My car broke down during a road trip thru TN. The mechanic in Jackson TN took it in and kept me up to date with diagnostic work via phone calls for about a month. The mechanic then told me he could not find the issue and would only suggest replacing the entire engine as a solution. The mechanic offered to buy the vehicle from us. We asked how much and he said he had to think about it. He didn't contact or speak with us for the next five or six weeks despite our calls. We sent a certified letter demanding only written contact and written agreement on how much he planned to buy the car for. His wife, co-owner of their shop, wrote back that they never intended to buy and they would not fix car. After much back and fourth, we paid final bill for diagnostic work done and sent long haul vehicle transport company to get our car. The mechanic took our money and then refused to relese our car. One year later, we took them to court but the case was thrown out without bias. The judge said she couldn't figure out what happened. We told our story, had all evidence to the fact, and the mechanic and his wife didn't deny anything! Any advice on how to proceed? It's been four years now and they still have our car, I'm still the clear owner with no mechanic's lien, mechanic has never sent any written bill or estimate of cost. They just sit on my property, which is most likely totaled by now due to poor outdoor uncovered field storage.
I called the local police first! They said it is a civil matter since the location of the car is known. Any report of stolen vehicle from me on this matter is false. Same with insurance. I try to make claim about loss of use due to this mechanic but it's a no-go. I still pay insurance and loan payments on this car as of current date. I'm looking up TN state code now to gather all possible law infractions to try and bring nother civil suit.
I'm seeking USAA help now. I was on the phone with them and they suggested I search these posts for similar information. I would like an adjuster to go out and inspect the vehicl to assess it's value after these four years of uncovered field storage. This will help me itemize the damages I'm seeking. I did get on the horn to Govenors, state legislators, and local news in Jackson TN. There are a few irons in the fire. But mostly, it looks like it depends on me going back to court since he is still in possesion of my vehicle. Being out of state, I can only hope it's still there with him. I've been reviewing TN state laws the past few days to find my case is even stronger. Other advice I had mentioned my first civil case was thrown out because I did not reference any specific laws, only told my story hoping the judge would conclude right from wrong. Big mistake. I'd like to get a lawyer, but can't afford one. So, reading as much as I can, asking for help, and getting objective feedback on my approach is where I am now. It's awful to think a business can do this and judge not ask why, or reason, or legal grounds for their actions. The more I read, the more I find they are responsible for not communicating with me, accepting final payment and not giving car back, and assessing charges to me out of the blue with no itemization, prior notice, or consent. And after all this time, even after the first lawsuit, they have never given me any sort of balance that I might owe to resolve this. They just say "thousands of dollars". I ask what their demands are and get nothing in return. So they're content to just sit on my car with only intent for me to be without it.