What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? North Carolina
Do I have a case? Can I win this in small court? This could be civil but I have decided to pay them tomorrow to get the car back first before they put a mechanic lien on it.
Long story short, Prestige Auto failed to perform the expected service twice but is holding my car hostage demanding for an outrageous payment.
On August 2, I took my 1996 Toyota Camry to Prestige Auto in Durham for a repair. I had gotten Auto Zone and Advance Auto to diagnose the engine error code for me and it showed up as cylinder 5 misfire. The owner of Prestige Auto diagnosed the same code and said a coil replacement would fix the problem. I paid $114.53 for the coil replacement part and labor for the service Prestige Auto performed but found out 3 days later that the issue still was not fixed.
I called the owner for this and they (him and his wife) came to my place to pick up the car for a re-service. Because the car needs to be driven after the service to ensure the problem is solved, we agreed to let the owner keep the car for approximately a week so that they can test their repair work before returning the car to me.
The owner's wife drove the car back to my place approximately a week later and promised that everything has been fixed. She said a spark plug and a wire set were replaced and a cylinder compression test was performed. She later presented me an invoice for $160. I signed her a check and we left my place in the supposedly repaired Toyota Camry to drive her home. While driving her home, the engine error light came on again. The wife acknowledged the error code and phoned the owner and they agreed to return the $160 payment on top of the labor portion of $114.53 because they had already thrown out the original coil, which probably isn't necessary.
The wife handed me the check back and I tore it into pieces to make it void. She then dropped me off back at my place and said the newly installed parts during the second service (namely the spark plug and the wire set) need to be taken off the car and I agreed to let her take the car back for one more day. She also insisted on me handing her back my copy of the invoice for the second service ($160). I disagreed but eventually gave in. Before leaving, the wife promised to return the car the next day.
Come next day the wife stopped answering my phone calls. It was not until 7PM that I finally got the owner on the phone. He acted as if nothing had happened yesterday over the phone because he has an alibi and refused to give me the car back unless I go to his shop to pay for it. I asked him to verify the car failure with his wife but he refused to do so as well. The owner also dared me to take legal actions.
Long story short, Prestige Auto failed to perform the expected service twice but is holding my car hostage demanding for an outrageous payment. Today is August 26.