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Catalytic converter theft leads to ICBC headaches for Maple Ridge couple

Insurer has reconsidered charging two deductibles, working to resolve issue

After what they consider unfair treatment by ICBC, a Maple Ridge couple is calling for an end to the corporation’s monopoly on car insurance in the province.

In April, Tanya Skandalis was going for a walk on the dikes in Maple Ridge, heard her vehicle alarm, and returned to find a trio of men around her Toyota Tundra.

They had a cream-coloured Chrysler 300 parked in front of her truck, and their trunk was open. As she approached, they took off.

Her truck was loud when she started it, and she soon learned they had stolen one of the two catalytic converters from under her truck.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge woman has catalytic converter stolen, now car shopping

If they had taken both, she would have had fewer problems.

They had also partially punched in the door lock, and neither door is working properly – they can get in with auto lock, but not a key.

Initially, she was told that it could take as long as eight months to get the part replaced, but the shop was able to find an after-market brand in a shorter time, and replaced the cat converter.

But after dealing with ICBC and the shop, they have two issues:

• The engine light is on

• ICBC wants a second $300 deductible to fix the locks, treating it as a separate claim from the exhaust parts.

Her husband Jason was frustrated. They have kept the truck well maintained, and he had never seen the engine light before.

“The moment I drove the truck away, the check engine light came on,” he said.

ICBC told them they have already paid for the replacement of the stolen part, so their obligation to the Skandalis is over. They won’t pay for more repairs.

The shop said the truck is running well, but believes the issue is between the two different makes of cat converters on the truck. They offered to disconnect the light.

Tanya won’t drive it out of town alone, lest it leave her on the side of the road.

“It (the engine light) is a safety feature for a reason,” she said.

She said they couldn’t sell the truck for what it’s worth, because the engine light is on.

“When you pay for insurance, you expect that it’s supposed to be restored,” she said. “But when something actually does happen, and it’s totally not your fault, they don’t fix it.”

Jason is originally from Ontario, and said insurance companies there will work for customers, to win their business.

He said it’s been a great truck, he has kept it well maintained, and there have been no issues until now.

“What’s the point of insurance? Aren’t they supposed to fix it to the level it was before it was wrecked?” said Jason. “It’s supposed to be peace of mind. This has been more headaches.”

“ICBC doesn’t care. We have nowhere else to go,” said Tanya. “I’m getting sick of this monopoly.”

Reached by the News, ICBC’s public affairs department looked into the Skandalis’ complains, and it appears the auto insurer may give them some satisfaction.

“We understand the Skandalis family’s concern about their claim and apologize for the inconvenience,” said a statement signed by Greg Harper, media relations advisor.

“The Skandalis family will only have to pay one deductible. Initially, we believed the theft of the catalytic converter and damage to the locks were from two separate incidents. However, after reviewing the situation, we have determined the theft and vandalism were from one incident and have updated the claim.

“We have also agreed to pay for a vehicle inspection to determine if the engine light issue is related to the replacement and installation of the new catalytic converter.”

READ ALSO: Rinks, pool and pickleball among top priorities in Maple Ridge

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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