Opel GT Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In May 2003 I hired a man to paint my car. The total bill was to be $4,120 and he wanted $2,000 up front. The price included all of the trim/bumpers/door handles etc removal, sanding the car down to metal in most places, completing the body work, painting the car (base/clear), waxing/buffing, and complete reassembly.

I looked at two cars he had done before and they look good, talked with a past employer who gave him a glowing report for this guys work. He was going to be doing the work about a mile from my house so I could check up often.

In the process of working on my car, he got kicked out of the first place and took the car 30 miles away in the next town. That ended up being too far for his unreliable car to travel so he moved the car 5 miles away from his house. From there it went to a place that paints semis. The owner of that place got deathly sick and ended up selling his shop. The car then went to a friend of his and it sat outside while the guy was working on the sanding and blocking.

Last weekend I got news that the battery and stereo was stolen out of it and the dash was cracked in the process. I immediately went and brought the car back to my house and filled a police report.

While the guy was working on the car in the first month, he has hardly touched it in the meantime. It is basically sanded down to metal with some bondo slathered on it. I call the guy every day and ask when he is going to continue and, IF he answers, he always says 'tomorrow' or 'soon'. He doesn't have another job so time should be no issue. As I now find out the guy is a pathological liar and his mom (who he lives with)(he is 42 years old) covers for him now when I call him.

I had another paint guy that I trust come over and look at the work. He said that there is $4,800 of work left to do on the car and then it will be 'perfect'. He said the first guy wasn't doing the best job, and the most of the work would need to be completely redone.

I have already paid the first guy $3,000 of the $4,120 that I owed him and now am facing another $4,800 on top of that to finish the car.

The first guy has NO money and so suing him seems futile. Do I just go for the judgment at this time and hope he gets a job that I can garnish later? I don't know how to motivate him into completing the work. And at this point I don't know IF I want him to continue. Seen as I have paid him for more work than he has done I don't see why he would want to continue.

Any words of wisdom??? At this point I am looking at speaking with an attorney but again the suing route seems futile.

Any charitible organizations in Colorado Springs that would donate some of their time to help me finish the car?
 

·
Senior Contributor
Joined
·
730 Posts
Sorry to hear about your bad luck. At that price I think a regular paint shop might have been a better way to go. That being said, talk to a lawyer. If it takes him 5 years to get a job, hopefully a garnishment will still be able to get your cash back. Unless he leaves the state of course.
My 2c's
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,973 Posts
It reminds me of a contractor that my uncle hired to make an addition onto his house. the guy wanted 20k up front, my uncle payed the next with a certified check. hes never heard from him since. he couldnt find a single person who knows him or a way for detectives to find him.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
257 Posts
I have just finished building a house and I had the same problems
with almost all my contractors. I didn't give any money up front, (but they ask) but getting them to come back and fix thing are almost impossible. Getting them to show up and work was terrible. I had a vinyl siding gut ask for money up front and I told him no. He said " Find someone else to do your work"

Back on the car subject, I did all the body work and painting on my car in just a year, working only on weekends. Even with buying new tool and supplies that I may never use again it was still cheaper than 4,000....Try doing it yourself....If you own an Opel you can work on it.....Check out my car in the Gallery under

Stanley_P.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
I doubt a lawyer will take a case worth a few thousand dollars. Their expenses will exceed their cost. You can go to small claims, then hire a collector. I have 3 problems that lawyers won't handle (and I have a cousin that works for a law large firm). Two are accidents and worth over $10,ooo but it's not enough for them to get involved. Lawyers want to cover the cost, plus make big money for themselves and the partners. They have a backlog of very profitable work. Time for Judge Judy.

A friend of mine that owns several collector cars always says, "Car guys always screw you." What he's referring to are individuals he's hired for specialty work, like painting. They aren't bonded (insured), they have no assets (nothing to loose), and they make their real money elsewhere (you are #2 - in every way). Unless the person is a close friend (or family) that values you as their friend, the odds are against you. I believe this applies to all work that's hired out.

FYI: In construction, general contractors always withhold the last 10-20% from the subs at the end of the project for about a year. This is quality insurance and motivates the subs to return and fix problems. In fact, an up front deposit may be required FROM the sub before starting the work and proof of bonding. These are written into the contract and are common in commercial work. It's the opposite of paying up front. Money is paid on % completion, minus the 10% holding.

Thanks for sharing this so others will learn.
 

·
Opel gone bad
Joined
·
108 Posts
Better get Maaco?

If you need help kicking someone's *%$!!!! Let me know. Denver and the Springs aren't that far!!

I was just thinking about getting my opel painted too!! This scares me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Capital Loss

The other possibility for (sort of) getting your money back is on your taxes. You can usually deduct bad debts as capital losses on your taxes. Last time I looked, it was up to $3000 per year, over several years if necessary.
 

·
opel assimilated
Joined
·
145 Posts
Sorry to hear about your loss Husker. I have come to know the car reconditioning people as "40 year old drunken nomadic gypsy bodymen" Having been in the bodyshop business for a while we see all types. I have since moved on to bicycles and soccermoms. Seriously, the only solution I have costs a little more money, and time, but its satisfaction rate is 100%. Send me $10.00 plus $7.00 in shipping, and I will send you a "Louisville Slugger Court Order". Just take this "court order" to his house or local haunt and in a nice professional manner "read" it to him and see how fast you feel better about the whole situation. C'mon, what 17 dollars on top of it all?

Legal Disclaimer........ "This item is actually NOT a legal document. Louisville Slugger tm and all its subsidaries does not acknowledge nor do they condone such behavior."
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,973 Posts
I was thinking more in the lines of a tire iron and or 5 gallons of gasoline, then you can repay him the favor by working on some of his stuff.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
Go downtown and pick up the small claims forms Rm 102. From there serve him yourself, Once that is done and a judgement entered you can attach anything he owns or any account with his name on it. It also gives you access to records for him. I did this myself one time, when a guy backed his 4 wheel drive onto my GT. It is a bit of a pain but you can get some satisfaction by squeezing him, When you file don't forget damage to your vehicle. And as the laws state that you are entitled to whomever to do the work. Contact Blossers or Spiders for a quote of damages to it and to fix it. Both those shops do great work but are extremely pricey. Set the damages high and go from there. With a judgement you can even attach tax returns. All you gotta do is get mad. Look at the car for a while, that would do it for me. Don't forget the quote to fix the dash, Sunshine does alot of that for insurance companies. Don't let them work on it, just take the inflated quote.

What I describes will cost you maybe 100 but still less than the bond after beating sence into him.

Here is the site for the small claims paperwork

http://www.courts.state.co.us/chs/court/forms/selfhelpcenter.htm
 

·
Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The problem is that he has nothing of value. He and his mom live in a run down trailer park and she has no money either. He said that $600 that I gave him was taken from his mom's bank account because she bounced a $30 pizza check three years ago. The money I gave to him was in his mom's account because he doesn't have one.

I need the car finished soon so it doesn't sit and become a rust bucket. I don't trust him to do ANY work and I cannot afford $5000 now. I want him to continue working on the car so I can get SOMETHING out of him but realize that I may have to pay someone to do it all over again.

Believe me I have though about the retaining the Law Firm of Whoop and Ass but that only makes me a bad guy - still without a painted car.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
It is just my opinion but I don't think I would let the guy work on it. Is he going to do the work at your house? Take it somewhere else for it to start again? Again I am just offering an opinion, but it sounds like things had the potential to be even worse yet. There are alot of possibilities, at least you got the car back. I have heard some real horror stories in auto repair. For the dollar figures you have spoken of, that is quite a bit of body work. What kind of condition is it in?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Paint and bodywork disaster

Hello! I am SO sorry for your experience! I would like to tell you at this time that there are a lot of honest and very skillful autobody technicians out there so please do not let one bad one be a reflection on the rest. I think that I can be of help to you. I own a business that deals with this kind of situation. It is called Inen Technologies. No, this is not a sales pitch. I am contracted by people like yourself after they have been ripped off and need an expert to assess their vehicle, write an extensive evaluation for themselves and their lawyer and testify in court on their behalf. This is a very brief description of what actually happens but it does give you a superficial picture. I hold all current international Master certifications pertinent to this type of service. This does qualify my as an expert in a court of law. I would like to help. You can contact me through this forum and I will discuss this with you for all to read as it may benefit someone else or you can email me at [email protected] or call me at 309-781-0693. I look forward to hearing from you. tlynn
 

·
4ZUA787
Joined
·
665 Posts
if u dont find someone to start the work on it soon u could always go buy three or four cans of auto primer and jus lightly coat the car to prevent rust if u lightly coat with primer it ocmes off pretty easy with a quick sanding. i took my car to a franchise auto body place so i new if something did happen theres a larger compnay behind that would be able to take the price.
 

·
Senior Contributor
Joined
·
499 Posts
NO! NO! NO! don't just put some primer on it because that won't stop rust and the moisture gets into the primer. This will cause big problems.

Do this and you can do it your self. Gets a Haynes bodywork book for more info...Sand the thing down, go head and go at it with an electric sander and get the slathered on bondo down flat or off completely.

Go ahead and now YOU try to put the bondo on... don't worry you can't mess it up because you can always sand it off again. Use the bondo and follow the instructions..... sand it down some more. Now get the body putty going and fill in all the cracks.. Sand it some more.

Go get 15 cans of sandable primer, mask everything off and put vasoline on all the chrome and rubber you can’t mask. And then primer it. Now Sand it some more. Fill in all the little cracks and imperfection with spot putty that by now have shown up... sand, primer and sand the affected areas again.

Now start hand sanding going through several different grades of paper down to the last 2, which you sand wet. This doesn’t take as long as you think either.. Get it baby smooth

No go find a place like a maco or an earl Shibe and pick out your paint color from the book. If it is an old Opel color they will have to call a Sherman Williams or someone like it for the formula to make but this doesn't cost you anything extra.

Don't go with the cheapest process or the second cheapest one get the third cheapest with the most hardeners. This is still going to be less than 400.

NOW the IMPORTANT part> say you want to ask the painter something and without telling the manager anbout the cash you are about to dole out on the side.

Find that the guy who has does the painting and make sure that he has been there 3 or more years. This guy will have painted 10 times the cars that a guy in a fancy shop has in the same amount of time it this ratio is purely the physics of finance. Give the actual guy who will be physically doing the painting 40 bucks then and there.

Now tell him if he does a good job you will tip him again and be prepared to give him another 40 later. I promise you the guy will try very very extra hard on your car to do a great job because NOBODY ever tips him. He will cheat and put extra hardners in and be very generous with the boss's clearcoat if you go the urethane clearcoat route

You will be happy with the result and feel a lot better about your car for doing it yourself.

I know what it is like to have a deal go bad though when you are trying to save money.

I traded a wrecked but drivable camaro w/nice wheels to the painter at at an earl Shibe paint place for him to do the actual manta painting after hours off the books. The manager was going to get the wheels the guy the car and everybody was going to be happy.

I was going to do the all the bodywork. Well. I took 6 months longer to get around to doing the bodywork than I said ( 5 months of talking about it and 3 hard weeks of work) and when I got the car finished and to the shop they guy had been gone for 2 months and nobody knew where to find him.
That was my fault for not following up as had I came within three months of when I said I would the deal would have been honored.

Heck I am unemployed at the moment so for about half of what you paid the first guy I would do the work in your driveway and work everyday dawn to dusk and you could pay a bit at the end of every week after you saw the work completed. Just kidding… well sort of half kidding ….Littleton is sort of on the way to Las Vegas… and if the ski bums haven’t snapped up all the cheap temp housing… working at it steady it shouldn’t take more than two weeks if you have a warm place for the bondo to dry.

Post some pics lets see how bad the car is and people here should be able to give you a fair and objective estimate on time and money. $4000 sounds like HWY robbery.


c
 

·
Opel Addicts
Joined
·
2,476 Posts
Body guys

Sorry to here about your situation. We ran into something similar on our cars. We had prepaid the body guy about $3,500. He worked for about a year part-time and had some of it done. Then he died.

We took it as a capital loss on our taxes, but we had a 2 signed contracts for the work and a copy of the obituary as proof of loss. You can only take about $3000 a year on capital loss, you have to carry the rest over to the next year.

Since that time we have found a phenomenal body guy and the car now has all the body work done and is ready for paint.

Hope you find yourself a good body guy and are able to recover some of your loss.

Vickie & Allen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Sounds like you need the Opel equivalent of a Barn Raising. Invite all the local Opel nuts, provide pizza and drinks (beer after it's done). Everybody chips in and works on the car a little. Each person does what they do best. It won't take long and it'll be primered and ready to paint in a under a day. It works for great for Habitat for Humanities, just need a couple skilled leaders. Then take it to a pro shop for spraying. Use the primer they require. If you have body repairs do it in advance. Color is the easy part if done in a shop.

Remember, when someone needs an engine pulled, you owe them. It's a great way to meet people and make friends.

Then go to the guy's trailer and paint "I HATE (insert minority) !!!" on the outside and run. - You didn't hear this from me. We didn't have this conversation. I was never here.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The guy's name is Mark Burke... If you see him RUN! (him over)

You guys have said everything that I have thought about... but just didn't want to admit.

I have decided to string the guy along for a little while. I am going to have him strip the entire car down (in my garage) and not pay him another penny. I will give it to the second guy to finish the job. The second guy will give me a break on the cost if the car is already sanded down.

If I didn't have such a conscience the guy would be in some serious pain about now. Him being in traction would do wonders for me.

A judgement seems like the only glimmer of hope to seeing any of my money again. I will speak with an lawyer at my work on Monday.

If I had a mentor I would be very willing to finish the car myself... I have read numerous books on body repair but wouldn't want to try it unless someone was able to critique my work.

Thanks for the bad debt tax write-off tip... Anything helps.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top