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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone else felt ripped off after dealing with a mustang restoration shop?

I needed my cowl fixed. I called a local classic mustang parts store, and the recommended a shop that specialize in just classic mustangs.

I went there, and he quoted me 40 hours to do it. He said it would cost between $1,000 and $1,200.

I took the mustang to him the first monday in feburary expecting to have it back in 1-2 weeks. I just got it back last friday. But that isn't the painful part.

The painful part is the poor work, and the amount charged.

I gave him $500 down payment. A few months into it, he calls me and says its going to cost $3000 and he need another $1,000 to continue working on it!!!! I go there, and its all in pieces, so I obviously couldn't take it home and just forget it. I pay the $1000. He's very nice, and says that if I want he'll put on my new shelby hood, and apron since he'll have to paint the cowl anyway, he can paint those too. He also says he'll take care of some rust spots.

$3,000 is a lot of money. Double the first quote, but I figure at least he'll take care of some of the rust.

A few months later he calls and says he's moving to a new shop, and needs money. He says he's already gone past the $3,000 estimate, but he'll make me a deal. If I pay him the remaining $1,500 now, he'll stop charging, and finish the rest for *free*. I say okay, and go pay him another $1,500. Now $3,000 in total.

Months go by. Every week he promises it to be ready. Finally last friday he's done. I go there and they're still putting stuff back together! I wait, and 4 hours later they're finished. He says he totaled up all his hours, and it comes to $5,200.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He said that since I paid him $3,000 and helped him during the move, that he'll knock off $1,000 thus leaving me with another $1,200!!!!

Thus, the initial estimate was $1,000. The amount paid was $4,200.00.

I didn't have my check book with me when I went to pick up the mustang, so he followed me 45 minutes home for me to write him a check. He couldn't wait 3 days for the mail.


Obviously I'm pissed. I don't know if there's anything I can do. Maybe complain to the BBB.

Also, the work he did is shotty. There are still rust places, and when he painted it, there are run marks in the paint! There clips missing on the side windows, fender bolts weren't tight, big gap in door now, etc, etc.
 

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You should not have paid him. If you have a written estimate, a "reasonable" extra allowance may be required, but the amount he charged you was excessive.
 

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Get everything in writing before hand. A signed agreement is your best protection. If a shop won't do it in writing move on. I would also go to the guy that recommended him and tell him your story. I wonder what his cut was?
This is another reason why I'm doing it myself. Best of luck.
 

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Sound like you just got hosed. If the work is not up to your expectations for that price he should fix it, at no charge. I always thought a qoute is the price you should pay other wise what good is a qoute. If he does this for a living he should have know what it would take to do the job. If you want to purse this put a stop payment on your check and let him take you to court. Just make sure you have all the documentation to back you up. Qoutes, photos of poor work etc... You can report him to thte BBB unfortunatly all they will do is take your repot and if anybody calls them they will relay the info. Good Luck.
 

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Sounds like this guy is one step ahead of the re-possesor. Thats what small claims court is for. I would definately let him explain it to a judge...
 

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20/20 Hindsight, but I would have towed the car outta there in pieces when the quote doubled. Once he realized he could screw you, boy did he.

Recently a friend of mine had a similar experience with her vette. After four months she finally got it back, damaged! It looks good to other customers when these guys have your nice looking classic car sitting in their shop - it's like free advertising.

I say go back and burn the place down! Uh, wait a minute, don't do that. You can call the BBB and make a complaint. Sorry the work isn't up to par, but since you paid him, there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do now (besides trash his reputation). Maybe this is one of those expensive "life lessons." You may also want to talk to the fella who refered you, so he doesn't refer anyone else.

Just outta curiosity, why did you pay the extra $1200, I thought that was s'posed to be free ("If I pay him the remaining $1,500 now, he'll stop charging, and finish the rest for *free*. I say okay, and go pay him another $1,500. Now $3,000 in total. ")

Deep Breaths -In through the nose, out through the mouth, at least you have your baby back.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Believe me, I didn't want to pay him the last $1,200. But at that point, after 5 months, I just wanted it back.

He deposited the check right after I gave it to him, so I cant stop payment on it.

I will call Old Dominion Mustang, and tell them to stop refering people to this guy.


Is it possible to find a honest mechanic no days? You would think one that only works on old mustangs would be honest.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
>>Get everything in writing before hand. A signed agreement >>is your best protection.

Leason learned. Also, I will never trust another mechanic as long as I live.
 

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I would be interested to know who this guy is as I have a name of a guy recommended by Old Dominion to work on my rear frame rails should I decide not to tackle them myself. Curious if it is the same guy.
 

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Too many people today will tell you what you want to hear to gain your trust. Ask them to put it into writing and they will start side stepping. You can report to the BBB but as was mentioned, they will send a complaint to the restoration shop asking for their story and then will put a copy of both responces in their file for those who may use this outfit in the future.
Unless you have something in writing or someone else who witnessed the conversations, then IMO, there is probably little else you can do. It comes down to your word against his.
Sorry to hear this happened.

Scott
 

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I understand paying up just to get your car back, I've done it, too.

It's difficult to find someone you can trust. I'm lucky because me and my boyfriend can do/diagnose most of the work ourselves. Otherwise friends (who know about cars) can usually give you a good reference. Friends who don't know anything about cars generally are getting screwed on a regular basis but don't know it, so they can;t really give you a good ref.
Also, asking around on VMF for someone in your area could be helpful.

You sound like you knew what this guy was supposed to do and about how much it was supposed to cost, but once he was holding your car hostage, you were kinda stuck. So this wouldn't apply in you case, but to test" a mechanic when I know what's wrong with my vehicle but either can't or can't be bothered fixing it myself, I'll usually tell him what the problem is (it's making a noise, or stalling) but act really clueless (guy can do this too) and (a) ask "What d'ya think is wrong with it?", then (b) ask if there is anything else he thinks I need to fix.
Since I'm a busty redhead who doesn't look like I would know a spark plug from a drain plug, if he's dishonest he'll generally offer that my headlight fluid is low or that I need something really expensive like a new timing belt. One of my favs was when I went in for a muffler and the guy reached under my truck to feel the catalytic converter case, then told me "yup, it was bad" too.

Sorry 'bout your experience.
 

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My cowls leak too! i guess I'm not ready to blow any of those amounts to get it fixed just yet. Sorry about the bad luck!
 

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Contact the attorney general's office. They should have a web site and 1-800 number. Besides the BBB this one can get you more results.
If you have a friend who is a lawyer have them draw up some paperwork and see if that lights up a fire to claim some of your money that you deserve back.
I also hate being taken by vendors but getting things in writing first is the best bet.
Make him fix the problems and how unsatisfied you are in the quality.
I know of one place big restoration shop I will never deal with again just because of the way he handled himself at a swap meet in the past.
Good luck
 

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Judging from your earlier post about insurance, I'm going to guess that you're relatively young. And being young, the owner of the shop saw a way to keep getting money out of you. I would follow some of the other posters suggestions and hope for the best.

Good luck!
 

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There are some stange people in the auto repair business. I know a few shops that do good work, but I only trust them with things like inspections, oil changes, and alignments. I try to do everything else I can myself. I even remove the wheels from my car and bring them to the tire shop for new tires (I got tired of teenage tire changes scratching the paint off of my Styled Steel Wheels.)

My solution to the up and coming frame rail repair on my convertible was to buy another Mustang to drive during the months that it will take me to do the repair myself. I'll get the repair done and a spare car to tinker with for less than the cost of having a shop do it and I won't have to worry about what they're screwing up on my car. The only thing I am really dreading is getting my cars painted in the future.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
>>I would be interested to know who this guy is

I sent you a private message. I dont fell comfortable giving out the guys name here.
 

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I feel your pain, I was held up for $1500 once (they had my car for 9 months over what they said). When they have your car, they can get a title thru a lein. That is why I just paid and I do my best to see that noone ever goes to them again.
 

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They can get a mechanics lien but that does not allow them to get the title. It just keeps you from selling your car because it cannot be retitled
 

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I doubt a BBB or court visit would give you any satisfaction. The reason is the high amount of hours booked against the work. If the total hours booked x going labor rate did not exceed the amount you paid then you'd have no case. The fact is, you probably don't have a good case on the price. You may have a better case based on shoddy workmanship. In talking recently with a guy seeking the same work, the quote for cowl vents, misc rust spots and paint was $6,900.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wanted to either replace or fix the subframes on my 67 Shelby as well as add Subframe connectors. So I did some checking and got a recommendation from Terry Burch (owner of Total Control). I drove 150 miles to "Down Under Restorations". I explained to Kerry McDonagh what I wanted, he told me how he planned to correct the problem, and i also told Kerry that i needed the car back in 10 days because it was entered in a Fathers day car show. He promised it would be ready. I prepared the car for him by removing the carpets, underlayment and seats. he called me every day to update me on the progress. He called to let me know he found some rust in the drivers side floor pan and that he would replace out that area with a section from a salvaged Mustang, since the repo stuff is junk. He completed the work on Friday and I picked it up Saturday. He personally did all the work himself. And the work he did was top quality. He left the paint work for me to do. Infact he did not even prime the area.

The long winded point of this story is:

Get good recommendations from people you know and trust.
Check out cars that have been worked on by that shop.
Give a defined date when you want the car back.
Talk about cost every step of the way.
Be willing to travel to get quality work.
I was willing to do what i could to cut cost.

Total cost for all the work he performed was $1,100 including total control subframe connectors. After reading these storys I think that the price is more than fair.

If you need work done on your Musatang, Shelby or Hot rod and you live in the Northern CA area check out Terry at Down Under Restoration in Loomis CA (916) 660-0669

Morgan
 
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