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    • J381
    • By J381 6th Dec 17, 10:50 AM
    • 3Posts
    • 0Thanks
    J381
    £900 bill dispute - Advice needed!
    • #1
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:50 AM
    £900 bill dispute - Advice needed! 6th Dec 17 at 10:50 AM
    Hi all,

    Been lurking these forums for a while now, but this is my first time posting. It's a fairly long post as there's no real easy way to shorten it and it still have the same facts in it.

    I'll give you a bit of background first...

    I have owned a Toyota MR2 turbo for several years now and decided in 2014 that I was going to do a fully forged 2.2 5SGTE (Toyota Camry bottom end with MR2 turbo head) big power build. So I chose a certain Toyota MR2 and Celica specialist who is based in Deepcar, South Yorkshire, to do the work.

    Fast forward to mid-2017 where I collected the car due to the excessive time taken to build and install the new engine. Anyway, car now collected and taken home to have a few bits and pieces finished before going for some minor wiring jobs and ECU mapping.

    One of the wiring jobs was to simply wire in the crank sensor by cutting off an existing plug and then wire (in screened cable) from the cut-point to the ECU. This is an important point, which you'll see below. Car was then taken to a certain reputable Motorsport Specialist company in Perth, Scotland, for the wiring and mapping to be done. Wiring completed and then it was time for starting the engine and commencing the mapping. However, I received a phone call from them to say that there was a knocking noise after less than 20 seconds running (first time the new engine had been started) and it was suspected to be big-end failure. Original engine builder was then informed and instructions were given by him not to inspect / diagnose the noise as he wants to do it himself.

    Car collected and returned to the original engine builder mentioned above for diagnosis. Engine builder calls me a couple of days later to tell me that it wasnít big end failure after dropping the sump and checking the bearings. Photographs were sent to me showing that the top bearings were fine, but the bottom bearings were lightly scored (keep in mind that itís ran for less than 20 seconds!!) and that when the Motorsport company in Perth had the crank pulley off to wire in the screened cable, they had had left the crank pulley loose and never re-installed a dished washer next to the pulley. The Motorsport company in Perth denies having the crank pulley off as there was simply no need at all to remove it as there is plenty space in that part of the engine bay to work, and also that it's just not necessary to go to that extent.

    Engine builder then invoices me for £600 for the inspection and work involved in diagnosing this issue and tells me the car is ready for collection. Invoice has been paid now.
    The following day I received another phone call from him telling me that while checking the car over to make sure it was 100% ready for collection, that he found an issue with the timing belt weaving over the cam gears.

    He then investigates this issue by changing idlers, water pump and oil pump to no avail. Another brand new oil pump is ordered from Toyota after he actually fitted a defective oil pump first time round. Defect was in the form of a wobbly press-fit steel washer which seats the idler pulley. So oil pump ordered and was said to take a few days.
    It was around this time, as a few days had passed and the new oil pump hadn't arrived yet, that I called him to see how things were going as I wanted to get the car back ASAP to then have the mapping done. During this call he tells me that as soon as it's done I will know as there was no reason for him to keep it from me as my car was a burden to him as it was keeping him from paying jobs, and that he as a business doesn't start profiting until a certain day of the week. I feel no need to mention what day of the week it was as it's irrelevant really, and also a bit financially personal. This call alone tells me that the work being done at this point was FOC.

    Anyway, another couple of days pass. Pump arrived and installed. My original motorsport belt re-installed but the belt is still weaving.
    So, a stock Toyota belt is installed and the weaving seems to have stopped.
    New motorsport belt ordered and delivered to him for installation. Belt on and weaving has now completely stopped.
    He informed me via email that the issue was resolved and that the car was ready, to which I replied thanking him for his efforts and working FOC on this - based on the telephone conversation above.

    A reply was then received saying that it was not FOC and I would receive an invoice later.
    Then a £900 invoice for 18 hours labour arrived!!

    I called him to discuss the bill as I wasn't best pleased, but was told that it was all chargeable. Prior to this bill I had already paid approximately £4000-£4500 labour IIRC, all said and done.
    He said that my original motorsport belt was likely damaged when the Motorsport Specialist in Perth started the car and the crank pulley, which was supposedly moving freely due to being loose, stretched it.

    So I then asked him to contact the Motorsport Specialist in Perth to discuss it which he originally agreed to do on my behalf, but in the end never did as he "saw no point in it"! I then asked him for a detailed Engineering report of his findings, which literally took weeks, maybe even a couple of months to receive. It should be noted that the Motorsport Specialist in Perth called him several times and left voicemails, and even emails. None of which were ever returned.

    Report received and forwarded to the Motorsport Specialist in Perth. I phoned the owner of the company to discuss the report and was told point-blank that they did not have the crank pulley off the car in the first place, so there was absolutely no way that the work they carried out caused the knocking! My limited automotive engine knowledge, and common sense, tells me that they're telling the truth as there really wasn't any need to remove an engine mount, cam-belt covers, crank pulley and then the crank sensor itself, all to cut a plug off and solder in some new wiring?!?! It just doesn't make sense why they would go to such extents.

    So, now I'm stuck with an additional £900 bill and have still not got my car back after months. I know there's a simple solution - pay the bill, get the car back - but why should I pay the £900 when it was originally FOC???

    How do I know that the defective oil pump originally fitted didn't cause the belt to "stretch" and then weave?

    I'm not mentioning either companies name but there are several cases where the engine builder, who has no ramps and works on the ground, has left bolts loose on other MR2ís. Another MR2 owner even contacted me and told me that he had to spend an additional £2K on remedial work from the same engine builder. And one of the issues to be remedied was a missing dished washer next to the crank pulley!

    These cases have been detailed in build threads and feedback threads on specific forums online, which I will not mention either.

    I feel that I have become a victim to poor workmanship somewhere along the line...
    Has anyone had similar troubles before with disputes over bills / work / issues?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Page 1
    • caprikid1
    • By caprikid1 6th Dec 17, 11:35 AM
    • 484 Posts
    • 500 Thanks
    caprikid1
    • #2
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:35 AM
    Two Specialists
    • #2
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:35 AM
    Did you instruct one specialist of both.


    Who are you paying for the work.


    If you are paying both firms and have a contractual relationship with both then I think you are stuck in no mans land.


    Firm A - I did not cause the issue so why should I pay to resolve it.


    Firm B - I did not cause the issues so why should I pay to resolve it.


    On the bright side its resolved and sorted , if the cam belt had bounced off it could have cost a lot more.


    My gut feel is you will go round in circles and I would ask both nicely to slit the cost three ways ? IE Each take a £300 hit.
    • pramsay13
    • By pramsay13 6th Dec 17, 11:38 AM
    • 238 Posts
    • 717 Thanks
    pramsay13
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:38 AM
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 11:38 AM
    Have you really been getting work done on a car for 3 years?
    I'm not totally sure what your question is.
    It's not unreasonable and is usually lawful for the garage to hang on to the car until their bill is paid.
    Not many businesses do work FOC so I would always expect a bill unless specifically told otherwise.
    Maybe he was willing to work on it FOC although now that he has it took longer than he expected or he saw something that made him think the issue wasn't caused by work he did.
    Assuming the engine builder you've dealt with is in charge and you've made a complaint you will probably have to pay to get your car back.
    If you're convinced where fault lies you could then take it further, take him to small claims court, complain to trading standards and / or any trade bodies the garage is a member of or you could also leave reviews on social media / review websites etc.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 6th Dec 17, 12:38 PM
    • 15,717 Posts
    • 14,030 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 12:38 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 12:38 PM
    Did you instruct one specialist of both.

    Who are you paying for the work.

    If you are paying both firms and have a contractual relationship with both then I think you are stuck in no mans land.
    Originally posted by caprikid1
    From his thread in another place, he hired both specialists separately...
    • J381
    • By J381 6th Dec 17, 1:17 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    J381
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 1:17 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 1:17 PM
    Did you instruct one specialist of both.


    Who are you paying for the work.


    If you are paying both firms and have a contractual relationship with both then I think you are stuck in no mans land.


    Firm A - I did not cause the issue so why should I pay to resolve it.


    Firm B - I did not cause the issues so why should I pay to resolve it.


    On the bright side its resolved and sorted , if the cam belt had bounced off it could have cost a lot more.


    My gut feel is you will go round in circles and I would ask both nicely to slit the cost three ways ? IE Each take a £300 hit.
    Originally posted by caprikid1

    Both hired individually.


    Good idea about splitting it three ways. Thanks!
    • arcon5
    • By arcon5 6th Dec 17, 9:21 PM
    • 13,196 Posts
    • 8,367 Thanks
    arcon5
    • #6
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:21 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:21 PM
    Sounds more likely the knackered oil pump they fitted caused the knocking and they forget the washer causing the damage.

    Makes no sense why they'd remove pulling to basically solder in new wiring.
    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 6th Dec 17, 9:39 PM
    • 2,826 Posts
    • 1,742 Thanks
    Ectophile
    • #7
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:39 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:39 PM
    Nice idea, but why would the guy in Perth agree to pay 1/3 of the bill for something he says he didn't even touch?
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
    • J381
    • By J381 7th Dec 17, 7:32 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    J381
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:32 AM
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:32 AM
    Thanks for all the advice.

    However, I did actually find an email from him stating that he would only be charging for hours worked after the cause of the belt weaving was found. This was an email sent to me after he told me that he would be charging me, but before I actually received the invoice.
    He ruled out the oil and water pump, pulleys and idlers BEFORE discovering it was the belt. So, in effect, all he should be charging me for is 4 hours as that's all it would take to:

    Remove stock belt.
    Install brand new HKS belt.
    Reinstate timing belt covers etc.

    BUT, his bill is for 18 hours and itemised to include the following text:

    "...routine inspections and trial by substitution to eliminate the following:

    Tensioner pulley

    Oil pump and idler pulley (sump drained, removed, cleaned of all sealant, degreased, refitted and refilled)

    Water pump

    Fault is found not to be apparent with used OEM belt fitted

    Replacement HKS belt also reveals no fault

    Refit all parts removed."

    A clear-cut attempt to over-charge me 14 hours labour, which I guess constitutes as fraud.

    I've emailed him asking him to do the right thing as a business and to amend the bill so I can pay it and have my car collected.

    If he doesn't do the right thing then I definitely have enough in black and white to go legal. I don't want to, and I'm sure he won't either, but I will if I have to.

    Cheers for all the advice.
    • caprikid1
    • By caprikid1 7th Dec 17, 9:06 AM
    • 484 Posts
    • 500 Thanks
    caprikid1
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:06 AM
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:06 AM
    I should add the fact you supplied the belt could have an impact on your success of any court action.


    I think he agreed to fix it for free based on the fact it was something he was responsible for. It turned out to be a faulty belt that you supplied.


    Seriously don't waste your effort on legal . Negotiate / split it 3 ways / 2 ways
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