Son and the mechanic.......

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:15
ThreadID: 67873 Views:2840 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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Here is my inquiry to Vic Consumer Affairs:

"My son has been billed for work done on his Landcruiser by a local mechanic. Some of the work performed had not been requested or authorized by him and damage was caused to the vehicle whilst in the workshop. The damage was not fully repaired.
He offered a cheque for half the amount requested as full payment. This cheque was banked.

Debt collectors have since contacted him on several occasions. He has explained the situation to them. The mechanic has also made contact and been abusive.

The debt collection agency has now informed him that the proprietor will be taking him to court. My son has been told by the agency that he owes the rest of the account plus $500 legal costs, and that if it goes to court he will most likely incur $1000 in legal costs and that he is likely to lose.

Help..."

This is only a bill for $800. Jim paid half and by my thinking when the smart [bottom] banked it he accepted the terms of the offer.

Your thoughts? I'm sure these situations have happened to you lot too.

You put your vehicle in for some work and the bill takes your breath away, but you feel that the mechanic knows best.....

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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:34

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:34
Shame it gets to this but it quite often gets back to the He said she said syndrome.

If he took it in and said fix it well maybe thats what got done.

I take mine in and define very clearly what is to be done and stipulate in writing that anything else needed?? I am to be contacted prior to it being done.

Eg got my cruiser serviced today Told them exactly what I wanted like no tyre rotation Oil and filters in the back, thought the tappets were loose.

Anything else ring me first.
They did and replaced cracked belts.

Surprise They did it for $150 less than the last equivilent service done in Qld

One pleased customer of Anthony Smith Toyota Coburg

Good luck.
AnswerID: 359699

Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:33

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:33
Son defined exactly what he wanted done, and asked to be contacted if more was needed.
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Reply By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:49

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:49
Comments:

1. When your son paid 50% by cheque it should have been accompanyied by a signed letter stating words to the effect ... your accpetance and banking of this cheque will be acceptance of this amount as full and final payment for the work rendered on my Landcrusier.

2. Only a Court can allocate costs - to threaten that your son already owes $500 (presumably from Agency costs) is incorrect.

3. Be aware that if the matter is not resolved satisfactorily your son may incur a credit impairment that will impact on his ability to get finance years down the track.

4. One option might be to register an action in the Small Claims Court. This will prohibit the mechanic from taking your son to a civil court (cant go to a civil court if its registered with SCC). The SCC is person to person - no solicitors involved. So its a lot cheaper and the mechanic would have to go to the trouble of preparing his response, taking time off work to attend hearing etc. He may not bother - and withdraw his interest.

5. Either way your son needs to sit down and document everything that was said from the very time he went to the mechanic. Was there any witnesses to what was said. At the end of the day its one persons work against anothers so any witnesses will be crucial.


Hope it works out for your son. A lesson learnt no doubt.

Cheers
GPM

AnswerID: 359702

Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:35

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:35
"a signed letter stating words to the effect ... your accpetance and banking of this cheque will be acceptance of this amount as full and final payment for the work rendered on my Landcrusier. "

Almost word for word, the letter he presented.

Unfortunately no lesson to be learned here. You just can't predict what a mechanic will do under the above circumstances.
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Follow Up By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:41

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:41
"4. One option might be to register an action in the Small Claims Court. This will prohibit the mechanic from taking your son to a civil court (cant go to a civil court if its registered with SCC). The SCC is person to person - no solicitors involved. So its a lot cheaper and the mechanic would have to go to the trouble of preparing his response, taking time off work to attend hearing etc. He may not bother - and withdraw his interest."

This is bloody good advice, lodge the claim tomorrow, as in immediately.

It will cost I believe less than $50 (I think from memory) to lodge the claim and as Saharaman has said, no lawyers, no costs if by the odd chance you lose.

As Saharaman has said, he's got to sit down and prepare his own defence, take a day off work to present said case and then live with the outcome.

Geoff

Geoff,
Landcruiser HDJ78,
Grey hair is hereditary, you get it from children. Baldness is caused by watching the Wallabies.

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FollowupID: 627681

Follow Up By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:44

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:44
Surely a lesson to be learned is to be very very specific in the future what work is to be done on the vehicle. And state clearly that if the work is to exceed $x then a phone call to confirm BEFORE going ahead with work. Some people even put in writing what work they require to be done on the vehicle with contact details readily available if any additional work is deemed necessary. Yes its true you cant predict what a mechanic will do - thus its critical to be very specific what is to be done - so that there cannot be any misunderstanding. Then both parties know where they stand.


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Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 19:09

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 19:09
Yes... I take your point.
Previously this had been a very professional operation, but sadly the bloke who had seemed such an enthusiastic professional turned out to be all show and no.....
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Thursday, Apr 16, 2009 at 08:23

Thursday, Apr 16, 2009 at 08:23
as the amount is under 4k (or is that 5) doesnt it automatically go to the small claims court if one want to recover the debt?....not neccessarilly the Civil Court

if so and he takes out the claim first he must submit written confirmation to the court that he has tried to settle the claim.
Even if he can do this, you still have the option of explaining why and what happened.

Document and photograph everything and make a counter claim if it gets to court.

small claims court does not allow legal representation costs to be awarded. (However I think they can allow legal advice that may have been sought prior to court.)




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Reply By: toyotabits.com - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:54

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 17:54
G'day Royce, is this the same mechanic I know of? aussiedingo
AnswerID: 359703

Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:37

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:37
No.... First on the right West of town. Shouldn't say more, because it's too easy to bag a business. For those in the local area initials: TYT!
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Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:43

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:43
PS..... register the Transit 2morrow.
Hopefully half the fuel costs of the Supatrupa... we'll see.
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Reply By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:13

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:13
This happened to me couple of years ago, mechanic wanted to charge me for alot of labour and parts that were never used. He wrecked my starter motor, replaced parts that nothing was wrong with and treated me like dirt. Plus they flogged the crap out of my car daily while trying to find fault. Car was a nice hotted up V8 Commodore. It never was the same after they played with it. Anyway he charged me $2500 to find and fix a $110 part. I said no way, i didnt ask for or wasnt asked if i wanted new leads, plugs, starter motor, dizzy and cap, plus othet bits and pieces. All parts were top quality parts and nearly new anyway so nothing was wrong with them. Problem was the vehicle was 100kms away as our local mechanic didnt have the computer diagnosing machine. I had to trailer vehicle over and back as i didnt have anyone to drive it for me. He dropped the price to $1700 but cash only and with no receipt or guarantee on work, being 20 i didnt have any money so had to take that option as i had been without a car for 6 weeks and friendships were wearing thin. He threatened to start charging me holding fees if i didnt pick car up that day. That was my first experience with mechanics and it has stuck with me for life. Now i do all the work i can myself or get a mate who is a Diesel machanic to do it for me. I can watch and make sure job is done properly and learn for next time too. I also hate Auto sparkies too, but thats another story.

I would probably just pay the money as it isnt worth the stress and effort of fighting it. Just give him the left over thats owing and tell him thats all he is getting. Threaten to write to the local rag and ring the Consumer affairs. There are plenty of dodgy mechanics here in Broome who are exactly the same. If you are onto a good one then always stick with them.
AnswerID: 359707

Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:41

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 18:41
Son has caved in and is paying $200 next week and $20 a week until original bill paid.

I haven' jumped up and down because his income has dropped of hugely of late.

BTW.... anyone who want a top excavator operator in mid Gippsland, let me know and I'll put you onto him... or want to hire a 6 tonne excavator.....

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Reply By: gjcumming - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 19:08

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 19:08
Hello Royce.

My sympathies to your son.

Just recently my daughters car started faultering in revs greater than 2000rpm. Took it to the dealer.

Long story short:
2 months without the car. (no courtesy car)
Another catalytic converter fitted (without improvement)
2 separate Auto Ellrctrician visits resulting in a new battery (without improvement).
Phone hook-ups.
Internet hook-ups.
Second dealership finds blown fuse to crank shaft position sensor and faulty sensor. Problem fixed.
$970 out of pocket after negotiating $200 transport cost off.
All confidence lost!
Regards: Grant
AnswerID: 359717

Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 19:14

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 19:14
I had a feeling that this might just bring out more stories....

I had a very bad experience with an auto electrician..... to cut that long story short.... I paid it out at $20 a fortnight for six months! Could have paid in one hit, but he had kept my vehicle for 6 months without doing most of the rewiring I had asked for.

Hey! ... I just realized.. it's the very same Troopie that my son is having the problem with.

Maybe it's the troopie that's the problem!
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FollowupID: 627696

Reply By: Member - Marco T (VIC) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 22:03

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 22:03
G'day Royce,

Yes I have a gripe with auto electricians.
I had an alarm fitted to the tool boxes on my work vehicle ( new boxes built by a well known professional outfit ). That night the tool box was broken into and my compressor was stolen. $450 worth.
I went to the tool box manufacturer to get the box fixed and lock replaced and told them the alarm did not go off!! and my compressor was stolen. The box manufacturer was paid to fit alarm but they contracted it out to an auto electrician who did a dodgy job. The box manufacturer claims no responsibility and charged me for the fix job on damaged box.
I went to the auto electrician to get the alarm fixed, no problems. They claim no responsibility as they are not the main contractor!
In the end I was down $450 for compressor, $77 lock and box patch and a day driving around when I should have been at work.

Sometimes there is no justice.

Marco
AnswerID: 359750

Reply By: Member - Stuart P (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 23:31

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 23:31
find an auto sparky that actually listens and has your interest at heart , hard to find , but do exist.
regards
auto sparky
AnswerID: 359763

Follow Up By: Member - Stuart P (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 23:32

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 at 23:32
not all of us are just worked off our feet minding the mining industry ,
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