The dirty CARFAX report was just the beginning of Jim Parascandola’s troubles.
When Parascandola, a 16-year resident of Hoboken, found out last month that his parked car had been hit by a Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) truck in January 2013, he began a bewildering process that has left him today no closer to a straight answer or compensation.
Despite the fact that a PSE&G driver called the police on himself, the company told Parascandola last month that they have no liability for the damages the accident caused. Unsatisfied, Parascandola has filed a lawsuit against the public utility in Hudson County court.
On the morning of Jan. 10, 2013, a Ford F-550 truck owned by PSE&G and driven by a PSE&G employee struck Parascandola’s 2013 Porsche Cayenne parked next to the entrance to the PSE&G substation on Second Street near Marshall Street, according to a crash investigation report that the driver filed with the Hoboken Police Department.
According to the report, the employee told police that he was making a right turn into the PSE&G driveway when he struck the Porsche, “which was parked about two feet from the curb cut out of the driveway.” Parascandola, who lives across the street from substation in the Sky Club, says he was parked legally at the time.
According to Parascandola, the damages caused by the crash include a cracked headlight, paint gouging on the bumper, and gouges on the wheel well.
“How in the world am I supposed to know Mr. Good Samaritan called the police on himself?”—Jim Parascandola
“How in the world am I supposed to know Mr. Good Samaritan called the police on himself and the responding officer filed a report?” asked Parascandola in an email.
Passing the buck
Some 18 months later, Parascandola decided to trade in his Cayenne toward the purchase of a new car. It was at this point that he received the CARFAX report that noted the 2013 accident and the existence of an accident report revealing a PSE&G vehicle did the damage. He also discovered the accident lowered the trade-in value he was offered by two Porsche dealers by around $10,000. At a third dealer, the estimated value of his Cayenne fell by 30 percent.
With a dirty CARFAX on his car’s record, Parascandola said he can do little else but sell it wholesale.
When he finally discovered the cause of the accident in July 2014, Parascandola said he asked the desk sergeant at One Police Plaza about the Hoboken Police Department’s policy on notifying vehicle owners who are not present at an accident involving their vehicle. He said he was told “most of the time they’ll leave a note on the windshield.”
Last Tuesday, a representative from the Police Department’s Bureau of Identification echoed this, saying that Hoboken police usually leave notification of an accident if a driver is not present. He speculated that the notice might have blown or fallen off Parascandola’s car.
Parascandola said he highly doubts this. “I use my car every day and there was never a note on my vehicle,” he said.
Soon after receiving the dirty CARFAX, Parascandola filed a claim with PSE&G for the repairs, loss of resale value, and lost sales tax savings of $3,500 associated with the 2013 accident. He was shocked when, 13 days later, a PSE&G claims representative rejected his claim.
In an email provided to the Hoboken Reporter, the representative said photographs that PSE&G has of the damage incurred by the 2013 crash do not match the photographs sent by Parascandola, taken before the Porsche was repaired.
According to the representative, the “only thing noted on the photos from the…incident are minor scuff marks that could be buffed out with no body work at all.”
The representative pointed out that the damages shown in the Parascandola’s photos did not show any rust. “Had these damages been caused by an incident 15 months prior,” she wrote, “there would be rust shown.”
But Parascandola says the bumper and wheel well of the Cayenne are plastic and fiberglass, and would not rust.
In fact, Parascandola questioned whether PSE&G actually had any of its own photos of the damage at all. He said he called a separate division of the company and was told that the PSE&G driver in question had never filed an accident report with PSE&G or notified the company of his crash.
Taken to court
Parascandola has since filed a complaint against PSE&G in the Special Civil Part of the Hudson County Superior Court.
As a result of the pending lawsuit, PSE&G spokesperson Karen Johnson said she could not comment on the case. However, Johnson did say that PSE&G “remain confident that we did not cause the damage to Mr. Parascandola’s car.”
An email and several calls to the PSE&G claims representative involved in the case went unanswered as of press time.
If Parascandola’s allegations are proven in court, they may be a cause of concern for residents throughout Hoboken. In July, PSE&G began a massive 18-month project to upgrade 60 percent of Hoboken’s gas lines. Already, lines of PSE&G trucks sometimes 10 deep have been spotted on Washington Street.
Carlo Davis may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.