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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 Ford Escape was taken for service to Tomball Ford

Wrecked Escape after service for "oil change."
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 for a scheduled service and oil change. When she was back to pick it up the Escape was wrecked. Not just wrecked, but with extensive damage, a total loss.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she told Click 2 Houston. “And then I immediately became angry.” Ya think? We would be too. But it gets worse. When confronted, the dealership denied any responsibility. Oh, it admitted that a tech had taken the Escape for a spin, but said it wasn’t his fault. Somebody hit him, and it is their responsibility, not the dealers. 

Tomball Ford denies any responsibility for the totaled Escape

Walker and husband with her new Ford Escape in front of house
Walker with her new Ford Escape in better times | via Twitter

Tomball said while the tech was out driving the Ford 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.

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

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

Allstate says the Tomball service tech was partially responsible

String of Ford vehicles sitting on a new car dealership lot
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% was their client’s fault, and 30% was the dealer tech’s fault. 

Allstate said 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 Walker looks to be stuck. Her next move will probably be filing 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 Houston’s Tomball Ford, the bad press will cost it much more in the long run. It could absorb the total, give Walker a new 2021 Ford 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”

A Ford sign at a dealership next to a flying flag.
A Ford sign stands at a dealership | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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. 


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