What's my recourse for a car repair job that went south?
April 19, 2012 2:39 PM Subscribe
What's my recourse, if any, for a car repair job that went south?
posted by ziggly to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I took my Buick that's 10+ years old to a local mechanic that I've used before. I'd recently had new tires put on by a local tire shop, then took it to the mechanic to replace the tie rods. The mechanic replaced the front inner and outer tie rods and one hub bearing, and did an alignment. They sent it home on Friday evening, and I don't think I noticed any problems then.
However, on Saturday, the car had problems with steering. I told myself that maybe this would straighten out on its own, but there were problems for the next few days, so I brought it back in later that week. Basically the car would lose its power steering assist during turns. We went on a test drive but the car steered seemingly normally. I tried to go home and the steering went out while I was pulling into my driveway, so I went right back and had him test drive the car himself. He admitted that the steering was troubled, did a power steering fluid flush that didn't fix the problem, and then wanted to charge me to replace the pump, rack, and pinion. He said he'd checked his work and the steering issues weren't his fault. I took my car home and parked it for a month and after some research took it to a reputable repair shop which is currently putting in a new rack, to the tune of over a grand.
Here's why my sketch sense is tingling:
-The odometer was up 40 miles from when I brought it in, so clearly there was a lot of test driving going on. Wouldn't they have noticed a problem? Isn't it dangerous to send someone on their way with wack power steering?
-They have bad Yelp reviews that I checked after the fact. There aren't that many reviews to begin with, but several Yelpers complained that their car left the garage with damage they didn't go in with. They're also not registered at the BBB. However, they are an AAA-certified repair shop.
-The current repair shop can't say for sure if the previous mechanic caused the rack damage, although they kept asking me what he said when I took the car back to him. They are saying that a pump replacement isn't necessary at this time, and that the previous mechanic used two different brands of tie rods (!), but that this also wouldn't be sufficient to break the rack.
Do I have any recourse? Is the mechanic in the wrong or is the car just old and just happened to go to pieces after the tire work was done? The car's never had an issue like this before. I had put the repairs on a credit card and Consumers' Checkbook claims I can dispute the remaining balance (I'd go through the official channels, of course, not just stop paying.) Do I go to the BBB even though they aren't registered there? Or give AAA a heads-up? All of the above?