The Chevy Camaro ZL1 owned by car enthusiast John Hooper came into the dealership late last year needing only a simple repair, but ended up wrecked when an employee took it for a joyride.
Now, more than a month later Hooper is still at odds with the dealership, which is refusing to pay for the damaged to his beloved car.
The story started when Hooper took the Chevy Camaro ZL1 into First State Chevy in Georgetown, Delaware, to get some warranty work done on a paint issue. When the dealership was closed, one of the dealership’s employees stole the keys and took the Camaro for a joyride that ended with the car slamming into a telephone pole.
Hooper — who loves Camaros so much that he’s written six books on the history of the car — found out about it the next day when the dealership called him. It took until the end of the week for the car to be declared a total loss, but that was just the beginning of Hooper’s battle.
“The dealership informed my wife and I on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. of our loss,” Hooper wrote on a Camaro forum. “Yes, they waited over 16 hours to tell us about our car. I am sure they discussed the incident with their attorneys prior to calling us.
“It is now Friday, the car has been officially totaled by the insurance company, and the dealership is telling us it is not their problem. They even refuse to provide my wife and I (and our insurance company) with their insurance information.”
The dealership fired the employee who took the car for the unauthorized joyride, but because Hooper’s Chevy Camaro ZL1 already had 10,000 miles on it they only offered a used ZL1 in exchange. Hooper said the dealer’s replacement options don’t match the value of his car.
Meanwhile, he is still making car payments on the Camaro, which sits in a scrap yard.
“We’re losing sleep over this, time off from work, and this still isn’t resolved,” Hooper told the Cape Gazette. “This is so ethically and morally wrong it isn’t funny.”
Hooper said in order to afford the Chevy Camaro ZL1 he traded in his 2011 SS2 Camaro and sold his pristine 1969 Camaro SS, and won’t be able to afford to buy another one to replace it.