The Body Shop is Gone - And So Is My Car They Had
I dropped a 1970 Elco off for bodywork and replacement of a quarter panel and now the shop has disappeared and so did the Elco. I saw this while going by last week. The body shop was surrounded by Marijuana Grow Warehouses as this is Colorado and so nobody to ask about what happened.
I've read posts about problems with being in "Paint Jail" and so sought a recommendation from a fellow at the auto paint store, who recommended this fellow and said that if there were any problems, to let him know and he would get it back on track. Unfortunately he passed away from cancer last year. I didn't have a working phone number for the shop and knew that calling was a waste of time and that only going in, in person was of any use.
The shop owner had been putting me off and putting me off and each time I would call he'd just tell me how busy he was with other peoples cars.
I called the DMV to see if someone was having the title bonded to sell the vehicle and they told me to call the police. Called the police and they told me it was a civil matter as I had entered into an agreement with the shop owner and there was nothing they could do. Some calls later they relented and did some tracing for him and found a working phone number and a new "business partner" of his responded to the police.
They were irate that the vehicle had been reported stolen and claimed they had tried to contact me. There was no contact - they lost my number again, as had happened before. The police detective told me to call a certain number and that there were storage fees waiting for me on my still - unfinished vehicle. They will say the storage fees are continuing to accrue each day. The "business partner" who apparently now speaks for the person I entered into the agreement - called me within 10 minutes of my hanging up with the detective as the detective said that he had given my phone number to him. The shop owner had lost my number again and its pretty clear why the shop disappeared with the car, without contacting me.
I knew I couldn't make this call in a sane manner and had my attorney do so, and there hasn't been a call back from the shop so far. I have an unfinished vehicle and now they are charging me for storage. I understand that in order to charge for storage, there would have had to have been a signed agreement stating that storage fees could be charged. There was not a signed agreement as this was all done on a recommendation and I have paid checks with notations on them for earlier partial payments, but no other paperwork.
I asked the detective where the car is being stored - and he told me he didn't ask, once they told him they had the car and he said he's dropped the stolen vehicle status and that its a civil matter once again.
I have a car that has at least been located (somewhere) thats unfinished and won't be finished now, and a daily storage charge on top of it. He lost my phone number again and is trying to profit from not doing the work, after jerking me around on getting it done.
Would really like to have him served papers but don't know where the shop is, but found a mobile home he owns and went by and its not there. It wouldn't be wise of me to go up to his door at this point, as nothing good will happen. Not sure what I could charge him with but still working on that.
This really needs to be in front of a judge or other approach, but I'm sure not paying storage for an unfinished vehicle. The detective told me to bring my checkbook to pay the storage fees.
This part of classic cars is ridiculous - when you have an insurance company involved they threaten to pull all their business if a car isn't completed, but on non-insurance work you're on your own.
How might I proceed from here, without getting myself in legal trouble in seeing him at his house? I don't know where his shop and my Elco are. These are just the things I was trying to avoid in getting a recommendation from someone I trust, but has moved on to the next world - the fellow from the auto paint store.
Sorry for the implied emotion - it's difficult to separate.
'70 Chevelle, 496, Vortech V-7
Turbo 400, 3.90 12 Bolt, 3,200 Stall, Gearvendors, Performer RPM Heads, Victor Jr., Jesel Rockers
10.42 @135 best w/ 3,980 Race Weight - not on same pass
9-10,000 Routine Local Air Density
Last edited by ss3966; Jul 21st, 20 at 11:12 AM.
Reason: typo typhoon