Valet so low: Disney helps end mickey mouse of dent incident
Updated: July 25, 2012 5:45PM
Dear Fixer: We have vacationed at Walt Disney World Resort for the past 30 years. We have chosen Disney for the fabulous service, the magic that our kids experience and for just a great place to be night and day. But on our last trip, I have never been treated to such horrible customer service.
We checked into the Grand Floridian on June 4 and had our Buick Enclave valet-parked.
On June 6, we left the Grand Floridian at 9:15 a.m. to attend a breakfast at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We received our car from the valet and it was fine.
We proceeded to Animal Kingdom Lodge and valet-parked our car with them at 9:40 a.m. When we returned at 11 a.m. to the valet desk, our car was brought to us with damage on the rear passenger side.
We brought this to the attention of the manager. We were told by several valet workers that “this could not have been done by our valet.” However, there was no damage when we left the Grand Floridian that morning.
A shift supervisor took down our information, took a picture of the damage with her cell phone and gave us a phone number to call in 48 hours.
When we returned to the Grand Floridian, we spoke to the manager of the valet services there and told him what happened. He was extremely helpful, and had me write what happened in a statement and gave me a claim number.
Days passed and we could not reach anyone at the claims phone number, despite leaving multiple messages. We also called Animal Kingdom Lodge and spoke with a manager, who assured us it would be rectified and that he would call us back. That has not occurred.
While we were waiting for a call back, we received a letter from Bags and Cars Inc., the valet service. They said they were denying the claim because we didn’t report the damage until after we left the property (which is not true) and because the car had prior damage (also not true).
We understand that Walt Disney World uses contractors for valet service and that the valet company is responsible for the follow-up. Nevertheless, this happened at Walt Disney World, where there must be some accountability to the guests.
We did not ask for this to happen on our vacation, nor did we want to come home to deal with this. This is really unfair. It is also rude and disrespectful to not have phone calls returned.
Dear Dawn: You told us your family loves Disney so much, you sometime go see the Mouse two or three times a year! That’s why you were especially disheartened to have your claim summarily rejected.
It seemed unlikely that with five people in your group entering and exiting the car that anyone could have missed the obvious scrapes and dents on the back passenger side that you showed The Fixer in photos of the damage.
We took this to Disney’s PR team to see what they could do. They worked a little magic with Bags and Cars, imploring them to somehow compensate you, even though the valet service maintains there was no proof they damaged your car. After a couple weeks, the valet service agreed to pay you $2,141.44, which is the estimate your auto body shop gave, to compensate you for the customer service hassles. You said you’ll agree to not pursue further action.
Watch out for this
A side note to that valet story: Last summer, The Fixer Family piled into our minivan and drove to New York City. We decided to leave the minivan in a garage, since we didn’t need it in Manhattan. Mr. Fixer dropped it off and got a receipt from the valet.
An hour later, we were sitting in Washington Square Park enjoying the afternoon, when he pulled the receipt out of his pocket. On the back was a generic diagram of a vehicle. The valet had covered every spot on the picture with little Xs — to indicate that there was prior damage all over the van.
There wasn’t any prior damage, of course, but the valet sure had covered his butt in case there was later.
Fixer reader Thomas ran into a problem when he and his 25-year-old son tried to buy a used car. They found a car for $4,800 and the dealer said the son was approved with a down payment of $500.
Then their “misery” began, Thomas wrote to The Fixer.
First, the dealer slipped in an extended warranty and roadside service plan, which added $50 to the son’s monthly payment. Luckily, Thomas caught the add-ons and got them removed before his son signed any papers.
His son drove the car home, and everything was hunky-dory until two weeks later, when the finance department called, wanting more documents. A few days later, the family got another call, saying Thomas needed to co-sign or the loan wouldn’t be approved.
Thomas agreed — “against my better judgment.” The car dealership then made 37 inquiries on Thomas’s credit file and 33 on his son’s in a failed attempt to get financing for the car.
“My credit score has gone down by 135 points,” Thomas wrote. He’s trying to rectify this but said it has been a huge hassle.
For anyone else in the market for a car, save yourself some trouble by first checking with your credit union or local community bank to see whether you qualify for a loan. That will put you on solid ground when working with the dealer.