Car towed in off highway( AAA)with serious issues to a shop. They reported would diagnose it for $400. I said I think the car a 97 is beyond repair. I payed them. They then said all they saw wrong was the heater core and would fix for $350. I said ok but would pay when i picked up but again expressed my surprise that thats all it was. Then right before picking up the car they said yes the car does have a blown head, however will not release the car until the 350 is payed...even though the car was ruined from the beginning...
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Missouri
get them to release the car...also called police but they said was a civil matter...
Let's start with the $400 for the diagnosis that didn't detect the blown head. That's the service that may have been deficient, had he detected the blown head, you wouldn't have paid the additional $350.The first step would be to look at the service agreement between you and the shop, often written at the bottom or back side of a signed work order. If there is any stated warranty on there. If so we would look at that language, if there isn't anything there, or anything that seems to cover this issue, then you could still seek money from the mechanic for breaching an implied warranty to do the job in a workmanlike manner. This duty is breached when a worker fails to exercise a reasonable degree of care, skill ,and ability under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances as is ordinarily employed by others in the same profession. The $350 questions are whether checking the heads was a part of the agreement, or if a mechanic of reasonable skill would have checked the heads In response to your complaint about the car's condition. If the answer to either of these questions is "yes" in a judge's eyes, then you would win this case. If you have to go to court, you would also add any other fees (such as storage since this issue arose) and the court fee.Now for the bad news. It might be best to pay the $350 for the repair, even if the car is not working and you plan to dispose of it or donate it. the mechanic can put a lien on it and refuse to return it to you until the bill is paid, and continue to charge you for storage. If you don't pay, you could lose the car, as the garage would eventually sell it at auction and use that money to pay down your bill. If a garage charges a storage fee of $30 per day for the 30 days leading up to the auction, you could owe $1,250 by the time the auction occurs, and if the case sells for less , he could sue you for the remainder. You could counter-sue for the items mentioned above, but at that point the judge may believe that you are just trying to avoid a bill and may not be as understanding. It's not a legal idea, but just something that "looks bad" in court.Assuming for a minute that you pay the $350, and now we're working on getting the money back, you could file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General of Missouri. This can be done online for free in a few minutes, you can do it tonight even. This office will forward the complaint to the garage and instruct the garage to resolve the complaint with you or to justify their position. You can do this here:http://ago.mo.gov/consumercomplaint.htmIf this complaint does not get the garage to resolve the issue, the next step would be small claims court. If the garage blew off the complaint, bring it up in court. Now the garage looks like they are avoiding issue, and they "look bad." Here is a little handbook on small claims court from the MO Bar Association (link below), and if you have any questions along the way the court clerks of this court are very helpful as the court is designed to be informal and accessible to regular citizens with legitimate disputes that don't justify the expense of a lawyer.http://www.mobar.org/uploadedFiles/Home/Publications/Legal_Resources/Brochures_and_Booklets/small%20claims.pdfTo recap , the law is on the side of unpaid mechanics so I would suggest paying the bill. You can make a complaint to the Attorney General's Office and bring the matter to small claims court if necessary. The mechanic may refund the money to avoid the Attorney General or it may in the end be up to a judge whether the service was performed in a workmanlike manner. If the judge sides with the mechanic then at least you had your day in court, and it's one of life's little stories. If you win in court, then it'll be one of life's little thrills to get that $350 back.If you found my answer helpful, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button to accept my answer (even if you have a subscription). This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated! Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.Also, remember that sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.If you would ever like me to address another question in the future, you can request me on this site by beginning your question with “For CounselorJim…” Good luck and thank you, Jim.
I've worked for a large company for 8 years, and regularly deal with the terms under which goods and services are provided.
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