It sucks when you realize that a big established company is trying to scam you

Last February I drove my car backwards into a pole. The bumper sure needed to be replaced, but the rest I thought could be put back into place. First I went to the Tesla service center. Since Tesla doesn’t have body shops, they sent me to AMAG. The guy at AMAG who handled my case, seemed helpful and trustworthy. He organized everything with my insurance. He proposed a loaner car for the duration of the repair, and at first said that I should check with the insurance if that is covered. Since he handled everything else with the insurance, he agreed that he would also check the coverage for the loaner car. The next time we talked, he told me that everything, including the loaner car was covered by the insurance. I was surprised that the amount they got the ok from the insurance for the repair was twice as high as the initial estimate.

I told AMAG a couple of times that a car with more than 9 years and more than 260 thousand kilometers doesn’t have to look like new. I told him I was ok with leaving some parts in place and just bending them back. My only conditions were that it doesn’t rain into the car, and that it doesn’t rust. He responded that if I wanted that, then I would have to pay for the repair myself. If the insurance pays, I would have to agree, to have everything replaced. Slowly an impression was building that they wanted to extract as much money as they possibly could.

The repair took longer than forecasted. I wondered if that prolongation needed to be communicated to the insurance company, as it meant that the loaner car cost more. But I felt confident that everything was handled by AMAG. In the end they waited for some cable that was not broken, but was to be replaced as cautionary measure. I had promised to drive with my son to Munich the following weekend to watch a football game. For this trip I needed my car back, and told AMAG to keep the old cable, if the new one didn’t arrive in time. In the end I got the car back for the trip with the new cable.

Although the loaner car was new and pretty nice, there was so much that I like better about my car, that I was looking forward to get it back every moment I drove the loaner.

Two months later I received an invoice for the deductible. This was as communicated and as expected. So I paid it, and thought the case was closed.

Another two months later I received an account statement from AMAG, claiming I owed more than CHF 800. There was no indication why this should be the case. After three rounds of questioning, I learned that they sent the invoice for the loaner car to my insurance, and they didn’t pay it. So I contacted the insurance, to learn that I have no coverage for a loaner car. I really can’t remember, if I had the option when I bought the insurance. But the guy from AMAG made it look like most people have it. When he told me that he checked with my insurance and it that it was covered, I saw no reason not to believe him and check for myself.

Normally I am all for paying for what I consume. Sometimes I even ask proactively for the invoice if I didn’t receive it in time. But in this case I really feel it was not done correctly. Just imagine somebody handing you a gift, and after you consumed it he is demanding a lot of money for it.

This all made me remember stories from the meetings of the Tesla club about cars that were repaired poorly by AMAG. And of some cars that were returned full with shards from a replaced window. Other stories were about repair offerings with horrendous costs, that were performed for a small fraction at other places. The general consensus was that AMAG tried to rip off their customers, while at Tesla the repair costs were always reasonable. Since Tesla sent me there, I gave my best not to think about these stories. And indeed, my car came back clean and well done.

I talked to a lawyer about this experience. He advised me to send an insured letter, and wait for the prosecution. Then refute the claim with a “Rechtsvorschlag”. I think this is what I will do. Sometimes new experiences can be valuable, even if they are very inconvenient to go through.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *