More than two months after Fazan Khan’s car was t-boned and towed to an auto body shop he didn’t want to repair the damage, he’s still waiting to get his car back.
Also, the owner is making no promises about how long it might take.
“This has been an upside-down nightmare,” Khan told Global News, frustrated with the laws that are supposed to protect consumers in a case like his.
Khan said he hasn’t been in an automobile collision in a decade. Police deemed he was not at fault in a crash on Jan. 19 when his 2017 Hyundai Elantra was smashed on the side by a driver in a Mercedes-Benz SUV making a left turn. No one was injured.
Minutes later, a black tow truck marked Executive Roadside Assistance showed up to take his car to what he believed was a vehicle storage site. Khan signed an authorization for the tow, saying he thought he had no choice because York Regional Police wanted the car removed from the scene and it couldn’t be driven.
“I completely trusted the tow truck driver (and) because police were there, I had a sense of calm about this tow truck driver,” Khan said.
“I had asked to be taken to the nearest Hyundai dealership. The tow truck driver said that for safety reasons it would be better for the car to be in an impound lot. I took his word for it.”
The following day, Khan says he and his father went to the Above Toronto Collision Repair Centre in Vaughan. Their intention was to have the car taken to another body shop, one recommended by his insurance company.
But Khan said earlier a representative of his insurance company, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, was told by the body shop it would not release the vehicle to the insurance company’s tow truck service.
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“According to the body shop, I had given them (Above Toronto Collision) authorization to work on the car,” said Khan, adding he didn’t knowingly sign a repair order.
Khan said he called York Regional Police to ask for help, but said he was told that the issue “was a civil matter” and officers didn’t attend the body shop.
“This is about public safety, this is about helping the public, that’s why you’re wearing the uniform (and) to me it felt like they were pushing it aside,” Khan said.
To make matters worse, Khan still doesn’t have his vehicle 65 days after the crash and he is still obliged to make finance and insurance payments. His insurance company has provided him with a rental vehicle. The value of the repairs, according to his insurance company, is just under $13,000.
Global News accompanied Khan as he visited Above Toronto Collision to inspect the vehicle, which has no front bumper. It’s unclear how much, if any, work has been done on the vehicle, although owner Domenic Casuscelli told Khan “it’s about three quarters finished.”
Casuscelli, who refused to be interviewed by Global News, also told Khan he would not release the vehicle until it is finished. He offered no timeline or date when the work might be complete.
Asked by Khan why the long delay, he told Khan it was a “manpower issue” and that there is a “shortage of body men” in the auto repair industry.
“We’re behind a few jobs, not just yours,” Casuscelli told Khan, insisting he’s a “strong believer in honesty.”
On its website, Above Toronto Collision invites customers to ‘meet our team” of “mechanic workers” and “wheels specialists.”
The website bears the names and photographs of Jonathan Doe, Jason Blackhead, Markus Harbing and Eathan Stone – a muscular array of model-like men bolstering the Above Toronto Collision brand.
But Global News discovered the same male “workers” depicted on many other service company websites in other countries, including the U.S. The photographs and identifies appear not to be authentic.
Khan said he’s hoping that if, and when, his vehicle is finally repaired, the work will be done to a high standard as he and his wife plan to keep the vehicle for a long time.
“It was our first new car and we were ecstatic,” he said.
With files from Alana MacLeod