June 22, 2007

Chapter Five: The Reckoning

Well, I had a phone message from the appraiser yesterday, but it was late when I got it, and then when I got in touch with him this morning, he said he'd just called to introduce himself and that he'd looked at my humble hoopty and sent his information to the home office in Mississippi.

Who I just got off the phone with. Seems they're ready to just call it a total and be done with it. "But, but..." stammered I. Not that it helped. And not that I actually didn't expect that.

I suppose I'm satisfied with the offer --$761. As I noted yesterday, the total loss threshold in Alabama is 75% of fair retail value, and by my reckoning based on NADA that would have been somewhere around $1,300, being as charitable as possible. The values ranged from $775 for something in slightly worse condition than mine all the way to an astounding $1,800 for a museum piece. And also the price I paid for it. The value they gave me? $1,015.

Now I know noted negotiation professor Dr. Jim Smith is probably wincing that I didn't haggle about this more, seeing as how he wrote me yesterday not to be a pushover, and to get as much as I can out of them for this horror that has been visited upon me. And they pretty much came back very close to what I told Jim would be the worst case scenario--that being, offering even less money than it cost to fix it.

All his valuable negotiation skills were trumped by the fact that I really have no inclination to drag this out any longer. I've actually got someone with insurance, and the amount will cover the major part of the damage that was done, and there's still enough left over to salve my wounded pride, and I'll still have my car and be able to once again go in harm's way with it.

No, you do NOT have to take their first offer. You can present to them your own research about value, which can include what you paid for the car, and what you found that cars sell for on places such as eBay. You can request an independent mediator to decide on the value if you can't reach an agreement. You can fight as much and as long as you want.

But dang it all, I'm just glad I'm not going to be personally out $625.01. I had steeled myself for just that bit of savaging--that would have REALLY been the worst case, so I suppose it all works out.

Should have the check waiting on me next week sometime.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 22, 2007 03:12 PM

Iím not saying I would not have settled only that you should not have.

Posted by: jim at June 22, 2007 03:44 PM

You sound like...like...a consultant!

In all seriousness, I know I could have done more, but I'm just too unambitious to go through a lot of rigamarole. I have enough stressful things in my life, and I never have enjoyed the good ol' rough-and-tumble, give-and-take game. Again, I'm just glad I'm getting paid enough to cover the engine repairs and then some.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 22, 2007 04:00 PM