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Restorer acting shifty, next step?


Shea

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Hi there, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on what my best course of action is 

I wanted a dented rear wing and bumpers repainted, rear bumper overriders removed, fit new windscreen rubber, repair front inner wing rust around front bumper bracket, fit H4 headlights and paint rings.

Quoted 3-4 days @ £500 per day.

I then added on mechanical work, fit SSIs, full service (plugs, ht leads, set valves, dizzy cap etc.). Didn't get a quote but was thinking around 2 days work.

I supplied all parts, around £1200 worth.

Got a text saying initial payment required to fund job, was told this will be 40-50% of the price, I got an invoice for £3k + vat. so full job was looking like £7500

I rang and said at no point was I told the job was going over, said I cannot have this job go over £5k + vat. Contact me the second he thinks it might go over. I sent £2k + vat

Weeks go on and I get  a couple of pics and vids of progress. Then radio silence and out of nowhere an invoice link sent into my whatsapp for £4.5k, I didn't take notice of it as I was astonished that the restorer would think it would be ok to do this because I said to be contacted if it went over £5k + vat, and you'd think you'd get a call to tell you the car is done and talk you though it offer to view it and arrange pick up.

I then get a text two weeks after that invoice, "Hi can you pay final invoice, car is done" I then ring and say this is nuts, you've went over agreed limit and you think it's ok to send an invoice without talking to me. Response was what do you want me to do car is in bits by that limit and I know you wanted it done, I charge per hour and it is what it is. I said I'm calling up to look at the car.

I didn't manage to make it up for that date, texted to apologise and say is it ok to see the car the next week, no response, I get no response or answering of calls for 3 months. Took a run up over the weekend, owner isn't there but an employee is, I ask to see the car. It's been outside for the last 3 months in the rain and has algaie growing over rubber seals.

To my ashtonishment car isn't finished, still needs rear quarter repaired and front windscreen rubber isn't replaced.

 

If post is too long the short of it is, restorer kept increasing price of work on my car, then hit me for final invoice saying car is complete, again increasing price despite me setting hard limit. Restorer broke contact for 3 months and when I went up to see car it's been out in the rain for 3 months and not finished.

Any advice is appreciated, not sure whether to confront and give chance to make right, or confront and just take car, try and come to an agreement on price for work done to date. If not go to court.

Thanks!

Edited by Shea
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Well, firstly, in my experience jobs never go to plan or to budget. Agreed the guy should have let you know. However that seems like a moot point if the car is not done. I’m surprised it took you 3 months before you went to have a look? 
If it were me, and based on solely on what you say, I would take my car back and go from there. Is is parked securely? Go back with a recovery truck.

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jeez i'd be fuming if i came back and found my car had been left outside for 3months! Sounds like the restorer is a dodgy character for sure. Why the heck would he be making demands for money when none of the work has been done? Plus i have never been asked for money upfront on any resto work i've had done on my cars, unless it was to buy specific parts and agreed upon first. I would be threatening legal action and get your car back asap as the trust has been broken now. Sorry for your situation.

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Yeah that's it, the restorer isn't going to let me walk in and take the car without being paid and we are in disagreement on what a fair price is for the work done to date. I've had a chat and given a second chance to complete the work for the invoiced amount. Should be picking up next week so will see how it goes. Been a classic car nut for the last 15 years, experiences with traders in the industry has my enthusiasm hanging by a thread. I now do my own mechanicals to dodge a lot of grief (although did get mechanicals done on the porsche as I just didn't have the time) but I can't go and learn to be a bodyman.

As for not going sooner to see the car and force the issue, I should have but just had a lot on, house move, moved cities, newborn etc.

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2 hours ago, Shea said:

 

As for not going sooner to see the car and force the issue, I should have but just had a lot on, house move, moved cities, newborn etc.

Sorry to be harsh (I am always a bit blunt) but it does read a bit like you have used the body shop as car storage.

Projects need to be managed.

Put everything in writing (e-mail with read receipts / reply), define the scope of the project and set firm parameters.

Agree milestones with payments and regular visits - if you can't make the visit send someone else.

 

 

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thanks for the advice but I think our opinions differ somewhat, my opinion is that I'm paying the restorer to manage the project. Up until I lost contact I was chasing up on regluar updates, life got in the way of me door stepping the restorer but it didn't stop me actively trying to contact him so I could pay him and collect my car. I don't see how that could suggest I was using the body shop as car storage, if it was the other way around and the restorer couldn't contact me I could see where you're coming from.

Although I haven't tracked the project in as much detail as suggested, I have the details of the scope of the project in writing along with full parts list and a message trail of texts. Although a lot of the detail was over the phone which I can't track.

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Sorry, again a bit harsh, but I too would have been up to the restorers place as soon as he started sending me an invoice out of the blue, and over the limit you agreed!

3 months before going to even view the car after you were told it was finished is stretching things.

As others have said, get the car back, pay the invoice, and if your not happy with the work, or the bill take him to court.

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7 hours ago, Ant7 said:

Sorry, again a bit harsh, but I too would have been up to the restorers place as soon as he started sending me an invoice out of the blue, and over the limit you agreed!

3 months before going to even view the car after you were told it was finished is stretching things.

As others have said, get the car back, pay the invoice, and if your not happy with the work, or the bill take him to court.

On any big jobs I have had done they have always given me regular updates on progress, explained in detail any changes required and allowed to visit, etc. etc. 

What's the old adage - Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware)

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Mmm...., you can't let these things slide, the three month delay with going in and rattling the cage is a bit of a worry, lack of contact on projects like this always muddies the water. It always costs more than you expect and usually more than the repairer thinks too as things unfold, which is why conversation is needed all through the process, the repairer being up front and clear on what's in stall. 
But where from here, do what it takes to get the car back under your control and care asap.

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