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Auto Shipping Fail...big mistake. now what?

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Old 06-21-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
Retired_Colonel
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Default Auto Shipping Fail...big mistake. now what?

Okay, here is a terrible saga of my attempt to ship my newly purchased (now six weeks ago) highly customized '07 GT. (Sorry about the length)..For those interested in why the whole thing makes me ill, I added the first two pix below. I am in Oregon, the car in San Diego..purchased from a dealer who specializes in customs and high-end rides from Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, etc. The dealer has been my savior..as you will see.

So I contracted with a national shipper for door-to-door, enclosed, top-load shipping. The process is that the car gets picked up at the dealership on 15 May and 'flat bedded' by a reputable towing company to that company's San Diego yard; it was to sit for 1-7 days waiting for the enclosed big rig to pick up car and go direct to Tri-Cities, Washington ..ETA 29 May...where I would then pick it up.
Here is how it really went. Car picked up on 15 May by the towing company...dealer video taped loading vehicle under its own (perfect) power. The car then sits for nine days (rather than 1-7 days) and picked up by the enclosed big rig on 24 May...the towing company confirmed it 'top loaded' under its own power...they point out that it would difficult to top load a car without its own power.

On 26 May, I check the 'quote' on-line real time status..it is marked 'In Transit' Gardena, Ca. I figure 'Great, it is en route'. On 29 May (the estimated arrival), I check the status again...it reads the same "In Transit..Gardena, Ca" So I figure, what the...?? Start calling company...they can't find the car right away.

On 4 June I start calling in earnest...raising hell. The on-line status is still the same "In Transit"..Gardena, Ca.

During the period 4-6 June, I start getting calls saying that the car was dropped in Gardena because it won't start. Huh? It started just fine to top-load in San Diego...when exactly wouldn't it start between San Diego and Gardena, all of 80 miles....did your guy stop, off-load and make a beer run?? And, why did it sit for over two weeks in Gardena without any notification? (Obviously, with Gardena a major company terminal, they never intended to go direct, as their agent said....off load it and wait for a full load going north) When questioned, their response was 'we can't load a car that won't start...we will be happy to use our sister company that specializes in delivering 'inop' cars... "at no extra cost to you!!" (Gosh, thanks?)

I talked to my dealer...he says we should go get the car before they damage it further. He goes up on 7 June.. finds the car sitting haphazardly just outside their 55,000 sq. ft. nearly empty warehouse...(see photos below) no good answer on why they didn't put it inside. He finds circular tire patterns that seem to be from wide tires, like mine in the lot...somebody in some car was throwing 'donuts'. He takes pix of everything. Car indeed will not start. The car is filthy...it has hand-hold marks on the pax side door as though somebody had window down in pax seat and hanging on. They have somehow put 3/4 mile on odometer in 'inop' status. The detailed hang tag describing services to be provided is laying on the floor. There is evidence of 'arcing' at the battery..the yahoos at the terminal are saying things like "we all worked on it to get it going.." Huh? Not their job.. We take car away from them on another flatbed and back to dealer. In meantime, the company had been calling me in a frantic effort to ship the car 'inop' the next day.."Wouldn't you rather get the car up there to be worked on?" My answer was "nope, I am taking it away from you". They (too easily) refunded my money, but I signed nothing absolving them of any wrong-doing.

Fast forward to dealer. He says that data readout indicates that they somehow got the engine to actually run backwards (my $21,000 Teksid block, Kenne Bell supercharged motor)...and when that happens, there are specific steps to remedy or it will be flooded to point where it will never start. So, they ran the battery down & then they tried to jump it...crossed the leads and blew out every fuse... Then, they decided to undo connectors to 'troubleshoot' and bent a pin.. (guess they gave up then, calling it 'inop')

The dealer repaired all and got it going, and it is fortunately still perfect mechanically.. but it has cost me an additional $2000 to put it back into shape. The dealer offered to deliver it to me...it would be a hell of a lot less than the $1400 this shipper charged.. I am actually thinking about taking time and fly down/drive back.

I possess overwhelming evidence that the car was abused..to include video, photos, and detailed report from dealer about what he saw, heard, and did to get this car going.

Sorry about the long story...just really angry about this!! Should I sue? Or approach the company first? Thoughts?

If you PM me, I will tell you the name of the shipper..I don't trust these bastards to not try to sue for liable...although I think it would be a huge mistake on their part..given the evidence.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Inside the nearly empty Gardena Terminal Warehouse:
Click the image to open in full size.

My car sitting outside the Gardena Terminal Warehouse, for over two weeks:
Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by Retired_Colonel; 06-21-2012 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Correct dates..
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
On 26 June, I check the 'quote' on-line real time status..it is marked 'In Transit' Gardena, Ca. I figure 'Great, it is en route'. On 29 June (the estimated arrival), I check the status again
I don't think you have your dates right. It's only 21 June as I'm typing this.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:00 PM   #3
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My opinion: suing would cost more in the long run. You might be able to get an attorney to send a letter with intent to sue and see what happens with that. Another option is to file a claim in the small claims court in the jurisdiction it happened in, but since you're not in California don't know if you want to bother with that.

Terrible situation and sorry it happened to you. I've shipped 4 cars as seller or buyer in the last couple years and thank god didn't have the issues you had.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Thundersteel View Post
I don't think you have your dates right. It's only 21 June as I'm typing this.

Gee, it is only 21 June for me too!! Thanks...corrected the month to May.. I have apparently tried to blot out the whole frustrating month of May..
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:13 PM   #5
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My opinion: suing would cost more in the long run. You might be able to get an attorney to send a letter with intent to sue and see what happens with that. Another option is to file a claim in the small claims court in the jurisdiction it happened in, but since you're not in California don't know if you want to bother with that.

Terrible situation and sorry it happened to you. I've shipped 4 cars as seller or buyer in the last couple years and thank god didn't have the issues you had.

Thanks for your thoughts!! Frankly, once I get the car safely into the garage, I may just chalk it up to a bad experience. Like you, I have shipped before with no problems.. A couple of 'yahoos' in one terminal can screw up a company's performance record..
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:15 PM   #6
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The real question is "what was your loss?". If it's only $2000, then that's all you'll get if you spend five times that on legal fees.

It's a no-win for you - you might win the case but you lose on dollars.

As for getting it from San Diego to Oregon, it'd be a great road trip - go for it!
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #7
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The real question is "what was your loss?". If it's only $2000, then that's all you'll get if you spend five times that on legal fees.

It's a no-win for you - you might win the case but you lose on dollars.

As for getting it from San Diego to Oregon, it'd be a great road trip - go for it!
Yeah, you're right. I wanted to sue on principle alone...emotionally,they shouldn't get away with it. But the reality is that even though the attorney is a good friend, he ain't going to do it 'pro bono'...and the attorney costs will certainly negate any damages that are documented at $2000. Like most things in life "..you takes your chances..." This time the bear won..lol.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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Doesn't hurt to approach the company, calmly, with the notification that you're going to pursue litigation unless they are willing to talk and reach an agreement. That's all it took for me against a dealer when my motor blew for them to write me a check to go away.

Yes, it will cost you money if you sue, but it will also cost them to defend, and they may be willing to buy you out for less than they'd pay in legal fees. You have no obligation to actually go through with anything if you choose not to.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
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Doesn't hurt to approach the company, calmly, with the notification that you're going to pursue litigation unless they are willing to talk and reach an agreement. That's all it took for me against a dealer when my motor blew for them to write me a check to go away.

Yes, it will cost you money if you sue, but it will also cost them to defend, and they may be willing to buy you out for less than they'd pay in legal fees. You have no obligation to actually go through with anything if you choose not to.
Aw, yes I remember your case, and the subsequent build of your new motor as I recall.. You raise a good point...it wouldn't hurt to put them on notification and see what happens.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:56 PM   #10
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I wouldn't put up with that crap. Gather all of your documents, hit the road and take them to court.
I wouldn't contact them either. The court house would contact them with a certified letter. Only prob is you better have all of your ducks in a row and dates correct (sorry I couldn't resist). They will prob have an attorney there on their behalf and will try to counter sue for legal fees.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:38 PM   #11
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wow, I am in shipping (over the road less than truckload) and damn.. that is just nuts. Driving the car slowly off the truck and into the warehouse I could see. Recklessness to just rambo someone elses car. There are websites that you can score their performance. I don't know if they use the DAT to find loads but you could report them there as well. Just threaten them. All Motor Carriers carry $100,000 insurance minimum. They would probably just pay you I would guess. They do not want their insurance rates going up. You could also call the DOT. They will mark that on their record. It won't effect thier CSA 2010 record but it will be on their credit report. Yes, you can pull credit reports on Motor Carriers and, everyone does. If you want to PM me the name, I will get their MC number and look up their insurer for you.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom V View Post
I wouldn't put up with that crap. Gather all of your documents, hit the road and take them to court.
I wouldn't contact them either. The court house would contact them with a certified letter. Only prob is you better have all of your ducks in a row and dates correct (sorry I couldn't resist). They will prob have an attorney there on their behalf and will try to counter sue for legal fees.
Well, that is how I initially felt also.. I do have all the photos, documents, etc. (and, right dates..lol).. although others have made some really good and rational arguments for a serious 'cost-benefit analysis'.. But I 100% share your feelings about it!! Thanks!!!
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:49 PM   #13
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Doesn't hurt to play the pay up or I am going to sue you bluff.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:04 PM   #14
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I agree. If you are out $2K, it's worth threatening them. I'd look into taking them to small claims court if they don't play ball. Besides, if your intent is to bluff them, you probably don't want to say so in a public forum. You never know.

FANTASTIC car though. That thing is gorgeous. No wonder the idiots were so easily tempted to play with it.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:01 PM   #15
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Make a small claim. It won't cost you much at all.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:43 PM   #16
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I would attempt to get your 2k back. I would not call raising cane or pulling out the sue card for a while. Just write them a nice certified letter like you've written here and mail it. Call and tell them that you just want you 2k back and move on down the road. Usually being nice and courteous get's you a lot further then sue. I work in finance. Every time I hear that (not often) I say good luck and have your lawyer call me, CLICK. No point of communication if you intend to sue them. Like above, if that does not work go to small claims... You should win.

that is one BADASS CAR you got
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:48 PM   #17
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I give it a 9 out of 10..lol VERT FTW!! lol
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:51 AM   #18
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Get of copy of George Hayduke's "Screw Unto Others," and follow the advice therein.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:18 AM   #19
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Wow! I am so sorry to hear about how terrible this experience went for you. I'm glad that they don't seem to have done any permanent damage to the car.

I would try contacting the company like everyone has said to see if they will reimburse you the $2000.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:24 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Doesn't hurt to play the pay up or I am going to sue you bluff.
Yes this is what I would do. Contact them very calmly, explain the situation, the series of events, and the evidence. I'd tell them the repair was $2000, and I was seeking that plus another $500-1000 for the hassle and loss of time/work/etc. I'd close it with I am willing and able to sue if necessary, but was hoping to work it out first, etc... I suspect they know what happened if they were that quick to refund you, and are probably just waiting for a call like this.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:24 AM
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