I drove my car in to work yesterday so I could spend a little extra time at the gym and still get home at a reasonable time. I woke up late yesterday morning and found my usual parking garages full by the time I got in. Parked in a garage a block or so away, went to work, had a great and unhurried time at the gym, returned to pick up my car.
First flag raises after I hand them my ticket to go retrieve the car from the basement and people three behind me are getting their cars first. Finally, mine comes up the ramp, and the guy tells me to wait as he climbs over my console and out the passenger side door. He comes over to tell me in cut English that the "door is hard".
Fuck that. The door wasn't hard, it was broken: stuck shut. They pulled and pulled on it, but all they really did was spread the inner panel from the outside of the door. I was filled with a boiling fury. I asked them what they did to the door, and they kept saying that it's "hard". I asked them what they were going to do to fix it and they looked at me blankly. I believe at some point the words "I'm going to sue the living fuck out of you" slipped out of my mouth, but I can't be sure. They told me I had to talk to Alfredo their manager, but he wouldn't be in until tomorrow, so to come back. I demanded for my money back, but then rescinded, worrying that that would count against me later.
This woman who was also waiting for her car told me that she's had something similar happen to her and to get an insurance form from them, but not to get to mad at the attendants because there's really nothing they could do and that I'd only get myself worked up. I ask for an insurance form, they give me Alfredo's number again. I ask for an insurance form and get it. They insist that there's nothing that can be done without Alfredo, who won't be in until the morning. At that point, I notice a sign hanging up that says "NO DAMAGE CLAIMS WILL BE CONSIDERED UNLESS FILED BEFORE VEHICLE LEAVES THE PREMISES."
So I call the cops.
The dispacher said they were on their way. I haven't heard too many good things about Metro Police's reputation for punctuality, and was sure that since I didn't infer that I was bleeding, I would probably be on the bottom of the docket. Late 911 wears the late crown. I filled out my form, paced a bit, chatted it up with the security guard from Cameroon about World Cup, and called my mom. An hour and a half and three not-stopping cruisers later, two young police officers arrive, and I explain the situation to them. They park, get out of the car and come over to shake down the security guard. I had to explain that the guys who were hiding downstairs were the actual attendants.
One cop strongarms the attendants into getting Alfredo on the phone, who it seems was very cooperative. Why these guys couldn't do that before is beyond me. Suddenly, JuanCarlos, one of the attendants, reveals that he is the "acting" manager and that he can sign forms in Alfredo's absence. Asshole.
Turns out one of the cops is a former mechanic and says that the problem with my door is that something is jammed in the locking mechanism and since there is no visible damage to the outside of the car, I probably don't have a claim. The other cop says that this is a civil matter and they can't really do much, but I was right to call them and have them as witnesses and to throw their weight around. While waiting for Juan Carlos to make photocopies of the forms, I find out that these two officers are from New Jersey, one of which one town over (Roxbury, but D's probably the only one who knows what that means), the other from Cherry Hill. I swear to christ, there's an invisible bridge from Cherry Hill to DC. It all gets sorted out and I get home a little after ten.
Cut to today. I called Alfredo to find out he'll be back in ten minutes. I called my insurance company for advice, they said it's not really a viable claim, but suggested I just see how it goes and wished me luck.
If nothing else I want my $9.50 back. I mean, if I parked on the street and came back to find it broken, it's my own damn fault. But I paid these guys to take care of my car for the day and I come back to find it broken. I'm more irritated that they wasted my time and dind't hold up their end of the deal than that the car is damaged at this point, really.
As soon as I finish my coffee, I'm going to call Alfredo again and if he's still "out" I'm heading down there. Wish me luck.
Called and spoke to their claims guy, not Alfredo, who says to take it to my mechanic, get it taken care of and call him back. He said if they damaged the door, they will happily pay for it. Which is kind of sketchy, but we'll see how it goes.