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Pasadena Air-cooled SCAMMERS!! Consumers beware!!

Dammit why does this crap happen to me? I took my 74 US carrera targa to a local repair shop called Pasadena Air-cooled. I had used them twice before with outstanding results. Fast, honest and skilled, what else could anyone ask for? This third time complete polar opposite experience that ended with police involvement and having to be extorted for double of what I had ever been warned of and agreed to just to remove my car from their possession.
I flat-bedded the car to them after talking to a guy named Curt over the phone who I had met and talked to during the previous repairs. Curt as I understood was the partner of Bill. Bill is who I entrusted with repairing my two previous cars. Bill is an awesome air-cooled Porsche mechanic. Bill has never answered the phone during any my previous transactions with Pasadena Air-cooled.
Upon receiving the car Curt asked me to text my wish list to him of which I did. Curt had a kid named Caleb, apparently a tech, call me and discuss my list with me after several weeks of anticipation, even though I was told to bring my car up right away. I asked Caleb where Bill was and Caleb informed me that Bill had left the company to work for the local Porsche dealer that is starting up a classics divisions. I was a bit confused and disappointed as I thought Bill was Pasadena Air-cooled or at least the wrench half of the business. Caleb informed me I was in good hands with him and that he would check my car out and let me know. No quotes warned or given yet. Got a call several days later approx to tell me that the oil leaks that I wanted them to look at could be all fixed with the exception of the one behind the crank pulley of which he told me was very minor. He told me 6-7 hours to perform the repairs and I should have a very clean and dry engine. I asked him to remind me of their rate of which he informed me was $135/hr. Some quick math gets me $800-1000. I asked about the fuel light and he said he would check out but didnít think it would be anything serious. Several more days later he calls me to tell me that it needs a new fuel sender and gave me part price of which I donít recall but was cheap nothing serious. I then asked about the leak down test that I requested as I want to sell the car and want to document the engineís condition for potential buyers. I had discussed this with Curt verbally prior to even towing the car to him and he assured me he could do a quick video of the leak down being performed as I wanted proof for buyers rather than just numbers on a piece of paper. Honestly I just wanted the car in the same picture frame as the test and in all honesty photos would have sufficed.
Fast forward to yesterday I get a call from Caleb after several missed promises on previously promised completion dates he says car is complete. I asked how much is it so I can bring a check? He said $3000. My exact words were ďare you f@wking serious!?Ē He offered to email the invoice to me. I agreed and told him I would come visit him to discuss in person. Well I went there this afternoon and felt that Caleb and I were relatively on the same page with the fact that I never agreed to, nor authorized a $500 video recording fee for the leak down test and that there was now an additional charge for $710 for a trans service related to a transmission noise that I was hearing while in reverse however I never was even told what they thought could be causing the noise or what it might cost to fix. Those two items total approx $1210 of unauthorized work. Thereís some confusion as apparently the quote for the leaks included a valve adjustment of which I was unaware of and donít feel was necessary but accounted for a huge portion of the leak repair labor costs. I authorized repairing leaks not a valve adjustment. I honestly thought the bill would be approx $1200-1500 and this is what I warned my business partner of as he is half owner of the car. I offered Caleb $1700 as a compromise and told him that I was not paying for the video and valve adjustment. It wasnít until later that I realized the trans service was also an unauthorized amount. Technically I only verbally authorized the repair of the oil leaks, leak down test and fuel sender totaling approx $1200 as originally expected. Caleb said he has to talk to Curt so Caleb called Curt to come over from around the corner where he has another business. Upon arrival Curt calmly looked at the repair invoice and read $3000 out loud and then turned to me and asked what amount I was willing to pay and I stated that I only authorized $1200 but was willing to pay $1700. At which point he said I needed to leave and come back when Iím ready to pay $3000. I told him to please show me the authorizations where I agreed to $3000. He said leave and I said Iím calling the police at which point he told me it was a civil matter and that he was going to liensale my car and now it is $3000 cash.(sounds like he has done this before) He then told me to leave as I was trespassing. He told me to go work some more and come back when I could afford to fix my car. I did call the police and of course one officer was a friend or client of his and they pretty much told me there was nothing that they could do. I contested that he had not a shred of paper with my name on it entitling him to any amount of money and that I wanted my car. They didnít budge. I asked if it was illegal if I took my car and they advised against it. I repeated if it was illegal and one officer stated she didnít know. Ultimately I had to pay $3000 cash to get my car out. I did not receive the $500 video despite paying for it nor any other documentation of a leak down test or itís results. Engine still leaks pretty much identically to how I brought it in. Oil level sender is now out which they claimed was discovered that way but why not ask if I wanted to fix it? Reverse still makes the same exact noise and now there is a noise during coasting in second gear that wasnít previously present.
What the hell just happened and what did I just pay for? Why the hell cant the police help in a situation like this where clearly laws and BAR regulations are not followed? What a crappy experience to say the least. Oh apparently Caleb is formerly of LA Porsche Dismantlers. Ill leave it at that for now.
Old 08-30-2018, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by nathanbs View Post
I honestly thought the bill would be approx $1200-1500 and this is what I warned my business partner of as he is half owner of the car.
Is the car owned by another automotive business ?
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I can't afford that.
Old 08-30-2018, 11:15 PM
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gearhead
 
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That's F-ed. I'm sorry dude.

I'm not trying to kick a man when he's down, but ALWAYS get an estimate in writing. Many states require a shop to be within 10% of it unless they get updated approval from the client in writing.

I suspect you have a decent case with the tranny thing. A lot of the rest would be hard to claim but if you never made any reference to the gearbox in your text you should be able to nail them in small claims court.
Old 08-31-2018, 04:35 AM
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What a story! I admit to picking up a car after (what I thought would be) a minor service and getting whammed with a bill 3 to 4 times what I thought it would be. My P-shop specialist always found more stuff to fix and fixed it without asking me. Aggravating, yes. Fortunately, these items were always fixed and fixed well.

I think you're pretty much screwed. Put out the word and move on. I don't think you'll ever see a penny of your $3K back. Sorry.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by pmax View Post
Is the car owned by another automotive business ?
No itís titled to me
Old 08-31-2018, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
That's F-ed. I'm sorry dude.

I'm not trying to kick a man when he's down, but ALWAYS get an estimate in writing. Many states require a shop to be within 10% of it unless they get updated approval from the client in writing.

I suspect you have a decent case with the tranny thing. A lot of the rest would be hard to claim but if you never made any reference to the gearbox in your text you should be able to nail them in small claims court.
Thanks Matt. In all of my years of operating an automotive business I’ve been told by all parties that the onus is on me to provide a written estimate and obtain authorizations and without them I may get paid zero at the end of the repairs and have nothing to take to court to argue otherwise. We’ll see what a judge has to say. You never know how that’s goes until you receive the actual judgement. I just want to prevent anyone else from getting screwed like me.
Old 08-31-2018, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by NYNick View Post
What a story! I admit to picking up a car after (what I thought would be) a minor service and getting whammed with a bill 3 to 4 times what I thought it would be. My P-shop specialist always found more stuff to fix and fixed it without asking me. Aggravating, yes. Fortunately, these items were always fixed and fixed well.

I think you're pretty much screwed. Put out the word and move on. I don't think you'll ever see a penny of your $3K back. Sorry.
Shops canít legally do that. But I imagine if youíre keeping the car, donít feel ripped off and perhaps you still want to go there then you live with it. Because of the principal alone I canít leave it alone. I will take them to small claims along with a Bureau of automive repair complaint.
Old 08-31-2018, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
That's F-ed. I'm sorry dude.

I'm not trying to kick a man when he's down, but ALWAYS get an estimate in writing. Many states require a shop to be within 10% of it unless they get updated approval from the client in writing.

I suspect you have a decent case with the tranny thing. A lot of the rest would be hard to claim but if you never made any reference to the gearbox in your text you should be able to nail them in small claims court.
Matts right. Always get the estimate in writing. Also, be happy you have your car and it wasn't $10k.
Old 08-31-2018, 05:32 AM
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Matts right. Always get the estimate in writing. Also, be happy you have your car and it wasn't $10k.
Itís not that I disagree with you guys because clearly I needed to do something differently but an estimate for $1200 does not prevent me from receiving a $3000 bill at the end nor does it mean I have a slam dunk case in front of a judge. Iím sure Matt can attest that bills go up from their original ďestimateĒ but there is legal protocol on how to have the customer acknowledge this increase. Technically I can argue that my estimate was only $150 and if I had a believable enough story a solid judge would rule that I only owed $150 unless they had something in writing to say otherwise. My concerns at this point are them fabricating documents and authorizations. I have a valid concern of this because this was done on more than one occasion by LA porsche Dismantlers where Caleb came from. I think Iím ok because the police witnessed that there were zero authorizations in writing by me
Old 08-31-2018, 05:42 AM
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It's getting so bad at these shops I would cross out the verbal authorization line on the work order and write in "written authorization only" and initial. Make them initial next to yours.
Total inconvenience, but it's as if you need to personally inspect what they are saying and authorize each item.
Email is good for this too. They send pictures and you authorize what they have sent. It leaves a great paper trail.

I would talk to the BAR first. See what they say about it. You need to prove they broke one of their rules to win anything.
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Old 08-31-2018, 06:15 AM
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It's getting so bad at these shops I would cross out the verbal authorization line on the work order and write in "written authorization only" and initial. Make them initial next to yours.
Total inconvenience, but it's as if you need to personally inspect what they are saying and authorize each item.
Email is good for this too. They send pictures and you authorize what they have sent. It leaves a great paper trail.

I would talk to the BAR first. See what they say about it. You need to prove they broke one of their rules to win anything.
Yeah I think by the time Iíve owned Porscheís for 20 years I will have discovered all the rip-offs personally lol. The BAR and small claims are completely separate matters. Unfortunately BAR really cannot force a shop to pay monies. They can only encourage. However they can teach the shop how they are supposed to write an estimate, obtain authorizations and so on. It will be up to a judge to decide my financial fate.
Old 08-31-2018, 06:32 AM
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A follow-up comment would be that BAR does have the authority to refer the case to the district attorney if they feel that it’s necessary
Old 08-31-2018, 06:33 AM
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Recently went through a similar situation. Contacted BAR after a shop jacked the price way over my comfort zone, for the work received. The BAR investigator visited the shop and asked to see the estimate. There was none. He told me I owed nothing. Not being that much of an a**hole, I agreed to a partial refund that I was comfortable with. BAR responded quickly and mailed me a check.
Good luck,
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:04 AM
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BTW, did you pay by credit card? Immediately dispute it. As you stated, the work you paid for wasn't completed properly. That's enough to make a dispute with the card.

Caleb is a piece of work. I dealt with him a few times as LAPD. I would never do business anywhere he is, and hope the word gets out quickly that he's got a new gig.
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post

Caleb is a piece of work. I dealt with him a few times as LAPD. I would never do business anywhere he is, and hope the word gets out quickly that he's got a new gig.

You were LAPD or you dealt with him and LAPD?
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:23 AM
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You were LAPD or you dealt with him and LAPD?
Neither. I dealt with him AT LAPD.
Old 08-31-2018, 07:32 AM
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Neither. I dealt with him AT LAPD.
Ahhh. He is the Police.
Where's the forehead slap Emoji?
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 1979-930 View Post
Ahhh. He is the Police.
Where's the forehead slap Emoji?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BxBs4f4RIU
Old 08-31-2018, 07:38 AM
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Thatís the most annoying noise I have ever heard, I couldnít make it 20 seconds before closing the link. Did a record label actually pay for that? Shocking. If this were blasted at Pasadena (full of hot) Air-Cooled at full blast all day long every day for a month, that would be proper punishment for their crimes.

Maybe this is how the Cubanís gave the US embassy workers brain damage and hearing loss.
Old 08-31-2018, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 1979-930 View Post
Ahhh. He is the Police.
Where's the forehead slap Emoji?
LA Porsche Dismantlers, not LA Police Department
Old 08-31-2018, 08:26 AM
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