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  1. #1
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    New Car Damaged by Leakage from New Bottle of Olympic Deck Cleaner

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Connecticut

    This concerns damage to my 5-mo old Toyota SUV from leakage from a new, "sealed" bottle of Olympic Deck Cleaner. The manufacturer (PPG) is willing to pay for damage based on an incompletely transcribed repair estimate. The revised (complete) estimate is 3 times greater than the original.

    Details:
    I got a 2 1/2 gal bottle of Olympic Deck Cleaner at Lowes. The bottle dimensions are 22" tall by 9" wide by 5 1/2" deep (i.e., high center of gravity). The Olympic District Rep was in the store at the time. He checked the bottle to make sure the cap was screwed on tight, and put it in my shopping cart. He did not warn me that the product contained sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide and should be kept upright. Because there was nothing in my car that would keep it from falling over when I made turns, and I was afraid it would fall onto the light bulbs I had also bought, I laid it down on the rubber cargo mat. Minutes later, while exiting Lowes parking lot, I smelled bleach and saw that the bottle was leaking. I drove back to Lowes, righted the bottle, and summoned the District Rep, who came out with water and towels, hosed down the cargo mat, and soaked the carpet where it had spilled. The strong bleach fumes did not go away, though I left the car with open windows and doors for the next few days.

    Upon investigation, I discovered severe rust on car parts below the carpet where the solution had spilled. I notified the District Rep and sent him photos of the rust damage, and he advised me to contact PPG to open a case. I did so, and PPG tech support told me to get a repair estimate. A second tech rep at PPG told me that the bottles leak because the caps are "breathable," to prevent explosions. She said PPG is currently discussing ways of training Lowes employees to tell purchasers about the importance of keeping the bottle upright, because it is not sealed tightly. I suggested a warning in a large banner on the front of the bottle, and she agreed that was a good idea.

    PPG's willingness to request an estimate suggested to me that I was not the first person to suffer damage from a similar spill.

    I submitted an estimate from a Toyota dealer to PPG, and then was asked to get a second estimate from another facility. The second estimate was 3 times greater than the first. The second estimator said the first estimator had not written up all the damage. I went back to the first estimator (Toyota), and spoke with the General Mgr and estimator, who revised his estimate to include all the damage, along with a cover letter admitting his error in not writing up the full damage he had observed initially, due to a transcription omission from his notes.

    PPG agreed to pay the amount of the first estimate, which covers less than 1/3 of the damage, and wants me so sign off on a liability release. They say the damage is my fault, because on the back of the bottle, halfway down the 2-column instructions, in tiny type under Storage and Disposal, it says to keep the container upright, and I did not.

    The Toyota dealer will not accept responsibility for the initial incomplete estimate, and refuses to cover the balance of the full repair beyond what PPG pays.

    I have not reported this incident to my insurance company, because I don't want to risk a premium increase.

    My options seem to be to 1) accept PPGs offer and pay the rest out of pocket, 2) inform my insurance company, 3) take PPG to small claims court (Total Amount was less than $5,000), or 4) file a small claims action action against Lynch Toyota.

    My questions:
    1) Could the insurance company subrogate under these circumstances, so I would not be held responsible for a deductible nor get my premium raised? The premium increase would likely amount to more than my share of the cost of repairing the car.
    2) If I file against PPG in small claims court, would PPG win because of the tiny warning on the back of the bottle to store the container upright, even with no mention of transporting it, and even absent cautionary advice from the Olympic District Rep who checked the bottle top and put the container in my shopping cart?
    3) Does Lynch Toyota have any responsibility for the bad estimate? I believe that PPG would have paid the full amount if the initial estimate had been written to include all the observed damage (documented in the photos I earlier submitted to PPG)?

    Thank you.


  2. #2
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    I'd say you are lucky they are paying anything at all.


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by careibo View Post
    My questions:
    1) Could the insurance company subrogate under these circumstances, so I would not be held responsible for a deductible nor get my premium raised? The premium increase would likely amount to more than my share of the cost of repairing the car.
    2) If I file against PPG in small claims court, would PPG win because of the tiny warning on the back of the bottle to store the container upright, even with no mention of transporting it, and even absent cautionary advice from the Olympic District Rep who checked the bottle top and put the container in my shopping cart?
    3) Does Lynch Toyota have any responsibility for the bad estimate? I believe that PPG would have paid the full amount if the initial estimate had been written to include all the observed damage (documented in the photos I earlier submitted to PPG)?

    Thank you.
    1) Yes, they can subrogate. I doubt you'll get your deductible back because I don't see that the manufacturer is responsible for your failure to adhere to the directions and warning on the label, nor are they responsible for your failure of common sense (when you laid the bottle on its side for transportation.)
    2) I believe that PPG has an excellent chance of prevailing for the same reasons listed in (1) above.
    3) No, the Toyota dealership is not responsible. PPG wouldn't have paid the full estimate, because their initial offer was made because it was cheaper for them to simply pay you than to litigate.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PayrollHRGuy View Post
    I'd say you are lucky they are paying anything at all.
    Yeah, that


  5. #5
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    They say the damage is my fault, because on the back of the bottle, halfway down the 2-column instructions, in tiny type under Storage and Disposal, it says to keep the container upright, and I did not.
    I wouldn't pay you a nickel.


  6. #6
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    I can't imagine this as a situation that your insurance would cover, either. It's not in the scope of auto insurance coverage, even comprehensive.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    1) Yes, they can subrogate. I doubt you'll get your deductible back because I don't see that the manufacturer is responsible for your failure to adhere to the directions and warning on the label, nor are they responsible for your failure of common sense (when you laid the bottle on its side for transportation.)
    2) I believe that PPG has an excellent chance of prevailing for the same reasons listed in (1) above.
    3) No, the Toyota dealership is not responsible. PPG wouldn't have paid the full estimate, because their initial offer was made because it was cheaper for them to simply pay you than to litigate.
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I take issue with your "common sense" comment, however. There was no way to secure the bottle, which surely would have fallen over in transit. (Even gallon bottles of milk roll over on the floor of the car.) And why didn't the company's district rep warn me that these bottles have no inner seal and will always leak? Had I known that, I would have made arrangements to transport it in a truck surrounded by cinder blocks, not in my new car.

    The snarky responses by others are neither helpful nor informative.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by careibo View Post
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I take issue with your "common sense" comment, however. There was no way to secure the bottle, which surely would have fallen over in transit. (Even gallon bottles of milk roll over on the floor of the car.) And why didn't the company's district rep warn me that these bottles have no inner seal and will always leak? Had I known that, I would have made arrangements to transport it in a truck surrounded by cinder blocks, not in my new car.

    The snarky responses by others are neither helpful nor informative.
    You could have put a crate in the back of your car to hold such items. So yeah, you didn't use common sense. You were the idiot that made a bad a decision resulting in damage to your car.


    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

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  9. #9
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    Citing a lack of warning by various parties resulting in you laying the jug on itís side, hmmm.

    Do you lay jugs on their side at your home? Do you Store milk on its side in the refrigerator? Gallons of bleach on their side on the shelf in your laundry room? I bet not and ya want to know why? Common sense says donít lay jugs of liquids on their sides.


    As to your damages; Iím extremely curious as to what they are. You speak of rust. While the products involved will cause oxidation (rust), unless you allowed the chemicals to remain for an extended period of time it would, at most, cause some surface rust- repair: cleaning, prepping, and repainting the area. Give. Itís under the carpet it can be applied with a brush or roller.

    One thing you didnít ever mention. Maybe it is an issue but you felt the rust more important but the biggest expense would likely be the carpet. It would be trashed...melted wherever the bleach contacted it. Thatís what bleach does to car carpeting yet you didnít mention that. Since there is a single piece of molded carpet that covers the entire front section of the passenger cabin, that wouldnít be cheap to replace yet you zeroed in on the rust; just seemed a bit odd to me.

    So, how much in damages are you talking about?


  10. #10
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    I thought the purpose of this forum was to provide opinions from legal experts. Clearly, this is not the case. With the exception of one respondent, the contributors to this thread appear to get off on being rude and insulting. I hope your commentaries make you feel superior, and boost your self esteem, which clearly is lacking. People with high self esteem do not degrade or ridicule others. Good bye, and thanks for nothing.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by careibo View Post
    I thought the purpose of this forum was to provide opinions from legal experts. Clearly, this is not the case. With the exception of one respondent, the contributors to this thread appear to get off on being rude and insulting. I hope your commentaries make you feel superior, and boost your self esteem, which clearly is lacking. People with high self esteem do not degrade or ridicule others. Good bye, and thanks for nothing.
    Some folks simply don't like to find out they didn't hit the lawsuit lottery.


  12. #12
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    ADjusterjack was in insurance claims for decades....consider his comments well.

    BIrd in hand is worth 2 in bush ...and consider yourself very lucky with that. .


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