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Re: [T3] On going saga

GrantV=> my mechanic told me I had to sign this contract ... or he would 
      => not release my car.  

There is a principle in the business called the 'mechanic's lein,' 
allowing the service provider to take control of the property if his 
work is not paid for. He is attempting to employ this principle, but 
he's doing it in amateur fashion. The document you posted was not 
written by a legal professional, but, as you suspect, if you agree to it 
you're giving away your deposit and your rights to any claim against 
anything he's done to your car. This is probably not a good idea, I feel 
confident the guy's a snake _2ably incompetent enough to have 
harmed your engine besides.

Important question: have you signed anything *else*? Is there an actual 
contract covering the work to be performed, as this document implies? If 
so, you need to read it carefully to find out where you stand. If the 
'contract' is just a verbal agreement, you have more freedom to operate 
and less right to claim against him.

Another one: From the document I might infer that the car is not titled 
in your name. If your parents actually own the car, get them in on the 
problem, since he's actually ripping *them* off. When your father comes 
to pick up his car, the snake may change his tune. If he's working you 
over it's because he thinks you're weak. 

It sounds like you're probably not gonna get your deposit back without 
taking him to court, and if he's a real jerk you'll have a hard time 
getting your car out without paying him off. I can't judge without 
knowing both sides of the story, but if you're sure you're in the right, 
it's time to play hardball. The only easy way out is to give him 
whatever he wants, so suck it up and get ready for some hassle and 

If he intends to charge you for *any* work or parts, he has to itemize 
them, and if he's added value to your engine you have to accept that and 
pay for it, but maybe not at his ripoff shop rate. The storage charges 
are completely bogus, no judge will let him get away with that. If he 
will not produce an itemized, checkable list of expenses, take him to 
court, you've got him. If he does produce it, have your new mechanic 
check the work and estimate its value while inventorying your parts. 
(You will have to pay this gentleman for his time, but try to get that 
cost built into the overall job. Bear in mind that a basket-case engine 
is a nasty mess for anyone to take on, so this will cost.) 

Offer the snake the fair value of the parts and labor he's put in less the 
fair value of parts he's lost, stolen or damaged (plus 25% on original 
engine parts), right down to sheeZ|D;screws. If he doesn't accept 
that deal, take him to court, you've got him and your deposit back. 
Having made a reasonable offer to pay and been refused, if he doesn't 
give you back the car at that point, you've got a claim against him for 
car rental for every day he delays your getting it fixed. Tell him so, 
without yelling. Sign nothing, be firm, think carefully before you 
speak. Learn about small-claims court, it's not expensive and doesn't 
require a lawyer. 

Steven Ayres, Prescott AZ
'66 Riviera Ghia

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