You’ve probably heard, that catalytic converter thefts are happening all over the place right now. One viewer contacted us after her converter was stolen while her vehicle was at a repair shop. She wants to know who is responsible.
Sharon says her catalytic converter and many others were stolen while her truck was at a local body shop for repair.
She writes: “The body shop is asking the victims to make the claim on their insurance. Shouldn’t the shop bear the full liability and replace the catalytic converter with no cost to the victims? I was told that the shop’s insurance company has denied their claim.”
Answer: It can cost thousands of dollars to replace a catalytic converter, so we get why you want the shop to help. Consumer law expert Ryan Marquez tells us he says when you leave a vehicle with a repair shop there is a bailor/ bailee relationship created.
“The repair shop-bailee has the responsibility to exercise reasonable or ordinary care with the property i.e. the car. So, in other words, it would depend on the facts of the specific situation if this occurred on whether the repair shop would be liable. There is likely a presumption that the repair shop is liable but if they can show they demonstrated reasonable or ordinary care to the cars, then they might not be liable. To do that analysis many more facts would be necessary.”
If you can prove they left your vehicle unsecured with no protection from thieves they are liable for the damages. You should file a police report either way. And if you have evidence that they did not exercise reasonable care for your vehicle you should also file a claim with their insurance company. Here’s more about the repair shop laws in Texas.
What if the shop won’t tell me who their insurance company is?
We’ve heard of this happening before. The repair shop won’t say who their insurance company is. If they won’t tell you who their insurance company is you should send a certified letter to the corporate office and the registered agent on file for the company. You could also file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office.
The Houston Bar Association can answer questions like this during its “legal line” on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. It’s free to call and get advice. You set up an appointment online and they will call you back. You can also email LegalLine@hba.org and someone will respond within 48 hours.