Category Archives: Auto Accident

Audi A5 Repair: Can You Spell F R U S T R A T I O N ?

How about C O M M U N I C A T I O N ?

"Surface" damage according to the auto body repair facility affiliated with Meadowlands Audi.

My Audi A5, which I dropped off Monday morning, December 6 is now supposed to be repaired by Monday, December 13, 2010, one week after I dropped it off for what Rob, the Meadowlands Audi-affiliated body shop manager, calls “minor damage.”

It’s been an incredibly frustrating experience dealing with Audi’s service advisor and the polite, but ultimately unhelpful people at GEICO.

Here’s the story:

I contacted then visited a GEICO on-the-spot repair estimator named Mike who gave me what he (and I) felt was just the opening salvo in the repair of my 16-day-old car.

I called Audi and scheduled an estimate visit, showed up for it and met Jose, who told me they do estimates and repairs as an all in one.

I rescheduled/dropped off the car for an all-in-one visit on Monday, December 6 for what Jose, my service advisor, said would be a 2-3 day job.

The body shop in which my car seems "trapped" is affiliated with this company.

No word from Audi by late Monday afternoon so I called/left a message/got a return call from Jose: No GEICO adjustor showed up.

No word from Jose by Tuesday afternoon so I called/left a message/got a return call from Jose: No adjustor showed up again on Tuesday. Thinking that perhaps Audi needed to call GEICO to get the repair process rolling I called/spoke with Mike, my on-the-spot adjustor from GEICO, to find out what he thought the process should be and, I admit, to complain; he said no one from Audi contacted GEICO or him directly despite Audi having been given appropriate contact numbers by me. I asked Mike to call Jose. He did.

On Wednesday, Rob, Meadowland’s Audi-affiliated body shop manager called me; we talked; he explained the bumper can be repaired to look like new. Gee. I wish Jose could have explained the process so I could have stopped obsessing about getting a new bumper instead of just getting it fixed. Still no adjustor, though. Ah yes. Rob said that his body shop is a new “premiere” one for GEICO so Audi doesn’t have to call an adjustor; the adjustor just “shows up.” If that is true, then explain to me why the guy hasn’t “showed up” yet this week! I called Rebecca at GEICO’s 800 national number; she gave me the name/number of the adjustor assigned to my case (he’s a “replacement” for the regular adjustor, who must have been on vacation or something) but Rebecca said he would be there that day, Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest.

Oh where, oh where can my GEICO adjustor be?

On Thursday (that’s today) Jose called and left me a message saying the adjustor still hasn’t showed up, but Audi will begin repair of the bumper. I called Jose back, got his voicemail and asked when my car will be ready. Two hours later he returned my call and said it should be ready on Monday. I ask him to call me on Monday when he finds out they’ve delayed the repair even longer (sarcasm). I then called Roberto, the replacement insurance adjustor, and got his voicemail. I left him a message saying that I understand he never showed up to look at my car and asked to hear his version of the story. I had to wait a long time to leave my message as his greeting is about 2 minutes long, and it assured me he calls clients back within an hour or I should call his boss. Guess what? I left the message at 1:13 p.m. and NO CALL BACK from my adjustor Roberto yet today.  I called Edwin, my Audi salesperson, but he was out of office today; I left him a voicemail telling him how irate I am and asking if the “Audi Care” maintenance plan I signed up for has to be done through Meadowlands Audi since I know I won’t be able to stand the stress of dealing with them when my car needs maintenance or (God forbid) repair. I then called Mike, the original GEICO adjustor, but he’s out of the office today; I left him a voicemail telling him that no GEICO adjustor every showed up as of 2 pm today, Thursday and telling him how angry I am. I received an email back from Edwin; he said he forwarded my emails to “upper management.”

So folks, that’s where I am: Nowhere.

P.S. I’m sick and tired of the whole situation and am seriously considering never writing about it again because my blood boils every time I do.

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Audi A5, Auto Accident, Benzel Busch Motor Car Corp., Bumper damage and repair, GEICO, GEICO insurance adjuster, Meadowlands Audi, new car

Audi A5 Bumper Repair

Going Nowhere, Fast

I am now taking bets: How long do you think it will take to repair this damage?

Last week I drove to an appointment at the Meadowlands Audi’s repair facility. I thought I was going to find out how much it will really cost to repair the damage to my 16-day-old car’s bumper. Instead, Jose, my service liaison, looked at me puzzled, explained that I needed to leave the car because the process of estimate/repair is done all at once; he took photos of the bumper and asked me to make an appointment to bring it back for the all-in-one estimate and repair. When I asked he said that the estimate/repair process would likely take two or three days, at most.

I dropped my car off at 10:15 a.m. yesterday morning. I called at the end of the day to find out what the GEICO insurance adjustor had to say when he/she looked at the dismantled bumper assembly. Jose said the adjustor didn’t show up. Jose did say, though, that only the bumper was damaged in the accident so that made me feel a bit better.

I love Edwin, my car salesman, but the Meadowlands Audi repair facility people? No so much, at least right now.

I called Audi repair again this afternoon and left a message for Jose, my service liaison; he has not yet taken my call when I actually call him, but I guess that’s besides the point. Jose called me back a while later and said that the GEICO adjustor didn’t show up again today. I asked for the adjustor’s name, but Jose said he doesn’t deal with the adjustor directly and had no knowledge. I asked to speak to Audi’s service manager; Jose made a kinda half-horrified sound and said he would try to get the service manager to call me back. Imagine that. A service manager who doesn’t appear to return customer calls. Huh.

Meantime, I called Mike, the GEICO adjustor I visited two weeks ago; he’s the one who started the claim process for me at one of GEICO’s drop-in accident assessment facilities. He is not the adjustor who might someday appear at the Meadowlands Audi repair facility to assess the bumper damage; however, at this point I thought he might help. He did. Sort of. He accessed my claim information in GEICO’s computer system and said no one has called/been in contact with GEICO from Meadowlands Audi repair. And he assured me that no one from Audi called him directly, even though I left the estimate assessment from Mike at the Audi repair on Monday with my car. When I did I pointed out Mike’s contact information to Jose.

Do you think the Audi dealer repair shop is giving me the runaround?

Stay tuned. Mike the adjustor has Wednesdays off. Will he pursue my problem further on his day off? Will the Audi repair facility manager call me tomorrow? Ever? Will an GEICO adjustor who is not named Mike ever show up at the Audi facility? How long will the repair take once he does show up? Will the bumper be replaced or will it be puttied and painted?

Stay tuned to learn more. I’m sure you’re sitting on the edge of your seat at the excitement I’m generating here.

P.S. My daughter Tory and I dropped her beloved VW Bug named Sunny at a local repair facility to have Sunny’s oil changed and a burned-out front headlight repaired.  I called late this afternoon to find out when I could pick Sunny up. Albert, our repairman, said Sunny had a couple of problems relating to the burned-out headlight: not only did the burned-out bulb need replaced, Sunny also needed a new headlight lens and gasket that keeps the whole shebang as a partial vacuum and protects the bulb. $331.

Oh yeah. When he changed the oil Albert noticed that Sunny’s dipstick funnel was cracked and leaking. The dealer didn’t have that part in stock so I get to take Sunny back to the repair facility tomorrow to have her funnel fixed. $30.

Plus the cost of the oil change.

Sweet looking Sunny. . .money pit!

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Audi A5, Auto Accident, Benzel Busch Motor Car Corp., Bumper damage and repair, GEICO, GEICO insurance adjuster, Meadowlands Audi, New Jersey, VW Bug

Home Again, Naturally

Getting Back in the Groove

Nice houses for nice people in AZ.

Yesterday my Continental Airlines flight touched down at Newark Liberty Airport almost 20 minutes early. I returned from spending five days with my Mom at her new abode in Sun City, Arizona. If you’ve been reading this Blog regularly, you know I did a Few of My Favorite Things: shopping for furniture deals, rearranging existing furniture, artfully arranging some of my Mom’s collections (baskets, Longaberger baskets, lots and lots and lots of them), hanging wall art, a little garden prep and other really fun, fun things. . .

What was that?

You don’t think the things I think are fun are any fun at all?

You think those tasks fall under the category of “Work” or “Drudgery?”

Ahhh. Come on. What else would you be doing with all that free time? Lazing by a pool? Sitting in the sun? Eating too much?

<oh. okay. I get your point.>

Some nights I think that I'll never fall asleep again.

Anyway, my body rhythm is off; AZ time is two hours different than NJ time so I’m blaming that for my sleepless night. I woke up at 1 a.m. this morning, tossed like a well-dressed salad for 45 minutes, gave up and got out of bed, made myself a cup of herbal tea, thought about calling my girlfriend Pat who had hand surgery last week and was likely awake at the same time as I was, thought the best of it in case her husband Drew heard her cell phone ringing, gave the Siamese a snack, and read the local weekly newspaper. You know, those things you do when you can’t sleep?

What was that?

You don’t do what I do?

You sleep through the night? Routinely?

Move over. I want whatever it is you’re eating ‘cause I haven’t slept through the night consistently for years.

Anyway, right now I’m weary.

With my rhythm more soporific classical than my usual 80s rock and roll I had a hard time powering through my To Do List today:

I was NOT bumpin to my usual 80's beat today.

I dropped Tory off at school, went to the dry cleaner to pick up/drop off my husband Mike’s stuff, stopped at the bagel store to get my daughter Tory mini bagels she will eat for the next couple of mornings, came home and made business phone calls, went to the bank, drove to Secaucus to drop my damaged Audi A5 off for an estimate and repair, got a ride home from a service person and immediately hopped in Tory’s VW named Sunny and drove to ShopRite to purchase healthy food for us to eat for the week, came home and put the groceries away, left again and visited Belgiovine’s in Montclair to pick up some awesome store-made frozen meatballs and gravy for dinner tonight, ate lunch at Toast, which is in the same little line of stores near the Montclair Art Museum, got gas in Sunny, went to a different bank for the high school Volleyball Booster Club, of which I am treasurer, came home and created two fresh floral arrangements (one for the wall vase in my kitchen and the other for the half bath), left again to pick Tory up from her post-school workout, fed her some Italian chicken soup, drove her to her pitching lesson in Glen Rock, came home and cooked spaghetti and meatballs, sat with Tory and figured out what winter softball clinics/showcases she’s like to attend, dropped Sunny off for an oil change and headlight repair and now here I sit with only about a half dozen more tasks to do before I go to bed.

Not bad for my first day back in NJ.

And you?

Did you bump along to your usual beat today?

 

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Arizona, Audi A5, Auto Accident, Blogs and Blogging, Bumper damage and repair, Cats, Continental Airlines, Cooking, Family, Food Shopping, Home Manager, New Jersey, Phoenix Arizona, Shopping, Siamese Cats, VW Bug

Audi A5: Let the Bumper Repair Saga Begin

Meeting the GEICO Insurance Adjustor and Another Story

I drove to Elmwood Park, NJ to meet with my assigned GEICO insurance adjustor. He needed to look at my 16-days-old 2011 Audi A5 that was the victim of a hit and run in a ShopRite supermarket parking lot. I arrived for our appointment a bit early, but Mike, the insurance adjustor, was smiling and ready to see me.

We walked out to look at my car. He snapped a photo of the bumper damage. He snapped a photo of the mileage on the odometer. He snapped a photo of my NJ Vehicle Registration Card. Then we walked back to his office where he said it would take him about 20 minutes to process the estimate for the repair.

This needs fixed properly and well.

While Mike crunched the numbers I helped myself to a hot chocolate and talked with Kelly, the receptionist. Kelly’s ex-boyfriend had ordered her a gift over six months ago and it arrived yesterday. He brought it to her apartment, but she was at her parents’ house celebrating Thanksgiving. Kelly received a call from her ex and he asked her to come home immediately as he had something to give her. When she arrived he thrust a cat carrier into her arms and asked her to wait a minute while he got the rest of “his” stuff. Puzzled, Kelly carried the carrier into her apartment and opened the little door.

 

Piglets are very, very cute, but Google a photo of a full-grown pig. Not so much!

Out jumped a very young, very excited Vietnamese pot-bellied piglet! No stranger to these little pigs since she’d had one in college, Kelly was still shocked to see one running around her living room with his tail wagging at about ten thousand rotations a minute. Her ex brought in some basic pig supplies then left Kelly with her new little buddy. Her two cats were not immediately amused, according to Kelly. Meanwhile, the little pig jumped on Kelly’s lap, snorted happily and fell fast asleep. This morning Kelly said the little piggy remained fast asleep as she left for work.

At this point in her story, Mike told me he was having some difficulty. He was unable to pull up any estimates or parts number or basically anything on my A5 since it is “too new.” The two of us walked through a laundry list of the options my car has; as we did Mike ticked off the boxes on his computer screen. Honestly, I told him I wasn’t sure what all the option are since I haven’t had a chance to use them all yet. He nodded in understanding. I am not comfortable that the description of my car for GEICO’s record is accurate. That said, Mike wrote up and gave me what appears to be a standard “Estimate of Record.” It indicates the cost to repair and repaint my car’s bumper will be $305.06, less than my $500 deductible. He didn’t write up an estimate to replace the bumper.

I looked at Mike the adjustor. He looked back at me. I shook my head and wryly observed that the car in question is brand new, German made and I anticipate a “repair,” any repair, must make the bumper look like new. . .no ripples, dimples, or other stray mark to remind me that under the paint is a damaged, putty-filled bumper. He said that GEICO is in the business of having satisfied customers and that this Estimate of Record will get the communication going between the repair facility and him and that a “Supplement” can be written, if necessary.

The bumper has to look like this after it's repaired: Brand new.

Call me silly, but I don’t think the bumper repair will cost $305.06; in fact, I think it will cost a hell of a lot more, not only in dollars, but in time, aggravation and psychic energy spent. Mine.

My hand just itches at the possibility.

I want to smack the person who hit my car and left the scene. I want to smack them really, really hard.

<Sigh>

At this moment I have to trust that my car will look like new after it is repaired. I have to trust that the insurance adjustor has my best interests at heart. I have to trust that the when I take my Audi back to the Meadowlands Audi dealership on Tuesday to meet with the repair and collision department manager that he will have my best interests at heart. And I have to trust that the repair will be done expeditiously and well.

<Sigh>

I have a hard time trusting anyone or anything. That’s what happens when you’re a middle-age Mom with some history.

<Sigh>

 

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Audi A5, Auto Accident, Bumper damage and repair, Car Accident, GEICO insurance adjuster, Meadowlands Audi, new car, New Jersey

Audi A5 Hit and Run

<deep breath>

exhale

<deep breath>

exhale.

Nope.

Not working.

I’m still furious.

This is what my Audi's bumper looked like before I went to ShopRite for the second time yesterday.

Someone hit my brand new, 16-days-old Audi A5 in the ShopRite parking lot yesterday afternoon. And he/she didn’t bother to leave a note or wait for me to return. They left.

Funny thing. I actually think about where I park my new car to minimize damage to its body. I parked my car on the end of a row so the likelihood of it getting dents on both doors from careless people slamming their own car doors into it is minimal. I heard about doing that from the friendly teller at TD Bank. I’ve been parking waaayyy out in the parking lots to avoid other vehicles. I’ve been trying to conscientiously care for my new car and keep it nice.

Having been at ShopRite a mere two hours earlier, but realizing that I’d forgotten my “free” ham, I returned for it and a few other forgotten items. I was in the story 40 minutes max, but it was enough time for someone to back out of his/her parking space, put his/her car in “drive” and misgauge the distance from the front end of his/her car to the rear end of mine on the swing around.

The likely culprit

You know what? I think it was someone too old or infirm to still be driving. The store was full of elderly folks hanging onto their carts as they  purchased their Thanksgiving ingredients. Many of them could barely see as they put can or box to the end of their nose for a closer look; many are very deaf and can’t hear you when you politely say “excuse me, please” as you pass by.  And most are entirely alone as they s  l  o  w  l  y make their way down the aisles.

Unfair? Did I hear you say it’s unfair for me to accuse an elderly person?

You know why I think that? The person who hit my car didn’t apply his/her brakes; he/she just kept turning his/her wheel and gouging out my bumper and scraping along it til he/she reached the end then just drove off. The damage is two deep gouges that go clear through to the actual bumper material underneath. . .and even that underneath is scraped terribly. If you have even half your wits about you and you can still see and feel properly, you’d have realized you hit something and reversed out of it. No? NO?

This is what the Audi's bumper looked like after I returned home from ShopRite.

The alternative is that someone saw a brand new car and hit it on purpose. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

The security guard agreed with my initial thought of an elderly person; he said he sees older people hit cars in the lot on a daily basis.

Store security doesn’t have security cameras where I parked. I checked.

No one left a note on my windshield telling me they saw who hit me. I checked.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

So my free ham, the one I saved $18 on, is gonna cost me. Big.

And the person who hit me? Elderly or not, he/she is Dishonest. Self-centered. Rude.

He/she ruined my day and weeks to come as I file an accident report, send it in to the State of NJ, deal with my insurance company, take the Audi to get repair estimates, do without my vehicle while the repairs are made and pay, pay pay for something that wasn’t my fault.

I’d like to ruin his/her day. That’s how angry I am.

I am not calm. I hope to be in a few days or weeks. But right now?

I’m

Really.

Really.

Angry.

 

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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Aging, Audi A5, Auto Accident, Car Accident, Food Shopping, new car

Auto Accident

What Happens When It’s Your Kids in One?

My daughter Tory had been bugging her brother Max to drive her to the Jersey Shore since their shore “date” with their Uncle Michael Michael had been cancelled due to rain. Trying to be a helpful Mom I dragged Max out of bed this morning and Tory quickly followed. After a lot of growling around on Max’s part they loaded up the old Ford Explorer and took off for the shore. I stayed home to accomplish a “to do” list and give them some time together before Max returns to college.

Fast forward some time and my cell phone rings. My husband Mike said, “The kids have been in a car accident, but they are all right. The kids aren’t hurt.”

Mike’s words penetrated.

My heart raced.

One of my worst fears now real, I asked for details.

Mike told me what he knews, clearly and without drama, bless him.

I hung up and called Tory’s cell phone. She answered, sobbing out some details about the accident, but more important, their approximate location on the Garden State Parkway.

Somehow a photo just doesn't convey how it looks in person.

I took off for my Honda Pilot at a run, jumped in, took a huge deep breath and fired up the engine.  The accident was barely 2 miles from where the kids got on the Parkway. They went almost all the way through a construction zone, Max changed into the fast lane readying for an Easy Pass toll lane and traffic stopped dead in front of him. He said he braked, but didn’t have enough time to come to a complete stop. He hit the woman in front of him.

Does the crunched side view help convey the wreckage better?

By the time I got to the scene of the accident, Max and the woman had exchanged pertinent information. She, a mom herself with a son the same age, reassured me that she and her passengers weren’t hurt, that traffic was ridiculous.

I, relieved to see my two kids and the passengers of the other vehicle unhurt, almost missed the drama ensuing behind our old Explorer. Apparently another two vehicles had crashed in exactly the same way, for exactly the same reasons; however, the four male occupants were definitely not as calm, polite and cooperative as Max and the Other Mom.

One of NJ's finest was very kind and helpful today.

A State Trooper pulled up, then another. The trooper who handled Max’s accident was polite, kind and helpful. He filled out the paperwork and called for a tow truck since transmission fluid and other fluids were leaking out of the truck and into the roadway, clearly signaling that the Explorer was driving itself absolutely nowhere. With his okay, I worked the phone and called our local auto body repair shop, Bloomfield Auto Body, letting them know the Explorer would be arriving on a flatbed.

Our second vehicle being loaded onto a flat bed tow truck in less than two years.

So far,

Max has contacted our insurance company.

Neither he nor Tory is complaining of aches or pains.

My husband Mike has been apprised of the condition of his Explorer via emailed photos.

After speaking with Anthony at Bloomfield Auto, we’re pretty sure our family is now officially down a vehicle.

Max has lost his wheels.

But my children are safe.

Thank God.

Does it look totaled to you?

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Filed under Auto Accident, Car Accident