I took my Harley Davidson into a local repair shop that I have worked with many time with in the past to have it disassembled so that I could take the fenders, saddle bars, gas tank, and other covers to a professional painter in a nearby town to have painted. After getting it painted (a beautiful job of custom painting by the way) I took those parts back to them to have it reassembled, which they did I fine job of (except the shocks were not adjusted as they were before). Then one week later I took it back to them to have some other work done on it: having a tire replaced on the rear, having the shocks properly adjusted, and having both head gaskets replaced. The day I was supposed to pick the bike up again, I got an ominous phone call from the owner asking me to come down to the shop right away! When I got there I was totally blown away by what I was shown. The brand new custom paint job I had just had done on it was ruined: that is, one side of the gas tank was completely ruined. The art work on that side of the tank needed to be completely redone, as did the base paint on that whole side of the gas tank!
They claimed "no responsibility"! They put it all off on the painter. What they had admitted doing was taking off the gas tank (full of gas) and placing on a rag on a shelf overnight (leaning to one side, towards the gas cap). Gas seeped out around the gas cap, ran down over the gas tank on that one side, and puddled up on the rag below it, thereby causing gas to get under the paint fro both the top (around the gas cap) and the bottom (from the puddle of gas on the rag). Long story short, gas got under that whole side of my new paint job and ruined it.
The painter has been painting motor cycles and cars for 35 years. He said anyone in the business knows that a new paint job takes 4-10 weeks to completely cure, and that during that time gasoline (or other solvents) must be wiped off the paint immediately, or it can ruin the paint job. The repair shop "their expert painter disagrees).
I am supposed to pick up my motorcycle in 75 minutes (one they get the tank back on). I don't know what to do. Some have told me "write them a check, then go directly to your bank and stop payment on your check". Others have said "use your Debit Card, go to your bank and dispute the charge". Unless I give them some sort of payment they will not release my Harley to me. I do owe them some money. The total bill I will owe them will be in excess of $900.00, but it cost me $550.00 to get the damage they caused repaired. I am totally prepared to pay them the difference, but why should I be out $550.00 for damage they caused.
My concern is a "Mechanics Lien", which I am sure you are familiar with. Any repair shop may retain possession
of a vehicle they repair until they are paid in full. So, if I stop payment on a check I use to pay them with, can they repossess my vehicle? Or, if I do the same with a Debit Card?
I am willing to negotiate with them, but I don't think they are willing to. I would much rather they have to take me to Small Claims
court, than I them (there is a whole lot of paper work involved). I know I would win in court, because the paint cans say right on them the paint needs to cure, and I have to professional painters who are willing to testify to the affect.
Help!!!! I have one hour now to decide how best to deal with this situation!!!!!!