SLO mechanic wrecks customer’s car, charges client

May 9, 2016

porshe 2A few hours after a San Luis Obispo couple dropped off their Porsche for an oil change, a mechanic called back and told the couple the car needed a new clutch and its bumper repaired. The mechanic failed, however, to tell the customers he had crashed their Porsche while taking it for a joyride.

On Jan. 30, Jim and Carol Hall took their low mileage 2004 Porsche 911 car to SGS Independent Porsche in San Luis Obispo, just seeking an oil change. The mechanic then drove the Porsche onto Highway 101, stepped on the gas, the car spun out and flew about 150 feet off the roadway, according to a California Highway Patrol report. [KCOY]

That afternoon, the mechanic called the couple and asked if he could keep the car for an extra day because the shop’s workers had mistakenly nicked the bumper.

A few days later, the mechanic informed the couple that the car’s clutch was out, and if they wanted it fixed, it would cost them an additional $1,400.

Five weeks later, Caltrans sent the couple a bill for a sprinkler head that was damaged during the accident. After the mechanic drove the car off the highway, he damaged a sprinkler head about 150 feet north of Santa Rosa Street in San Luis Obispo.

When the Halls received the bill from Caltrans, they noticed the date of the sprinkler repair was the day they took in the Porsche for the oil change. Caltrans said the Porsche was in an accident, and the Halls determined the clutch was damaged in the crash. They could not believe the shop charged them for the clutch repair, the Halls said.

The Halls obtained the CHP report on the accident, which listed the mechanic as the driver of the Porsche. The owners of the Porsche then confronted Guy, the manager at SGS.

Guy admitted that he should have been more forthright. Then Guy said he needed to go home because he was having a bad day, Carol Hall said.

Nevertheless, SGS still refused to refund the $1,400 cost of the clutch repair. The shop also refused to compensate the Halls for the damage to the Porsche. Instead, the auto shop manager told the Halls to deal with their insurance guy.

Eventually, SGS agreed to purchase the car for about $26,900, of which the insurance company paid $8,000. The Halls say they are happy they got their money back, but they are not happy their once-loved Porsche is gone, and the shop might sell the car for a profit.

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slocalgal

Police report is here: http://bit.ly/1TyK0h0


tstjbh

This is why I do my own oil changes if I can or go to Dealer. This is a sign of our times where someone is way off base. You can trust a few people and everyone else is like…”Lucy ya got a lot of splaining to do????


achillesheal

That’s straight out of ferris buellers day off.


UncleCharlie

They could’ve avoided all this nonsense had they just gone to Morin Brothers or Rizzolli’s.


Vagabond

Or German Auto


Tiarpita

It’s very hard to find a good mechanic. Fortunately I am mechanically inclined.Because of my bad experience’s, I will never have anyone else do work on my automobiles unless I absolutely have no other choice. If I had a tire machine and balancer I would even do that myself.


I once took my companies work truck to get an oil change at one of these franchise places in that I will not name. As I sat in the waiting room, I watched as a patron left one of the bays with a trail of oil behind him. The staff noticed this too and motored after him as he was already out of range. No one said much, but I am pretty sure either the oil drain plug fell out or they forgot to put in the new filter.


No_More_Anger

You don’t have a tire balancer? And you call yourself mechanically inclined?


ConfedOfDunces

I don’t think anyone should own a well engineered, high precision, high performance vehicle if they can’t change their own oil. If you want to be noticed paint your Ford Falcon with polka dots using a brush.


But, no doubt, this ‘guy’ is a low life. He should surrender his crediantials and perhaps take up landscaping.


ConfedOfDunces

How many of you safely pull to the side of the road at the onset of a strange new noise? Very good! Now how many beseech their higher power wanting nothing more than to make it home as the fluids drain and the smoke begins to hazardously bellow?


slolusion

All the good mechanics got the memo and left for Texas..


I would bet this happens all the time. I once had an oil change, got in my car and started the ignition, to which the oil cap and other oil related equipment dropped right off the engine. Fortunately the car was shut off immediately and there was no lasting damage, but I never returned to that shop.


On a high end car, I’d be hesitant to use anything but a dealer and preferably one in a larger town.


Vagabond

Texas? So they can make even less money?


slolusion

All those Doctors and Lawyers, and business folks should have stayed in California instead of being forced out. You should have told them to become Porsche mechanics. Cal Poly could graduate them…


RonHolt

I would not automatically trust a dealer either. Some of them have trouble finding and/or keeping competent and honest mechanics. I could detail a couple of incidences that I have experienced with a couple of local dealerships over the years as examples but it is not worth the threat of a lawsuit.


October

Dealer mechanics work on commission, so their incentive is to:

1. Finish the job as fast as they can, regardless of quality, and

2. Upsell you for additional repairs.


Vagabond

Almost all mechanics work on the flat rate system


Vagabond

What do you want them to do? Ignore issues with your car?


SamLouis

SGS Independent Porsche is owned by Smith Volvo — a dealer.


Vagabond

That’s because good technicians will make far more money at a good independent shop. Dealerships make all their profit on car sales, Their repair shops are more of a loss because the manufacturers only pay a fraction of warranty repair costs. That said it’s a good experience for beginning technicians, but anyone worth their salt usually bails out for more money.


65buick

CC Clutch would be able to determine if the clutch failed as a result of misuse.


I personally would still have kept the car and found a way to get the money back. That could take time, but if you own a Porsche then you probably aren’t hard up for cash.


It really doesn’t matter which business you are patronizing. It’s buyer beware. Sad but true.


Vagabond

Five weeks later without the replaced parts?This whole article just doesn’t add up.


October

My take from the article is that they paid the auto shop the $1400 to do the clutch repair and took back possession of the car once the clutch was repaired. It wasn’t until they received the bill from Caltrans 5 weeks later that they realized what happened.


Vagabond

OK so five weeks later because they get a bill for a broken sprinkler they decide that all the repairs they agreed to pay for were the result of a misdeed by a mechanic that broke a clutch that had no issues before and they agreed to pay for and accepted delivery of the car at that time.. I’m just not buying any of this.


mmorin@morinbros.com

Please keep in mind that not all auto repair shops are so clueless. We found out early on (’80’s) that it was easier, simpler, often cheaper, and kept the customer happier to just tell the truth no matter what happened! The minute you start to lie its like sticking your hand into a bag of snakes. You’re gonna get bit, you just don’t know which snake is gonna do it.

We are lucky that majority of reputable shops here in San Luis all behave well, and treat their customers as if they are grateful to have them.


Vagabond

Yes to that, but as you and I know there are always two sides to the story. One is the story most popular about the evil repair shop.Who can blame them? Almost every customer is somewhat clueless about their own car and distrust is the first option. The other story is about evil customers, these stories are never told to the public, just amongst the guild, and I’ll warrant you have far more of these than the other. This story sound like a perfect storm cluster. I’ll bet there is a lot of blame on both sides