A Richmond repair shop was ordered to refund a near $1,000 deposit to a customer who wanted to fix her Tesla bumper.
Vulmont Enterprises Holdings Ltd., which operates as Automind Collision Repair (Richmond) on Vulcan Way, refused to refund the deposit to the customer after a disagreement over the repair estimate.
The customer, Bonan Liu, had called up Vulmont on July 12 last year to get a quote to fix her Tesla model S after it got damaged in a crash earlier in the month.
According to Liu, an employee told her it would cost $1,400 to replace the bumper. The employee, referred to as V in the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) decision, inspected the car on July 25 and asked Liu to pay $963.20 as deposit. Liu told the CRT she was not given a copy of the written estimate.
She then paid the deposit and Vulmont ordered the bumper.
However, when Liu returned to the shop at a later date to see if they were ready to fix the car, V was not there and she dealt with another employee, HS, instead.
HS told Liu it would cost $2,300 to replace the bumper instead, which surprised Liu.
When Liu asked HS to either refund the deposit or complete the repairs for $1,400, HS refused.
Liu then took Vulmont to the CRT, demanding a refund of the deposit.
Vulmont’s version of events, on the other hand, “differs significantly” from Liu’s, according to CRT member Nav Shukla.
The repair shop denied ever providing the $1,400 estimate, calling it “unheard of in this industry.” It claimed Liu agreed to the $2,369.50 estimate as well as the $963.20 deposit.
Vulmont added that the deposit is non-refundable because Liu was aware that once the bumper is painted, it can’t be returned to Tesla.
In Shukla’s decision, she noted that deposits are not non-refundable by default.
Vulmont had failed to provide evidence to show the parties agreed the deposit would be non-refundable, said Shukla, especially since it didn’t provide a statement from V, a key witness who dealt with Liu in the first place.
Vulmont’s estimate and invoice also don’t specify that any deposit paid is non-refundable, and it can’t prove that it told Liu the deposit would be non-refundable after it painted the bumper.
Furthermore, Vulmont also failed to prove it painted the bumper before Liu decided not to go ahead with the proceeds. In V’s message with Liu, V only mentioned Vulmont needed to paint the bumper first and would let Liu know when to bring her car in.
Shukla decided it was “likely” that Vulmont didn’t paint the bumper before Liu changed her mind, and Vulmont didn’t say it was unable to either return the bumper to Tesla or use it for a different job.
Vulmont was ordered to provide a full refund of $963.20 as well as pay interest and reimburse Liu’s CRT fees.