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Hooked, towed, held: Driver’s vehicle released by Vaughan body shop after Global News steps in

Click to play video 'GTA woman’s damaged car released by shop after Global News arrives' GTA woman’s damaged car released by shop after Global News arrives
WATCH ABOVE: A GTA woman is breathing a sigh of relief after Global News got her vehicle released from a Vaughan auto body shop. As Sean O'Shea reports, the same shop held another driver's vehicle for more than two months – Apr 12, 2018

A GTA woman whose car was towed to a Vaughan body shop that wouldn’t release her car finally has it back after Global News got involved.

“Thank you so much for all your help,” said Roda Gregorius, whose 2015 Dodge Journey was in a collision in the parking lot of a shopping centre on the weekend.

It was initially hooked up and towed by a driver from Executive Roadside Assistance and delivered to Above Toronto Collision.

“There was no mention of a body shop or repair,” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Driver waits more than 2 months for repair at Vaughan auto shop he didn’t want to use

Under Ontario law, tow drivers are required to disclose whether they have a financial relationship with a body shop.

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She said Above Toronto Collision told her it would not release her vehicle because she had signed a work order.

In fact, Gregorius had signed a blank work order, without an estimate of repairs, believing it was merely an agreement to tow and hold her car until her insurance company could retrieve it.

“Nobody explained anything,” she said.

Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, customers buying services are to receive a breakdown of what they are getting. They are also supposed to receive a copy of any contract. Gregorius said she did not get a copy of the information for four days.

She said her insurance company was also stymied when it attempted to secure the release of the car and have it repaired at another facility, which is the option of a driver involved in a collision.

Gregorius said she found a Global News story about another customer of Above Toronto Collision in March 2017. At that point, she said she realized she needed help.

Global News contacted company owner Domenic Casuscelli, who in 2017 locked the door on a camera crew that showed up to investigate a claim about another vehicle not being released.

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“She can have her car,” said Casuscelli when asked why Gregorius was having no success getting her car released.

“She can pick up her car anytime. She can take it wherever she likes. We’re not holding her car hostage. We’re a legit business,” he said.

Casuscelli subsequently called York Regional Police after Global News went to his office. Three patrol cars arrived to speak with him.

Less than an hour later, after Global News informed Gregorius about the change of heart, her insurance company sent its own tow truck to retrieve the vehicle. It was taken to a body shop selected by Gregorius.

She said she’s been experiencing sleepless nights because she has been worrying about what to do. Gregorius also wanted to warn others about the importance of knowing their rights. Consumers have a right to have a tow truck take a vehicle to a location of the driver’s choosing, not the truck operator’s.