicle. They are responsible for damages to it while it is on their property. You are not. They have insurance for this type of thing. Find out their insurance company, and file a claim with them for vandalism.

  4. f3rg says:

    Tell it to a judge: small claims court. You’ll most likely win.

  5. AD8BC says:

    Caliber Collision Centers

    12322 Ranch Road 620 N
    Austin, TX 78750 Map

    * (512) 331-8083

    Lets call Caliber and get their side of the story.

    Everybody now.

  6. StevieD says:

    $1200 for two subs?

    How nice.

  7. shor0814 says:

    Call your state insurance regulator. Their job is to HELP you not rip you off.

  8. chartrule says:

    go and talk to your local attorney generals office

  9. tunaman says:

    Get 5 quotes for the body work and take the highest one to small claims court. Also get a quote from Circuit City for the installation of new audio equipment. Then get your insurance documentation before and after and sue for the difference in the premiums as well. Get every penny you can out of them.

    And on the audio equipment, you can include the quote even if you end up doing the installation yourself.

  10. Mookitty says:

    Getting towed to a body shop because of a flat tire? Seems odd.

    Wouldn’t our intrepid victim know how to put on his spare?

    I have a feeling there’s more to the story.

  11. Scazza says:

    1200 for a good audio system is VERY reasonable. After installation and parts it can easily hit over a grand.

    Seriously, you need to get to court ASAP and get your money.

  12. dweebster says:

    @Mookitty: yeah, that’s odd.. I know how to put on a tire, but if I have the time I’ll put my AAA membership to use and relax.

  13. Draconianspark says:

    @tunaman: Getting a quote from Circuit City might not be ideal; there could be a conflict of interest because of OP’s employment there.

  14. dlynch says:

    make sure small claims court is the right venue before you go down that road – the jurisdiction limit in some courts is as low as $1500. sounds like you could get over that easily…

  15. Suttin says:

    Sounds like a bad weekend for cars on easter weekend. My whole engine went out on easter weekend.

    Anyway, yikz is right, their insurance should cover any damage your car takes while it is on their lot. While my car was on the Dobs parking lot, it got broken into.

    Dobs insurance gave us 800 bucks for a small broken window and a stolen cd player. Of course the stupid crook forgot to steal the GPS in my car, or the drumset in there.

    If I were you, I would call Caliber Collision Center’s insurance and try and file a claim.

  16. FrankReality says:

    I agree with contacting the State Attorney General’s office regarding Caliber’s damaging your car and the comment about contacting whoever regulates insurance in your state (e.g. the State Insurance Commissioner’s office) about the insurance company’s failure to ensure a proper repair was made. I don’t recommend getting an attorney and fighting it until you have attempted to resolve the situation with the help of these state agencies.

    The insurance company is responsible to ensure the repair work is done properly – properly includes not causing additional damage. Second, the damage caused while the body shop had possession of the car should be covered by the body shop’s insurance. It is the responsibility of your insurance company to make sure the body shop’s insurance pays.

    And not only would I tell both agencies about the additional damage, but the damage that was claimed by the body shop to be there (undrivable) and wasn’t. I would raise the apparent possibility of fraud and conspiracy between the adjuster and the body shop. I’d also like someone to explain why it took so long for the body shop to discover the “extensive suspension damage”.

    What bothers me is that the insurance company doesn’t think this magically appearing and disappearing extensive suspension damage is worth investigating.

  17. kenblakely says:

    @Mookitty: I agree. There’s something we’re not being told….

  18. GearheadGeek says:

    @Mookitty: @dweebster: @kenblakely: Well, there may be no room for the spare with $1200 worth of subs in the back. It’s all about practicality, y’know… gots ta have da thump.

    It sounds like in the blowout, pieces of the tire may have done the “superficial damage” to the underside of the car and perhaps damaged the rim?

  19. loueloui says:

    I had something similar happen to me with Progressive. Their scammy auto body shop, whom THEY contracted with, wanted an exhorbitant amount for ‘storage’ which they wouldn’t cover, while they jerked me around.

    This was a total scam, and Progressive was completely in on it. I paid almost $700 for storage while I waited for them to deny my claim.

  20. Astos says:

    I’ve heard of a number of garages scamming you. You take it in for an oil change and they find all kinds of extra problems they charge you for.

    Never heard of any actually causing deliberate damage. They are nothing but bottom dwelling scum suckers.

    Astos Green lasers rulz

  21. “also as a Circuit City Firedog Car Installer. So I should know about cars, if I didn’t I would be causing damage to vehicles, and I would be negligent for damage”

    …wasn’t it circuit city that caused nearly $10k in damage to some guy’s civic?

  22. Clarkins says:

    Yes, it sounds like there’s more going on. I echo “why tow car to body shop for a flat?”
    I also agree with getting with the state insurance commissioner.
    I was an insurance adjuster in AR previously. The state insurance commissioners (at least there) take it seriously. I had two complaints lodged with them against me (was cleared on both of them)and my office had to jump through all sorts of hoops because one person “didn’t like the settlement offer”.

  23. squikysquiken says:

    Why isn’t USAA subrogating the claim to the body shop and instead telling you they’ll jack up your rate. Also, why is this even a second claim ? It’s not a separate incident.

  24. bkpatt says:

    Dear Consumerist, it’s okay to not have 10 articles a day. It’s not okay to throw up completely lame BS stories that don’t make sense from so many angles.

  25. Jeepman says:

    It’s entirely possible to have suspension and/or body damage from a flat. It’s happened to me twice. The steel belt can whip around, hitting various parts of the car and causing fairly substantial damage. Last time it happened to me the damage was $1200 (had to have it towed,) time before that, on a different car, it came out to over $2000 – took out suspension, wiring to lights, inside of fender and other things as well. What happened is entirely possible and plausible.

  26. Jeepman says:

    It’s entirely possible for a flat to cause enough damage to require towing. The steel belt can whip around, doing substantial damage – happened to me twice, once with $1200 damage to suspension, body, fender, wiring, and once with over $2000 damage. What happened is entirely possible and plausible.

  27. Jeepman says:

    All — Sorry about the duplicate post.

  28. vkeiko says:

    As someone who works with cars, I can tell you he did the right thing. “Blow out” is a very accurate term. “Blow” describes the force of the incident, and “out” describes the direction. When the whole tire comes off your wheel, it can cause problems. If you don’t want to take risks, you have it towed.
    But yes, sue the repair shop. Send a letter via registered mail to the insurance company after you win the suit (which you will), proving the shop’s fault and fixing that second claim.

  29. kickarse says:

    I wish all companies like this would just whither and die. Wait, they can with our help!

  30. whatevernever says:

    I’m in austin. if your reading this and still need work done on your car get back with me. I have a friend who has done body work/auto repair for over 15 yrs. He’s very good and won’t rip you off.

    I had a friend you had a blowout also and she flipped her truck over, so yeah damage can be done when you have a blowout.

    Insurance companies try there hardest to have to pay the least amount of money to someone to get their vehicle fixed. It’s like taking candy away from a kid. Then when they do they cut corners.

  31. TruPhan says:


    why is this even a second claim ? It’s not a separate incident.

    Um, yes it is. He took his vehicle to the shop for a tire blowing out. Then he later found that something hit his vehicle, leaving scratch marks on the bumper and a hole in his speaker. These two incidents of damage are not related, ergo two claims.

    In this situation the victim shouldn’t be holding his insurance responsible, he should be holding the shop responsible since they were the caretakers of the vehicle at the time of the incident.

  32. milk says:

    i took my car in for a repair quote to the one on s. lamar. the office alone was so mismanaged and understaffed, i didn’t come back.

  33. milk says:

    oh, and twice i’ve taken my car to ellis & salazar at 8808 research blvd (183 @ putnam, near ohlen), once for major body repair and just recently for replacing a door handle. i really like the people there, and i was totally impressed with their body work.

  34. vdragonmpc says:

    God in Petersburg VA you do not want to use ‘Woods Automotive’ body shop. I had my wife’s Altima repaired there. They did a terrible job TWICE! I guess they didnt expect me to go with her to pick it up and verify the work was done. They
    ‘forgot’ to put the mud flaps on and even told me my model did not have them… Uhm the bumper was right next to the car! There were my OEM flaps!

    The paint on the bumper has ‘shadowing’ that is the color running all down it making it look like the paint is melting down the bumper. They forgot to put the clips in the bumper that hold it onto the car! (look under your deck lid they are little black push peices..

    Then the trunk leaked, not though the lid but around the taillight where I asked them twice if it was sealing correctly (it looked off)

    I will never send business to them. They are located on Crater Road/Oaklawn Blvd in Petersburg VA…


  35. trujunglist says:

    For those saying “why take it to the shop for a blowout,” it’s entirely possible to be driving on say, the highway, and losing control, and steering into a guard rail, hitting another car, or some other unfortunate incident.