Temporarily a One Car Family

January 13th, 2007 by Potato

It’s hard to think of a good introduction to this sort of news, so instead I’ll just get into the nitty-gritty: 3 cars were stolen out of our driveway this morning.

The thieves broke into the house through the side door, took the car keys off the hall table, and just drove off into the night. They didn’t touch anything else in the house, not even my dad’s wallet which was also on the hall table, which sort of indicates that this is a pretty professional operation. The bulldog was asleep on the couch downstairs, not 10 feet from the table and never made a sound. I think she’s fired from guard dog duties now.

So, as we woke up and looked outside this morning, the driveway was empty. Gone was my brother’s ’03 Accord, my dad’s ’04 Mercedes sedan (a nice one), and my mom’s brand new ’06 Mercedes SUV. My car was still there, thanks in part to being shitty, and thanks in part to the fact that I never leave my keys on the hall table. I wonder if some of the other cars would have been spared if we had left my car closer to the street like it usually is (my mom was planning on driving somewhere first thing in the morning and so we swapped cars around just before bed).

The police came shortly after we called, but didn’t find anything useful around the hall table or back door. We went through the process of giving descriptions of the cars and their contents, then tried to call Mercedes to activate the GPS tracking on my dad’s car. That was a complete farce. First, we tried calling the dealership, but they were closed. Then we called the roadside assistance number, and they told us that the tracking would be done through the dealership and they couldn’t help us. We told them that time was of the essence and the dealership was closed, so they gave us another number to try, which just had a recording that business hours are monday to friday, 9 am to 5 pm…

We let the police try after that, and they managed to get someone else (I think it was at the dealership and it was just getting close enough to 10 am that someone was there to pick up). This person was also somewhat useless, needing both my dad’s security word (which was set 2 years ago and tough to remember) as well as a police case number. The officer told him that we didn’t have a case number yet and gave him her name and precinct #, but it wasn’t good enough, so she had to call back to the station to get them to open an empty case report for us (I gather that typically the report is only opened after the cops get back to the station with our statements). “Useless.” she said “Just useless.” We then had a discussion of how such a high-end car company could have such terrible service. Their website wasn’t really any help either (it didn’t even have a search box!)

We still haven’t heard back from them if they found it or not (and going on 5 hours now), so I suspect that we won’t ever see that car again. My dad made a good point: Mercedes has a bit of a vested interest in not recovering the car since if it’s gone it amounts to a sale of a new car on insurance replacement (and as much of a piss-off as this is, and as much as I try to steer my parents towards a more sensible car, they’re already looking for which Mercedes they want to get to replace it).

At this point I’d like to give out the number the police called, in case it helps other Mercedes drivers in the future (not that any of them read my site): 1-800-750-9018 (I can’t quite read her handwriting, it may be 1-800-756-9018). The (useless) operator she spoke to was #8070, though she didn’t give me her name. (I asked her for all this information so I could write a nasty letter to Mercedes, which will basically be a cut & paste of this entry).

Then it was time to call the insurance company (also in the hopes that they would have contacts at Mercedes to light a fire under their asses about tracking the cars). They were also pretty useless. Chubb not only couldn’t tell us how long it might be before we could look at getting replacement cars (whether we would have to wait until they were gone for 2 weeks, or if the police report indicating it was professional and we probably wouldn’t see them again would be enough to start shopping on Monday)… not only that, but they also couldn’t tell us if we were covered at all, so we’d have to wait until Monday to find out. My dad knows that we are covered to some degree, but he doesn’t know if only the market/depreciated value of the cars is covered, or if their new value or replacement value is. He knows that he upgraded to new coverage for the new year that had more than replacement costs (purchase value plus an allowance for a rental car and to cover taxes, etc), but that policy won’t take effect until January 25. They did say it was unbelieveable that 3 cars were stolen at once like that (5 thefts in a year if you count my car going missing twice — I should start a new category for car theft here). At least we were told that they would cover a rental car for over a week, so my parents have a Jeep Cherokee for the next little while. (My dad’s review: “It drives like a North American piece of shit.”)

Anyhow, I don’t really know what else to say at this time. We’re all safe and alive (and were actually going to have a celebration dinner for my dad, since he got his CT results yesterday and doesn’t have a cancer relapse), though the stress has kind of wiped us out for the moment. My car is still here, and as much as I keep offering it to my parents to use for the rest of the week, they keep insisting that I can’t get back to London without it (there are trains). It was a bit of a pain of the butt trying to book a rental car for them, since there wasn’t anything available at the Discount close to us, so I booked one at Yorkdale. My dad blew up at me when I told him, saying it was too bloody far to go to rent a car, even though he wanted to then drive straight to the cottage to see if his insurance policy was there, and even though it’s the second-closest location to us. I ended up cancelling the reservation and we went with Budget, who we’ve had problems with in the past, but at least they’re closer. (I don’t know why closer matters though, since it’s not like my dad is going to walk there).

One Response to “Temporarily a One Car Family”

  1. Ben Says:

    Damn, that is pretty unbelievable man! I am pretty amazed and disgusted at the Mercedes customer service too! I hope everything works out OK with the insurance company.