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Do you ever wonder if someone at the dealership you dropped your car off to for a repair has been joyriding in it? Or worse; using it for daily commutes while you are home carless? This happened to a woman in Houston, but when she went to pick up her Ford Escape after an oil change, it was totaled. That’s right; wrecked and left for her to discover.

The 2020 Escape was taken for service to Tomball Ford

Wrecked Escape after service
Wrecked Escape after service | Twitter/KPRC

Tiffany Walker bought a new 2020 Ford Escape last year from Tomball Ford outside of Houston. Recently, she brought it back to Tomball for a scheduled service and oil change. When she was back to pick it up the white Escape had been wrecked. Not just wrecked, but with extensive damage to become a total loss.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she told Click 2 Houston NBC. “And then I immediately became angry.” Ya think? We would be too. But it gets worse.

Tomball Ford denies any responsibility for the totaled Escape

Ford logo and American flag
An American flag waves behind a Ford sign at a Ford dealership | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When confronted, the dealership denied any responsibility. Oh, it admitted that a tech had taken the Escape for a spin. But it said it wasn’t his fault. Somebody hit him, and it is their responsibility, not the dealers. 

Tomball said while the tech was out driving the Escape, another car failed to yield. A police report was written up and it was determined this was the other driver’s fault. That, at least, corroborates the dealer’s story.

Tomball Ford should have General Liability insurance that covers incidents like this

Wrecked Escape at dealership
Wrecked Ford Escape after accident | Twitter

The dealership agreed to provide a loaner, but that was as far as it was going. But the problem here is that every dealership has General Liability coverage. That covers the car while it is in the custody of the dealership. Another problem is that Walker can’t be responsible for the damage because she wasn’t driving the Escape.

There is also Garage Keeper’s Policy. If there is theft or vandalism involved with a customer’s car, this covers the damage. That would include if it fell off of the repair rack, or there was a fire while in the shop. For liability reasons, every dealership has to have this coverage.

Allstate says the Tomball service tech was partially responsible for totaling the Escape

Ford dealership front
Ford vehicles sit on the lot of a new car dealership | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The offending party’s insurance company is Allstate. Walker contacted them, and they categorically said Allstate wouldn’t be paying for any repairs. It said both drivers were at fault. It even parsed the blame; 70-percent their client’s fault, and 30-percent the dealer tech’s fault. 

Allstate made the determination that the dealer tech “could have avoided hitting the other driver but was likely speeding or distracted.” So the dealer won’t pay, the offending party’s insurance won’t pay, and so Walker looks to be stuck. 

Now the two insurance companies need to fight each other

Walker with her new Ford Escape in better times
Walker with her new Ford Escape in better times | Twitter

Her next move will probably be to file a claim with her own insurance company. Since she has insurance, let them do what your monthly premiums pay for. The two companies can haggle it out. 

As for Tomball Ford outside of Houston, the bad press coming from this will cost it much more in the long run. It could absorb the total, give Walker a new 2021 Escape, and the difference would be maybe $15,000. That’s far less than the bad press and lawyer’s fees to fight the insurance companies and/or Walker. 

“We are invested in solving your concerns because it’s the best way to make you a lifetime customer”

Ford dealer's sign
A Ford sign stands at a dealership | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Auto Brands With Best Service Rated: JD Power

This is from Tomball Ford’s website, “We strive to offer the very best experience to drivers from Houston, Cyprus, Spring, The Woodlands and beyond. We are invested in solving your concerns because we understand it’s the best way to make you a lifetime customer. Whether you’re dropping by for an oil change in our service department, or picking up a part from our experienced parts team, we’re prepared to show you we’re the Ford dealer for you.”

It would seem that this dealer either doesn’t have the required insurance coverage, doesn’t know it has that coverage or doesn’t want the hassle. Whichever one it is, that doesn’t sound like the best representation of the Ford Motor Company.