No car and no compo
By ZOE SATHERLEY
SONYA Want watched in horror as her car slid off the back of an NRMA tow truck and smashed into another car. Five months later she is still awaiting compensation.
Since the accident, the Ocean Shores single mum has lost her job because of a lack of transport.
She has also had to reduce her studies at Southern Cross University because it's an hour's drive away and she can't get there without a car.
Even doing the shopping and attending medical appointments has become a logistical nightmare.
"I'm fed up and frustrated with the whole situation," she said.
"The NRMA advertises that it cares about people but I can't even get anyone to return my phone calls.
"I have repeatedly mailed and faxed information to the NRMA ? both the insurance branch and the road service branch, and they keep fobbing me off. No-one seems to know who is responsible.
"I've had to hire a lawyer and they won't even return her phone calls. I don't know what else to do other than go to the media."
Sonya's car was written-off when it fell off the back of an NRMA tow truck on October 25 last year, crashing into another car on the corner of the Pacific Highway and the Billinudgel turnoff.
NRMA Road Service had come to Sonya's rescue earlier in the day when her car, a classic 1967 XR Falcon, would not start.
The NRMA tow truck driver said he would tow the car to a nearby Billinudgel garage.
But on the way the webbing holding the car to the tray of the tow truck split.
Sonya's car slid off the back of the tow truck, as it was turning right into Wilfred Street from the highway, collecting a second car as it skidded across the road.
Sonya saw the whole thing from three cars behind as she was following with a neighbour.
Ever since the accident Sonya has been trying to claim compensation for the vehicle, which only had third party insurance.
After weeks of repeated phone calls, the NRMA initially offered her $800. Later, after many more phone calls and letters, they revised their offer to $1200.
But Sonya said she was at least entitled to the $3000 placed on the car by an independent valuer. She paid $2800 for the car and had done a significant amount of work in beginning to restore the vehicle.
Now Sonya is considering revising her claim to cover the financial hardship the NRMA's lack of action has caused her.
"This car was going to be an investment for me -? when restored they fetch around $30,000 as they are a real collector's item," she said.
The Northern Star has also experienced extreme difficulty in finding the person ultimately responsible for dealing with the case and has made dozens of calls over several days.
Following the newspaper's intervention, a spokeswoman for NRMA Insurance said the organisation had now attempted to make contact with Sonya to 'help resolve the case'.
"We've left a message on her answering machine," she said.
"We can't discuss individual claims to protect the client's confidentiality."
The Northern Star will keep you posted on the outcome.