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#1 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, we've got new neighbors. They've been there for about 2 months. They're a young couple, with no kids. They park their truck on the street.

Today, my 11-year-old and his friends were riding our motorized scooter (very low speed) around. My 11-year-old lost control and hit the truck. :-( He apologized to the guy, who was home at the time. The guy said that it was alright and was very nice about it. Fast forward a few hours and the woman is home. They come over together and say they filed a police report! And, they got an estimate for $900! Not only that, but the woman tore into me about what the pack of neighborhood kids have been doing. She said "I like kids, but..." and followed it with a few things that have been ticking her off.

It seems someone was teasing their dog. My kids never go near their dog. My youngest son was bit by someone else's dog over a year ago and we have a strict policy to not go near dogs we don't know. The guy even said he knew it wasn't my kids. But, she felt she had to put it on my shoulders anyway. And, someone left a bocci ball in their yard that they hit with their mower. We don't own any bocci balls. But, she laid it on my kids, anyway.

We try very hard to not leave our stuff scattered on neighbors yards and always have tried not to. Our basketball wanders over sometimes, but we try to avoid it. Most of the neighbor kids that run around in a pack are my other neighbor's kids and the kids she babysits. My two younger kids (only 2 & 6) are not ever a part of this. They aren't allowed to. My 11-year-old is with them some, but he is one of the quietest, most polite kids. He knows he has to take responsibility for the truck and is giving up the money that he's been saving for a playstation 3, most of it was birthday money. He's very upsett and has apologized. So, basically, for his birthday, he gets to fix the neighbors truck.

Anyway, I'm not sure where to go from here. I told them we cannot afford $900 and they said they would get other estimates. How should we handle this? Should I wait until they get it fixed and can give me a receipt. I'm uncomfortable paying upfront based on an estimate. Should we get a lawyer, which we also can't afford. :-(

We will take repsonsibility, but I just want to make sure that they aren't taking advantage of us. What really ticks me off is that they didn't even ask if my son was OK! This has been such a great neighborhood with really friendly neighbors up to this point. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. I feel like she used me and this unfortunate situation to vent all of her frustrations on.

eta: Wanted to add that the scooter is now no longer going to be an option for my kids or the neighbor kids. We've only had it running for two days. My husband found it at the dump and thought the kids would have fun with it, so he fixed it up.
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#2 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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well, your family is responsible for the damage. Your auto or home policy might cover it. I'm sorry her venting hurt your feelings. This was probably a last straw kind of thing for her and she dumped it on you.

I don't let my kids ride anything near our neighbor's vehicles because we couldn't afford a repair like that either. Accidents happen though, but it really isn't fair for them to have to pay for it, unless they aren't supposed to park there.

I guess I'd let her vent go and be extra careful that your family's stuff stays off their property. I'd have told her then that it wasn't my kids taunting the dogs or leaving stuff about, but assure her that we'd be more careful in the future.

Our 3 year old broke off a chunk on our neighbor's wooden gate. He fixed it and it was okay, but I was prepared to pay for it.
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#3 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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I wonder if they plan on going through their car insurance? Some people don't b/c of high deductibles, but if so, it would be covered and then you would get a bill after the repair. I dont know if this is how it would work, exactly, so maybe I am off.

Maybe they would be able to work out a payment plan?

Sorry it happened, and I'm glad your DS is okay.

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#4 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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It is really unfortunate that she is lumping all the neighborhood kids together. Hopefully as she gets to know your family better, she will be less likely to blame your kids.

I don't see any way around paying for the damage to their vehicle, though.
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#5 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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It is really unfortunate that she is lumping all the neighborhood kids together. Hopefully as she gets to know your family better, she will be less likely to blame your kids.

I don't see any way around paying for the damage to their vehicle, though.
I agree, but I would definitely ask for three estimates.
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#6 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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I would be calling my insurance people pronto, but are 11 yr olds even allowed to ride scooters legally?

Did she actually blame your kids or was she just venting? Did you take pictures of the truck?

TBH, I wouldnt make my kid pay. 11 yr olds should not be unsupervised on a motorized scooter period. And letting the friends on it.....um yikes, do you realize if someone got hurt the financial hell you would be in? I am not trying to be harsh, but it is your scooter and you are responsible. Glad it is out of commission.
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#7 of 46 Old 06-30-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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I think after finding out about the damage to the truck, it's only normal for her to vent a little bit about all the kids in the neighborhood. It sucks, but I think it comes with the territory.

I hope your insurance will cover some of it.
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#8 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Did she actually blame your kids or was she just venting? Did you take pictures of the truck?

TBH, I wouldnt make my kid pay. 11 yr olds should not be unsupervised on a motorized scooter period. And letting the friends on it.....um yikes, do you realize if someone got hurt the financial hell you would be in? I am not trying to be harsh, but it is your scooter and you are responsible. Glad it is out of commission.
She was definitely blaming my kids. Why even tell me about the dog if she didn't think my kids were involved? It has nothing to do with the situation at hand. Nor do the balls on the lawn. We've tried to be very considerate neighbors and never let the kids over that way or near the dog. Heck, my dh even cleaned up a dead bird that my cat may have left on their lawn yesterday - that's how considerate we've tried to be. We don't even know if she left it there - lol. Even though I introduced myself to the neighbor when they first moved in, she's not made any friendly gestures since. Today's tirade was the first effort she's made to talk to me. She even seemed to forget that we had met, since she reintroduced herself when she came over.

And, you're right about the scooter. I was uneasy about it anyway, but dh was for it. This is our opportunity to get rid of it.

We're going to check into our home owners insurance covering it. We did take pictures. From the way they described the truck, I expected it to be clearly damaged, but it's not unless you squat down and look closely. It's two scratches and a small dent, about the size of a golf ball, but very shallow. We're getting a copy of the police report as soon as it's available. And, we'll be getting more estimates.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. We are using much of it!
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#9 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Wow, what you've described doesn't sound like it would be $900 worth of damage. I would definitely request written estimates directly from the repair shop. Maybe it is a rare paint colour or something. Either way you are definitely responsible for the damage. It is 100% the fault of your child, and therefore it is your responsibility. I know it sucks but they should not have to pay a penny to fix damage that was not their fault in the slightest. Hopefully it will be less than $900. As for the other venting I would just write it off as her being upset by a number of incidents involving neighbourhood children, and your children were involved in the latest incident.

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#10 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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Ok, so wait, this all happened TODAY? As in, this afternoon, your son was riding around, and had the accident? Then, when she got home from work, after her DH said everything was cool, she flipped her lid?

Yeah, I smell someone just being nasty on your hands. Honestly, I can't imagine they had TIME for an estimate, unless the husband immediately took the car to a mechanic who just happened to have walk in time available to give an estimate. But, it sounds to me like he was fine about what happened, then she freaked when she got home, which makes it less likely that they had time.

Yeah, your son is responsible for the damage, which sucks, but that's life sometimes. And totally make sure you keep pics. As far as insurance....I don't know that even at $900 it would be worth the claim. First, you would have the deductable to worry about. If you have a $500 deductable, that's only a $400 claim really. And you risk being dropped by your insurance-lots of companies drop a person after just one claim regardless of the claim amount. And, if your decuctable is $1000, well then you are paying the whole thing anyway AND you still have a record of your claim. Regardless of your deductable, even if they don't drop you, just filing the claim can raise your rates.

But, what it sounds like to me, over all, is that the wife really doesn't like kids. And all the little things that are normal for living in a neighborhood with lots of kids have been slowly building on her nerves and then these couple of scratches were the last straw and she blew her lid. I am betting she wasn't so much blaming your child specifically for the other issues, rather that in her mind, that stuff is the kids fault, and since your son is a kid, that makes it his fault too.

Do you live in a neighborhood with an HOA? If so, check your HOA rules about parking a vehicle in the street. Not that I think you should try to get out of paying by saying it shouldn't be parked in the street, but if things deteriorate anymore, that might be a good piece of information to know. Quite honestly, that's one of my HUGE pet peeves, parking in the street. DH and I own FIVE vehicles. Two are in the process of being sold and one is a motorcycle. And we STILL do not park a single one in the street. The bike is in the garage full time, the van goes in the garage in the winter time and when there's room in the summer (it's the kid hauler, so it stays covered when we can) and the rest stay in the driveway. My neighbor across the street tends to park their Caddy SUV in the street directly across from our driveway so when I am backing my van out, I come THIS CLOSE to hitting it and often have to resort to a lot of back and forth. To me, if you are parking in the street in a neighborhood when you have a perfectly functional driveway and/or garage, well, you probably deserve to have your car hit. To me, streets are for moving vehicles, and driveways are for when they aren't moving.
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#11 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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I also wonder how they managed to get a written estimate that fast.

I agree with the PP who said it sounds like little things have been building up and the woman just snapped. It happens. If this is the first incident I'd chalk it up to her having a bad day and try to move forward.

It sounds like you understand it is your responsibility to pay, just questioning the amount. While it probably isn't worth going through insurance, saying you want to might get the estimate down to a more reasonable amount.

I would probably call my insurance and ask some questions about coverage. I would insist on 3 estimates - one from a shop you trust (if you have one) and go from there. I just had some extensive body work done (my mother ran my car into my garage) and it was about $1200 to fix the entire side. And I'm in a high cost of living area. I find it hard to believe what you are describing is $900.

When you go over to talk, a plate of cookies and an apology can go a long way.
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#12 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 09:16 AM
 
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your homeowners insurance will probably cover it but she needs to get another estimate. 900 is not really high if there is a dent/ scratch. They are not required to turn it in on their insurance -- claims make your insurance go up and its not their fault.

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#13 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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Honestly 900 doesn't sound that high to me for some areas. Some small repairs can cost that much depending on the car. Get more estimates though.

I would make my 11 year old pay me back for the repairs. If he is old enough to be on the scooter he is old enough to pay up. He could have done it with a bike my child removed someones mirror by accident -- luckily the people were really cool and needed some help around the house and garden. I have a 15 and 12 year old, at 11 they completely understood. I would praise him for honesty and give him some slack at the same time, but still hold him accountable for his mistake.

I think you also go a venting session. She was understandably unhappy about the truck, you got the venting session. You don't know what type of day she had, then she came home to a damaged truck. Yes, you might not vented like she did, but also put yourself in her shoes. How would you feel if you came home to that? Because her husband wiped it off doesn't mean she has to. It might not be his truck but hers.

If she has a friend she could get an estimate that quick. I could.

Also, please watch your kids a little closer for a while. You might find that your children are not behaving as well as you think. Or you might find the other kids are a lot worse than you think.
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#14 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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Request 3 estimates and offer to go with the lowest one. If they chose to go with one of the others then they have to pay the difference. However they do have the right to go with the one that uses new parts vs used. Labor, parts, and all that add up quickly so while something may seem like it shouldn't be that much can end up costing a lot.

All the estimates I have ever done were walk ins so for me that is not unheard of.

I do think I would have your son pay for the repairs but maybe instead of all of it maybe half and he work the other half off through you guys or something like that.


And while she does have every right to be upset, while she grouped your kids in with it all, makes sense if they have been having issues as whole.

We got damage done to our car and I was livid, while my husband was all eh its no big deal. So just because her husband was like its no big deal at the time after talking to his wife it apparently was one. And they could have not come to you guys at all and went the other route so at least they came to you guys first.
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#15 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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I agree with the others - ask for 3 estimates in writing, and ask that one be from a shop you know and trust (if you have one). I would most certainly make my child use his birthday money to pay for the damage. You mentioned that the scooter is 'gone' after this - do you mean you are getting rid of it completely? I'm not sure I would insist on this, because I think your son is going to be VERY careful with it after this lesson. Keeping it would say to him that you know he is smart enough to learn from his mistakes. But if you do get rid of it, I'd put whatever money could be made selling it towards the repair bill.

As for the other stuff, I'd politely tell her that you are happy to make your children take responsibility for things they've done, but not to take the blame for others' actions, and that she ought to talk to the other childrens' parents if there is an issue.
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#16 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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That really sucks, hopefully they can find a cheaper estimate from a trustworthy mechanic. Body work is very expensive in our area, the paint alone is several hundred. I don't think that her flipping out is odd or that it means she doesn't like kids. I like kids, but I don't like kids teasing my dog or damaging my property. If I came home from a long day of work and found out that the neighbor kid damaged my car I would flip out too, especially if there have been problems with the neighbor kids in general and I probably wouldn't be calm enough to really care that most of the stuff wasn't done by the neighbors kids. Also, without kids it is very easy to get quick estimates, even with a kid I was able to get two within an hour. Mechanics deal with a lot of paint and denting issues so they just take a quick look at the outside and inside and give an estimate.
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#17 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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This is why you pay insurance premiums.

This kind of thing is probably covered by your home owners insurance. Not only will the insurance hopefully pay it (it is dependent on how your policy is set up, your deductible, what type of scooter and laws governing scooters where you live) they will make sure the claim of $900 is on the up and up, and not grossly inflated.

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#18 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Well, I would certainly not trust them any time soon. Their behavior seems quite two faced.

Now you owe money and there's a police report? That's not nice. So either he was upset and lying about it or she's trouble with a T.

I mean, look, I understand if they want to file the police report for insurance purposes, I've done that, but you don't act like a uav about it. And the damage isn't so bad that it requires a Def Con 5 response.

I think scooters can be fun, maybe you save yours for parks or large parking lots during off hours. I would hate to see these people ruin it for everyone.

And I don't know how you responded to them, but I would have been quite assertive that we were discussing the truck, not acting as a dumping ground for all their complaints about the neighborhood. They definitely need to be taught how to treat you and learn you are not grass to be mowed over.

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#19 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 12:23 PM
 
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This is why you pay insurance premiums.

This kind of thing is probably covered by your home owners insurance. Not only will the insurance hopefully pay it (it is dependent on how your policy is set up, your deductible, what type of scooter and laws governing scooters where you live) they will make sure the claim of $900 is on the up and up, and not grossly inflated.
See, I'd be wary of having my insurance rates go up, or being dropped from my insurance company over a relatively small claim...
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#20 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Please refrain from namecalling. Thanks!

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#21 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I'd pay up and be very thankful that when he lost control he hit an inanimate object and not another kid.
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#22 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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I can believe $900.

The first damage to my car, my husband backed into a car parked on the street. We had to file insurance for the other car's damage. Our bumper was a little scratched, and no longer smoothly attached. It was going to cost $1000 to replace, because the bumper was all one big molded plastic part.

For those of you who get dropped from insurance for a single claim, I've never heard of that. Makes me grateful for what I've got.

If the damage is more that $500 and they're thinking of making an insurance claim themselves, then they needed the police report. It may also be required by your local laws.

Do not think of it as "the police are going to get my son and he's in trouble." Think of it as "A reputable, relatively neutral, government authority has recorded what they know about what happened, and documented the evidence."

The police report also helps to protect YOU from your neighbor, because the police report will record that the car was not totaled, was not significantly dented, the damage was only that little scratching and that little bump.

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#23 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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I can believe $900.

The first damage to my car, my husband backed into a car parked on the street. We had to file insurance for the other car's damage. Our bumper was a little scratched, and no longer smoothly attached. It was going to cost $1000 to replace, because the bumper was all one big molded plastic part.

For those of you who get dropped from insurance for a single claim, I've never heard of that. Makes me grateful for what I've got.

If the damage is more that $500 and they're thinking of making an insurance claim themselves, then they needed the police report. It may also be required by your local laws.

Do not think of it as "the police are going to get my son and he's in trouble." Think of it as "A reputable, relatively neutral, government authority has recorded what they know about what happened, and documented the evidence."

The police report also helps to protect YOU from your neighbor, because the police report will record that the car was not totaled, was not significantly dented, the damage was only that little scratching and that little bump.
Auto insurance usually doesn't drop people, but home insurance can and will. Just depends on the company.

We've been discouraged from filing claims on our home insurance by the agent for this reason.

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#24 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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OP I am very sorry that your neighbor treated you and your kids this way. IMO while a car is certainly expensive it's just stuff, while people are what really matter. Damaging a neighborhood relationship to this extent over a small dent in a car is utterly immature and at cross-purposes with dealing with the problem in a constructive way. I find the fact that other posters have expressed that they would deal with a small dent the same way very, very sad.

C'mon folks, really?

I agree that she was looking for someone to blame for pent-up frustration, but that does not make it ok. I don't think that you should make any effort to try to put yourself in her shoes because she lost that consideration when she was nasty to you about your kids. At this point look at this whole fiasco as a business transaction, and try to deal with the husband whenever you can.

You take a chance that a car will be damaged whenever it leaves a garage. If you park on a street it will be damaged eventually no matter what. Heck, the windshield of my car was shattered two days ago because a branch fell out of the tree it was parked under. I guess I should go yell to god about it.
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#25 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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OP I am very sorry that your neighbor treated you and your kids this way. IMO while a car is certainly expensive it's just stuff, while people are what really matter. Damaging a neighborhood relationship to this extent over a small dent in a car is utterly immature and at cross-purposes with dealing with the problem in a constructive way. I find the fact that other posters have expressed that they would deal with a small dent the same way very, very sad.

C'mon folks, really?

I agree that she was looking for someone to blame for pent-up frustration, but that does not make it ok. I don't think that you should make any effort to try to put yourself in her shoes because she lost that consideration when she was nasty to you about your kids. At this point look at this whole fiasco as a business transaction, and try to deal with the husband whenever you can.

You take a chance that a car will be damaged whenever it leaves a garage. If you park on a street it will be damaged eventually no matter what. Heck, the windshield of my car was shattered two days ago because a branch fell out of the tree it was parked under. I guess I should go yell to god about it.

I agree that parking on the street, if another option is available, isn't the best thing to do if you are wanting to keep your car from getting damaged.

However, it is possible that the car is leased, and that is why the woman wants the damage fixed, while the man was initially okay with it. Perhaps he wasn't thinking of the consequences when turning the car in.

Also, while I wouldn't be upset over a small dent to my own vehicle(it's used and already came with some cosmetic damage), I do understand why others would want any sort of damage fixed. Cars are usually one of the largest purchases made, outside of houses. If you are wanting to sell the car down the road(or if it's a lease, turn it in at the end), you want it in the best condition possible.
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#26 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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OP I am very sorry that your neighbor treated you and your kids this way. IMO while a car is certainly expensive it's just stuff, while people are what really matter. Damaging a neighborhood relationship to this extent over a small dent in a car is utterly immature and at cross-purposes with dealing with the problem in a constructive way. I find the fact that other posters have expressed that they would deal with a small dent the same way very, very sad.

C'mon folks, really?
Yes. I've been in a situation like this, I've tried to deal with it in the kind-and-neighborly way, and after that experience, at the very least I would file a police report and immediately get quotes for repairing the damage.

The filing of the police report covers my rear. If in the end I have to go through my auto insurance to have the damage fixed, the police report is an invaluable piece of information. In fact, in this type of situation, my insurance may require a police report.

Her kid damaged the car, and they know who damaged the car. My past experience tells me to get scratches fixed ASAP. If the scratches are on a metal body piece and penetrate the clearcoat and paint, how quickly rust can start to affect that body panel is both amazing and annoying. Once rust starts in, the damage begins to worsen. And repairing scratches and dents properly is more expensive than you'd expect.
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#27 of 46 Old 07-01-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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I am just suggesting that the neighbors work with the OP to get the truck repaired. I also don't think filing a police report is a bad idea. I just don't see how the neighbor's rudeness is in any way justifiable.

Basically I don't think accidental damage (by a child no less) of a material object is cause to alienate the folks who live right next door to you. The potential relationship beneficial that could be built over the incident is destroyed. Totally not worth it. Very sad that the neighbor choose this path.
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#28 of 46 Old 07-02-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet2 View Post
We've been discouraged from filing claims on our home insurance by the agent for this reason.
Agents work for the insurance company, not you.

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#29 of 46 Old 07-02-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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I would take pictures of the damage done to the vehicle. Just to have it in case stories are stretched later on.

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#30 of 46 Old 07-02-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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you trust your insurance company? Mine gave us great suggestions of repair places when our car was hit. then again I really love mine (USAA) they would know the better priced trustworthy places.

I would ask for a copy of the report and their estimates and ask they have your 'guy' look at it.

If they are going this out of the way then don't worry about offending them. I'm sure if they had just asked you to pay you would have why call the police? I'm sorry you are having trouble with this new person.

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