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Old 06-14-2008, 2:06 AM   #1
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HELP! Car Repair Shop Lost My Valet Key...Need Advice!

So, I was rear-ended last month, and I brought my car to one of the repair shops in the SG Valley to have it fixed (accident not my fault). I gave them both keys (master and valet) on the day I dropped off the car. Unfortunately, when I picked up my car, they only gave me back the master key. The estimator of the shop initially offered to reimburse the cost to replace the valet key. So when I emailed him back couple days later to follow up, he doesn't reply my emails. What should I do? What if some guy works there wants to steal the valet key, and then comes to my house and just take off in my car without me knowing it. Need advice !....
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Old 06-14-2008, 2:10 AM   #2
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Well...It is definitely possible, since they do have your home address. Since they don't sound like they want to replace the key, I'd get an estimate for rekeying the entire car and giving it to whoever you spoke to in person, then taking them to small claims.

Just my 2cents.
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Old 06-14-2008, 3:35 AM   #3
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damn that sucks dude... I'd just say f the valet key and install lojack on the car... lojack early warning alert... goes off when the car is moved without the driver possesing the transceiver thingy
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Old 06-14-2008, 7:47 AM   #4
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Here is what happens when you drop off the car with more than 1 key
They get seperated--
so only 1 key is attached to the id tag for that repair order.

Valet key only lets someone in the door and ignition- it has the right chip to allow the car to be driven anywhere it has enough gas for.
ALL the valet key is designed for-- is your small, personal items, basic security:
Open the glove box- hit the disable switch- that overrides the trunk release by the seat
LOCK the glovebox. Next- lock the pass thru to the trunk in the rear seatback.
Both those require the master key to operate
Put your stuff in the trunk.
Now the valet gets a key that only works the door and ignition.
Its only to prevent the ~casual thief~ from using any of the cars systems to open the trunk. Dont give them a remote or you defeated the intent!

People in body shops are very busy, email gets buried in piles of stuff to deal with every hour of every day.
A PHONE CALL- will bring you back in mind: riiiight the TL key--and they can do a quick search of a few desk and will suggest you look in places in the car- under the floor mat- drink holder- glovebox- somewhere that looked like a safe place at the time.

They have offered to replace the key, it is going to fall on you to go get one at the dealer and present an invoice to the shop. The keys are special and need to be programmed
Shops need an invoice to pay anything- they run on paperwork
With that- they cut a check and offer their sincere apology,,,

leaving 2 keys in the first place really screwed up the system ( I worked in shops-only want the key, to get in and start the car, no extra stuff on a key ring- just a key)

My suggestion would be a friendly reminder call- hey! did you guys happen to find my key on the bench or a drawer? Yes!!!- Great I will be there today.....
The actual shop floor manager-- is probably waiting for the car they cant find a key to- a car sitting on the lot- to fit this honda key he found on the floor one day.

If NO= OK I will grab one from the dealer and drop off the invoice- Do you want them to bill your account direct??
or do a reimbursment check to me? Oh you will call and tell them I am coming and give them a PO? Thanks!

Unless you went to a shady garage in the first place- they are not interested in coming to your house and snagging the car or killing you,,, in most cases---
thats why I take ice cream or donuts when I visit a shop---- and never leave your housekey---just to be safe.)

Lesson to ALL- If you drop the car for service- leave the lug nut lock-key, or special lug wrench for aftermarket wheels/lugs where the tech can access them- like the center console, NOT in the locked glovebox
If you drop the car off with valet key, the cant get in the trunk!!! Makes it much harder to work on things like brakes....
The repair shop needs the master key
The Parking Lot Valet gets the Valet Key
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Old 06-14-2008, 8:40 AM   #5
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Write a letter to the shop, send it certified return receipt requested and hand deliver a copy also. Make use you indicate in the letter that you are doing both types of deliveries. In the letter, you indicate your discussion with the shop manager (name, date and approx time of day), who promised you that the shop will pay for the replacement valet key. You also indicate that you will arrange to get such key, and that the shop must pay you upon presentation of a copy of invoice. Talk is cheap, put it in writing. Good luck.
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Old 06-14-2008, 2:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifirahse
Well...It is definitely possible, since they do have your home address. Since they don't sound like they want to replace the key, I'd get an estimate for rekeying the entire car and giving it to whoever you spoke to in person, then taking them to small claims.

Just my 2cents.
What I'm afraid is if I decide to take them to small claim court, it's going to be a "he said, she said" kind of thing. And who would the judge believe ? What would I have to do to convince the judge that I'm not a liar ?
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Old 06-14-2008, 2:21 PM   #7
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So I contacted Acura dealership, and they told me that the cost of replacing the valet key alone is about $60. But if I want to reprogram all the keys, that would run about $170. The SA also suggested that in order to totally prevent unauthorized access to my car, I need to change the lock, ignition, and keys. And this is probably over $1000 with parts and labor. I'm thinking the least I can ask the repair shop to do is replacing the valet key and reprogramming all the keys to prevent the car from being turned on, but not getting access inside. What to do ?????
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Old 06-14-2008, 2:30 PM   #8
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I just don't understand why the two keys would be separated to repair the car when in fact they are grouped together in a very tough key ring. Now, I have brought my car there to repair minor damages in the past, and I always gave them the two keys together with no incident until now. Someone must have intentionally removed it otherwise there's no way the keys can just be separated. Also, the reason I want to email them is at least there's some paper trail to document the whole ordeal. By merely talking on the phone, they can just tell me to take a hike and thus no potential accountability on their part recorded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01tl4tl
Here is what happens when you drop off the car with more than 1 key
They get seperated--
so only 1 key is attached to the id tag for that repair order.

Valet key only lets someone in the door and ignition- it has the right chip to allow the car to be driven anywhere it has enough gas for.
ALL the valet key is designed for-- is your small, personal items, basic security:
Open the glove box- hit the disable switch- that overrides the trunk release by the seat
LOCK the glovebox. Next- lock the pass thru to the trunk in the rear seatback.
Both those require the master key to operate
Put your stuff in the trunk.
Now the valet gets a key that only works the door and ignition.
Its only to prevent the ~casual thief~ from using any of the cars systems to open the trunk. Dont give them a remote or you defeated the intent!

People in body shops are very busy, email gets buried in piles of stuff to deal with every hour of every day.
A PHONE CALL- will bring you back in mind: riiiight the TL key--and they can do a quick search of a few desk and will suggest you look in places in the car- under the floor mat- drink holder- glovebox- somewhere that looked like a safe place at the time.

They have offered to replace the key, it is going to fall on you to go get one at the dealer and present an invoice to the shop. The keys are special and need to be programmed
Shops need an invoice to pay anything- they run on paperwork
With that- they cut a check and offer their sincere apology,,,

leaving 2 keys in the first place really screwed up the system ( I worked in shops-only want the key, to get in and start the car, no extra stuff on a key ring- just a key)

My suggestion would be a friendly reminder call- hey! did you guys happen to find my key on the bench or a drawer? Yes!!!- Great I will be there today.....
The actual shop floor manager-- is probably waiting for the car they cant find a key to- a car sitting on the lot- to fit this honda key he found on the floor one day.

If NO= OK I will grab one from the dealer and drop off the invoice- Do you want them to bill your account direct??
or do a reimbursment check to me? Oh you will call and tell them I am coming and give them a PO? Thanks!

Unless you went to a shady garage in the first place- they are not interested in coming to your house and snagging the car or killing you,,, in most cases---
thats why I take ice cream or donuts when I visit a shop---- and never leave your housekey---just to be safe.)

Lesson to ALL- If you drop the car for service- leave the lug nut lock-key, or special lug wrench for aftermarket wheels/lugs where the tech can access them- like the center console, NOT in the locked glovebox
If you drop the car off with valet key, the cant get in the trunk!!! Makes it much harder to work on things like brakes....
The repair shop needs the master key
The Parking Lot Valet gets the Valet Key
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Old 06-14-2008, 5:52 PM   #9
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omg- this is a simple thing- why make a big deal out of it!!
just go in person and see the manager- remind them of whats going on.
They found an acura key that cant identify, or its lost and gone with the garbage weeks ago.
The manager can call over to the dealer- where they have an account for parts - and give them a purchase order number- they do this with every part they buy. Then it gets charged back on the internal invoice for your repair- taken off its profit.

Heres a thought
Ask them- in person- to pull the work order file- maybe there is a key sitting in the folder for the car????
And check the key board- for a mystery key
As a former shop employee- I know many reasons to put only 1 key on the small plastic tag that has the invoice # on it. A manager will do it to keep the sheer bulk of the key storage box down~ Heavy duty key ring? so? welded shut??? How do you get the valet key off to use it anyway?
Have you searched the car for the valet key? really looked for it-- under the mats and such?

Of course the dealer wants to make a big deal out of it. MONEYYYYYYY
If anyone wants your car- its gone!!! A key in hand has nothing to do with it!
Exception:
Dont leave a key in the ignition while you run inside- thats inviting the casual thief to take it for a ride to wherever they are headed.
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Old 06-15-2008, 7:39 PM   #10
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I'm curious as to whether the other party's insurance company from the original accident might be obligated to cover the cost of an entire re-keying.

It is their responsibility to make you "whole" once again, and if there is now the potential for your $1000 out-of-pocket expense due to the bodyshop's negligence, I can't see why they wouldn't have to cover it as part of the repair.
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Old 06-15-2008, 8:46 PM   #11
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i would have the current keys that you DO have reprogrammed to the car and the valet key removed........
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Old 06-15-2008, 9:12 PM   #12
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The valet key can electronically be removed so that the car wont start but it still wont prevent someone from being able to enter the car. Only way aound that is to buy and install a master key/lock set and install it which sux donley balls. I have done in a bunch of times and there are lock cylinders all over the place. I dont think I would worry too much about it. Delete the key and call it a day. The only thing keeping somone out of your car now is a piece of glass about 1/4" thick...............
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Old 06-16-2008, 8:16 AM   #13
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yup id bring them to court to pay for all the locks to be changed on the car.
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Old 06-16-2008, 9:47 AM   #14
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Have the locks on the car changed yielding all new keys & keycodes and make the body shop PAY! The last person I know this happened to had a really nice customized van where the key was 'lost' by a transmission shop. The van mysteriously disappeared from in front of his house one night about a week later and was NEVER seen again.

You should have only given them the valet key without the fob in the 1st place.
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Old 06-16-2008, 2:39 PM   #15
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Here's the thing, it would be a simple thing if they take responsiblity and do the right thing by quickly reimburse my cost to replace the valet key. Trust me, I'm trying to work with them as civilized as possible, and law suit would be my last resort. Unfortunately, by judging from their response (which is no response at all), I'm starting to think they don't have business ethic at all. And if anyone were to be in my position right now, it would definately be a BIG DEAL because nobody knows for a fact that if someone at the repair shop has intention to steal my car later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01tl4tl
omg- this is a simple thing- why make a big deal out of it!!
just go in person and see the manager- remind them of whats going on.
They found an acura key that cant identify, or its lost and gone with the garbage weeks ago.
The manager can call over to the dealer- where they have an account for parts - and give them a purchase order number- they do this with every part they buy. Then it gets charged back on the internal invoice for your repair- taken off its profit.

Heres a thought
Ask them- in person- to pull the work order file- maybe there is a key sitting in the folder for the car????
And check the key board- for a mystery key
As a former shop employee- I know many reasons to put only 1 key on the small plastic tag that has the invoice # on it. A manager will do it to keep the sheer bulk of the key storage box down~ Heavy duty key ring? so? welded shut??? How do you get the valet key off to use it anyway?
Have you searched the car for the valet key? really looked for it-- under the mats and such?

Of course the dealer wants to make a big deal out of it. MONEYYYYYYY
If anyone wants your car- its gone!!! A key in hand has nothing to do with it!
Exception:
Dont leave a key in the ignition while you run inside- thats inviting the casual thief to take it for a ride to wherever they are headed.
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Old 06-16-2008, 2:54 PM   #16
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do you have theft insurance?
if your car ever disappears- tell the cops about the key incident so they can look at the shops people. Beyond that- it has the same odds of beng stolen as any other TL.
Get an anti theft device that goes from the brake pedal to the steering wheel.
That will keep the casual thief away.
Professional thieves that are grabbing a car like the TL- have trucks just like the repo guys-with the hidden tow hook in the bed- and the rollers that slip around the wheels...
Like I said before- if someone wants your car- its gone

From their viewpoint- the offer was made to replace the key right?
And if you would go in person and try the steps I suggested- given to you from my insider viewpoint-
More email is not going to fix the problem- go in person or pick up the phone
Put the human element back into it.
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Old 06-16-2008, 3:17 PM   #17
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$170 is nothing (even if you eat it). If you are worried, get the new valet key, have them reprogram all of the keys (rendering the lost key useless except for entry into vehicle, where nobody should store valuables anyhow) and then you are set. After all that, take the bill by and TALK TO THEM to get your reimbursement. If somebody REALLY wants your car, nothing you can do will stop them.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01tl4tl
do you have theft insurance?
if your car ever disappears- tell the cops about the key incident so they can look at the shops people. Beyond that- it has the same odds of beng stolen as any other TL.
Get an anti theft device that goes from the brake pedal to the steering wheel.
That will keep the casual thief away.
Professional thieves that are grabbing a car like the TL- have trucks just like the repo guys-with the hidden tow hook in the bed- and the rollers that slip around the wheels...
Like I said before- if someone wants your car- its gone

From their viewpoint- the offer was made to replace the key right?
And if you would go in person and try the steps I suggested- given to you from my insider viewpoint-
More email is not going to fix the problem- go in person or pick up the phone
Put the human element back into it.
He definitely needs to pay a visit to the shop and handle this face to face. But given how difficult it is to remove the key, it was removed for reasons other than to save space so the key would fit on their RO board. If it was an issue to begin with the shop would never have let him leave it in the first place. Many shops I have dealt with wont even take extra keys on the ring for liability reasons. And if they did remove it legitimately, they would have placed it in a safe place or had him come and pick it up - given the importance and theft issues.
Bottom line, if he returns and they do not produce the key - I would have very little doubt it was taken for none other than devious reasons. The only difference between this and leaving the keys in the car running is the car isn't running. Insurance wont cover his losses if the car is stolen either. Gap insurance would help but still not cover the cost of replacement unless he's upside down to the max. Nothing like living with the knowledge that your car key is out there in the hands of a most likely thief - not to mention they also have your home address...

If the key is gone, at a min I would re-key the door, replace the valet and recode both. Worse case you then have a valet and a door key on one ring and your fob/master and a door key on another etc.. I have yet to use a key in the door in 4+ yrs thus the ramifications of having a separate/different door key would be minimal to me, personally.

Obviously I hope the key is found and returned. I'm not one to think and spread doom and gloom but no way in hell would I feel this was a simple case of the shop innocently loosing my key...
-Change the door lock to keep them out, re-code to keep them from starting the car if they get in... Sleep better

Best of luck OP.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:14 PM
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