Is it illegal for an auto body repair shop to "absorb" $500.00 of my $1,000 deductible?

I was involved in an auto accident with $5,000 or so damages to my auto. Owner of repair shop tells me if I have a $500.00 deductible, he'll absorb the cost and it won't cost me a penny.

He says, "If it's $1,000.00 then I'll absorb $500.00" He also agreed to take care of my car rental, and sends me to Hertz who he sends other customers to when their cars being repaired. I pick up my auto one month later, leave the rental car with him to return (since he said he was paying for it).

Last Friday I see my card is charged for the car rental, I call Hertz and they say "We will talk to him and if he said he's paying, he does that for other customers too." They call him, he says, "I'm not paying". I need to know if he what he did with the insurance claim was illegal. Or did he really absorb the difference and do something to help me out? I am paying him a visit tomorrow with an attorney friend of mine after we go to Hertz and get their side. Did he break the law? Can he lose license

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, to absorb, help pay, co-pay, eat half, (whatever), of the deductible is a common legal practice. Consider it a discount. To pay for your rental is unheard of. Are you sure you understood correctly. Won't your insurance pay the rental? That's the norm.Chill. Be nice.

    Source(s): 40 years in the business
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  • 1 decade ago

    It's perfectly legal to accept less deductible. Deductible is paid directly to the repair shop, so if he said he'll absorb it, that's less money out of your pocket.

    HOWEVER, in the past I've dealt with body shop that says they are absorbing the deductible, and I am less than satisfied.

    First time I've damaged my car, I towed it to a body shop my dad recommended. They said they'll find an adjuster and it'll be done in a few days. Then they say they cannot find adjuster for my insurance in this area, no time slot available. That went on for like 5 days. Finally they said they got adjuster to take a look when a drive-in adjuster had a spot opened up. So three days later, done. I drove it out... and came back 24 hours later... AC doesn't work. They didn't change the condenser, which was broken in the accident. Took them another 4 days to go through MORE paperwork to get authorization to replace the condenser. And I still paid $250 in deductible (when in reality it's $500). However, I've decided my headache from this is just NOT worth it. Later I found that they didn't replace the bracket behind the headlights either, so the headlight heights are no longer adjustable. :-P

    After that I went with my insurance's recommendation and went to one of their "pre-approved" shops. I drop it off, and about two or three days later I pick it up and pay them the full deductible. I didn't get the rental coverage, as I have extra auto I have access to, but I've found that going by the book is much easier on me, personally, then trying to save a few bucks, at least in this case.

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  • Mike
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    How much did you pay Hertz?

    How much did you pay the bodyshop guy?

    How did Hertz get your credit card information, if he was paying? What did you sign at Hertz, agreeing to pay.

    I doubt this guy did anything wrong. It looks to me like he was going to charge less then the standard amount for the repair, so you would save on the deductible.... which is somewhat common in this business. Just like Maaco will "paint your whole car" when you have them do body work.

    Insurance companies have set prices for various repairs... if the body shop charges less, there is wiggle room to help you (the customer) out.

    If you gave Hertz your credit card number, and signed a rental agreement with prices on it... that is YOUR fault.

    If you do not have rental car coverage on your policy (usually costs less then $40/year) then you have to pay for a car rental... unless you have something in writing from this body shop guy.. it never happened.

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  • 4 years ago

    If your deductible is $1000 you have to pay that to the body repair shop(assuming repair estimates exceed $1000). They will in turn pay for the expenses of repairing you car and will be reimbursed by your insurance agency. Anything that does not follow this simple system is a scam!!! They might want to pay your deductible if they claim that there is more damage on your car than there really is. Then the insurance company will have to pay the body repair shop for more than the initial repairs are worth. This sounds a bit complicated but, yes they are trying to scam the insurance company, you will be asked to not ask too many questions when they make their repairs. You need to avoid these people, they are breaking the law and you could be held accountable, especially if you are aware of what is going on. Naivety is no excuse in a court room!

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  • Him absorbing a portion of your deductible shouldn't be illegal.

    A month to repair your car does seem excessively long.

    The deal with the rental car may be a misunderstanding.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If he broke the law to absorb your deductible you broke it to allow him. So there is no good point in pursuing that aspect for you. If he said he would pay the rental and then your card was charged you need to call the card issuer and get the payment stopped on their end. Go talk to him nicely and in person and you might have better luck.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Never trust a mechanic. I would have just paid the deductible and made my own rental arrangements.

    Next time get it in writing. this is all your fault. This could be legit, but I don't know. All I know is that you allowed it to happen. Sorry! I have been taken advantage of before too. It's part of learning lessons in life. Consider this a lesson learned.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

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