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  #1  
Old 09-25-2010, 09:23 AM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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A Mechanic Stole My Vehicle

A Mechanic Stole My Vehicle here in Victorville CA. I didn't give him any money because he didn't install a working water pump in my vehicle. I told him I was going to send a tow truck to pick up my vehicle after he said he installed the second water pump and that it was leaking. I wanted to have my vehicle towed to another more qualified mechanic, someone who could put a working water pump that didn't leak in my van after 3days. It should have been a 4 hr job. When he found that I wasn't going to go there and pay him for not doing his job right he decided to steal my vehcile. The mechanic agreed that I could send a tow truck there but after the tow truck got there he wouldn't let the tow truck driver tow my vehicle. Its been 5 days now. I called the police and I was told I'd have to take it to small claims. I don't think that would work and I'd have to pay a stranger to serve him. I contacted the BBB and Consumer Affairs and Consumer Affairs claims they are going to investigate this, but I have to wait a few days before they contact me. Is there anything else I can do? I have no access to my vehicle and if I lose my place to stay, I could be out on the street in the desert. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2010, 11:46 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Welcome to the board, 1993 Dodge Ram, and good luck with your problem. I think you'll get more answers in the In My Humble Opinion form, so I've moved your post there.
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:16 PM
Happy Fun Ball Happy Fun Ball is offline
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Wow, I am really surprised at the police response. I would think that if you showed up in person with the tow truck and the title in hand, and called the police, he would have to release the vehicle. I would think the mechanic is the one who needs to take it small claims court, not you. Wow.

He cannot just arbitrarily seize your car, can he? Doesn't he have to file a lien or something? Are their any lawyers on board that can comment on this?
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  #4  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:45 PM
jacobsta811 jacobsta811 is offline
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If the police say it is a small claims matter (in either direction), can't you just call the tow truck after the mechanics hours, or push your car down the road and around a corner or something and then call the tow truck if they won't take it from the mechanic's lot ? This is of course if the police won't call it stealing it from the mechanic..

Last edited by jacobsta811; 09-25-2010 at 01:45 PM..
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:49 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Laws vary somewhat from state to state, but in general if you gave authorization to have the work done (especially signed authorization), the shop has the right the hold the vehicle until you pay. If there is a problem with the work, there is recourse, but said recourse is usually not for you to unilaterally decide to renege on payment.

If this is a case where the shop is (legally) refusing to release the vehicle, then the shop has not stolen your vehicle. I can see why you might feel that way about it, but to state it that way seriously undermines your credibility and raises questions about the accuracy of all your statements. This is not helped by the rather cryptic story related in the OP, with useless and immaterial stuff like "It should have been a 4 hr job" but lacking pertinent info about the exact history of this repair (e.g., when was first pump installed? what was the problem with it? when did that problem appear? when was second pump installed? etc.) and what the mechanic has said he will or will not do (e.g. is he willing to install a third pump, but you're not willing to let him? has he told you to come and pick it up and pay for it even though there's a problem?). Frankly, with California's reputation for having the most consumer friendly/shop unfriendly auto repair agency in the country (BAR), I'm wondering how a shop could do you harm such as you seem to perceive has been done.

If you care to provide a concise but complete accounting of this situation, minus the drama, we may be able to help you navigate the situation.
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  #6  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:55 PM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
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Mechanic's lien.

CMC fnord!
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2010, 04:42 PM
Yarster Yarster is offline
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Is this a chain of shops, independent, or a guy working out of his house (i.e. shadetree mechanic?). I would definitely contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and let them know your issue with the mechanic in addition to the BBB and Department of Consumer Affairs. As others have already said, starting your story with "they stole my car!" isn't going to garner you any favor with the various folks to whom you've reported the incident. As far as the mechanic is concerned, he provided parts and labor, and you are refusing to pay. What's not clear is exactly what happened. Am I to understand that you had two new water pumps fail on your van in less than a week, the first of which failed in 3 days and the second failed while still at the shop? There has to be more details we haven't heard. Presumably you paid for the first water pump such that you had the car the three days for it to fail, and then took it back for what should have been a free fix, perhaps less the cost of the pump, but I find it hard to believe the mechanic wants to charge you for a non-functional pump that is failing while still at his shop. What details are we missing here?
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2010, 04:47 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by 1993 Dodge Ram View Post
Its been 5 days now. I called the police and I was told I'd have to take it to small claims.
Paging Rick to GQ

IANA mechanic per se but I work in a repair business.

The police will not intervene because the business owner has the right to hold the vehicle pending payment. The police forcing him to release the vehicle would set a precedent that would turn every customer service challenge into a police matter and probably get the department sued for the loss of revenues on those jobs.

Mechanics leins do not require special filings, once I start work on a project (computers in my case) I now have a financial interest in the job, if you do not want to pay, I do not have to give it back to you absent a court order.

Once you have authorized repair work and the work is done, generally the obligation on the part of the repair person is to solve the problem. If the problem is determined to be larger, require more parts, etc that initially anticipated they have to contact you for permission to exceed the original estimate. If you do not want to pay for the extra time, effort, etc, you can stop the job, but you still have to pay for what WAS done.

You do not OTOH get to just waltz in and take your stuff/truck/tv/whatever without paying because you do not feel they can complete the job within your desired time frame.
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2010, 04:56 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by L. G. Butts, Ph.D. View Post
Wow, I am really surprised at the police response. I would think that if you showed up in person with the tow truck and the title in hand, and called the police, he would have to release the vehicle. I would think the mechanic is the one who needs to take it small claims court, not you. Wow.
No pay, no vehicle, perfectly legal and police trying to intervene would turn into a legal bloodbath that the police would lose.

Quote:
He cannot just arbitrarily seize your car, can he? Doesn't he have to file a lien or something? Are their any lawyers on board that can comment on this?
I do not know if there are any differences with cars, I know mechanics leins on homes do have to be filed but thats because you can't just throw people out of their house without some serious due process.

They are not seizing your car per se, simply holding pending payment. If you do not pay for a set period of time say 90 days he can most likely sell your car to recover his outstanding bill.
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2010, 07:49 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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Thanks for Your Input

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
Laws vary somewhat from state to state, but in general if you gave authorization to have the work done (especially signed authorization), the shop has the right the hold the vehicle until you pay. If there is a problem with the work, there is recourse, but said recourse is usually not for you to unilaterally decide to renege on payment.

If this is a case where the shop is (legally) refusing to release the vehicle, then the shop has not stolen your vehicle. I can see why you might feel that way about it, but to state it that way seriously undermines your credibility and raises questions about the accuracy of all your statements. This is not helped by the rather cryptic story related in the OP, with useless and immaterial stuff like "It should have been a 4 hr job" but lacking pertinent info about the exact history of this repair (e.g., when was first pump installed? what was the problem with it? when did that problem appear? when was second pump installed? etc.) and what the mechanic has said he will or will not do (e.g. is he willing to install a third pump, but you're not willing to let him? has he told you to come and pick it up and pay for it even though there's a problem?). Frankly, with California's reputation for having the most consumer friendly/shop unfriendly auto repair agency in the country (BAR), I'm wondering how a shop could do you harm such as you seem to perceive has been done.

If you care to provide a concise but complete accounting of this situation, minus the drama, we may be able to help you navigate the situation.
I didn't tell him I'd pay him for not installing a working water pump. I brought him a new water pump, in an unopened box, on 9/21/2010. He called and told me that the water pump was defective. It was leaking. I also called returns and they told me that the mechanic had called them and reported the damaged water pump. I had to go and pick the water pump up and when I looked at it I couldn't believe how damaged it was. There was hardly any seal left on it. I didn't think, it was defective and I think it was damaged by the mechanic, because if he saw what I saw he never should have put it in. I went back 9/22/2010 and saw my van in the parking lot unattended with a big black metal thing under the hood. It wasn't mine. I don't know what it was. I found him inside the auto shop and gave him a suggestion of where there might be higher quality pumps. He said he already had a water pump but he hadn't installed it yet and raised the price of the repairs from $386.00 to over $500.00, no exact figure. I told him I wouldn't be able to pay him for a working water pump at that price in Septemtember, maybe 10/1/2010 and I couldn't afford to pay him anymore. I didn't pay him anything, because there was no working water pump in my van. 9/23/2010, the mechanic called me before abt 8:am and said he put the water pump in but it was leaking. I told him I was going to have a tow truck pick up my van and have it towed to a qualified mechanic. I never saw the work he says he did. He said on the phone, no problem. I called Geico late afternoon 9/23/2010 and they sent a tow truck driver to pick up my van at the auto repair shop, in Victorville, CA. The tow truck driver called me and said the mechanic wouldn't release the vehicle and that he thought he was going to pull some shit. Then the mechanic called me and said that the tow truck was there but he was not going to release my van. 9/24/2010 about 8:am, the mechanic called me and said my van was ready to pick up and it could be driven without a water pump or he could put a leaking water pump in it and I'd have to pay him in person, no other payment arrangements. I could not mail any payments. I told him I couldn't go there and pay him for not repairing my van. I haven't talked to him since and I really do think he is either going to keep my van which to me is the same thing as stealing when he has it locked up and I don't have access to it. I have thought about going there and quickly getting into my van inside the auto shop and try to back it out where it could be towed. I am afraid to do that, because I'm not sure what my rights are. I don't think doing anything legally is going to help me, just him. I think the mechanic has already figured everything out and wouldn't have done this if he didn't think it was to his advantage. I think all he is doing is taking advantage of me and that he is not qualified to put a working water pump in my van. I have been to several mechanics and had working water pumps put in, no problem and if one didn't work, they simply sent it back and put a working one in. They didn't charge me, because they were having problems putting a working water pump in. They all charged me less than $300.00 to put a working water pump in. Consumer affairs is investigating this and they told me they are going to bat for me but meanwhile I have to wait, for how long, I don't know. I am seeking a lawyer and I don't think small claims is the answer because I have to pay someone and watch someone serve papers to the mechanic and even if I won it doesn't mean he will release my van. I need to leave victorville and might have to buy another vehicle, because I have no transportation. I'm sorry if this seems dramatic. It's much more serious than that.
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2010, 08:31 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is online now
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So, once you do get your van back, your plan is to take it to a 'qualified mechanic' and have him install a water pump that you provide?

I think you need to reflect on what brought you to this point in the first place. Understand this: your parts, your risk.

And if you can't afford to pay the guy who currently has your van, how do you plan on paying the 'qualified mechanic'?
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2010, 09:39 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1993 Dodge Ram View Post
I brought him a new water pump, in an unopened box, on 9/21/2010.
Okay, first problem. I don't know why people think it's a good idea to provide their own parts, but in dealing with a good shop it isn't. Let the shop provide the whole repair, and the shop can warranty the whole repair.
Quote:
He called and told me that the water pump was defective. It was leaking. I also called returns and they told me that the mechanic had called them and reported the damaged water pump. I had to go and pick the water pump up...
Just one reason it's not a good idea for the customer to provide the parts. If there's a problem (defect, wrong part, etc.) it's then the customer's responsibility to rectify it.
Quote:
...and when I looked at it I couldn't believe how damaged it was. There was hardly any seal left on it.
This isn't making sense. The seal is not visible unless the pump is essentially disassembled. (And if you're using "seal" to mean "gasket," it's a non-issue -- the gasket is cheap and readily replaced.)
Quote:
I didn't think, it was defective and I think it was damaged by the mechanic, because if he saw what I saw he never should have put it in.
And how are you differentiating between defective and damaged by the mechanic? While I guess anything's possible, it's pretty darn hard to screw up a water pump. I don't think I've seen that happen in 35 years in the field. Either this is one hell of an inept mechanic or there's something that's being misunderstood here.
Quote:
I found him inside the auto shop and gave him a suggestion of where there might be higher quality pumps.
Again not making sense. Sounds like you're saying you chose a lower quality pump to begin with. Also sounds like either this "mechanic" is a total flub -- in which case I'm sorry to say you should never have done business with him in the first place -- OR you have a very poor idea of how to deal with a shop -- by which I mean any decent professional knows more than laymen do about where and how to get parts.
Quote:
He said he already had a water pump but he hadn't installed it yet and raised the price of the repairs from $386.00 to over $500.00, no exact figure.
The difference in price perhaps being that now HE is providing the part?

Quote:
9/23/2010, the mechanic called me before abt 8:am and said he put the water pump in but it was leaking.
Put WHICH water pump in? The new one he provided? The new one you provided? Your old one?
Quote:
9/24/2010 about 8:am, the mechanic called me and said my van was ready to pick up and it could be driven without a water pump or he could put a leaking water pump in it...
Now it's making even less sense. You just said he put a pump in and it's leaking, now you say it doesn't have a pump on it?
Quote:
I told him I couldn't go there and pay him for not repairing my van.
Sounds to me like you owe him for attempting to repair it with the part you provided.

Quote:
I haven't talked to him since and I really do think he is either going to keep my van which to me is the same thing as stealing when he has it locked up and I don't have access to it. I have thought about going there and quickly getting into my van inside the auto shop and try to back it out where it could be towed. I am afraid to do that, because I'm not sure what my rights are. I don't think doing anything legally is going to help me, just him. I think the mechanic has already figured everything out and wouldn't have done this if he didn't think it was to his advantage. I think all he is doing is taking advantage of me and that he is not qualified to put a working water pump in my van. I have been to several mechanics and had working water pumps put in, no problem and if one didn't work, they simply sent it back and put a working one in. They didn't charge me, because they were having problems putting a working water pump in. They all charged me less than $300.00 to put a working water pump in. Consumer affairs is investigating this and they told me they are going to bat for me but meanwhile I have to wait, for how long, I don't know. I am seeking a lawyer and I don't think small claims is the answer because I have to pay someone and watch someone serve papers to the mechanic and even if I won it doesn't mean he will release my van. I need to leave victorville and might have to buy another vehicle, because I have no transportation. I'm sorry if this seems dramatic. It's much more serious than that.
I'm sorry, but this whole post is way past concise, confusing as hell, and half irrelevant. Let's see if I can get the essence here:

1) He installed the pump you provided and it leaked.

2) He has offered to do the repair with a pump he provides, but you declined.

3) Your vehicle now is disassembled, and he insists you pay for his efforts so far before taking the vehicle.

If any of the above three items is incorrect, please advise. Use those three items as a guide to being concise.
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2010, 11:05 PM
Rick Rick is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1993 Dodge Ram View Post
Its been 5 days now. I called the police and I was told I'd have to take it to small claims.
Paging Rick to GQ
I'm here.
Gary T covered most of it. 1993 Dodge Ram I am a service manager at a new car dealer in California, so I know a bit of the laws involved.
If you supply parts, even if they are bad, the repair facility is entitled to be paid for the labor they put in installing said bad part. It is not their fault that you supplied a bad part.*
Like Gary T I am having a hard time following the story. so if you could clarify it would be helpful.
Your best course of action is to talk to the local office of the BAR (California State Bureau of Automotive Repair) California has some of the strongest most consumer friendly auto repair laws in the nation. If the shop did not follow the rules (or is unlicensed) they will bring this to a quick end.
If however they did everything right, you will have to pay something.

*This is often a big problem when the customer wants to bring in a used part from a junk yard. The replacement used part is many times almost as fucked up as the part that is to be replaced.
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  #14  
Old 09-25-2010, 11:48 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
Just one reason it's not a good idea for the customer to provide the parts. If there's a problem (defect, wrong part, etc.) it's then the customer's responsibility to rectify it.
to the op, the quoted line here is the key to your problem. You are not going to like hearing this, but You are legally and morally in the wrong.

You asked him to do work which failed because your provided part was bad. If he was willing to redo it with a part he supplied, for just the difference in the part cost, he was being a good guy.

I seriously doubt you will get findings in your favor from BAR or small claims if for no other reason that you are trying to blame him for the failure of a part you provided. He has pretty much zero legal responsibility to do anything for you as far as not charging you at least for the labor on the initial install.

Also if it turns out that there is a greater problem for example did overheating cause some part of the mounting point to warp creating difficulty getting a good seal. Under such circumstances, it's not the mechanics fault and the leakage could be from a very small gap, like a couple hundredths of an inch that would be difficult to discern on visual inspection.
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2010, 12:26 AM
ctywkr ctywkr is offline
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I know that you don't want to name the mechanic, but if and when you need to go somewhere else PM me, I have lived in the area my whole life and may be able to offer some good alternatives.
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  #16  
Old 09-26-2010, 01:37 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
You are not going to like hearing this, but You are legally and morally in the wrong..
Maybe or maybe not, but so far it doesn't sound good for you, OP. However, the cops were completely right. It is a civil matter not a car theft.

I suggest you consult a lawyer.
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2010, 02:13 AM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by ctywkr View Post
I know that you don't want to name the mechanic, but if and when you need to go somewhere else PM me, I have lived in the area my whole life and may be able to offer some good alternatives.
At this point he might as well let the guy fix it, he will end up paying him anyway. If he tried to play this game with me, I would have charged him too.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2010, 02:27 AM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by 1993 Dodge Ram View Post
I have thought about going there and quickly getting into my van inside the auto shop and try to back it out where it could be towed. I am afraid to do that, because I'm not sure what my rights are.
Don't do it. This can very easily fall into "theft of services" which is a criminal act.

courtesey of CA Penal Code
484. (a) Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry,
lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall
fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or
her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or
fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of
money, labor or real or personal property
, or who causes or procures
others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile character
and by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby
fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or
obtains the labor or service of another
, is guilty of theft.

Bolding mine.

Dodging paying for a service this way can be considered theft and can end up providing you with living quarters in county lockup.
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  #19  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:29 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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It now occurs to me that this:
...I couldn't believe how damaged it was. There was hardly any seal left on it. I didn't think, it was defective and I think it was damaged by the mechanic, because if he saw what I saw he never should have put it in.
probably means the water pump that the OP supplied had been removed after it was installed and found to leak, and the OP saw the (predictably) torn gasket, didn't realize that gaskets of that type don't usually survive removal, mistakenly assumed it looked like that before installation, and went on to misinterpret and incorrectly assume further from there.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:33 PM
jasonh300 jasonh300 is offline
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Originally Posted by ctywkr View Post
I know that you don't want to name the mechanic, but if and when you need to go somewhere else PM me, I have lived in the area my whole life and may be able to offer some good alternatives.
I don't think the OP brought his car to a bad mechanic, that would warrant recommending a good mechanic, except that the good mechanic you recommend will probably refuse to do the work with a customer-provided part.

In Louisiana, every mechanic's work authorization form has the same language at the bottom that details the mechanic's lien. When you sign the work authorization, you agree to get the work done, and you agree to the lien. If you don't pay for the work, the mechanic takes the paperwork and the license plate to the state DMV, files some more paperwork and get issued a title to the car, which he can then sell to recover his costs.
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  #21  
Old 09-26-2010, 03:40 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Interestingly enough I was able to find several other apparent references to this incident on other sites.

The OP was told while seeking online sources for parts that it was a bad idea and the as well as that the vehicle in question has a history of killing water pumps. I wonder if previous mechanics just got a little wild with the permatex/gasket sealant and called it good ending up with a repair that did not last and that this is the first honest guy she has come across.
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  #22  
Old 09-26-2010, 05:52 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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Originally Posted by Yarster View Post
Is this a chain of shops, independent, or a guy working out of his house (i.e. shadetree mechanic?). I would definitely contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and let them know your issue with the mechanic in addition to the BBB and Department of Consumer Affairs. As others have already said, starting your story with "they stole my car!" isn't going to garner you any favor with the various folks to whom you've reported the incident. As far as the mechanic is concerned, he provided parts and labor, and you are refusing to pay. What's not clear is exactly what happened. Am I to understand that you had two new water pumps fail on your van in less than a week, the first of which failed in 3 days and the second failed while still at the shop? There has to be more details we haven't heard. Presumably you paid for the first water pump such that you had the car the three days for it to fail, and then took it back for what should have been a free fix, perhaps less the cost of the pump, but I find it hard to believe the mechanic wants to charge you for a non-functional pump that is failing while still at his shop. What details are we missing here?
Oh no, I gave the 1st new water pump to the mechanic before I opened the box. He called and told me he installed it but it was leaking. The returns dept from the Auto Parts Warehouse told me while I chatted online, that the mechanic had reported to them that the water pump was defective. I looked at the water pump before I put it back in the outer box. I wasn't allowed to have the inner box but the mechanic said I could take it and return it. I saw that there was sticky stuff, I guess the sealant on the inside part of it near the edges. There was also places where the dark sticky stuff was missing. When I picked the water pump up to package it I gave the mechanic an address of where he could get a water pump from a place that has dodge parts and he said he had already ordered a part but hadn't put it in. When I take my vehicle to have it repaired. I expect it to be repaired or I shouldn't have to pay for it and worry that I'll never be able to leagally drive my vehicle away from the auto shop because the mechanic wants to be paid when my vehicle isn't repaired. He told me on the phone that the vehicle would run without a water pump. I wouldn't do that. If he thought that it was my van's fault then he should know why, if he is a qualified mechanic or let me take it to someone who knows what they are doing and knows how to remedy this issue. I am not allowed to move my vehicle to a place where I can have it repaired, unless I pay this mechanic first and the only reason I have to pay him is so I can have my van back. Thank you very much for mentioning BAR. they told me I'd have to wait a few days before they contacted me. I was told by a man when I called BAR that they would go through this with a fine tooth comb. Meanwhile I have to put my life on hold and it's creating a problem with my family relationships because I don't know how long I will be staying in Victorville now that I can't drive my van and I really wasn't planning on staying here this long, while I try to figure out what I can do. I don't want to go into detail about this but what happened with my van could cause me to become homeless. I might have to buy another vehicle or just survive witout a home or a vehicle, so it's a very serious issue that I can't depend on my van. I own the dodge ram van. It doesn't belong to the auto shop or the mechanic. I think he's trying to pull something or something worse will happen later. I am going to take a document that I made up myself to the auto shop with or without a police officer and try and have someone sign it and maybe that's what I should have done in the first place. The mechanic says he tried to install a working water pump. I don't know what the mechanic did and I think the mechanic knows I'm not going to win this one, unless I do something like jump in my vehicle and drive off with it before he moves it somewhere else. There are some new parts in my vehicle that are worth more than what it usually costs to install a new water pump. If I ever have the next vehicle I buy serviced I will have an agreement documented and signed or I won't have it fixed because I don't know what the mechanic will pull. I don't think taking this to small claims is the answer. Isn't BAR a government program? Sometimes government programs take too long to help. I'm not going to do anything about my van after 10/1/2010, 'cause the problem has been there since 9/21/2010 and I need a vacation or a new vehicle and a qualified mechanic and possibly a place to stay. I really like your post.
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  #23  
Old 09-26-2010, 06:11 PM
Hockey Monkey Hockey Monkey is offline
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The mechanic isn't trying to "pull" anything, you are. He tried to install a working part on your van and you refused. You still owe him for the labor on the defective part that you took to him. I don't understand why you don't get this. Let the man install the water pump he ordered, pay the man and go on with your life. Although now after this stink you've raised I doubt he would agree to do the work for you now.
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:34 PM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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Oh, my. People like the OP give me such an awful headache. Based on what I've seen in the results of my Google search, I doubt she'll be back to read this, but here goes anyway.

Look, everyone who is a professional at something quite reasonably expects to get paid for doing that thing, unless it has been previously arranged that this is done as a favor, gift, charity, or whatever. Even if the job they do for you turns out badly due to circumstances beyond their control, they have a right to be paid for that job. You don't work for free, not even when things you have no control over go wrong. The cashier at the minimart doesn't work for free, not even if that honey bun I got tasted waxy and gross. My dentist doesn't work for free, not even if I get gum disease from not flossing as often as recommended. As I frequently have to tell people bitching about how much my boss charges for tech time on ER cases, I sure as shit don't work for free, not even if the animal dies. So why on earth would you expect your mechanic to work for free, just because you bought a defective part?
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  #25  
Old 09-26-2010, 06:40 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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Is this a chain of shops, independent, or a guy working out of his house (i.e. shadetree mechanic?). I would definitely contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and let them know your issue with the mechanic in addition to the BBB and Department of Consumer Affairs. As others have already said, starting your story with "they stole my car!" isn't going to garner you any favor with the various folks to whom you've reported the incident. As far as the mechanic is concerned, he provided parts and labor, and you are refusing to pay. What's not clear is exactly what happened. Am I to understand that you had two new water pumps fail on your van in less than a week, the first of which failed in 3 days and the second failed while still at the shop? There has to be more details we haven't heard. Presumably you paid for the first water pump such that you had the car the three days for it to fail, and then took it back for what should have been a free fix, perhaps less the cost of the pump, but I find it hard to believe the mechanic wants to charge you for a non-functional pump that is failing while still at his shop. What details are we missing here?
Oh no, I gave the 1st new water pump to the mechanic before I opened the box. He called and told me he installed it but it was leaking. The returns dept from the Auto Parts Warehouse told me while I chatted online, that the mechanic had reported to them that the water pump was defective. I looked at the water pump before I put it back in the outer box. I wasn't allowed to have the inner box but the mechanic said I could take it and return it. I saw that there was sticky stuff, I guess the sealant on the inside part of it near the edges. There was also places where the dark sticky stuff was missing. When I picked the water pump up to package it I gave the mechanic an address of where he could get a water pump from a place that has dodge parts and he said he had already ordered a part but hadn't put it in. When I take my vehicle to have it repaired. I expect it to be repaired or I shouldn't have to pay for it and worry that I'll never be able to leagally drive my vehicle away from the auto shop because the mechanic wants to be paid when my vehicle isn't repaired. He told me on the phone that the vehicle would run without a water pump. I wouldn't do that. If he thought that it was my van's fault then he should know why, if he is a qualified mechanic or let me take it to someone who knows what they are doing and knows how to remedy this issue. I am not allowed to move my vehicle to a place where I can have it repaired, unless I pay this mechanic first and the only reason I have to pay him is so I can have my van back. Thank you very much for mentioning BAR. they told me I'd have to wait a few days before they contacted me. I was told by a man when I called BAR that they would go through this with a fine tooth comb. Meanwhile I have to put my life on hold and it's creating a problem with my family relationships because I don't know how long I will be staying in Victorville now that I can't drive my van and I really wasn't planning on staying here this long, while I try to figure out what I can do. I don't want to go into detail about this but what happened with my van could cause me to become homeless. I might have to buy another vehicle or just survive witout a home or a vehicle, so it's a very serious issue that I can't depend on my van. I own the dodge ram van. It doesn't belong to the auto shop or the mechanic. I think he's trying to pull something or something worse will happen later. I am going to take a document that I made up myself to the auto shop with or without a police officer and try and have someone sign it and maybe that's what I should have done in the first place. The mechanic says he tried to install a working water pump. I don't know what the mechanic did and I think the mechanic knows I'm not going to win this one, unless I do something like jump in my vehicle and drive off with it before he moves it somewhere else. There are some new parts in my vehicle that are worth more than what it usually costs to install a new water pump. If I ever have the next vehicle I buy serviced I will have an agreement documented and signed or I won't have it fixed because I don't know what the mechanic will pull. I don't think taking this to small claims is the answer. Isn't BAR a government program? Sometimes government programs take too long to help. I'm not going to do anything about my van after 10/1/2010, 'cause the problem has been there since 9/21/2010 and I need a vacation or a new vehicle and a qualified mechanic and possibly a place to stay. I really like your post.
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:45 PM
JKilez JKilez is offline
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The mechanic isn't trying to "pull" anything, you are.
But you do not understand. The defective water pump she gave the mechanic did not fix the problem. How can you expect her to pay for that? He wanted to charge her for a working water pump in addition to what he would charge for installing it. You cannot tell me he is not trying to pull a scam. I mean parts AND labor? Come on!
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  #27  
Old 09-26-2010, 06:55 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Originally Posted by Hockey Monkey View Post
The mechanic isn't trying to "pull" anything, you are.
But you do not understand. The defective water pump she gave the mechanic did not fix the problem. How can you expect her to pay for that? He wanted to charge her for a working water pump in addition to what he would charge for installing it. You cannot tell me he is not trying to pull a scam. I mean parts AND labor? Come on!
The mechanic is entitled to be compensated for the labor involved in installing the defective pump. That is a cost expended regardless if the customer-supplied pump worked or not.

The mechanic then supplies a new part and installs it and is entitled to payment.
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  #28  
Old 09-26-2010, 06:57 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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The mechanic isn't trying to "pull" anything, you are. He tried to install a working part on your van and you refused. You still owe him for the labor on the defective part that you took to him. I don't understand why you don't get this. Let the man install the water pump he ordered, pay the man and go on with your life. Although now after this stink you've raised I doubt he would agree to do the work for you now.
I'm going to try to get him to sign a document and work out an agreement but I don't think he'll be able to install a working water pump and I will not pay him 'cause all I know is what he says happened and he admitted that the repairs are not made. Good luck to him I'm getting on with my life and I'll be more careful about the new vehicle I buy and only take it to someone qualified.
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  #29  
Old 09-26-2010, 06:59 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
Interestingly enough I was able to find several other apparent references to this incident on other sites.

The OP was told while seeking online sources for parts that it was a bad idea and the as well as that the vehicle in question has a history of killing water pumps. I wonder if previous mechanics just got a little wild with the permatex/gasket sealant and called it good ending up with a repair that did not last and that this is the first honest guy she has come across.
The mechanic told me that my van might be causing damage to the water pumps. Uh?
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  #30  
Old 09-26-2010, 07:02 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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The mechanic isn't trying to "pull" anything, you are. He tried to install a working part on your van and you refused. You still owe him for the labor on the defective part that you took to him. I don't understand why you don't get this. Let the man install the water pump he ordered, pay the man and go on with your life. Although now after this stink you've raised I doubt he would agree to do the work for you now.
No, he put his pump in and said it didn't work. I can't go on like this

Last edited by 1993 Dodge Ram; 09-26-2010 at 07:03 PM..
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  #31  
Old 09-26-2010, 07:11 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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Originally Posted by ctywkr View Post
I know that you don't want to name the mechanic, but if and when you need to go somewhere else PM me, I have lived in the area my whole life and may be able to offer some good alternatives.
I don't think the OP brought his car to a bad mechanic, that would warrant recommending a good mechanic, except that the good mechanic you recommend will probably refuse to do the work with a customer-provided part.

In Louisiana, every mechanic's work authorization form has the same language at the bottom that details the mechanic's lien. When you sign the work authorization, you agree to get the work done, and you agree to the lien. If you don't pay for the work, the mechanic takes the paperwork and the license plate to the state DMV, files some more paperwork and get issued a title to the car, which he can then sell to recover his costs.
Whoever lives in my area please suggest to me a decent mechanic who can install a working water pump in case there is some freak chance I get my vehicle back or need one for the new vehicle.
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  #32  
Old 09-26-2010, 07:13 PM
1993 Dodge Ram 1993 Dodge Ram is offline
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Originally Posted by jasonh300 View Post

I don't think the OP brought his car to a bad mechanic, that would warrant recommending a good mechanic, except that the good mechanic you recommend will probably refuse to do the work with a customer-provided part.

In Louisiana, every mechanic's work authorization form has the same language at the bottom that details the mechanic's lien. When you sign the work authorization, you agree to get the work done, and you agree to the lien. If you don't pay for the work, the mechanic takes the paperwork and the license plate to the state DMV, files some more paperwork and get issued a title to the car, which he can then sell to recover his costs.
Whoever lives in my area please suggest to me a decent mechanic who can install a working water pump in case there is some freak chance I get my vehicle back or need one for the new vehicle.
The mechanic said his name is Tom at victor plaza automotive services
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  #33  
Old 09-26-2010, 07:48 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by 1993 Dodge Ram View Post
I have been to several mechanics and had working water pumps put in, no problem and if one didn't work, they simply sent it back and put a working one in. They didn't charge me, because they were having problems putting a working water pump in. They all charged me less than $300.00 to put a working water pump in.
Your van has needed multiple water pump replacements?
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  #34  
Old 09-26-2010, 08:29 PM
JKilez JKilez is offline
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
The mechanic is entitled to be compensated... The mechanic then... is entitled...
Yeah, you would say that, living in your ivory tower as you do. Just because he spent hours working on the van he is "entitled" to be paid for that work, and just because he bought a new pump, he is "entitled" to be reimbursed.

What about poor 1993 Dodge Ram? Is she not entitled to have her yearly water pump replacement done without hassle? Is she not entitled to chose cheap but crappy and defective parts for her van and have the mechanic install them without question? This is America, darn it. AMERICA! Who is looking out for little old 1993 Dodge Ram? Why don't you care what she is entitled to, huh?
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  #35  
Old 09-26-2010, 08:38 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
The mechanic is entitled to be compensated... The mechanic then... is entitled...
Yeah, you would say that, living in your ivory tower as you do. Just because he spent hours working on the van he is "entitled" to be paid for that work, and just because he bought a new pump, he is "entitled" to be reimbursed.

What about poor 1993 Dodge Ram? Is she not entitled to have her yearly water pump replacement done without hassle? Is she not entitled to chose cheap but crappy and defective parts for her van and have the mechanic install them without question? This is America, darn it. AMERICA! Who is looking out for little old 1993 Dodge Ram? Why don't you care what she is entitled to, huh?


So busted.

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  #36  
Old 09-26-2010, 08:50 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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No, he put his pump in and said it didn't work. I can't go on like this
This is quite the mystery. I would expect that if it's the wrong pump, or a defective pump, that his supplier would replace it with a suitable part and BINGO! problem solved. Are we just waiting for him to get another pump, or is he maintaining that the vehicle isn't fixable? Things just aren't adding up yet.
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  #37  
Old 09-26-2010, 09:37 PM
astro astro is offline
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1993 Dodge Ram, with all due respect you do not understand the law. He is entitled to keep your vehicle until you pay for repairs. Period. Your "I don't think I should pay for a non-working vehicle" statement may make you feel good, but is a legally useless assertion.

You can apply for relief from the legal system after the fact, but refusing to pay at this point puts you (legally) in the wrong.

It appears he has spent substantial time working on your vehicle with parts you have provided. You are entirely responsible for the defective part you provided and his time. The "if it doesn't work then I don't pay" does not apply to the labor portion of his efforts despite your continued efforts to make this be a reality.

You are trying every stunt you can think of to avoid paying, but all this is likely to do is aggravate him and delay your exit from the area. If you are really that close to being homeless if you do not have access to your vehicle, I would borrow the money from the friends or relatives you are visiting, pay him, get it repaired elsewhere, and get on the way.

Wasting massive amounts of time tussling over water pump repair when being on the street is the alternative is a poor designation of priorities at this point.

Last edited by astro; 09-26-2010 at 09:38 PM..
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  #38  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:02 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Could you at least use paragraphs, 1993 Dodge Ram? I'm getting a headache trying to read your posts.
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  #39  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:13 PM
Spoons Spoons is online now
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Could you at least use paragraphs, 1993 Dodge Ram? I'm getting a headache trying to read your posts.
Same here. I'm trying to figure out what legal issues are involved, but having a very hard time owing to the lack of paragraphs. I think I'm understanding, but it's almost easier to just give up. However, I'm still interested in what's happening. Please use paragraphs.
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  #40  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:19 PM
Rick Rick is online now
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1993 Dodge Ram your position is similar to someone who takes their own eggs to a restaurant to have them prepare breakfast. If you then got salmonella from the eggs being infected, would that be the restaurants fault? No is the clear answer, you supplied the defective eggs.
Or how about this: I hire you to dig a hole in my backyard to locate a water pipe. I point out the location and say "Dig a hole 6 feet long, 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep." If you dig a hole in that location 6X3X4 and do not find a water pipe, do I get to not pay you for all that dirt you dug up? Or do I have to man up and pay you for that and the second ( or third) hole you have to dig.
Now compare that to I say I will pay $X for you to dig a hole and find that water pipe, and leave all the details to you.
In the first scenario I told you where to dig (and got a lower price) In the second, I rely on your expertise in choosing where to dig to find the pipe. Probably costs more upfront, but in the long run might be a bunch cheaper.
Same deal here. You supplied either a defective or unsuitable water pump (many cars have more than one pump that fits a particular year/engine combo and the differences are not always obvious)
You have just demonstrated the down side to providing your own parts. If they don't work, the shop owner expects to be paid for the time he wasted finding out the part you supplied was defective. I would guess that if the tables were turned, you would expect the same.
Now if the shop had been providing the parts and the first pump was defective, then it is too bad, so sad for the shop. they can go back to their supplier for a labor credit, or chalk it up to "I will never buy that brand/ from that supplier again" In no case would the extra labor come back to you the car owner.
If the shop were supplying the part your position that you should not pay, probably, and I repeat probably would hold water. It would depend on the details.
But you are trying to have it both ways. You want the discount price of supplying the parts, but you do not want the responsibility of paying for the work then the cheap part does not do the job.
Look here is the deal. You contracted to pay $X for a shop to remove and install a water pump that you supplied. The shop did that, and if I understand your posts correctly, they then removed your defective water pump and installed another and removed it also. (did I get that right?)
To my way of thinking you owe the shop at least 2 times $X if not 2.5 times $X. (count the number of times the pump has been on and off the car)
Oh and by the way, no you cannot drive the car without a water pump. Don't even think about it.
The only legal way you are going to get out of paying the bill is to hope the BAR finds a screw up in the paperwork. Ethically you would still owe the money, but legally you could be off the hook.
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  #41  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:41 PM
Spoons Spoons is online now
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
You have just demonstrated the down side to providing your own parts. If they don't work, the shop owner expects to be paid for the time he wasted finding out the part you supplied was defective....

But you are trying to have it both ways. You want the discount price of supplying the parts, but you do not want the responsibility of paying for the work [w]hen the cheap part does not do the job.
Thank you, Rick, and I hope my edit conveys what you meant. Certainly, and regardless of paragraphing, that is my take on the matter.

Legally speaking--and note I am speaking generally as 1993 Dodge Ram is in a different jurisdiction than I am--this is a matter of contract. 1993 Dodge, you contracted with a mechanic to put in a part you supplied. He did the work, but your part was defective. Regardless--and this is the important part--you contracted for him to do the work, which he did. Now it is time for you to make good on your obligation under the contract, which is to pay him. This is why the police won't heed your claims of "stolen vehicle"; because the mechanic has a legitimate claim against your vehicle for work performed on it but not yet paid for. It could be said that legally, he has an equitable interest against your vehicle; or, in lay terms, he can put a lien on title. Or, he can simply keep the vehicle until you pay his bill, which it sounds like he has.

As I said, I am generally speaking, and I am not in California. I would suggest that if 1993 Dodge Ram wants her van back, that she pay the mechanic's tab in full. She can pursue a civil remedy later, if any is available under the law of California. For now, as regards any legal issues, I'd suggest she consult a California lawyer, who could inform her of her rights, and more importantly, of her obligations, under the contract she struck with the mechanic.

Note that my remarks are based on the information as given, which I may or may not understand fully. In addition, there may be unreported facts, which could change my answer. As always, the best advice to the OP is to consult a lawyer licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the matter is occurring.
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  #42  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:50 PM
Rick Rick is online now
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Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
You have just demonstrated the down side to providing your own parts. If they don't work, the shop owner expects to be paid for the time he wasted finding out the part you supplied was defective....

But you are trying to have it both ways. You want the discount price of supplying the parts, but you do not want the responsibility of paying for the work [w]hen the cheap part does not do the job.
Thank you, Rick, and I hope my edit conveys what you meant. Certainly, and regardless of paragraphing, that is my take on the matter.
You nailed it.
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  #43  
Old 09-26-2010, 10:59 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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If you were in Nevada, I would say, "open carry". Never have a problem when you "open carry", and get treated with the respect due an average money paying customer.

California sucks.
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  #44  
Old 09-26-2010, 11:04 PM
Rick Rick is online now
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WTF?
You do realize that the shop owner has done nothing wrong (based on what has been posted here) and in an open carry state, what you are suggesting could get the OP either arrested or shot.
I say again, WTF?
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  #45  
Old 09-26-2010, 11:35 PM
Spoons Spoons is online now
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
If you were in Nevada, I would say, "open carry". Never have a problem when you "open carry", and get treated with the respect due an average money paying customer.

California sucks.
Two things:

1. She's not a 'money-paying customer," as she refuses to pay any money.

2. Implied threats that arise due to open carry will not overcome the contractual obligations incurred by the OP, and may adversely influence the Court should matters get that far.
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  #46  
Old 09-26-2010, 11:38 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Agreed - I don't think anyone waving a gun around would make this situation better.
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  #47  
Old 09-26-2010, 11:48 PM
jasonh300 jasonh300 is offline
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1993 Dodge Ram, with all due respect you do not understand the law. He is entitled to keep your vehicle until you pay for repairs. Period. Your "I don't think I should pay for a non-working vehicle" statement may make you feel good, but is a legally useless assertion.
It's not a matter of paying for repairs. Repaired or not, the OP has to pay for the mechanic's time.

By bringing a part to the mechanic, you're hiring the mechanic to do n hours labor to install the part you provided. If he installs the part and the part is defective, the mechanic doesn't get that n hours of his life back...n hours that he could've spent working on someone else's car and getting paid for it.

Furthermore, it sounds like something is wrong with the car besides the water pump, but by the OP self-diagnosing and providing a part, the mechanic didn't have the opportunity to do his own diagnosis. If the mechanic had misdiagnosed the problem, then he'd have to eat the labor for any unnecessary work he did, but that's not what happened here.


ETA: Wow...Rick and Spoons gave almost the same answer I did....I shouldn't spend 2 hours editing a post.

Last edited by jasonh300; 09-26-2010 at 11:51 PM..
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  #48  
Old 09-26-2010, 11:52 PM
jasonh300 jasonh300 is offline
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
If you were in Nevada, I would say, "open carry". Never have a problem when you "open carry", and get treated with the respect due an average money paying customer.

California sucks.
Not sure how it works in Nevada, but if you use that "open carry" to insinuate that kind of threat in Louisiana, it becomes "brandishing" and you go to jail for a very long time.

Last edited by jasonh300; 09-26-2010 at 11:57 PM..
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  #49  
Old 09-27-2010, 12:12 AM
Spoons Spoons is online now
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Agreed - I don't think anyone waving a gun around would make this situation better.
As you know, I am not in any of the jurisdictions involved. But based on my readings of American caselaw, and my experiences in the United States, simply carrying a firearm in a holster (in a state where that is permitted, of course), won't cause any legal problems. Assuming of course, that the firearm is not pulled out and waved around to effect a quick solution to what is ultimately a civil matter. At that point, I'd guess that all bets are off.

Last edited by Spoons; 09-27-2010 at 12:13 AM..
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:03 AM
astro astro is offline
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Originally Posted by jasonh300 View Post
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
1993 Dodge Ram, with all due respect you do not understand the law. He is entitled to keep your vehicle until you pay for repairs. Period. Your "I don't think I should pay for a non-working vehicle" statement may make you feel good, but is a legally useless assertion.
It's not a matter of paying for repairs. Repaired or not, the OP has to pay for the mechanic's time.

By bringing a part to the mechanic, you're hiring the mechanic to do n hours labor to install the part you provided. If he installs the part and the part is defective, the mechanic doesn't get that n hours of his life back...n hours that he could've spent working on someone else's car and getting paid for it.

Furthermore, it sounds like something is wrong with the car besides the water pump, but by the OP self-diagnosing and providing a part, the mechanic didn't have the opportunity to do his own diagnosis. If the mechanic had misdiagnosed the problem, then he'd have to eat the labor for any unnecessary work he did, but that's not what happened here.
A complete reading of my post would have made it clear that "making repairs" referred to the mechanic's time in attempting to do so.

Quote:
It appears he has spent substantial time working on your vehicle with parts you have provided. You are entirely responsible for the defective part you provided and his time. The "if it doesn't work then I don't pay" does not apply to the labor portion of his efforts despite your continued efforts to make this be a reality
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