Ruskin woman’s insurance company steps in to help after shop fails to do work

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RUSKIN, Fla. (WFLA) – Sara Elliott is thrilled. 

The day after turning to Better Call Behnken, she has results. Her insurance company, Progressive Insurance, stepped in to help after a local shop cashed insurance checks but failed to finish the work on her car.

“I can’t believe how quickly this was resolved after I called you,” she said. “I’m so happy now.”

Progressive told Elliott to have another shop finish the repairs, and they’ll pay that company. 

Her 2013 Subaru Crosstrek was wrecked in early May, and her insurance company paid a repair shop in full, but her car is still a mess.

Elliott says she received excuse after excuse from Castillo’s Paint & Collision in Ruskin. Work was supposed to be done by May 21, she says, but this week she was told she could pick up the car to take it elsewhere for work. 

“Essentially, whatever money they got, they had the right to spend it whatever they thought was reasonable, as long as they fixed my car, but they didn’t fix my car,” Elliott said. 

Elliott made a big mistake by not using a repair shop affiliated with Progressive Insurance. Instead, she signed a waiver that allowed Progressive to pay the $4,500 claim directly to Castillo’s. 

Better Call Behnken reached the repair shop’s general manager, Ed Kalinowski, by phone. He says he had three deaths in the family and fell behind on work. He claims he told four families they could just pick up their cars, then he promised something Elliott says she hasn’t heard: that he’ll return the insurance money.     

Meanwhile, state authorities and Progressive representatives are looking into this situation.

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