A couple of days ago, I noticed someone had clipped my car in the underground carpark at work. I work as a consultant in the building of a client. The carpark is available only for the client's employees and their consultants (like me); it is not a public carpark.

There was no note, and I have received no word since the car was damaged. I have no water-proof way of identifying who actually did it, since there are no cameras or witnesses. The carpark holds about 50 vehicles. I looked around a bit and found multiple cars that have somewhat matching damage. I might add that not all cars are actually there at any given moment.

This is a company car, so the insurance is pretty good. However, when you can't identify a third party, you need to pay a contribution. My pay will be docked for part of this damage if I cannot identify someone else who is responsible.

It seems my choices are to pay the cost or ask my client to conduct an investigation. The former costs me money; the latter could annoy my client. I'm inclined to drop the issue (protecting the client relationship) but am annoyed that it will cost money out of my pocket. Are there better ways to proceed?

  • @RaduMurzea: I'm located in Belgium. – Jeremy Sep 10 '14 at 8:26
  • You said it "clipped" the car so I am guessing it sounds minor. What would happen if you just fail to notice the damage? It seems unreasonable that every random scratch that happens must be paid by the employee for a company car. – Brandin Sep 10 '14 at 9:40
  • @Brandin: It's a dent with scratches over and surrounding it. I'm afraid that for every scratch >2cm for which no person to blame can be indicated, must be paid. In general, if you have multiple scratches and cannot prove this was caused by the same incident, you pay the fee an equal amount of times. I find this myself quite unreasonable, since every 'damage fee' equals to 125€. Of course, many employees 'fail to notice' minor damages specifically for this reason. But one day, when you return the vehicule, it needs to be repared anyway. And everthing undeclared is then treated seperate – Jeremy Sep 10 '14 at 12:01
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    @Jeremy, welcome to The Workplace and thanks for bringing your question here. I've made some edits to incorporate information you added in comments (about the carpark access) and to focus it a little more clearly on the "what are my options?" question. Close-voters: please re-evaluate. – Monica Cellio Sep 10 '14 at 15:24
  • @MonicaCellio:thank you. Your version is much better than my own babbling. I will take this as an example – Jeremy Sep 11 '14 at 9:38

Unless there are rules regarding when and where you can use the vehicle i.e. you can only use it to commute for work purposes I'd treat this as you would if the damage had occurred anywhere, the fact that it happened in a work car park seems largely irrelevant.

If you'd parked the car at a supermarket or in a pay and display public car park and this had happened I'm assuming you'd either ignore it (as suggested in one of the comments) or stump up the contribution?

If so, I'd suggest dealing with it in the same way, these things do, unfortunately, happen. I can't imagine that reporting it will result in someone coming forward and admitting to it and is therefore unlikely to yield you any results that positively affect your current position.

  • Thank you. Even though I have only a handful of cars that are likely to have caused it (since I have it's paint color 'smeared' on my car) I was already suspecting no-one would likely step forward if I were to report it. I agree then that this would only cause negativity. – Jeremy Sep 10 '14 at 12:05
  • Great response. – Mike Van Sep 10 '14 at 15:25

As you admitted, you have no evidence and no proof as to who clipped your car.

You could escalate to your manager but if you're looking for an investigation, the only outcome you'll likely get is a decision from your management that the costs of an investigation would significantly exceed the cost of the damage and that an investigation would be inconclusive, given the leads that you can supply - practically nothing.

If you are escalating to your manager to make the point that you were not at fault for the damage and that you should not be assessed for a contribution, then this point is significantly more reasonable and more achievable.

  • I was not looking in an expensive investigation. I thought more in the lines of sending an e-mail to the few employees with cars matching the color and damage. – Jeremy Sep 10 '14 at 12:07
  • @Jeremy Make that "to the few employees with cars that I know of that allegedly match the color and the damage" – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 10 '14 at 12:12
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    @Jeremy Why send to employees at all? I would say talk with your manager and voice all these concerns as in the suggested answer. Ideally if it can't be solved without an unnecessary investigation, at least your manager knows you're unhappy with the company car policy. If you have to pay a hunded or so euros every week out of pocket because some idiot scratched your company car, what's the advantage of having a company car anyway? – Brandin Sep 10 '14 at 12:24
  • @Brandin I am fairly sure that if the OP is held up for a contrib, the manager should be aware that THEY could be held up for a contrib the next time somebody clips THEIR company car and vanishes. If no other reason that this mishap could very well happen to them, the management should be sympathetic to the OP's situation. – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 10 '14 at 12:33

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