What kind of legal action can I take against this this auto repair shop?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by zylander, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    About a month ago I had this auto shop replace the engine in my '97 Thunderbird. The guy was able to find a used engine with (what he said had) 70k miles. He put in the engine and replaced just about everything else; belts, filters, gaskets, mounts, did pretty much everything needed to keep the car running for a few more years. With this job came a 6 month warranty on all parts and labor.

    The car was running fine up till about a week ago. I was on the freeway and it started misfiring real bad, had no power and then the check engine light came on. After about 20 seconds or so of that it went back to normal. Later that day I had my friend pull the code and, sure enough, it was a random misfire code. The same thing happened again later that day when I was coming home on the freeway. Lost power and started misfiring, even worse than the time before. And, when I pressed on the gas a lot of white smoke came out of the tail pipe. White smoke = burning coolant, so probably blown head gasket. The car drives fine most of the time but I never know when its going to happen again or when its going to completely die out. That last incident was about a week ago, I have not driven the car since.

    CLIFS:
    1. Have shop replace blown engine in my car.
    2. Shop gave me 6 month warranty on all parts and labor.
    3. Car runs fine for about a month then starts having problems.
    4. Car continues to run but is not reliable.



    Yesterday I took the car back to the shop that did the work and told the mechanic what had been happening and he takes a half assed look at the car. He opens the radiator and pours in almost half a gallon of anti-freeze. Then he gets out his diagnostic tool and pulls the check engine light code and tries to tell me its not for a misfire. He wont tell me what it is, just that its not a misfire code. I kept telling him about how it was behaving on the freeway and about all the white smoke but he just dismissed the misfiring to bad fuel or a bad injector and just kept telling me that the engine was good and strong. When I iterated that it had been putting out white smoke his response was "well its not smoking now". He was not even willing to take a thorough look at the car. Its pretty clear that he is just feeding me bull shit because he does not want to honor the warranty and fix the problem. Is there some kind of legal action I can take against this guy? How can I force him to honor the warranty and fix the car?


    CLIFS 2:
    1. Took car back to shop that did the repairs.
    2. Mechanic did a half assed investigation.
    3. Completely dismissed what I told him.
    4. Will not honor warranty or even try to fix the problem.
     
  2. Genx87

    Genx87 Lifer

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    If he wont fix it have another mechanic look at it then take him to court for damages. If he refuses to fix the problem there is nothing you can do except try to get your money back.
     
  3. SunnyD

    SunnyD Belgian Waffler

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    Sue! It's the Armenian way!
     
  4. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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    Is it still runnign bad now? is the coolant still going down? Also you have something in writing per warranty?

    If not then you have no case.

    If it continues then you need to have another tech look at it and write up a repair order. Give the first place a chance to see it and make repairs. If they say no then send a certified copy of the orignal warranty and a copy of the new repair needed list to them. If they don't do anything after a week of getting it then file a case in small claims.
     
  5. PokerGuy

    PokerGuy Lifer

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    First, I'm assuming you have documentation of the work that was done for you, including the warranty. If so, then the next step should be to pay the fee at a reputable repair shop to document what's actually wrong with the engine. Once you have that, you go back to the bogus shop, present them with a copy of the diagnostics and simply say that you want the repair to be done under the terms of the warranty. If they try to give you some song and dance, you contact a lawyer and sue.
     
  6. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    I have a receipt from the shop listing everything that was replaced and stating that I have a 6 month warranty on all parts and labor.

    I have not been driving the car since the last incident so I have not witnessed the car misfire since.
     
  7. MrDudeMan

    MrDudeMan Lifer

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    Better solution: instead of buying a used engine to put in an old car, buy a used car for roughly the same price that was made in this decade that will last twice as long.
     
  8. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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    So in other words it had 1 hicup and has not happened again. Right now you have no case. A car with its factory engine could do the same thing. Unless this is a ongoing issue the shop has still kept up with their part.
     
  9. DeadByDawn

    DeadByDawn Platinum Member

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    Not doubting anything you said but a shop is crazy for putting a warranty on a used engine in my opinion.
     
  10. thehstrybean

    thehstrybean Diamond Member

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    Head gasket or it could be a cracked/busted head. I'm going through the same thing on my '01 Jeep Cherokee. Losing coolant and it's coming out the tailpipe. Run a compression test on the cooling system (it should hold pressure) and a leakdown and pressure test on the cylinders. If those fail, you can pinpoint the cylinder where the gasket/head is busted. Also you can pull your plugs and see if one is really clean. That's probably the cylinder where the coolant is cleaning the plug.

    Best of luck. It sucks, I know...
     
  11. SphinxnihpS

    SphinxnihpS Diamond Member

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  12. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    Ive had a lot of bad luck dealing with used cars. This thunderbird has a good body and a clean interior, its only problem was the engine. I'd have a hard time finding a used car made in this decade that has never been in an accident, has no body damage and a perfect interior for $2000.
     
  13. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    If it was just a simple hicup misfire thats fine, but when I started seeing clouds of white smoke coming out the tail pipe I knew something was wrong. If coolant is getting into the cylinders and you can see a noticeably large white cloud of smoke behind the car than there is a real problem with the engine and its not just a hicup.
     
  14. BoomerD

    BoomerD Lifer

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    I agree. I don't see how the hell they can, in good faith, warranty a used engine.

    Their labor, yes, but unless they tore the engine apart and rebuilt it, there's no way for them to know what kind of condidion it's in internally.

    IF the warranty actually covers the engine (and not just their labor...and it might indeed) then your only recourse is to have the engine evaluated at a different shop, get a full written estimate, then take the guy to small claims court.
     
  15. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Diamond Member

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    A legal action is any action taken that which is not illegal.

    So well - anything....
     
  16. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    Work order receipt specifically says that I have a warranty on ALL parts and labor listed. It says nothing about excluding the engine.
     
  17. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    Even if a shop is crazy to put a warranty on a used engine, its still their job to leave me with a working car as a finished product. If they tell me it will cost $2000 to fix the car than after that $2000 the car should be running in good condition and not just for one month.
     
  18. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Diamond Member

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    Do you have the text of the warranty?

    Was the engine actually listed as a "part".

     
  19. zylander

    zylander Platinum Member

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    On the receipt is a list of ALL parts replaced, the engine is included in that list. At the bottom of the list it says that I have a warranty on all parts listed above.
     
  20. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Diamond Member

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    No its not. It is their job to provide you with goods and services that which are purchased.

    I don't mean to be a dick and please don't take this the wrong way - its just what little I know about the world, the US court system and our system of capitalism.

    Lets say you take a car in because the thing won't run. The mechanic diagnoses the problem as "timing belt" - replaces that part and some other associated bits (gaskets and whatnot) - now the car runs - as far as he is concerned - the issue is fixed.

    You take it home and a week later it stops running again - you take it back - this time its "valves" that are the problem.

    Now the mechanic should have known that a timing belt will sometimes bend valves. He didn't touch the valves in your car. After he replaced the timing belt - he was done. Now you have a second problem that costs more than the first one!

    However the warranty covers whatever parts were replaced, and that labor - it doesn't include the valves here.

    I'm not saying that your situation is the same as this, just illustrating that your problem may not be related to the original problem, and the mechanic probably won't touch it because he knows its involved, and it's probably not related to something he warranted.

    As for what to do - if he's a dick the only thing to do is to sue him. Be prepared for a massive bill from a lawyer though.
     
  21. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Diamond Member

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    I can give you a sheet of paper that says you have a warranty on something too.

    Where is the text of the warranty? In order for someone to provide something - they should lay it out no? As in "xxx mechanic warrants the parts and labor against defects in material and workmanship"

    May I submit that perhaps the mechanic sold you a paper warranty that is unenforceable and essentially meaningless. i.e. "I'll give you a warranty on something that I just say is a warranty - I'll look at it if it breaks, but when it comes down to it you'll need to sue me to get anything."

     
  22. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    If it's the 3.8L V6, those are known far and wide for head gasket troubles.
     
  23. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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    Yes but you said you have not driven it since then. So this is NOT a ongoing issue. Unless you keep driving it and it keep happening it will remain that way.

    Right now if you go to court you lose.
     
  24. Dulanic

    Dulanic Diamond Member

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    Did you pay for it with a visa/mc card? If so dispute it. Seriously, that will force their hand big time. Keep in mind you will need a 3rd party to clearly state the work the first merchant did was not correct and that the vehicle is still having problems. This way they have 2 options, either fix it and get paid or take you to court and if you would already have documenation supporting your case.
     
  25. geno

    geno Lifer

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    At this point, I'm hoping you didn't spend $2000 to repair a '97 T-bird. As said above, if it's the 6 cyl, you can almost guarrantee it's the headgasket. Good luck with all of this.