Good evening members
I found this wonderful forum whilst looking for advice on the internet.
I have a question regarding storage fees of a motor vehicle which I am hoping some of the wise members may be able to comment on with some advice.
I own a mechanical auto repair shop in greater Cape Town. Around 2 and a half months ago an independent insurance assessor called upon me to assess a vehicle which was repaired by a panel shop following the owner having had an accident. The panel shop neglected to fill the cooling system with coolant/water and as result the owner overheated the vehicle to the extent that the vehicle would not longer drive.
I was asked to assess the damage and found the panel shop was to blame for the damage caused to the engine. I submitted a report directly to the insurance company and was paid for the assessment and report. Two months down the line and the insurance company had not collected the vehicle. I called the insurance company on friday informing them that the longer the vehicle stands at my workshop the higher the storage fees become. It emerged that they had written the vehicle off and paid the owner out as they deemed it not financially viable to have the vehicle repaired. They also informed me that they refuse to pay for storage and shall send their salvage company to collect the vehicle.
I told the insurance company representative that there is two months storage fees outstanding on the vehicle and it will not be released until it is paid in full. Our storage rate is R325 per day which is the going rate for vehicle storage in my area as I have called around to the various workshops.
The salvage company has inform me that they are only prepared to pay R125 per day and only for one week of storage. ( I have calculated the R325 per day based on the fact of running costs of providing storage, that the vehicle is secured in a warehouse with 24/7 security).
The latest development is that now the insurance company is saying I either except only one week storage at R125 per day or they will not pay anything and shall collect the vehicle with the police as they had not signed any consent to storage fees been paid for however long the vehicle is stored in my workshop. To my way of thinking and I may be under correction but for two and half months they knew the vehicle was at my shop and no company in their right mind would expect another company, (mine in this case), to free of charge store a vehicle and by doing so effect the money earning space which the vehicle occupied for all these months.
I find myself between a rock and a hard place as it is not in my nature to be hard ass but the insurance company seems to think they can simply get away with not paying for storage. After all it has cost me to store their vehicle and why should I be the looser in the matter. Signage in my company clearly states storage fees of R325 per day on vehicles not collected within 3 days from day of invoice.
Any input in this matter is most welcomed.