13th Aug 2010: It was just another Friday morning and I was getting ready for the day’s work at office. Before I could sip my cappuccino, a guard came over to the 4th floor asking me if my car has the particular number. I replied in the affirmative, and what came was devastating. He mentioned that a truck backed up at a parking lot breaking my rear glass. I didn’t quite understand what rear glass meant, but when I went to the parking place – the one under the tree shade and I had a rude awakening, for I saw this: The culprit truck stood meters away.
It was the first time I had heard of an accident at the parking lot. And it was my car’s first: at least the first I had to witness. I reprimanded the driver for the damage, he seemed cool when I suggested making an FIR. I was fuming and shivering at the situation, for I didn’t know how I could treat the situation. I came to know that the truck at the factory stores, whose officer I incidentally knew. Some coaxing later, the transporter came over to the phone giving me the assurance that he would settle whatever bill I had to settle. The stores guy assured me that he will enter a debit note for the transporter in case I didn’t get paid.
All said, I decided to take the car to a MASS. Google maps took me to Autokraft, an A grade MASS at Behala Industrial area, not far from my office. They agreed to fix it and take care of the vehicle, and even gave me an estimate of 4700 (without the denting / painting activity, which was a small one). I was ok with it, since the transporter would pay anyway. I was promised a date of Monday, 16th Aug by a guy who said it was his last day at the MASS. Who says attrition is only in IT?
Things changed in the evening, when the transporter directed me to another agent, who pleaded with me to settle this with a smaller amount, as the truck owner had refused to make any payment, to the extent of ‘do whatever you can with the driver, I don’t care’. While I was trying to understand the nexus of transport provider, I was told that the company wouldn’t allow the truck to move out of the premises till a mutual settlement is reached.
It was only the next day (Saturday), that the truck got released. The transporter had cut a deal of some2500 INR. I was feeling shortchanged on one hand, and feeling bad for the driver at the other, since the driver would be made to pay the amount. The transporter also said that he would give me ‘something’ to compensate.
Monday brought its own set of shocks. On enquiring at MASS, I was told that the parts are far from available, and they have been able to do absolutely NOTHING. I was not impressed, and asked the guy if I could take it away now, and even claim insurance (since it was 3 days old). The guy seemed pleased with the idea and even offered to cover the wreck with a polythene, so that broken glass wouldn’t be visible on the road.
Meanwhile, my dad enquired with the Auto Scan, a MASS near my home whom I trust, and came to know that the glass was in stock. I was happy with the idea of taking it away and angry at Autokraft for their attitude. It appeared that they had no interest in repairing my car, and wanted to get rid of it since it was occupying a covered space in their premises.
Then I found myself taking the car 20km away to my trusted MASS. I had to cross the city from south to north in the afternoon, when I couldn’t open the windows completely, for more glass would fall off. Drenched from head to toe, I deposited my baby to Auto Scan by 4 pm. I was immediately attended to, they confirmed that the glass was in stock and that they could even claim insurance. Only that I had to state a story that I was at a signal and a truck hit me from behind at a traffic signal. I submitted photo copies of the documents required (smart card, driving licence, insurance and road tax) with them and they promised they would take care. The expected delivery date: Thursday or Saturday to the max. I didn’t mind leaving the car with them, since they were known to us. I took the opportunity to get my car serviced for 20000 km (which was due anyway)
I got a call the next day from the insurance surveyor, who seemed amazed how only the glass could get damaged by a truck, there should have been some dents too. I told him that indeed there are, and the damage was caused by some pointed object in the front of the truck. He seemed convinced. Later the service guy told me that he had made one ‘additional’ dent to further convinced the surveyor, and he had agreed to for denting / painting and the rear left lamp assembly as well. Now this was music to my ears.
On Thursday, I enquired about the vehicle and was told that the glass fitting is complete and it is taking more time to dry due to the bad weather. I left this to the rain Gods, and decided to pick up the vehicle on Saturday itself, so that I could ensure that the car gets a good servicing as well.
True to their promise, they delivered the car at 1pm on Saturday, 21 August with a servicing bill of 2024 INR and accidental bill of 2025 INR. I thought that the transporter would be delighted to see this amount, less than the last amount he had agreed to pay. I must appreciate Auto Scan’s efforts in ensuring that my car gets the best treatment and would always recommend them.
I still haven’t got my 2025, but promises that it would be done soon. Not that I am too bothered, I can easily involve higher management if things get ugly!
While the transporter and agent were haggling over the damage compensation, I realized that they can never compensate for the troubles.
• My time (nearly 2 working days lost)
• My colleagues’ time
• Trouble I faced during I was without car (lost the flexibility a car provides)
• Had to lug my laptop bag travelling to and from office.
On the flip side, I also learnt a few things
• The procedure to claim insurance
• The nexus between the transporter and the various agents running the logistics business
• The cooperation of my client’s management, colleagues and security (they were very nice to me)
• The metro and autos are too fast.
• Found a nice eating joint near Kalighat metro station.
• Realized how people travel long distances in public transport.