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William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 2958
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.
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My husband and I are having an issue with a person that has

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My husband and I are having an issue with a person that has been working to repair our car. He is expecting to get paid for repairing it but we believe we should not have to pay any more at this time cause of the circumstances that are involved.

To start with this began in February of 2013 when my husband and I were rear ended. The car was already under a salvage title so insurance would not pay for the repairs which was fine with my husband and I the damage wasn't bad enough that it interfered with driving it. But this person who was a friend of my husbands said that he could fix it for around 2200 dollars and would take I think he said 10-14 days.

Well then he ran into problems into his new shop and needed some money to sort it out. So my husband gave him 1000 to start off with. Well after this he started taking more and more time and avoiding our calls, texts and refusing to give a definite answer as to when the car would actually be fixed. We knew where his shop was of course and my husband also knew where he lived and had been over to his house a couple times to get answers as to why he was not working on the car like he said he would. He always came up with some excuse, family, medical, work issues and we kept giving him more time trying to be reasonable but we wanted our car fixed.

Finally we said we were coming over to the shop and just taking the car as it was cause he wasn't doing anything other then letting it sit while he worked on other cars. This upset him so he went and actually cut the side fender off the car and made it impossible for us to actually take the car back. So then we had to continually wait more and more from him with some times daily visits to look at no progress being made on the car. My husband even gave him an additional 500 dollars when he needed it cause they were still friends and we were trying to help him even though I felt we shouldn't.

All during this time we have had to use our back up rig which is a heavy duty truck that was never meant to be a daily driver and we have had to spend around 50+ dollars almost every week on gas to get to and from work. Because of my husbands and I's job taking public transport to our various work places is not possible cause we are both in transportation and must have a reliable way of getting to work each day.

Now its the end of october of 2013 and he finally called my husband to let him know that it might be ready Friday or Saturday 25/26 and that he expects to be paid for the rest of the work.

Both my husband and I feel that he is not entitled to the rest of the money cause he did not live up to his end of the deal of 10-14 days. We even gave him an extra month near the beginning cause we felt that would be alright. We are not sure what steps we should go through now or what/who we should consult and what our options are for dealing with this person.

He has been stalling for months getting it done and this isn't we feel a proper way to run a business even between friends. 9 months to fix a car that we were told was a 2 week job then the person still wants to be paid the rest of the money.

Could you please suggest a course of action that we could follow to deal with this person? Whether we need to consult a lawyer in our own state which is OR or anything else.

I do not remember if there was a paper contract for this but I know there was a verbal one.

thank you very much and hoping to get some ideas as to what we can do about this person.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 9 months ago.

William B. Esq. :

Thank you for using our service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X would like to assist you today.

William B. Esq. :

I am sorry to learn of this situation. Unfortunately, your remedies require that you first pay the mechanic for the full repair bill (unless he is reasonable in negotiating with you - in which case get the settlement or payment in full notice in writing).

William B. Esq. :

Once you have paid in full, you will receive the vehicle back and you can file a lawsuit for breach of contract against the mechanic for money damages due to your loss of use of the vehicle.

Customer:

after that what would be some courses of action we could follow?

Customer:

okay

William B. Esq. :

Your mechanic is protected by Oregon Mechanic's Lien laws (not to be confused with construction lien laws) so unless he is paid, he can hold onto the vehicle.

Customer:

would it be wise to seek a lawyer in our home state ?

Customer:

we planned on talking with a sherrif as well to see if there are any steps they would take

William B. Esq. :

If the two of you do not come to a resolution, you can file a claim against him. Depending on how much you value your damages at, you may be able to file in small claims (without an attorney), if your damages are over $10,000, you may want to consider hiring an attorney - you would need one licensed in Oregon.

William B. Esq. :

You do not need a Sheriff, the only reason to bring one would be if you are concerned there will be any "breach of the peace" in your transaction.

Customer:

we don't believe damages are over 10K but do you have a rough idea as to what small claims could be done for in oregon? like what is the max amount there?

William B. Esq. :

Oregon has a limit of $10,000

Customer:

would it be 3000 or 7000?

Customer:

ahhh

William B. Esq. :

Here is information specific to your state: http://www.osbar.org/public/legalinfo/1061_smallclaims.htm

Customer:

could we consult with an attorney to learn what steps we could take then file a claim in small claims court?

Customer:

never done it before so not sure what the in's and outs of it is

William B. Esq. :

Absolutely. You are permitted to talk to an attorney of your choice, and they can coach you through as much or as little of the process as you like. You can also check with your local courthouse (some have "self help desks" and law libraries that are very useful resources).

William B. Esq. :

A lawyer can also assist you in negotiating with the other side before you get to Court, they just are not allowed to actually represent you in the courtroom.

Customer:

I'm reading the link you sent me and I'll show it to my husband so he can decide what he would like to do. But would it do any good to suggest to the auto guy that we plan on taking him to small claims court to rectify this issue? Or just surprise him with it. Mostly we just want the car back and to not pay any more on it. We don't need damages or anything really

William B. Esq. :

That is really a strategic plan depending on the individuals involved (I am not allowed to give case specific instruction or advice through this forum), but in my opinion, if you can avoid litigation and achieve a mutually agreeable result it is usually a good thing for both parties - even small claims cases take a fair amount of time and resources, so whatever works best to help the two of you reach that point where you get as fair a deal as you can at this point in your transaction the better. (These are just considerations,)

Customer:

no that helps me a lot. I can let my husband know

Customer:

cause as a person I like the auto guy. As a business owner he sucks lol

William B. Esq. :

That happens a lot. Fortunately, I would far rather be that person, than have the two flipped. It still sucks.

Customer:

I'll talk to my husband and see what he wants to do. And we will consult a lawyer depending on what he says and what he discuses with the mechanic to see if we can just break even on it.

William B. Esq. :

Unfortunately, I am not permitted to give specific referrals on this forum. I can however give you a couple of sites that will be helpful in locating a local attorney. You can find attorneys on your State Bar Association’s website: (http://www.osbar.org/public/ris/); Martindale Hubble: (http://www.martindale.com/); or, on AVVO: (http://www.avvo.com/find-a-lawyer).



To keep costs down, I recommend finding an attorney that is working in a small firm or as a solo practitioner. A newer attorney usually charges slightly less than a more experienced attorney, while the more experienced attorneys are usually a little more efficient. In the end, you need to find an attorney that you feel comfortable with, and it is okay to speak with more than one before retaining one.

Customer:

my parents have used attorneys for many things so we will probably talk to them to see if they have one they can recommend. I'm also book marking those links so we can find one if need be. I think they would be helpful in dealing with filling out the paper work if we needed to take to small claims court

Customer:

is there anything else you might recommend with dealing with this guy? Any other websites it might be good to consult with for general stuff?

William B. Esq. :

I'm not seeing any that are of good general reference (the few statutory references I have are easier to locate through the State Bar booklet on small claims). One other option you may be able to use if you think a third party may be able to help you mediate this is the Better Business Bureau - you can file a complaint through the BBB after you have picked up the car and they will investigate the claim from there (it is a low cost option that can work fairly quickly). You can also try mediation short of court, but you will lose any money you put into mediation unless there is an "attorney's fees clause" in your repair contract, which is most likely not the case.

Customer:

no the contract I'm pretty certain was just verbal. Mechanic told my husband about 14 days.

Customer:

hmmm I'll check out the BBB but I thought business's had to be a member of the BBB in order for that to work

William B. Esq. :

They handle complaints against accredited and non-accredited businesses. http://www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Complaints/

Customer:

aww sweet I was just looking for a link for BBB. that is awesome. I'll show that to my husband as well.

Customer:

well that gives me some ideas I can show my husband and see what he wants to do.

Customer:

we are ready to take to small claims if need be.

William B. Esq. :

I do hope this is helpful (and hopefully you will be able to avoid small claims). If you do have any further questions please do not hesitate to let me know and I will follow up.

Customer:

okay cool thanks. You were great.

William B. Esq. :

Thank you for using our service, please do not forget to rate my answer when you are satisfied. I do wish you the best of luck in this matter.

Customer:

Thanks have fun and don't stay up to late. its 10 pm where I'm at

William B. Esq. :

Will do. Thanks.

William B. Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 2958
Experience: I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.
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Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
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