It was an unwelcome surprise that greeted Barclay Nix after he went to get his car from the valet stand at the House of Blues.
"He says we have a little problem with your car," Nix said.
The problem? The car was totaled by the valet driver.
"It turns out that they smashed the car into a tree, and then when it hit the tree, the back end swung around and hit the car in front of it," Nix said.
Nix's 2003 Chevy Trailblazer has $8,000 in damage. Because the car was totaled, the valet company, LAZ Parking, offered to give Nix $5,600. Nix says that's not enough.
"What kind of car does that buy me? Nothing," Nix said.
"You should not be in worse shape after you settle this claim," said University of Houston Law Professor Richard Alderman.
Alderman says in cases like this. vehicle owners are entitled to a specific remedy.
"Find out how much it will cost to buy that car and that is what he is in entitled to," Alderman said.
We found a half dozen 2003 Chevy Trailblazers for sale in our area. The highest price is $8,800. The lowest is $4,200. That put the average price at $5,683.
That average is almost exactly what LAZ Parking is offering Nix.
Alderman says most people think they are entitled to a new car if something happens to their ride, but in reality it's just current replacement costs. Keep that in mind the next time you toss the keys to a valet.