21st Century Auto Insurance / 21st Century took back check AFTER body shop finished repair
I was involved in a car accident on 12-26-06 at the Westfield shopping mall in Arcadia, CA. I was waiting for a parking space. A car in back of me tried to pass me, but she miscalculated and ran into my car. My driver side taillight was hit, her mirror on her passenger side of the car fell off and was dangling by a cord.
I called the driver of the other car (Toni) on 1-3-07 after I got the estimate for the damages. She called me back the same day at 6:21 pm and left a message on my cell phone voice mail telling me to go ahead and claim her insurance (21st Century Insurance). I did as she told me to. On 1-9-07 4:14 pm, 21st Century called to say they wanted to inspect my car on 1-10-07.
I had left my car with MAC body shop. At the time I left my car with MAC, I had instructed them to not do any repairs on my vehicle until they get approval from 21st Century saying they are willing to pay them. I told the 21st Century rep at [protected] that I had left my car with MAC and that they were welcome to go do the inspection over there anytime they wanted. The inspector went to MAC 1-10-07, inspected my car's damages including determining the fault of the collision was associated with Toni, wrote up his own estimate for the body shop which amounted to $ 1,020.14, and approved of work to be done up to that amount. The body shop then immediately got started on the job. Michael Campos of 21st Century [protected] then called me 1-11-07 at 3:31 pm, left a message on my voice mail stating that 21st Century "will be paying for the damages and that the amount was going to be $ 1,020.14." A check was issued from 21st Century to me for the amount of $ 1,020.14 on 1-12-07. I then received a call from Michael Campos on 1-16-07 at 2:10 pm saying that they were going to be disputing the charges. This was 6 days later after he had approved of the repair with the body shop. Not knowing whether the body shop was already finished or nearly finished with the repair, I told Mr. Campos that he should call the body shop immediately regarding the situation. On 1-16-07, Mr. Campos had also approved of 21st Century paying for my renting of a van for $ 30 per day while I did not have my own van to use. I did not hear back from Mr. Campos or the body shop. I then received a letter from 21st Century on 1-19-07 stating they will be disputing the charges.
21st Century stopped payment on the $ 1,020.14 check on 1-19-07 and even incurred a $ 5 charge against my account for the stopped payment.
I called the body shop on 1-22-07 and was told by the owner Joe that he was informed that 21st Century was going to be disputing the charges. Joe had told me that he had been trying to reach Mr. Campos for the past few days but has not received a call back from Mr. Campos. The problem was that Mr. Campos had approved of the work initially and now is disputing the charges AFTER the entire work was done. Joe said it was too late by the time Mr. Campos told him of the dispute, because the work was already all completed. Mr. Campos WENT BACK ON HIS WORD. Now the body shop must be paid because they had already done all the work amounting to $ 1,020.14, what the inspector had approved on site with his own written estimate, and now 21st Century says they are disputing that amount. This was the amount the inspector felt was fair by his own determination. I was left without a car to use because the body shop would not release my car without being paid.
Mr. Campos says they are disputing the amount because they do not believe the damages to my driver's side of the car was due to Toni. I do not know why Mr. Campos cannot understand this logic. I was at a full stop waiting for a parking space in the parking lot aisle. Toni tried to pass me and in doing so, Toni's passenger mirror hit my taillight on my driver's side. Toni's mirror started falling off her car. The mirror was swinging and dragging as she continued to drive along side my driver's side of the car and the mirror swept across my driver's side of the car inducing the damages. Toni finally stopped in front of my car.
I attempted to call Toni to try to get her to pay for the damages numerous times. Her parents were always the ones who answered the phone. I was told that it was because Toni felt the amount 21st Century approved of was more than what she felt it should be, so she told her insurance company to dispute the amount, thus explaining the 6 day delay and the stopped payment on the check. I was told by her parents that they would not allow me to talk to her.
I then got my insurance involved. The only problem was, I have a $ 1,000 deductible. I had to pay the $ 1,000 to MAC. My insurance paid $ 20.14. My insurance then told me that they would try to recover my deductible from 21st Century. They tried, but 21st Century said they were sticking to their position of not paying. 21st Century said they have photographic evidence that Toni's mirror was no longer dangling by a cord and that it was not possible for her mirror (position after being pulled back up) to hit the side of my car where it did. (This was because on 1-3-07 when I called Toni, she told me her brother knows how to do body work and offered to repair my car for me. I told her I'd prefer a licensed body shop to do it. She then told me of a cousin of hers who works in a body shop, but was on vacation at the time. - Either one of those guys could easily have repaired her mirror for her before the inspector went to take pictures.) When I told 21st Century Toni's brother and her cousin could possibly have repaired her mirror for her before they took photos, the 21st Century rep replied "Well, yea, anything's possible, but we're not going to call our insured a liar."
Instead of paying the $ 1,020.14 for repairing my car, 21st Century issued a check for $ 92.01 for repair of only my taillight. 21st Century later also requested that $ 92.01 check to be returned to them before they would even reconsider payment of a different amount. To this date, I have not been reissued another check, but they called to say they will not change their position. In fact, the 21st Century rep said they should reissue another check in the amount of $ 92.01 to be sent to my insurance company so that they could deduct their $ 20.14 out of it.
21st Century also sent me a check for $ 100 in exchange for signing a release for bodily injuries for them because I had complained of headache and bodyache at the time.
21st Century sent me a check for $ 15 for rental car because they said they were only responsible for the taillight, which the $ 15 should cover the time it takes to repair the taillight. (I was left without a car to use for 78 days @ which Mr. Campos agreed to a fee of $ 30 per day.)
I have not cashed any of the checks because I do not wish to waive any of my rights. I feel there has been a great injustice done.
I am a physician and I had a lot of time lost form work due to this incident.
I have recordings of the messages 21st Century had left me, agreeing to payment of $ 1,020.14. I have copies of the check they took back later in the amount of $ 1,020.14
MAC had written me a note saying the damages they saw on my driver's side of the car was consistent with an object possibly a mirror that dragged across my driver's side, which is consistent with what I described to them due to the POSITIONING OF THE MARKINGS ON MY CAR. I do have the estimate the inspector gave the body shop that was done by his own calculations, observations, and judgment, which amounted to $ 1,020.14.