Who's liable for damage to your car in auto shop's possession?

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A single Phoenix mom says she left her car overnight at a Firestone car care center, it was destroyed by vandals, and now the business is claiming they're not liable.

Attorneys tell CBS 5 News that once a business takes care, custody and control of your vehicle, the business is responsible for its safety. It doesn't even matter if the business took reasonable care to keep your car safe. If it's damaged on their watch; they're liable.

"His exact words were 'oh, my bad,'" Danitra Dillon said.

That was the extent of the apology Danitra Dillon says she got from the Firestone auto center at 51st Avenue and Baseline in Laveen after she left her car with them overnight for service. Firestone employees didn't move it a few feet inside their secured garage; they left it outside.

"I've left my car overnight at many repair shops and I've never even thought or imagined that something like this would ever happen," Dillon said.

Overnight, vandals cut loose; smashing windows, crushing doors and what belongings they didn't steal were strewn everywhere.

"All of my daughter's clothes laying [sic] all over the place, it just looked like a tornado had ran [sic] through my car," Dillon said.

Dillon says a location supervisor just handed her back her keys and said, "We're not liable," When she called Bridgestone Firestone corporate she says they told her the same thing; even though her car was in their custody, they weren't liable.

"What do you mean you're not liable? Show me some information, show me a policy, give me some type of documentation, 'I can't do that, I don't have that,'" Dillon said.

Dillon's insurance covered the damage but her car was totaled and she's out her $750 deductible so she doesn't have money to buy another car. Right now, her mom takes her back and forth to work. She wants Firestone to accept their responsibility.

"Do right by me and at least cover the deductible, something, because I no longer have a car," Dillon said.

In situations like this, you should get insurance information from the auto care center and contact their insurance company to file a claim. If the business won't provide the information, ask your own insurance company to contact the auto care center to get it.

Bridgestone's insurer should have paid for the entire loss; not Dillon's, but after CBS 5 News got involved, both sides decided to settle. Dillion says Bridgestone offered $1250 to cover her deductible and lost personal items and she accepted. CBS 5 News thanks Bridgestone for resolving this matter in the appropriate fashion.

Remember, if a business has care, custody and control of your vehicle, they should pay for any damages to it; not you.

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