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97tj.jeepinit 09-27-2010 12:11 PM

broke college student gets shafted by local shop...
I'm looking for some advice on how i can make the best of a crappy situation, dealing with a local mechanic shop. I'm an Appalachian state student who makes minimum wage and is lucky to get 20 hours a week at work aka I'm "ramen noodle broke". So my jeep wont start one day to get me home from work, my roommate and i have a decent bit of mechanic experience and try to tackle the project with a few basic hand tools in the parking lot. During working on the jeep we replace the crankshaft position sensor, it didn't fix the problem so i put the old one back on and brought the part back to advance for a refund. Eventually i break down and have it towed to a local shop here in Boone, when they got the jeep i told them everything i tried when I worked on it including the crankshaft position sensor. They call me back in about a week to tell me the computer was fried, they also told me they put a crankshaft position sensor on it which cost $90.. This irritated me because i told them that wasn't the problem before i brought it to them. I got them a computer for it and told them while it was there to fix the u-joints in the front driveshaft because it was making some noise. when I pick the jeep up I realized they never fixed the u joints.. I brought it back the next day and specifically told the manager to fix the u joints. later that day he calls me and tells me the u joints weren't bad that he replaced the drivers side axle joint and the problem was fixed. He has now replaced the axle joint and the crankshaft position sensor without my permission. Only to be more pissed off because the axle joint was not the problem the noise was still there. I bring it back and tell him he needs to get my jeep fixed and i'm not giving him any more money because I'm broke and he has screwed me twice already. He told me to bring it back monday and he would take care of me, however on the way home the drivers side front brake locks up and now my rotor and pads are completely shot (and possibly the caliper). This was less than 5 miles after he pulled the hub apart to fix the axle joint. I just told him he needed to tow it back to his shop and fix it right this time. I have already made it clear that i have no more money to give him. Basically he put 2 parts on my jeep without my permission and caused more problems in the end. Is there anything I can do legally if he refuses to fix the brakes after he looks at it? i have a hard time believing that less than 5 miles after he takes the hub apart the brakes lock up and it isn't due to him putting it together wrong. Any input would be greatly appreciated! I'm not trying to screw the shop or get something for free... i just want my jeep fixed because I don't live at home and cant do it myself with the limited tools i brought. Again thanks for any advice guys.

Ibuildembig 09-27-2010 12:18 PM

Man that sucks, sorry to hear of your misfortune. I'm guessing its not a Jeep dealer right? Are you dealing with the shops owner? If not, that's where I would start. If so, you really only have one option and that is to threaten him with one of two or both things. First you can threaten with turning him over to the better business bureau, and the second is with a lawsuit. Most shops don't want a strike with the BBB as they get referals from it. I wouldn't take any more @#$ from them, I'd stomp right in there and demand some satisfaction :)

MadMaxx 09-27-2010 02:26 PM

Unfortunately it's really hard to get any satisfaction out of a repair shop where the owner/manager makes his money by shafting his customers. If these people were half as good at fixing cars as they were at shafting their customers they wouldn't need to screw their customers to make money.

But as far as your situation goes I agree with Ibuildembig. The BBB is the way to go for starters, also if the township where the shop is has a local Chamber of Commerce you may also want to file a complaint with them as well, as a matter of fact you may also get a quicker response out of them as they are local where the BBB tends to be nationwide and usually only act after receiving multiple complaints about a business. Your final recourse would be to retain a lawyer to provide legal counsel on what your other options are and quite possibly file a lawsuit against the shop owner.

With any luck though the owner will realize that he is not dealing with the average "mark" who doesn't know the difference between a steering wheel and spare tire and he will do what he can to resolve the issue.

I'm sort of dealing with a similar issue where just received my car (PT Cruiser) back from the body shop(after being sideswiped by a semi) only to find insane gaps in the body panels, fisheyes and bubbles in the paint and clearcoat, other panels and trim pieces that are not even installed properly. Its pretty sad to drop a car off to get fixed and when you get it back to not only find that they did a crappy job on the repair but they also managed to break, damage or lose parts that had nothing to do with the original repair.

phantomofrussia 09-27-2010 02:36 PM

wow, I am really sorry to hear that. But yeah your best bet would be first to try and talk to the owner of the shop and if that does not work do what the above posters mentioned.

Ibuildembig 09-27-2010 02:38 PM

And if that doesn't work, I would just fold him up like a cheap tent....but that's the last resort :D

97tj.jeepinit 09-27-2010 06:28 PM

thanks for the advice guys. they picked the jeep up this afternoon but i havent heard anything yet. Im thinking there must be some kind of law against doing work on a vehicle without the owners permission.. otherwise everyone would leave shops with a massive bill. If they make everything right then i dont have a problem, i just hate to pay for more stuff they messed up.. I figure there's no way the brakes just happen to lock up 5 miles after they pull it apart

Joshpeb2 09-27-2010 08:29 PM

I am dealing with a similar situation right now. Bought a 2005 unlimited on the 17th. took it back on the 20th for 3 specific issues. Shimmy in the front end (not death wobble) ,leaks at trans,ripped top. It is now the 27th and still no jeep AND they havent fixed a damn thing I took it there for. They replaced an axle seal. Problem is it was never bad in the first place. I am a mechanic by trade and looked it over with a fine tooth comb over the weekend. While replacing the seal they somehow destroyed the ring and pinion. They are being total assholes about it too. I called them today and told them this may just get turned over to an attorney (already called one) and the sales manager actually had the balls to laugh and say "and just what do you think your gonna do about it". my answer....Sue your ass!! click

IndyJeepMan 09-27-2010 08:34 PM

Why didnt you do the work lol. I'm sure you could of done the work if your trade is being a mechanic. Oh and this is why I always work on my stuff. Dont give me no bull about you cant because anyone can. There are plenty of write-ups on everything.

But i hope they best to you OP. I want you to get your Jeep back and not be paying those guys a dime for what the've done. I'd be freaking if it were my Jeep I feel your pain!

Joshpeb2 09-27-2010 09:21 PM

would you spend $20,000 + (total with interest) ,leave the dealer and make the repairs that THEY should have made in the first place. If i'm payin that kind of money I am not gonna fix stuff less than 3 days after purchase. I do it all day long....don't really wanna do it after I punch out.

Joshpeb2 09-27-2010 09:30 PM

OP, look up "unfair trade practices act" not sure how it would apply to your situation . I guess it depends on what state you're in too. Some states cover the consumer's ass pretty well. Others don't.

turdhurdler 09-27-2010 09:43 PM

Not sure how it is in your state, but in CA. you have to sign a proposal for the original estimate. The service shop is not allowed to do any addtional work beyond the initial estimate without first contacting you and getting approval. Some shops ask for further signatures for the addtional work to cover their own butts in the long run. Good luck in getting things squared away promptly.


bflank 09-27-2010 11:02 PM

Find a law student there at ASU and get them to do a little research on the local consumer protection laws. Sometimes a well written lawyerly letter (not a threatening letter - at least not at first) will get the shop to play nice.

redneckpilot 09-27-2010 11:57 PM

Contact the Better Business Bureau. Also, if they are affiliated with AAA, contact AAA as well.

cpainter56 09-28-2010 12:09 AM

Good luck with your jeep buddy, I wanna move to your town, I visited once and fell in love with it. Canyon's in blowing rock kicks ass.

97tj.jeepinit 09-28-2010 12:12 PM

If they give me any hassle or try to make me pay for something i know a lawyer back home so i plan on giving him a call and turning them into the BBB. I really would rather avoid a law suit if at all possible. And cpainter Boone really is a great place, the football games are insane. Just dont bring your jeep to kelly brothers tire and auto.. they'll rip you a new one.

Mr. Sinister 09-28-2010 12:20 PM


Originally Posted by 97tj.jeepinit (Post 792109)
they'll rip you a new one.

what? :rofl:

Ibuildembig 09-28-2010 12:30 PM

x2 on the extra phallis

530ktm 09-28-2010 02:18 PM


Originally Posted by 97tj.jeepinit (Post 792109)
I they'll rip you a new one.

Now this is interesting to say the least. :confused: :rofl:

firefighter777 09-28-2010 02:35 PM

True story. I once got a call on my ambulance for someone who had their penis ripped. It wasn't pretty.

Ibuildembig 09-28-2010 06:41 PM

hahaha we got a bleeder

modrodr 09-28-2010 06:54 PM

Check on the laws in your state. In the state of Florida per the Dept of Agriculture a written estimate must be signed for work in excess of $100.00 unless you sign a blank estimate stating that you do not wish to have a written estimate. Again check the law in your state, more than likely one exists.

rogertc1 09-28-2010 06:55 PM

Oxymoron poor college student

Ibuildembig 09-28-2010 11:06 PM

I was a poor college student once :P

we need to start an oxymoron thread

passingthrough 09-29-2010 09:00 PM

It has been my 'sperience that shops got their a$$es covered pretty well, 'specially the ones (like someone else said) that make this sort of thing a practice.

I have a friend who works at a Jaguar 'only' shop (i wont say where)....and mind you, my friend has nothing to do with this, he is just a mechanic, the front desk guy who meets n greets the customers is the culprit here....someone will come in needing a catalytic converter, or a muffler, or any sort of exhaust work, and he tells them, say, 1,200.00 ....when the customer leaves he calls a mexi-shop downtown and not only do they do the job for 200.00 they also pick the car up and deliver it when it's done!!!!

...all the guy at my friends shop does is make a phone call...."Your car is ready, 1200smackers please."

Heck, I managed a Quick-Lube for a few years, we charged 85.00 to replace Serpentine Belts....the belt cost us anywhere from 12 to 20bucks.....5minutes....done.

billy_YJ 09-29-2010 09:52 PM

I'm not proud of this BUT...

over a decade ago when I too was a poor college kid... I got the shaft from a local shade tree mechanic shop. Long story short, I ended up setting up in his parking lot and "greeting" any potential customer by telling them why I was there. Most left & told me thanks. After a full day of this... he did the right thing! lol

A few months later something happened to that man's front glass...

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