KIYC: Woman out thousands after mechanic fixes wrong car

A Randolph woman is out thousands of dollars after a mechanic fixed the wrong car.

A Randolph woman is out thousands of dollars after a mechanic fixed the wrong car. (3/31/15)

RANDOLPH - Imagine paying thousands of dollars for a transmission repair, only to learn the car you fixed wasn’t yours? A Morris County woman says it happened to her, and she could not resolve the issue until she got Kane in her Corner.

For the past couple of months, Stephanie Fox has been dependent on friends to drive her to and from work, pick up her son from school and run errands. “The inconvenience of having to have rides or borrow cars and be at somebody else’s behest every time I need to go somewhere with two children is ridiculous,” she says.

The problem started when the transmission failed on her black 2008 Ford Edge. She took it to Performance Ford in Randolph, but decided the price of a new transmission was too high, so she arranged to have the vehicle towed to a repair shop, which could rebuild the transmission for less. Fox says when she showed up to claim her vehicle once the repair was complete, she noticed a problem: the vehicle wasn’t hers, it was a different black Ford Edge.

Her friend, who used his flatbed truck to transport Fox’s vehicle, says the dealership gave him the wrong vehicle; the dealership says it handed the friend the keys to the vehicle he picked out. Either way, Fox says she paid $2,900 to repair the transmission on a car she did not own.

The owner of Performance Ford, Kevin DiPiano, was happy to sit down with Kane In Your Corner to explain his side of the story. He says Fox should simply have refused to pay the transmission shop for the repair, letting that business and the dealership sort things out. “He hasn’t done anything to her car, so why would she owe him money?” he says.

DiPiano admits his employees gave the flatbed truck driver keys to the wrong car, but points out that there’s plenty of blame to go around. He says the truck driver failed to cross-check the car’s VIN or even its license plate number to make sure he was taking the correct vehicle. He also says the repair shop never confirmed it had the right car before performing the repair, and never checked the transmission on the car he was given before replacing it. “This could have been stopped right then and there,” DiPiano says. “If you’re given a car that supposedly needs a transmission (but it doesn’t), then either our diagnosis was wrong…or you have the wrong car.”

Because of the inconvenience Fox suffered, DiPiano was willing to make her an offer. Performance Ford will settle the original repair bill with the transmission shop, essentially splitting the cost. And for the $2,900 Fox planned to spend on a rebuilt transmission, the dealership will install a brand new one with a 100,000 mile warranty, a $6,000 value.

All of which means Stephanie Fox should not have to stand around waiting for rides much longer.

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