EDMONTON – An Edmonton woman received a photo radar ticket for speeding, but she says her vehicle was at a shop for repairs when the infraction occurred.
Sheila Taschuk took her Honda Element to Boyd Autobody & Glass in West Edmonton for some warranty work. Her vehicle was there for about two-and-a-half weeks.
While it was in for repairs, Taschuk received a surprising delivery in the mail.
“I got a speeding ticket in the mail, and noticed that the ticket wasn’t nearby Boyd’s shop,” she explains, “so I phoned Boyd and questioned them on the ticket, and they denied that the vehicle had left the shop at all.”
Taschuk says that explanation didn’t make sense to her.
“It’s a little bit hard to argue when I have a photo of my vehicle in the opposite end of the city.”
Boyd requested she fax them a copy of the ticket, and she later received a call from Boyd’s Accounts Payable department.
“She said, ‘well, we don’t know what happened to your vehicle at that time, but we’re glad to write you a cheque for the speeding ticket.’”
However, Taschuk says her biggest concern isn’t covering the cost of the ticket; it’s that it appears her vehicle was being driven around the city in an unsafe manner.
“I have a commitment with my family – as well as my work – to be safe at all times, and evidently my vehicle was driven without my knowledge unsafely through the city streets.”
“If my vehicle had been involved in an accident or hit a pedestrian or anything like that without my knowledge, I would have been extremely upset,” Taschuk adds.
She was later told that her vehicle was mistakenly picked up by a subcontractor.
“My understanding is that the customer did have her vehicle at our location and what happened was we had other vehicles in the shop for repair and there was the same type of vehicle as her’s that was in for some hail repair,” explains Kevin Comrie, chief marketing officer for Boyd Autobody & Glass. “We sublet that work out to a company called Hail Specialist. They came to pick up the vehicle that had the hail damage, but unfortunately took the wrong vehicle… our understanding is that they took it to their location, realized it was the wrong location and then brought it back to our location.”
“Unfortunately, they had picked up the keys to my Honda instead of the Honda that they were supposed to, so my Honda went for a little joy ride and speeding ticket came in the mail to me,” says Taschuk.
“We’ve since found out that while they had it, they got a speeding ticket,” adds Comrie. “She received that ticket and brought it to our attention. We contacted that company, and discussed it with them, and they agreed to reimburse her for that speeding ticket.”
Comrie explains it took a little while for the subcontractor to provide the cheque to Boyd, and that Boyd also was delayed a few days in sending the cheque to Taschuk, but that was mailed to her last week.
“It was our mistake that that cheque sat on a desk for a few days before our person put it in the mail, so we’re very sorry that that cheque was delayed.”
However, Taschuk is still waiting to receive the cheque.
She also believes there were additional kilometers put on her vehicle when it was in Boyd’s care.
“I haven’t clearly been given a correct explanation as to what really did happen. When I went to pick up my vehicle from Boyd I noticed that there was additional 1,200 to 1,400 kilometres put on my vehicle.”
Comrie says Boyd is working with Taschuk to compensate her for the mileage, and wants to see her satisfied. The company will also conduct an internal investigation and speak with the subcontractor to determine what happened with her vehicle.
“We do have systems in place to try to insure this doesn’t happen,” he says. “Now that this has happened, we document it; we investigate it to try to determine what happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening again.”
John Bachinksi, executive director of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council, says this situation is very rare.
“It’s unusual that a vehicle would be taken away from the location that the work is being done.”
However, he says automotive businesses should tell customers what is going to happen to their vehicles.
“The biggest responsibility is – what we call – a code of conduct. I think they need to inform the customer what they’re planning to do. There is a requirement that if a vehicle is to, say, be taken to another location for sub contracting work, the consumer needs to be advised of that and given their consent, so they know the whereabouts of their vehicle.”
John encourages others to get a written estimate, ask if subcontracting work will be done, ask what parts are being used for the work, and if they’re new or used.
He also says it’s a good idea to record the odometer reading when you drop off your vehicle and again when you pick it up.
“It’s certainly a business practice that they… should always do that. Is it a legal requirement? I’m not aware of that.”
Comrie says it is part of Boyd’s policy to document vehicles’ mileage upon arrival and departure.
“Yes, that absolutely is part of the procedure… We should always be taking a picture of the odometer… that was again, a process that was not adhered to in this case.”
“We clearly dropped the ball here.”
Taschuk encourages other drivers to take initiative themselves.
“When you hand over your keys, don’t just hand them over. Walk around the vehicle with the specialist at the body shop… get the in mileage, what you’re dropping it off with, write down the gas… Take a picture if necessary.”
UPDATE: After a recent meeting between the vehicle owner and Boyd’s staff it was determined while there were extra kilometres, they were less than 50 (much less than the 1200 to 1400 kilometres the vehicle owner originally claimed). Both Boyd and the vehicle owner are happy with the outcome. The subcontractor/hail specialist admitted to getting the ticket with the vehicle and has now given the vehicle owner a cheque.