Geico — theft of property indirectly by geico
I was involved in an accident on i94 (Michigan). My vehicle was the only vehicle in the incident, it sustained front and rear damage. I have a dash cam and reviewing the incident it is obvious that it was simple bad luck that I hit a patch of black ice. But that wasn't the issue, in fact the Geico lady to whom I spoke was very professional and very kind (I'm sure that it is part of the training but nevertheless it was welcomed). Sadly the good part ends there. I was recommended to take my car to CDE in Canton Michigan, a drive (in the damaged vehicle) of some 40 miles, however, I was assured that by doing so I would be in a better position to have the damage estimate taken care of quicker and it would be done in one place.
When I arrived I was told that I wasn't scheduled to be there until the following Tuesday, anyone watching the news would have seen the i94 disaster that involved 100+ vehicles, I was at the tail end of that, it was on Friday the 9th of January 15. Thus I was not eligible for a rental vehicle until the night before the appointment, four days later! This alone is a ridiculous scenario to find yourself in but since I was committed to being somewhere that evening I rented personally. Both the people at CDE and the representative from Geico were there and I informed both that I could not return until the following Saturday (17th) as I was traveling. I stated this to both them and the Enterprise rental representative that I would be back on Saturday 17th.
My week passed and my wife told me that the Geico estimator had stated the vehicle was 'a total loss'. My wife even told me that she had been told what the insurance claim would be. I should mention that literally at the end of 14 we had decided to increase my deductible to $1, 000 to reduce insurance costs since I had not had an accident in 40 years of driving, that was bad luck and a temptation that fate had to jump on, but that is life!
When I returned on the Saturday AM (vehicle was to be returned before noon), I was greeted with; no representative from Enterprise to receive the rental car, even though he said that there would be someone there and worst still; no car! The insurance representative had authorized the removal of the vehicle without consent. I was fuming, but there I was with no car, and no chance of resolving it until the Monday. Yet again I am in the lurch about the time.
Monday came and I was on the phone the moment my eyes opened. I spoke with Geico (HQ) and was greeted by a very friendly young lady who is the supervisor of the total loss department. She gave me the contact names and numbers of various people that could help me resolve this situation. The real issue was that I had personal property in the vehicle that I wished to recover.
Eventually it was arranged that I could drive (94 miles round trip) to the 'salvage' yard to recover my property. I did, and then I waited 40 minutes while they obtained authorization from Geico to allow me access to my vehicle. I should note that at this point the vehicle was in my name, I literally had the title in my hands, and I had received nothing from Geico. Finally I was allowed to go to the vehicle and recover my property, however, this involved going into a greasy, muddy and miserable yard to my vehicle was unceremoniously presented to me on a fork lift truck.
Just in case you think this is bad, when I got into my car, the only things that were still in there were the things that were literally bolted down, everything else had been 'stolen'. I use that word because I had left my car in the care of CDE and Geico and now my property was gone, and I still held the title. The contents amounted to about $500 in my estimation, I have since remembered that I also had an OBDII device in one of the rear door pockets that I cannot account for and that alone was $300. But the real complaint is that Geico said that they could only cover up to $200 for personal property. Which I have since been paid, as well as the total loss payout.
But, forget all of that, pay attention to the fact that they were placed in the care of my vehicle, CDE and Geico, and that removing someones property without their consent is theft, they broke the law. As the owner of that vehicle I should have called the Canton police and reported it stolen, something should be done about a company such as Geico, in cooperation with CDE, effectively stole my vehicle.
As a result of some black ice on the i94, and yes I was driving carefully, I am happy to show the dash cam video, along with the Geico, CDE and an unfortunate decision to have a large deductible, I am now out of pocket to the order of nearly $2, 000 (not including the difference between the KBB value and their payout ~$1500 less than KBB) and it involves a theft that never was.
I can only hope that Geico begin following the letter of the law and abide by the legal requirement to actually seek the owners permission before disposing of their personal property. Noting that actually paying attention to the customer in this case ("I'll be back Saturday"), may improve some impressions that people have.
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