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Reimbursement for Damages to Wall in a Petrol Station?

Discussion in 'Insurance Law Forum' started by mumstheword, 27 May 2014.

  1. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

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    Hi, I was recently going through a lot of stress and depression and was making really bad judgement calls so my query is not about responsibility but fairness of the compensation claim.

    Basically I caused damage to a wall at a service station by knocking something over. I gave my car registration details and was later contacted by police and issued a fine. I asked the police if the fine went to the service station at all and they said no, I asked if they were claiming any damages and they said there was a clip on the stand but they weren't worried about that.

    A few weeks later, I received a letter in the mail advising (from their car insurance company) that they would be claiming for damages caused by the driver of my car, and they would be in touch with an amount. When I received the next letter it was for $316 approx for filling a hole and sanding/painting. There was no evidence of the damage (pics) and there were 2 separate work orders attached, both which also referred to 2 other unrelated jobs (so 3 jobs completed over 2 work orders). They were billing me for 3.5hrs labour but only one work order had hours completed (filling the hole plus unrelated job - 45 mins).

    The invoice I was sent was for a Bunnings invoice as well, which they were claiming (in full) and had added gst onto it again (gst on gst). There was no breakdown of time spent on filling the hole, sanding and painting it compared to the 2 other jobs they did at the same time. They are also claiming for items from stock that they used, but there is no information on what this was or if it was reasonable e.g. did they charge me for 2L paint from stock maybe? None of the amounts in the attachments match what was invoiced.

    My stepdad did civil works for over 50 years and said an hour tops to mix the compound, sand and paint. I will pay for repair damages, but can they really claim this amount without justification? Seems like the Rolls Royce of plaster jobs... I thought with any claim for damage repairs there should be demonstrable evidence of damage, hopefully a quote, and that the work should be clearly costed based on that one job... not undertaken as part of work orders covering multiple requests by the same client and no clear splitting of time even.

    What is the standard? Would this go to court or small claims if I don't pay based on this documentation?
     
  2. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

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    Hi - I think this got moved from insurance to criminal law by someone. I was told by the police it was not a criminal charge, no conviction just a fine.. Doesn't that make a difference? I thought it would just be an insurance claim issue?
     
  3. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

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    Thank you for moving it back :)
     
  4. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi mumstheword,
    If you disagree with the amount claimed to repair the damage caused, you may consider the following options:
    1. accept the invoice, pay the $316 and move on;
    2. reply in writing and request a breakdown of the invoice and/or additional supporting evidence (e.g. photos) because you believe that the amount is unreasonable for the damage caused;
    3. reply in writing with a counter-offer that you believe is reasonable for the damage caused; or
    4. ignore the invoice and await any further action by the service station.
    If the service station was to attempt to take legal action to recover the amount owing, it would generally be via small claims.

    Please keep us updated with your progress. Good luck!
     
  5. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

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    Thank you John. I actually am happy to pay a reasonable amount, but don't like the fact they appear to have lumped a few other jobs in too. I did email their insurance contact as per below:

    I have just been in receipt of the second letter sent outlining more specific details given by your client. I have a few questions regarding this claim that I would like addressed so that I could make a reasonable assessment of the situation, namely:

    • there is no evidence presented of the hole in the wall, or if there was one how long it had been there before it was repaired. (I mentioned this as I specifically asked the officer that attended the site about damages and they only mentioned the clip on the stand)
    • there are no quotes, which I would think should be standard for any potential insurance claim.
    • the work orders as copies are not entirely legible. It is not legible enough to determine what stock materials were used, only a Bunnings invoice is attached. Only 45 mins of labour charges has a completed start and end date that do not match any of the labour charged amounts. It also appears that both work orders are for multiple jobs with no break down of work against each. I request full clarification of the claim as well as the job references used and their relevance to the claim (they appeared to be scanned at low res or poor copies, very hard to read).
    • there appears to be several references to other work requested on the work order dated 7/04. I cannot read all that it says but there is reference to a second unrelated job at the bottom 530509 (blower repair/replace?). I therefore interpret both were referenced in the work order as completed together and there is no separation of costs. It was also signed off as completed but there is no end time which forms a basis for charges. (I sent a separate email advising that it appeared the other work order also had a second job on it, so 3 jobs over 2 work orders)
    • The invoice charges are not reflective of the documentation provided.

    Can you please follow up with further information as per above. I prefer email as I am not always available at home (hence delay in response) or via phone.


    The response I got is below. I don't believe there should be no accountability for the cost of repair, but this is not a reasonable amount or time charged for filling/sanding a hole, especially if undertaken by a capable contractor:


    We advise that xxx a newspaper stand was pulled onto the floor causing the wheel to put a hole in the wall.


    The documentation which was completed by authorised contractors working in accordance with our client’s specifications was forwarded to you on 29 April 2014 clearly illustrates the works carried out at the site, however it further confirmed that the contractors were required to attend the site on two occasions – in the first instance they repaired the hole and re-attended to sand and paint the wall area once dry. The job reference 530509 is unrelated to this matter and is not reflected in the cost of repairs.


    Such being the position, we look forward to receiving your cheque for $316.24 made payable to xxx.


    Kind regards,


    xxx | Claims Consultant



    So in this case, how is it best to respond? Do I just say that I wish to contest the amount and want an independent assessment of what is reasonable? What is the formal process?
     
  6. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    You'll likely be pushing uphill to try and get an independent assessment/quote to repair the damage because:
    1. the damage has since been fixed; and
    2. it is likely that the service station has an approved supplier for such services and that no other assessments/quotes would be accepted.
    Your options for replying to correspondence from the insurance company/claims consultant remain the same. That is:
    1. accept the invoice, pay the $316 and move on;
    2. reply in writing and request a breakdown of the invoice and/or additional supporting evidence (e.g. photos) because you believe that the amount is unreasonable for the damage caused;
    3. reply in writing with a counter-offer that you believe is reasonable for the damage caused; or
    4. ignore the invoice and await any further action by the service station (e.g. small claims).
    Good luck!
     
  7. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

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    update - I negotiated a 3 month payment process and included in the email that it was my understanding this finalised any claim they would be making and to let me know if that was incorrect... hopefully the last of it.
     
    John R likes this.
  8. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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