Diminished Value Appraisal & Inspections
Both inspection/appraisal companies are the result of Phillip J. Grismer's belief that the automotive sales and service world are operated by basically decent, honest people who work hard to earn a living in a very competitive world. His belief is also that crooked and or dishonest dealers and poor quality manufacturers are a minority and should be caught and stopped from ripping people off as soon as possible.
The sight unseen kind of offers to provide a diminished value appraisal using a fill in the blank type, online appraisal form for under $100.00, will usually not be accepted by an insurance company, making these appraisals worthless. Most insurance companies will state that they only accept written appraisals from certified appraisers with signed appraisal reports.
Even good, honest dealers occasionally sell a defective or sub-standard vehicle.
Even the greatest manufacturer will occasionally make a defective product. Regardless of whether you are manufacturing or retail selling, when you deal in high volumes, sometimes you have a clunker.
When a consumer finds that he or she has been mistreated by purchasing a vehicle that was sub-standard and would not pass without objection in the industry if all the facts were known, the consumer should begin by raising the issue with the dealer or the manufacturer, or both.
In life, as in the military, there is a chain of command to follow. First, deal with the service department. If not satisfied, discuss the situation with the salesperson and sales department manager. If not satisfied, have a meeting with the sales department and service department manager and air your grievance. If you still have gotten no satisfaction and have given the dealer a chance to remedy the situation, then contact the manufacturer's customer service department.
Unfortunately, when people are in this position and they absolutely cannot get the issues resolved and believe they have been ripped off, the only real recourse they usually have available to them is to consult an experienced consumer attorney, one that is proficient in handling automotive complaints.
Other avenues of consumer assistance.
While the better business bureau attempts to resolve these types of complaints, they have little authority to enforce the resulting resolution decisions/awards.
In my opinion, the Illinois Attorney General's office, consumer affairs division, is of no help whatsoever in these matters. In my experience, they will only waste your time. Any real satisfaction is usually fleeting.
In both instances, they will basically take your written complaint, send it to the dealer or manufacturer complained of, and wait for a response. If and when a response is received, they will send you a copy, hoping that the dealer will call you and resolve the issue on their own. If not, the process starts over. However, both of these avenues are free to the consumer and you pretty much get what you pay for, so help yourself.
No matter what you choose to do, ensure that you round up all the purchase documents and service/repair documents that you have received during the ordeal. Organize these documents and make several photocopies of your records. Make sure you include all correspondence in the file. Carefully protect the originals.
After you have exhausted these two avenues, then contact an experienced consumer attorney. Google "lemon law lawyers" and interview a couple of different people and see if they can help you and what they recommend you do next.
Also, if the vehicle make and model is a recent model year, consider contacting the manufacturer's support phone number. You will find this phone number listed in the vehicle owner's warranty booklet, found in the owner's manual booklet pouch or folder, which you probably have not opened since you bought the vehicle.
There will be a statement of what you should follow. Contact the customer service representative of the manufacturer at the phone number provided. They will probably provide little more than lip service, but at least you tried. Generally speaking, they usually recommend that you return to the dealership for assistance and wish you good luck. They will send a synopsis of the contact between them and yourself to the dealer of record, or the selling dealer, through their internal dealer information network system. Often they will mail you a written statement of their view of your situation or at least a thanks for calling. Keep this letter and provide it to your attorney, along with all your records, should you choose to go to one.
Diminished value appraisal.
This is a common sense method of appraising a vehicle from what its condition was supposed to be at the time of retail sale, based on the price range and description, compared with its actual condition, calculated from its history and current condition at the time of appraisal. Why is this important?
Because the courts recognize the diminished value as a method of determining to what degree you may have been damaged financially by the sale/purchase of the subject vehicle, as opposed to having bought another vehicle just like it, without all the defects that have been or are present in the subject vehicle.
This is done by reviewing the documents involved, inspecting the vehicle if still available, comparing the subject vehicle to the baseline value at the time of sale, and then determining a value based on all the information reviewed. This determination reflects the condition and value of the subject vehicle in the open market. This is called diminished value appraisal and allows the courts to understand how and why the complaining person has been damaged financially by the seller in getting sub-standard goods. These types of appraisals begin at $300.00 and can go up.
Incident diminished value.
Incident diminished value is used to calculate how the vehicle value has been diminished after a loss. This loss is usually caused by damage to the vehicle from an outside influence, such as a collision, flood, fire, theft, and any other type of insured coverage loss.
Assuming a perfect repair was performed to the vehicle, the fact that the vehicle history will show that the insurance company paid out thou$and$ of dollar$ to repair or otherwise correct the damage caused by an outside source will create a history and/or a condition that will follow the vehicle from cradle to grave.
This creates a financial loss to the vehicle owner or diminishment in value.
Many state laws (including Illinois) recognize this loss of value to the consumer and require that the insurance company involved compensate the insured consumer for the loss of value caused by the incident. The insurer often offers a low ball settlement to keep from spending more money on arbitrating the issue. Many consumers simply accept the payment and think that they got something for nothing. The problem is that the insurance company often undercuts the actual value by thousands of dollars, to settle out the loss for as little as possible.
Many consumers realize that they are being low balled by the insurer and demand arbitration. As a result, they must locate and utilize the services of a certified automobile appraiser, experienced in diminished value appraisal. When the arbitration of the loss is demanded, or prior to the issue being arbitrated, the insurance adjuster or claims representative usually will require a certified appraiser file a written appraisal of diminished value.
Consumer fraud inspection/appraisal.
This is a hypothetical situation.
Perhaps you have purchased a vehicle that looks good and operates fairly well for some time. Then you feel like trading the vehicle in at a different dealership for another product. The sales representative inspects and appraises the trade-in vehicle, then runs a history report.
He returns to the desk and shakes his head saying they would love to sell you a vehicle and put a deal together, but we don't want your trade-in. Surprise, surprise!
The history report he shows you clearly has your vehicle identification number (known as the vin) present at the top, proving it is your vehicle. But the problem is that the history shows that the vehicle was involved in a serious collision before you owned it, and was sold at a wholesale auto auction with a warning of frame damage present. Then the vehicle was magically rebuilt by elves that live in a tree (yeah, sure), and the dealer bought it and sold it to you.
Maybe, this was your trade-in, in another life.
The selling dealer had to know when they sold the trade-in vehicle to you that it was not a good vehicle. Perhaps they did not have a history report, but they certainly knew what the auction told them when they bought it. In my opinion, they are the gatekeepers, for the auto sales valuation and they set the sales price when you bought it.
Think this applies to you?
Call an experienced consumer fraud attorney and discuss the situation with them.
Recent incident diminished value vehicle appraisal.
Left front corner damage done to a
2008 BMW 750 li
Left front wheel gouged
The above damage cost $6,476.24 to correct. The vehicle was repaired by the local BMW dealer and the repair was done to factory specifications and to the vehicle owner's satisfaction. Below is the repaired vehicle.
Repaired 2008 BMW 750 li. Repaired to the vehicle owner's satisfaction.
The insurance company offered a whopping $330.00 for diminished value compensation. The vehicle owner refused. The repairing dealership sales manager had told the vehicle owner that the collision history would reduce the vehicle's value at trade-in by approximately $5,000.00.
Many people will simply take this offer, thinking they get a free night out. Later they find out just how many thou$and$ this collision history will cost them at trade-in time.
After incident diminished value appraisal the diminished value based on the collision history was appraised at $6,347.00 that was owed to the vehicle owner as compensation for their loss of value of the vehicle at trade-in time. Which is better, $330.00 or $6,347.00? The cost of the diminished value appraisal?—$400.00.
Many people are not aware of this valuable possible reimbursement. In Illinois, it is not widely known because the law does not make the insurers reimburse for this issue.
You may find available online websites offering diminished value appraisal reports for $89.95. these fill in the blank type appraisal forms are seldom accepted as a certified appraisal by the insurance company, who usually want a signed written appraisal from a certified appraiser, but they are cheap.
So why do they pay?
Because the massive insurance companies do not want this issue to become law. If it does, they know that they will have to pay out massive amounts of money to people that otherwise were simply ill-informed and did not know to ask for it! Insurance companies simply do not want to pay out on these claims, fearing it will become a frequent demand in states like Illinois where it has been seldom used despite good state law on the matter.