Pipeline contractor won't pay for damaged cars and tires

Posted at 6:08 AM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 10:22:12-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More San Diegans are voicing their anger toward a contractor they said is damaging their cars and tires in Hillcrest and North Park and leaving them hanging.

New information shows why Burtech Pipeline is not paying people back for flat tires and dents to their cars. The company is currently replacing four miles of city pipeline in Hillcrest, North Park and University Heights. It's leaving temporary equipment along the curbs, with metal connectors jutting out at some points.

Pam Schwartz said a Burtech pipe connecter on University Avenue caused $1,000 in damage to her Infiniti's fender.

"As I was backing in, a nice person on the sidewalk waved me down and asked me to stop," she said. "I rolled down the windows, and she said, 'There's a metal pipe going into your vehicle.'"

RELATED: Hillcrest residents blame city of San Diego for damaged tires

Schwartz filed a claim with the city, but she was denied because city officials said the issue is Burtech's responsibility.

Then, Burtech denied her claim because of warning signs along University Avenue alerting drivers.

That baffled Schwartz, who added, "Any signage they had only had to do with no parking during construction time. There [were] no warnings of any type."

Burtech, which has insurance for property damage, posts A-shaped signs next to some of the trouble spots, but Schwartz said they don't block them.

Dan Cassidy, who owns a business on University Avenue and has gotten two flat tires, said there could be a reason why.

"By probably about noon, sometimes as late as 3 to 4 p.m., (the signs) were knocked over and flat, and if you're parking here, you can't see them," he said.

In a statement, Burtech says, in part, that it does its best to replace barricades that people knock down or move during a day. It's asking for heightened social responsibility.

Burtech also says it understands the disruption its work is causing and is trying to finish as quickly as possible.

Schwartz is now taking the company to small claims court.

"They are hoping, obviously, that I would just let it go," she said.

Schwartz said she wants more than just $1,000 to do just that.

Those who did get a flat tire can try to get reimbursed by filing a claim with the city.