MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man is speaking out after he says his car is being held hostage for thousands of dollars.
Eric Barry’s new Chevrolet Bolt sustained heavy damage in an August hail storm. He then brought his car to a repair shop in Minneapolis.
“My insurance adjuster went there and called me and said, ‘I see some red flags here,’ and after that, I decided to go get my car from them. Changed my mind,” Barry said.
But Barry didn’t get his car. He says the company wouldn’t release it without some exorbitant fees.
“It started around $2,000. Since then, it’s escalated because, per day of storage, it’s hundreds of dollars more. So now they’re asking closer to $10,000,” Barry said.
Barry says he’s been to the parking lot two or three times to confront the business about getting his car back, but it’s still sitting there.
“I want to protect other people like me, folks that haven’t done this before, folks that are vulnerable to the insurance claim process,” he said.
In hindsight, Barry says there were warning signs, such as ads that the business would pay his deductible, contracts to sign when he walked in the door and not accepting credit cards or checks.
“They’re really preying on people that don’t know how the process works,” he said.
WCCO left several phone and email messages for the company, but they’re not typically open on Sunday and didn’t immediately hear back. WCCO is not naming them for that reason.
Some tips from the Better Business Bureau to avoid scams include working with companies recommended by your insurance carrier and always getting everything in writing.
“I would like my vehicle returned back to me,” Barry said. “If they’re doing something illegal, I’d like them to be held accountable. If they’re doing something predatory, I’d like them to be held accountable.”
Barry says he called the police, but they told him the problem was a civil matter. He’s also reached out to the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.