Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Nevertheless, She Persisted: A Story

Full disclosure: This story does not paint me in a very positive light. However, I want to share it with you because I'm curious to see if you think I went too far or what you would have done in my situation.

First, a little backstory: In 2015 I was turning right at a stoplight. The light was green, but there was a pedestrian on a bicycle, so I was stopped waiting for them to get across the street. I got rear-ended. Hard. We pulled off into the parking lot of a little flower shop. This was my first accident ever and I wasn't sure about procedure. I called my mom first to ask what I should do. She told me to call the police so I did. While on the phone with the police the other guy asked me not to call them because their car wasn't registered. I said I'm sorry, but they're already on their way. When I turned around to get my registration and insurance information from my glove box, they took off. I didn't have a license plate number or anything. Because I didn't immediately take pictures of his license plate as soon as I got of the car I ended up paying nearly $1000 ($500 deductible and almost $500 for the rental car) for something that wasn't even my fault. Lesson learned.

February 28, 2017

I walk out from work to the parking lot and find my front bumper almost completely ripped off my car. There was a name and a phone number on the car and I called to talk to the guy who did it. He said he wanted to pay for the damages instead of going through his insurance so his premium wouldn't go up. I asked him if he would pay for my rental car and he said he would. My co-workers pulled the bumper off by the one screw that was still holding it on and stuck it in my backseat. I drove to the repair shop, got an estimate, and got a ride home. They told me they wouldn't start work on the car until I gave the go-ahead. I called to get an estimate for the rental car.

March 1, 2017

My friend picked me up in the morning and took me to work. During my shift the guy in question came over and wrote me a check for $2135 to cover the expenses of the repair ($1985) and the rental car ($150). I told him I would deposit the check and as soon as the check cleared I'd authorize them to start work on the car. I got my rental car from Alamo after work and deposited the check on the way home. I asked how long it would take to clear and she said a couple days.

March 3, 2017

The check cleared and I authorized them to begin work on the car. They estimated 4-5 days for the repair. I texted the guy to let him know work was beginning as well as scanning in the copies of the estimates for his records.

March 9, 2017

I call to check on the car and I'm told I can pick the car up on Monday.

March 13, 2017

It's Monday. I call on the car and there's been a snag. Apparently there was a crease in the new bumper that they missed and they were almost done with the repair. They had to get a new bumper installed without that crease.

March 17, 2017

I return my rental car and take the bus to go pick up my car.

March 30, 2017

I scan in my receipts for the repair and the rental car and send him this email:

Hey (omitted),

Sorry it took so long for me to get this stuff to you, I've been super busy. I picked up my car on the 17th. Since I had to keep the rental for an extra week I was wondering if you could just send me a check for the difference in the mail and we can be done with this whole messy business. I've attached the receipts for the repair and the rental. The final prices are as follows:

1,985.00 - Repair Estimate
+150.00 - Rental Estimate
=2,135.00 Total - Check from you

2,135.00 - From you
- 1,980.33 - Actual Repair Cost
- 316.07 - Actual Rental Cost
= 161.40 - Difference Owed

My address:

Thank you for your cooperation in solving this matter. Have a nice day.

April 8, 2017

I haven't heard from him and haven't received a check so I send him this text:

Hey (omitted) did you get my email? You owe me a little more for the rental car. I sent you an email with scanned copies of the final costs. It had my address so you can send me a check.

I never heard from him, so I sent this same text multiple times a day over the next couple days.

April 12, 2017

I know you are getting my text messages and purposefully ignoring me. I get it, you paid to get the car fixed and you want to be done with this matter. Well guess what? Me too. You were in the wrong here. You're the one who busted my car while I was at work. You said you'd take care of the car and the rental car. Well the car is taken care of, but the rental car is not. I sent you these documents 2 weeks ago and I want what is owed to me. Just in case you really have no idea what I'm talking about I've attached them again as well as the email I sent to you:

Hey (omitted),

Sorry it took so long for me to get this stuff to you, I've been super busy. I picked up my car on the 17th. Since I had to keep the rental for an extra week I was wondering if you could just send me a check for the difference in the mail and we can be done with this whole messy business. I've attached the receipts for the repair and the rental. The final prices are as follows:

1,985.00 - Repair Estimate
+150.00 - Rental Estimate
=2,135.00 Total - Check from you

2,135.00 - From you
- 1,980.33 - Actual Repair Cost
- 316.07 - Actual Rental Cost
= 161.40 - Difference Owed

My address:

I want you to know that I am prepared to make a nuisance of myself until you cooperate. I'll give you the rest of the day today to think about things, but starting tomorrow all hell breaks loose. I am prepared to call you every hour on the hour until you either A) Pick up and assure me you will send the check. B) Text me and assure me you will send the check. C) Ignore me, but send the check anyway. As soon as the check is in my hands, the calls will stop.

I know what you're thinking. It'll be easy enough to ignore me. Just turn off your ringer and let me wear myself out. Well, know this. I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. (omitted) That's right. I took a picture of your original check and it has your address on it buddy. You have one week from tomorrow for a check to appear in my mailbox before I show up at your home and knock on your door until you write me one. It would really be a lot easier for both of us if you just texted me back and said the check is on its way. Since you didn't seem to mind writing a check for over $2,000, I think a check for $161.40 should be small change to you.
You've been warned. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

After sending the email I also sent him this text:

I know you probably think you've got out of something by not paying me what is owed to me. However, I'd highly recommend checking your email for an email from me. Tomorrow all hell breaks loose and I promise you'll want to stop it before it begins. You've been warned.

(NOTE: I know it's bitchy, but I was pissed. This guy had been ignoring me for weeks and I was sick of it.)

April 13, 2017

I follow through on my promise and call six times before I get this email:

Hi HollySorry for late replying. I was super busy at this a couple of weeks. I got your email, text, and phone call. Actually I don't think it's fair to you'll asking more money from me. Especially extend rental car fee. I gave you check right next day in the morning day after you take your car to fix auto.  It's way more quicker and enough amounts of money than insurance company approves.As I remember due to your neglect response cause fix auto to delay finish your car.I talk to Jimmy about your car's damage also. The conditions of damage he described and I took pictures with security ware quite different. It's ok I'll pay for it. But what you asking me more money isn't fair. Even if you are upset, your behavior right now isn't appropriate.Have a nice day.

Here is my response:


That's fine that you feel that way, but you were the one who agreed to pay for the rental car in the first place. When I got the estimate for the rental car I estimated for one week of use hoping the the fix would get done quickly, but you and I both knew that it could change based on how quickly they were able to fix the car. Unfortunately they ran into some problems. It turns out the first bumper they got had a crease in it and they didn't discover that till it was almost completely finished. So they basically had to start over. That's why the repair took so long. Not due to a delayed response from me. I waited exactly 2 days for them to start work on the car and that was strictly to make sure your check had cleared. I'm sure you can understand that. If I had authorized them to start work on the car immediately and your check had bounced I would have been responsible for paying for all of it, and there would have been no going back to use insurance either. It was the smart thing to do. I'm not sure why you think the damage to the car was different than when you were there. I've got pictures too of how I found my car in the parking lot. I've attached them below, since you seem to think I'm lying. 

You're right. I am upset. I walked out of work one day to find my front bumper lying on the ground and having to deal with the headache of insurance, repairs, and rental cars. If you were in my shoes, you'd probably be upset too. Then to be completely ignored when I'm trying to get what YOU promised me for the accident YOU caused, that makes me even more upset. I'm sorry you think my behavior is inappropriate, but I think going back on your word is inappropriate behavior and I guess that's something we're just going to have to agree to disagree on.

(NOTE: Yes. That is highlighted for a reason. You'll see)

April 28, 2017

I send this text:

I still have not received your check.

May 1, 2017

I receive this text:

Miss understanding, I thought you understood my statement. I'll remind you I won't pay extra money to you. Even your pictures show no damage grille and headlight, it's just came off, but I talk to jimmy he says he didn't see it. What did you do it? Also bumper and partially chassis was already damaged and you told me never had accident. Who lied? I paid already more than my responsibilities. Also if you see your picture why you park your car so close to me and crooked? Remind you extra money you asking to me isn't my responsibility.

(NOTE: He very clearly said he would pay. I didn't ask specifics on what the repair shop was going to do to my car. I just assumed they were going to fix whatever was broken. Also I highly doubt that this guy was in contact with Jimmy while the repairs were going on. As far as I know he had one conversation with him, through my phone, while I was present. My car has never been in an accident on the front end, at least not while in my possession. Here are a couple pictures for your reference of my parking job. Also if you've even been in Simba Parking lot I can guarantee you've seen parking jobs a lot worse than mine, and they all somehow manage to get home with their bumpers intact.)

I'm going to go ahead and omit my initial response text which was quite angry and aggressive and foul. Needless to say there was a lot of swearing and fury. Once I calmed down marginally I took a screenshot of that email from above and said "Oh yeah, I totally misunderstood when you literally said you'd pay for it." I also reminded him that I still knew where he lived and would be happy to make myself comfortable on his front porch reading a book till he was ready to pay me.

Honestly by this point I was calling the whole thing a lost cause. I never expected to see that money which was why I was very surprised to receive a text from him later in the afternoon saying to see him tomorrow if I wanted a check from him. He said he'd contact me and I said just let me know when and where.

May 2, 2017

This morning he asks me to meet him at a McDonald's at 9:00 AM and I agree. The whole way there I'm thinking about how this is somehow I trap. I was preparing for every situation: he brought a lawyer to file a restraining order, he called the police to arrest me for stalking or harassment, he got some of his buddies to hide nearby to cause some real damage to my car while he was distracting me inside. At the very least I assumed we'd have an argument before we came to some sort of agreement. Instead, the one thing I never thought would happen did. I walked in, sat down. He handed me $160 cash and asked me to sign a document saying it was the final payment. I signed it, said "Thank you very much." and walked out the door.

I went to the Chase across the street and deposited it right away. I have no idea what changed his mind. Maybe he wanted to just be done with the matter and I had already proven that I could be a pain in the butt when needed so he just didn't want to deal with me anymore. I don't know, and I really don't care. I got what was promised to me in the end. I may have had to be a bitch to get it, but it's done.

I can't help but realize how he was victim blaming me in all this. I always thought of that as something somewhat exclusive to sexual assault crimes, but this showed me it's not. Somehow he was determined to make this my fault. I waited too long for them to start work on the car. I lied about previous damage. I parked crooked. It was all my fault according to him. So I'm interested, what do you guys think?