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Thread: sueing my mech

  1. #1

    Angry sueing my mech

    Hey guys, well it has been two months and my mechanic hasnt even touched my car. It has come to the point (11 months and 1800 dollars) that all he has to do is drop the engine in and hook things up (about a day or two of work left). My family and I am completly fed up with him and now we are persuing legal action. Tonight, my parents and i are drafting a letter that is going to say that he has two weeks left to finish my car or we will be taking him to court and sending it certified mail.

    As far as documentation goes, we dont have much

    We are goind to attempt to get ahold of the recipts for parts that i through away to use as documentation as how long the process has actually taken. Problem is that there is no customer accounts at toyota and they will need to look up each item by part number and go through each part to find the one that was sold to me. I was told that this will take countless hours to do...but with me there i cant imagine it taking more that 3 or four. Problem is they are going to charge me 30 bucks an hour to do it (pennies if you think about the value of having theese recipts in court).

    Also, i have a payment sheet with his signatures for each time that i paid him. The last of which being July 18th, which reached the total of 1800 dollars. Ive been to a few shops around here to get quotes for a project like this to no avail. They wont give me a quote unless they can see the project. We never reached a specific amount to be paid, becuase i was paying him 100 dollars weekly, but when we got to 1800 he said that 1800 was fine, unfortunatly, that was never documented (the ok the 1800 dollars is enough).

    I will also be sueing for each day that i took off from work to help him with this project that he blew me off, totaling 1000 dollars (10 days at 100 dollars a day). It is going to be tough to find documentation of this, but i am pretty sure that i can records of my schedual from my work that shows that i did not work those days.

    So there is the amount of 1000 for the days taken off to help and the amount for another shop to finish the job, which really isnt any more that a days worth of work.

    I know that he has no documentation of the hours that he has spent on this or anything of that sort.

    If there is anything else that you guys can think of that i could use to help prosicute my mechanic? Any one been through this process before and have any advice for me?

    In all actuallity i want my mech. to finish the job when he gets the letter because no one wants this to go to court.

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2

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    this sounds like my swap story. It took my mechanic 13 months and a couple fo days to actually give my car back to me. Total was a lot more than yours though. I sucked it up and will never do business with him again.

    My advice to you is sit down and figure out exactly what you want out of this and then go for that. If it is money then get your car out of his shop immediatley and take it somewhere else. If the goal is get him to complete it then send the letter to him asap and tell him to get his ass in gear. Some mechanics might get upset with the threat though and not put the TLC into the project. Good luck and keep us posted.

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  3. #3

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    damn you shoulda brought your car to florida. ha my mechanic only took 3 days i believe. He even cut and exted the harness.

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  4. #4

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    Good luck. Ideally, I'd remove my car and take him to small claims court for the 1800 if there hasn't been 1800 worth of work done. I would not leave my vehicle in his possession if you are threatening to sue him.

    You can sue up to 5000 in NH in small claims court but be aware that any amount over 1500 and the defendent can request a jury trial. You may want to just try to get your money back politely first.

    You will not get compensatory damages for your missed work, you can try, but I highly doubt any judge would even consider the request.

  5. #5
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    So when you ask him, "when will my car be ready now that I've paid in full?", what does he say? Get him to commit to a time.
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  6. #6

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    Dlux4life, DrTweak on the board is someone I would consider taking my car to. I think he lives close to you. Dont procrastinate on this and let it go because then if you do go to court you have to show that you managed the time.

    "He said such and such on such and such date. So I thought it would be done by such and such date. It didnt happen so I took my car to such and such place. They completed it in such and such time. Im sueing this ass for such and such because he didnt complete the job he said he would. blah blah blah"

    ^an example of what you want.

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  7. #7

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    Good to know about not getting the damages for my missed work, it will give me more time to collect proof towards other things

    Chris, I ask him about every week when my car will be done, he says, well i have some time next week, i will get it in the car early next week. I will show up to check on progress and he will have done nothing. Then i will ask him again, he will say ok, well tomorow i have some free time, i go there the next day and he wont be there and nothing will be done. It has gone on like this for like the last 6 months....a very very long process.

  8. #8

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    haha, this is like all mechanics. my friend took his car to a mechanic who was a friend of the family to put in his clutch because he didn't feel like doing it again (i guess the clutch disc was bent.) anywho, it took about 5 weeks. after the second week, they said that it should be done the next day, every time he asked. lesson learned for me, do all my work myself so i don't have to worry about people messing up my car/taking forever. (his car had a big scratch in it after he received it back.. ugh).

  9. #9

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    What about taping your conversation with him as an evidence..?
    Start talking to the guy with something like "Hey pal, it's been almost a full year since I dropped the car at your place and its still not finished" he should answer something like "Err.. well I think less time" or probably "wow, has it been that long?", the idea would be to have on tape that he (mechanic) is aware that time has passed and has done nothing to your car. You can continue on how much distress and discomfort the absence of your car has originated and that you are spending a bundle on transportation just because he has not finished it, not to talk about leaving work and paying him a visit and bla bla bla.

    Step 2 you would ask him "Well, when do you think it will be finished, give me day and time", Whatever his answer you now have record of a verbal contract.

    Before doing this check your local laws about taping telephone conversations, I think it's ilegal in some states to even tape your own conversations without the other part knowing he is being taped, if that checks out fine then you have all the evidence you need to take him to court and win.

    The idea is to have evidence about everything that has happened and that he recognizes that you have been through all his BS.

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  10. #10

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    1. Do not threaten him until you have the car back in your possession. You will be amazed to know how easy it will be for him to put a mechanics lien on your car after some crafty accounting. If you go this route, you may be able to get a partial refund for total payments-services rendered. I hope you have receipts for your payments to him.

    2. You have no case at all. Without an original contract or signed work order with a delivery date, it is your word against his.

    3. Cut your losses and take the car somewhere else, or:

    4. Work with him now, and get him to commit to a new delivery date IN WRITING. You can even go so far as to put stipulations in there about penalties and refunds if you are lucky. If he defaults, then you will have permissible evidence in a small claims court.

    5. Remember all this the next time you take you car somewhere without a an itemized work order and invoice. You will get screwed almost every time.
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  11. #11
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    I've learnt this the hard way too. I really dislike mechanics. after paying for my swap then having the motor blow. Now i've taked the motor out myself this time with my older bro and stripped it. found so many dodgy things on the conversion that i'm fixing up now...
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  12. #12

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    Man, that's really rough. Lots of times I feel bad when I can't finish a project quick because I only work out in the shop two days a week. When I hear stories like this though, it makes me realize that giving quotes of 2 months to finish a swap or whatever isn't bad, because it actually WILL get done!

    Speaking of which, if you need someone to come pick the car up and finish it for you, let me know. I'm in Newport, VT.

    -Doc
    -Dr Tweak, Toyota engine swap wiring expert extraordinaire

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  13. #13

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    Hey DrTweak, it might come down to that, i didnt realize that there were people on the boards that knew what they were doing with this stuff up this neck of the country....i thought about that tape recorder idea, but it did seem kinda shady on weather or not it would be legal or not, so i think that what i am going to do is have a letter sent to him stating that he has a month to finish everything, give him plenty of time, and then when he doesnt finish it (becuase i know he wont) take him to court.

    DrTweak, how much would you want to come down here to finish the swap (approx)...here this is the state that it is in right now:

    The engine is completly built minus a few things that can be put on after the engine is in the car (intercooler, distributer, spark plug wires, straight pipe intake)..little things you know...but all of the oil lines, vaccum lines, coolent lines are hooked up..harness is strung on the engine and all the connections have been checked.

    The interior is still in pieces becuase the break pedal and the clutch pedal needs to be installed, the ecu has beeen swapped out....but im keeping the interior apart to take the seats out to run wires for the battery that is going to be in the trunk (i have everything to mount it there)

    Yea man..so that is about it..im game to get this done before my mech has a chance to finish it too..becuase i would really like to finish this before it gets too cold to do it. i can get a garage and everything that we would need to do the swap...also a strong ass keroseen (sp) heater too....let me know what you think man...

  14. #14
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    Good luck Dlux

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  15. #15

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    Glad you took my CORRECT and REALISTIC advice to heart.

    /sarcasm
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  16. #16

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    A letter will not do jack squat. He can sign that he received it, but will he read it? Will he agree to it? Will he rebutt it? Grow a pair, and go talk to him ASAP. You are only lengthening the process and complicating it.
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  17. #17

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    hey playfortoday, i forgot to add to my reply that i was going over there today with a paper for him to sign saying that he would have the car done in 3 weeks....sorry man...just wanted to thank you for the advice...

    I went over there and he wasnt home, so i am going back there again tonight to sit down with him and work something out..get him to sign that paper..

    The letter that i was sending him wasnt one saying do the work, it was saying that you have 3 weeks to complete the work before we take him to court...just in case there was any confusion in it...we are trying to go about this with him having now clue that we are going to sue him untill he gets the letter...we figure the less time for him to prepare, the better

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dlux4life
    hey playfortoday, i forgot to add to my reply that i was going over there today with a paper for him to sign saying that he would have the car done in 3 weeks....sorry man...just wanted to thank you for the advice...

    I went over there and he wasnt home, so i am going back there again tonight to sit down with him and work something out..get him to sign that paper..
    Cool. I am not the end all be all of advice, and I just want to make sure that you did this in a way that would be closest to win-win for both of you so you get your car back. Good luck, and keep us posted.

    Edit: I just read the second part that you added. Sending a letter is still not a great idea if you are going to chat with him anyway. The letter will do nothing but aggravate him, possibly even slow him down. Maybe to the point that he leaves a nut in one of your cylinders when he finishes up. You had no original, signed agreement so it makes no sense. Saying we expect the car back in one week is still one-way correspondense, not an agreement. You need to draft a contract or pull the car and hen pursue him for over payment... which will still only be reimbursed at the discretion of the courts.
    Last edited by Playfortoday; 11-30-2005 at 09:07 PM.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dlux4life
    Hey DrTweak, it might come down to that, i didnt realize that there were people on the boards that knew what they were doing with this stuff up this neck of the country....i thought about that tape recorder idea, but it did seem kinda shady on weather or not it would be legal or not, so i think that what i am going to do is have a letter sent to him stating that he has a month to finish everything, give him plenty of time, and then when he doesnt finish it (becuase i know he wont) take him to court.

    DrTweak, how much would you want to come down here to finish the swap (approx)...here this is the state that it is in right now:

    The engine is completly built minus a few things that can be put on after the engine is in the car (intercooler, distributer, spark plug wires, straight pipe intake)..little things you know...but all of the oil lines, vaccum lines, coolent lines are hooked up..harness is strung on the engine and all the connections have been checked.

    The interior is still in pieces becuase the break pedal and the clutch pedal needs to be installed, the ecu has beeen swapped out....but im keeping the interior apart to take the seats out to run wires for the battery that is going to be in the trunk (i have everything to mount it there)

    Yea man..so that is about it..im game to get this done before my mech has a chance to finish it too..becuase i would really like to finish this before it gets too cold to do it. i can get a garage and everything that we would need to do the swap...also a strong ass keroseen (sp) heater too....let me know what you think man...
    We'll be doing it in my newly wired, insulated, heated, and equipped shop! LOL

    I can come down and tow it up here.

    Hit me up at drtweak@phoenixtuning.com and we'll go over the details. I should be able to finish it up for a few hundred bucks.

    -Doc
    -Dr Tweak, Toyota engine swap wiring expert extraordinaire

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  20. #20
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    I am with Play on this 100%. Dlux, you are asking to get your car mangled. You can not win in this situation. If there was no original agreement, he can keep your car for 20 years or more and you can do nothing about it but whine about how you never should have taken it to him. Get your car back now, cut your losses and learn from this experience. If you take him to court and lose, not only are you out court costs and what you paid, what shape is your car gonna be in? Not having any paperwork or reciepts is not gonna look good either.

    In short, you had no contract. None. You have no ground to stand on. If you want the car finished soon, pull it from his shop and take it eslewhere.

    If you try to screw him, you WILL get the horns of the bull. He can (and probably will depending on his demeanor and how much he feels he is owed) slap a mechanic's lien on the car. That means unless you pay what he feels he is owed, he owns your car.

    The American Way may be to sue everyone that doesn't do things the way you want, but there are other ways to go about it. Like talking to him face to face and saying 'Look, this has taken too long, I want my car back, what are you prepared to do about it?' Sending a letter threatening to take him to court is not only foolish, it is cowardly.

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  21. #21

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    Well said Murg, but I think this kids parents are calling the shots, so we have very little weight with our advice from much personal experience.
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  22. #22

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    Heys, sorry that i have been out for so long...work has been killing my lately.

    My parents are calling most of the shots, but we went over to my mechanics atleast half a dozen times trying to get a finish date. I remember back in july trying to get him to sink the motor in and still nothing has been done. So this issue isnt that i havent gone to him face to face, it is more or less that i havent been able to get an answer out of him. When i ask, he will tell me next week sometime, i will go over, and nothing will have been done.

    Thanks for all of the concern and all of the advice guys. Again, a great help

  23. #23

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    any updates?
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  24. #24
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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Playfortoday
    A letter will not do jack squat. He can sign that he received it, but will he read it? Will he agree to it? Will he rebutt it? Grow a pair, and go talk to him ASAP. You are only lengthening the process and complicating it.

    I agree. A letter from your parents won't be received like it would if it was coming from an attourney. Have them contact me and I'll can tell them more about what I do. I might be able to help.
    Last edited by legal guy; 12-09-2005 at 06:58 PM.

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