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Old 10-24-2006, 02:34 PM
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Admisssion of a Rod Shop Sucker

First I would like to say that I consider myself to be very streetwise. I have been around the block a few times having lived on the streets when I was a young man and as a result of having to defend myself I also have spent some time behind bars. So with that in mind this makes what happened to me even harder to understand. I am not one who is easily taken advantage of. I do not place my trust in anyone unless it’s earned but I am sorry to have to admit that I was fooled and played like a old violin.
It all started when I took my 1938 Hudson Coupe to a shop called West Coast Rod and Chassis in Van Nuys California for a Mustang II front suspension upgrade. The price was no better than anyone else but I saw a few samples of his (Dennis) work and decided to enlist him in this phase of my project. The suspension came out really well and dialed right in so I was very impressed and decided to let him continue with other parts of my restoration. I then enlisted him to do my rear end. I purchased a complete Schreiner built Ford 9 inch floater with disk and decided to have him install that and shackles plus shocks. This came out very well and this was where the beginning of the end started. I decided to have him do the floor pans. Now these had to be hand rolled because no one makes these for a 1938 Hudson. The floor pans came out great too and I decided to to go all in and contract him to do the steering system, core support, emergency brake cable to pinion gear, radiator mount, engine fitting and placement, brake lines and peddle assemble and rear deck skirt. NOW this was where I made a BIG MISTAKE. There was some distance between his shop and my home so I did not go to his shop all the time to check up on his work. He would call me and say stuff like “ Hey the yada, yada is all done and we are ready to move onto the next item on the list” so I would meet him somewhere around the half way mark between his business and my home and hand him a hefty stack of $100 bills and go over the next phase and cost. I started to become suspicious when I wanted to come by and see my car but he was never there. I am not talking about 1 or 2 attempts but more like 10! One day I even staked out his shop with a chair, 12 pack of beer and a few sandwiches and waited for 12 hours for him to show up, he never did. This is when I realized I was screwed. Well I finally got a look at my car and absolutely nothing he said had been completed was actually finished and this amounted to $5,450 of labor I was charged and paid for. Now 20 years ago I would have just put a wet potato sack over his head and started in on him with rubber hoses but alas I have learned as I grew older that I would end up in jail so I thought I would try a more civil approach but still cut a few lengths of rubber hose and kept them in the trunk just incase. Well he said he would get the work done and after a year passed and nothing happened I decided I have had enough. I called and said I was going to pickup my car regardless of what was finished and we would settle the fraud issue one way or another. The big day came and I went to pickup my car and what a pitiful sight I was confronted with. First I tried to check the steering hookup and he could not produce my steering wheel. I searched his shop and found my original 1938 steering wheel stuffed under a shelf in his shop. I attached it and tried to turn the wheels and the steering link just made a grinding noise as it chewed up the splines and then it fell to the floor. Had this not been so pathetic it really would otherwise had been funny. I was determined to get my car out of there so I did not even bother to listen to his ridiculous excuses. I got the car outside and the flatbed tow truck was waiting for me. We hooked up the car and I watched in utter amazement as the rear passenger side shock dropped down. I shot a look of disgust and you better run like hell his way and proceeded to get my car loaded up. Now when I got the car home and started going through the car is when the true extent of my screwing came to light. I checked my 9 inch floater rear end and my axle’s were missing. I looked at the core support and it had a half inch difference between the right and left side. I looked at the cross member and my engine crank pulley was mashed against it. At that moment I could here the music from all those Loony Tunes cartoons going thru my head and that slowly morphed into the theme music from the Benny Hill Show so I walked into the house, looked into the mirror and for the first time in my life I realized that I was looking at a sucker… All I can hope for is that this embarrassing admission might help save someone from being ripped off in the future.

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Old 10-24-2006, 02:44 PM
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Feel your pain...............you realize that your biggest mistake was trusting this guy. I guess best to see a lawyer, but chances are you will not recoupe your losses. What about the better business bureau?

Hopefully, the exposure here and other places will put this guy out of business.

Word will get around.........and like they say...."What goes around, comes around"
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:12 PM
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Wow, some of the stories you hear about work people wanted done to their pride n joys.

There happens to be a similar thread right now over on Chevy Talk. Some of the stories there tell of people who've left their cars in a shop for over 2 years. They go to find out what the progress is only to find their car was used as a parts car OR...... the shop closed and the owner's no where to be found.

I once paid a guy to let him paint one of my '57s for me. We talked afew times about the work he'd done on other cars as well as his own. I even offered a little more cash for a little better job.

When I went to get my car (just a couple days before Christmas) my car was painted okay. It had dirt in the paint as well as heavy sand marks in the pass side door.

I paid the bill in full while I was there, but realized I'd made a big mistake by letting this guy touch my car. I guess it wasn't smart to let someone paint my '57 Chevy, who owned a '57 Chevy..... too. He didn't want my car looking better then his.

He got his testicles handed to him by his ex-wife when he caught him with his girlfriend. She sued him for devorce that included him selling his '57 convertible.
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:13 PM
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I feel your pain been there to. Sometime its just time to get an Attorney and attach this guy's money and putt him out of work so he does not do it to anyone else. I say give me my money back or you will make sure he is out of work. The T.V. station have the on your side guy and being put on T.V really get the point across I for one don't stand for crap in my old age in no way shape or form and payback is a plus. I don't feel sorry for anyone who does this to any person.

Turning his world up side down and see how he likes it.

Good luck hope you get your money back and then some.

Craig
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:29 PM
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Cole,
You and I have exchanged an email or two, I have a 39 Hudson Coupe.
I had been following your project.

I'm sorry to hear you have been treated so badly and would like to say not all shops are like that.

I had the same work carried out here in Scotland by a Guy called Ross Morrison, we agreed on a ballpark figure and I sent him my car plus a Donor Vehicle. He stripped the Donor, fitted the Suspension, Motor, rear Axle with a new 5 link setup, the old Hudson body was removed and the Chassis boxed before all this was done.

It took 5 weeks for all the work, he sent me emails on a weekly basis with photos showing progress, and the total cost came nowhere near $5,450.

The car now runs out and into the garage under its own power, I have the paint and interior to finish and I will be Rodding in the Spring.

I hope you can get over this.
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:36 PM
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I have a lawsuit pending on the 59
Close to $4500.
Had to redo driver floor, rear floor pans in too damn low still.
After they replaced the back-of-cab panel---glass did not fit
Never did paint the bottom of the car as he was paid.
Never finished the firewall, and did not prime and paint jambs---he was paid
Many other issues i will not go into.
And he kept telling me---"Next Weekend"---for over two months.

Having to pay for all this twice was no fun.
BBB---useless as nipples on a boar hog
Republican Judge in Small Claims------For the business man
Got an atty. and appealed the lardo Mexican judge that is for crooked mexican businesspeople.

I have been in San Antonio over 5 years now. The number of businesses that I will return to for repeat service--I can count on one hand.

Bryan
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Old 10-24-2006, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan59EC

I have been in San Antonio over 5 years now. The number of businesses that I will return to for repeat service--I can count on one hand.

Bryan
One of several reasons my daughter left San Antonio and moved to England. Unfortunately, that part of the UK is almost as bad. I suspect she, husband and kids will be back in a few years when they can find good USA jobs. Neither have run of the mill professions.

Dave
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Old 10-24-2006, 04:22 PM
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Now if I could just afford Gas
 

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Admission of a Rod Shop sucker

Mosstrooper I remember you from back when we were talking about the Lincoln Versailles rear end! Wow, great to know you are doing so well! I also want to say thanks to all of you for helping me feel a little better about the whole thing. I guess you know what they say, misery loves company… I guess I never knew how rampant this problem is in the Rod world. The up side is I still love my car and will never give up. To add insult to injury my lady and I split up and she went out and bought a 1932 Duce and is enjoying the car shows while I am still trying to figure out what happened to me! She bought her car in the finished stages and I am actually very happy for her
( Faith if you read this you go baby)! We still talk and she was the one who bought me the car I am restoring.. I have been too embarrassed to tell her what has happened.. I am glad she is enjoying what I hope to be a part of soon

Last edited by Cole; 10-24-2006 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 10-24-2006, 04:35 PM
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COLE,,, I'm really sorry to hear of your misfortune,,I realize the problem you had with the distance between your home and his shop,, but in hind sight the problem arose when you didn't keep tabs on what he was doing, and trusting him to the point of handing him a lot of money and not making sure the work was being done, I'm not saying you were to blame for getting screwed,, but you made it too easy for him to screw you,,, I also build cars for customers,, but I always bill once a month for work that has been completed that month..along with pictures of the work completed that month, and insist on the customer looking at the car and either approving or disapproving that work,, then he can pay his bill, if he don't I quit working on the car,, I have never had any problems, other than a few thinking it should be cheap to build a hotrod,,
I did have a problem with one guy that was building a 28 tudor for another man and hired me to chop the top , I did that then he wanted wheel tubs floorboards top filled, etc etc,, then when I delivered to car he gave me a check and ask me to hang on to it for a couple of weeks before cashing it,, something about the car owner being out of town and he had not been paid yet,,, then when I did go to cash it the bank refused it because he had put a stop payment on it,,, I had no other choice but to sue him,, it cost me 1300$ but I did get most of my money and he is now out of business,, seems this was the way he conducted business on a regular basis,,,, Good luck with this,, I think your only recourse is to hire a lawyer, more cost i know,, but sometimes revenge is expensive,, Bill
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Old 10-24-2006, 04:53 PM
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Man do I ever feel your pain! But now I don't feel so alone. Pretty much had the same situation happen to me out here in Vegas. Little bas!@&d named Garette Leake is costing me a small fortune in do overs. I spoke with an Attorney, but was told not much I can do since he's not running a legit business, no license or anything. And he didn't own anything to take. So suing him would just cost me more than the little F'er is worth. I called the EPA, Clark county business office, and anyone I thought might be able to put him out of business, but not much was done.
It really sucks when you get screwed like this.
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:00 PM
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Cole-


Sorry to hear of this-I too was screwed once, if it helps that you are not alone-couldn't do anything about it, and I lost my Project to boot! At least you were able to get yours back-it could have been worse-good luck, I hope the rest of your build goes well-
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:12 PM
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To anyone who's been done this way and got little to no results. Contacting the Attorney General for the state you live in can be a course of action.

They tend to get more done then say a useless Better Business Bureau.

When I was hit head-on and had two insurance companies to deal with (neither one of them my auto insurance company) they started a little, "Not me." "Well not me." Back and forth game about the damages to my car. I contacted the Attorney General for my state and got both insurances sweating bullets.
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:45 PM
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Admission of a Rod Shop Sucker

It's funny what 35Window said as I had this feeling my car was about to vanish. I had also delivered a GM Performance 350 HO Crate Engine and a Bowtie 700R4 Stage 2 transmission for fitting into the car. I got the engine back complete but my transmission was missing the TV Cable system and setup hardware. Between that and my custom Schreiner 9 inch floater rear end axles disappearing I should count my blessings. Just the thought of losing my car because of this guy would have driven me into a real life episode of Law and Order or C.S.I
I have to admit to you guys that I was actually thinking about selling my project after all of this but I feel a lot better now since I talked about it and sharing your experiences helped a lot too. So my faith having been restored I know I can finish this car now and you can count on the fact that I will NEVER let this happen again. I think I found a pretty good guy in my area that I am turning it over to. It’s going to be embarrassing when he see’s the work that was done but this is how we learn life’s little lessons right?
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:03 PM
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Cole its obvious that you have learned from this experance.. I would suggess that with this new shop, that you have him agree to a monthly payment schedule that would include ALL the materials used , a description of the work done for that month, complete with a photo progression of the work completed that month,, and hours worked,, broken down into how many hours on each area of work,, if he is running a compenent business,, this should be no problem for him, his employees should be keeping a log of the hours worked on each phase , either by a punch clock or a hourly log, along with material and parts used,
Is he doing this job an a bid , or hourly? Bill
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:10 PM
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That just plain sucks!

I say go to the news. Around here they seem to be effective. I see some smuck on there about every other day. Trying to make excuses for being a shady business person. I've heard of folks wining lawsuits, after the loser says something incriminating on TV.

On the other side of the fence. Sometimes we shop dogs get screwed by customers too. Get things done, then have some loser's car taking up shop space for long periods of time while they come up with their money.

Sorry, for your crappy experience. But, I guess we all learn something new everyday. Don't pay for what you don't see.
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