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Old 04-29-2007, 06:37 PM   #1
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My airstream needs a lawyer

Greetings,

The shop that has my 68 Safari was damaged and or lost many of the parts to it including the reat hatch. When I told them I expected them to replace it, they refused and said it was poorly designed, so they were not to blame.

At this point, I have told them that I do not want them to finish the job. They have had my trailer 6 months, and it still is not completed. I would rather not pay the other half of the job and take it as it is. The shell was mangles, and the frame isn't in that good of shape even though they were to repair it completely.

I told them to forget the job, but they told me that if I haven't removed the trailer and shell before this weekend they were going to finish the job (Poorly, and not within the specs it needs to be), and will ship the trailer off to a storage site until I pay for the work.

The shop has also stated that I cannot come and take an of the interior parts of the trailer until I pay for the job. This is something that I have done three times already and they have not had an issue till I requested them replace the missing or broken pieces.

I am not keeping this trailer, and I will try to scrap it, but can they legally hold my property against me if we have agreed that the work wont be completed?

Any advice would be helpful. Lawyers I have called want nothing to do with this because it isn't likely to generated future business for them. I guess chalk one more coach of the vintage era off the road.

Steve
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Old 04-29-2007, 07:05 PM   #2
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WHERE did you take it?

I know we aren't supposed to bad mouth people here, but if this was an authorized Airstream repair facility, I'd call and file a formal complaint with Airstream. You certainly should document EVERYTHING about the deficiencies of the work so far, and you could point out that there are dozens of blogs where you can recount your experiences. (Carefully, make sure everything is factual.)

Also check with your state or county's consumer protection agency (many states are useless, but some are quite strong. You may be able to represent yourself in a small claims court, but that is usually limited to $3000 or less. If your case isn't TOO far over that, you could swallow the difference and go to small claims anyway (50% of something beats 100% of nothing).

Contact the BBB too, and find out if your shop has a history of unresolved problems. It may bolster any further action you take.

Always try compromise before confrontation - when your attitude hardens, so does the other guy's. If you give the man a graceful way out he may admit that the work was just beyond his abilitites or he didn't realize how extensive the problems were at first. But in the end, get your unit out of there fast. Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

Oh yes, and if you don't reach some agreement to pay him for the work done, he CAN get a mechanics lien and hold the A/S... and ultimately sell it... for payment.

Paula Ford
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:17 PM   #3
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SIlvermedic, I am going through that same problem except with houses instead of airstreams. I got the floor back in our this afternoon with the help of son and two of his friends.

DO you havae anything in writing?
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:31 PM   #4
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So do they want you to pay for the full job, or just for the time they have into it? Did they give you an estimate, and a breakdown of work done so far?

Some states have a law that allows mechanics to hold onto a vehicle until it is paid for - I think it's called a possessory lien, but you'll have to do some research to find out if it is in your state, and if they have jumped through the appropriate hoops to use it against you.



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Old 04-29-2007, 08:45 PM   #5
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Do you have a "local" BBB or Govt Comsumer afairs dept? Start there.
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:47 PM   #6
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Did you sign a contract with them?????????
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:01 PM   #7
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Call the Attorney General's office of the state you reside in, IMO.
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:03 PM   #8
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Essentially I have a contract stating that for $2700 they would remove the shell, fabricate a new frame from scratch, add a new marine grade plywood subfloor, and replace the cap. All labor and materials were included, as well as finishing the interior gutting that I did 65% of. The shop manager told me that I am not considered a customer because it is a side job for him, yet I have a contract from the business. This was not an Airstream authorized shop. I was a newbie at the time, and needed work done on the trailer. Didn't know much else about coaches at that time.

After the shop had it for over 4 months, I asked him if the old frame was repairable. He thought it looked ok for repairs. I figured that this would save time for him by making the repairs instead of making an entire new frame, but he told me it would take much longer to repair the old frame other than laying out a new frame.

I am a deployed soldier that is hours away from the shop where the coach is. The shop stated that I need it gone (The shell is off the frame) within a week, or he will continue to do the work that I have explicitly told him NOT to do. I tried being nice, and offered him a way out, but he kept shifting blame on me. From what he has written, and how he has spoken to me I do not feel comfortable or safe going to his shop by myself. If I were to pay him to finish the work, I do not feel that he would do the job to the standards it should be done to. This means it could end up being unsafe, and I would be out all the money I have paid.

I will not be keeping this coach anyhow. I plan to scrap the metal for as much as I can get...I would love to see someone get it out on the road again, but nobdy has interest. Perhaps a raffle for $25/Ticket?

Steve
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc
Call the Attorney General's office of the state you reside in, IMO.
From my attorney general's office website it states that the attorney general is not a personal lawyer, but is out to protect any and all consumers. This company makes custom concession trailers for normal business, but they aren't a monument of consumerism like walmart.

Steve
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:09 PM   #10
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Steve...

Paula gives good counsel. An attorney will cost you a fortune, even if you have a solid contract with specifications and good before, during and after documentation photos. More than likely any judgment you are able to get after involving attorneys will be expensive and ultimately less than satisfying. If you do have a contract and documentation, you should pay what you owe to this point, and then try small claims if the job is really botched.

My advice would be to go back over and see what of your relationship you can salvage with the shop, and to at least see if you can make the trailer usable for someone. It may not be a concours restoration, but it may yet be just the ticket for someone out there. You may be able to work out some compromise on the fees for the length of time they've had it and for the less quality work you expected.

You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and there are no winners in a fight where everyone comes out bloody (figuratively and financially speaking here, of course...)

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Steve...

Paula gives good counsel. An attorney will cost you a fortune, even if you have a solid contract with specifications and good before, during and after documentation photos. More than likely any judgment you are able to get after involving attorneys will be expensive and ultimately less than satisfying. If you do have a contract and documentation, you should pay what you owe to this point, and then try small claims if the job is really botched.

My advice would be to go back over and see what of your relationship you can salvage with the shop, and to at least see if you can make the trailer usable for someone. It may not be a concours restoration, but it may yet be just the ticket for someone out there. You may be able to work out some compromise on the fees for the length of time they've had it and for the less quality work you expected.

You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and there are no winners in a fight where everyone comes out bloody (figuratively and financially speaking here, of course...)

Good luck!

Roger
Roger,

All attempts to be nice were greeted with rude and arrogant comments blaming me for him losing parts, damaging things, and taking 6 months so far rather than the 5-6 weeks on my contract. He also said that the people on Airforums are idiots when it comes to frames and don't know anything considering that he builds frames everyday. This really made me mad. Some AIR members have fabricated completely new frames while others have restored the old ones. AIR members are the most knowledgeable people on airstreams even superceding Jackson Center in many cases.

I hate to concede to him and pay $1350 for a job that will be botched at best. My hope lies in finding a group of people to help me bolt the shell onto the frame so I can move it to my house (thus avoiding the remainding 1350 that I owe). Once there, I may be able to get the floor installed, and perhaps save it from the scrap yard.

Steve

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Old 04-29-2007, 09:51 PM   #12
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hate these ugly situations...

IF you signed a work order/shop invoice,

it likely includes a mechanics lean. if may be printed on the forms OR posted on the shop wall.

there are a variety of issues here that could alter the outcome,

but it reads like you want them to stop repairs and pay only for what's been done...

IF that is your position and you plan to pick up the unit soon,

call the local (to the shop) police department and ask them to send an officer to meet you AT the shop.

explain the purpose is to retrieve your property...

take all your paperwork (shop invoice/title/registration/insurance) and checkbook, and be prepared to tow it...

i would not go to the shop without a police officer.

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:56 PM   #13
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I agree with 2Air, this is an ugly situation.
Make sure that you have everything documented as far as what has been done and the parts that have been lost. Make sure you notify them in writing that you want the work stopped at this time and why.

Get the trailer back as soon as possible.

Take them to small claims court for any and all damages they have caused.
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:00 PM   #14
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Steve, do any of your local news stations have some sort of consumer alert reporting? In my area a local TV station has segments on the evenng news in which the reporter investigates situations similar to yours. No business wants bad publicity spread through the local media and usually an acceptable resolution is made. This might be an option instead of significant legal expense in the court system.
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