• Report: #791837

Complaint Review: Buffalo Restorations

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  • Submitted: Mon, October 24, 2011
  • Updated: Wed, February 08, 2012

  • Reported By: Anonymous — Renton Washington USA
Buffalo Restorations
10609 Canyon Road E Puyallup, Washington United States of America

Buffalo Restorations Steve Warren Breach of contract and potential fraud Puyallup, Washington

*Author of original report: More nonsense and half truths from Steve Warren and Buffalo Restorations

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Mitch Wood has manipulated the facts!

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My experience with this company has been nothing but horrific.  I brought in a C2 corvette for restoration. My initial estimate for a complete frame off restoration was a little over $38,000. After the initial $38,000 was spent and my car was completely disassembled and spread out over the shop floor. I was told it would be another $28,000 to complete the job, then another $3000, then another, then another. It's been over two years and the car still isn't finished.

They attempted to pass the car off to me as complete about 6 months ago, but once I received the car and started an inspection, things quickly went from bad to worse. The passenger door latch didn't work. The new gauges I'd purchased were burned out, the new wiper motor was also fried, the emergency brake light was always on, the driver side door wasn't hung straight because they'd broken a tap in the hinge and left it there instead of properly installing a bolt, the clutch inspection plate was missing and I had to pull debris from the flywheel, the fuel gauge and fuel sending unit were also fried.  The throttle rod to the carburetor was missing and a coat hanger was used instead. The soft top that they sub-contracted out (for $762, but charged me $1200) didn't seat properly to the decklid and showed a 1/4 inch or better gap. The car also suffered from a dozen other smaller problems including a variety of missing parts that they claimed they weren't responsible for.

So far I've invested 3 times the original estimate in labor and another $30k in parts. They agreed (in writing) to complete the work for $2700, then reneged and handed me a bill for $5100 and change. Once I threatened legal action, they made me "a one time offer" to finish the work for $3200. I'll file suit against them this week. Whether I file for fraud or breach of contract is yet to be determined. I definitely feel defrauded.

Whatever you do, DO NOT do business with this company! They can not be forced to close their doors fast enough. Due to all the bad reviews and reports filed against this company (they have an "F" score from the Better Business Bureau) they are attempting to change their name to something like West Coast Restorations. This company and it's owner Steve Warren are unscrupulous and are potentially breaking the law. We'll see what the court has to say. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/24/2011 08:35 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Buffalo-Restorations/Puyallup-Washington-98373/Buffalo-Restorations-Steve-Warren-Breach-of-contract-and-potential-fraud-Puyallup-Washing-791837. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 0Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

More nonsense and half truths from Steve Warren and Buffalo Restorations

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (USA)

I guess Steve Warren and Buffalo Restorations are feeling the pressures. He certainly has complained about this posting loudly. However, he has bigger problems. If you do a web search on the company, youll find numerous complaints, not just mine. In his rebuttal, Steve says that I wasn't given an estimate for the complete job. In fact, he suggests that I wasn't given an estimate at all. The truth is that I was given multiple estimates. Each estimate was designed to lure me into committing to a restoration process that cost more than the car was ever going to be worth. Each estimate was an extension of the first. Oh, just a little more Mr. Wood! Once the car is in a 1000 pieces on the shop floor, you want to believe what they are telling you is true. However, as for that 1st written estimate... I clearly have paperwork from Buffalo labeled Estimate and it certainly appears to be for the complete job to me. I've attached an image of the paperwork at the bottom of this document. Judge for yourself.

In his rebuttal, Steve Warren says that I didn't have the money to complete it. I did (and do) have the money to complete it. They told me it was nearly complete and I wanted them to stop bleeding me for more money. They went through a final inspection checklist that showed just that. Unfortunately, they inspection they made, skipped over the myriad of problems due to poor workmanship. The wiper motor that Steve says was replaced by the manufacturer was in fact not. I had to purchase a new one. When I sent the wiper motor into the company where I purchased it, they told me some internal components had been melted from being improperly wired. Yep, they fried it. That and a lot of other components as well (I didnt even mention what they did to the new radiator I purchased). Aside from burning out the wiper motor, fuel sending unit, fuel gauge and ammeter, heres the list of issues that I discovered within 20 minutes of inspection once I got the car home:

Flywheel cover / Clutch inspection cover not installed - serious issue. -  I had to dig debris out of the flywheel.
Tie rods are bottomed out
Power steering leaks extensively and causes car to pull hard to the right because it wasnt adjusted.
Brakes not properly bled. Have to pump them several time to bring car to a stop.
Driver side interior door release fell off
Passenger side exterior door lock doesn't lock/unlock
Fuel gauge doesn't work
No instrument lights
Courtesy lights don't work
Glove box light doesn't work
Wiper/washer doesn't work
Brake indicator light in instrument panel is wired incorrectly (light stays on after key is removed)
Passenger side courtesy light is installed in the wrong place (and doesn't work)
Radio not wired correctly - when the car is turned off, the presets are lost
Interior floor speakers don't work
Radio balance/fade/tone connections are not made
Side mirrors installed too far back and are unusable. Will require body work and repaint to repair.
Soft top does not seal across the back of the car deck lid. Gaps of a 1/4" or more exist
Front driver side wheel cap missing 4 of 5 screws and falling off
Rear view mirror appears to be installed incorrectly (missing a piece)
Hood release cable doesn't return when pulled (cable is routed over fuse box and pinches when pulled. Must be forced back into place)
Passenger seat doesn't adjust (although driver side does).
Front driver side bumper bolts not tighten in 3 places
Air cleaner wing nut is missing
Horseshoe molding is missing
Driver side door is misaligned and doesnt close properly.
 
... and of course throttle rod and return spring aren't installed. I'm sure if I had been able to drive the car for more than 10 minutes, I'd have identified more.

The arguments Steve Warren makes saying that I'd asked for additional work are for the most part ridiculous. For example, he told me that I needed to pay for a power steering pump that was defective. Unfortunately, it was a pump he had previously sold me for 3 times the actual purchase price. Steve says I need to pay to move the alternator to the passenger side from the driver side. Unfortunately, the alternator needed to be moved because the NEW wiring harness had the connections on that side. A wiring harness that Steve insisted on approving (and did approve) before it was purchased. Steve says I need to pay for changes to the exhaust system. Unfortunately, the alternator that needed to be moved to the passenger side due to the new wiring harness, could only be mounted to the exhaust manifold as explained to me by Buffalo Restorations. Steve had sold me the wrong exhaust manifold several months early and a replacement had to be ordered (which I paid for). How is any of this work outside our agreement? Where Steve actually has a partial point is that I asked them to run speaker wires to the back of the car. My assumption was that they were pulling up the carpet (which they did), disassembling the dash to remove the old wiring harness to replace it with the new harness (which they did) and that running a couple of wires for speaker (not installing the speakers mind you, just running the wires) would be a simple task. Steve attempted to bill me 2.28 hours to run those two wires. If Steve had said that this was not part of the original agreement and that he would charge me over $200 to run a couple of speaker wires, Id have told him, Thank you, no. All the work performed by Buffalo with the possible exception of the speaker wires was work that had been pre-agreed to, or was done to repair faulty work previously performed by Buffalo. As I mentioned previously, neither Steve nor anyone else at Buffalo said the running the speaker wires would be extra. The fact that they attempted to bill me 2.28 hours for work that would have taken me (a non-mechanic) less than 10 minutes just shows what kind of company Buffalo is.

Just for everyone that may be interested, here is the contract that Steve agreed to in writing:
-------
Part # 662107-DLX            Deluxe wiring harness kit
Part # 362206                     Fuel tank sending unit
Part# 592009                      Capacitor on parking brake light switch
Part # 592130                     Voltage regulator
Part# 302157                      Voltage regulator mounting kit
Part# 302268                      Capacitor on voltage
Part#302289                       Remanufactured alternator
Part# 591011                      1958-1963 headlight switch
 
We agree that any additional parts not considered in the list above that are required for the completion of the electrical work will be paid for by me, unless those parts are damaged during installation or testing.

We agree that any current or future parts damaged during installation and testing will be paid for by Buffalo Restorations.

I agree to pay for 32.5 hours of labor at a rate of $76.50 per hour for a total of $2486.25 plus tax.

We agree that these labor costs are fixed and any labor overrun costs are picked up by Buffalo.

We agree that the soft top installation will be corrected at no additional cost to me to properly address the fit on the decklid.

We agree that the work will be completed on the car in a timely fashion.

We agree that there will be a 30 day warranty on craftsmanship and that date begins on the completion date of the contract and the delivery of the vehicle.

We agree that any work performed on the vehicle by anyone other than Buffalo Restorations or their designees void the 30 day warranty.
 
-------
 
This all seems pretty straight forward and easy to understand to me. I should here that this was work that Steve estimated would take his staff 50 hours to complete. 96 days later, the work still wasn't complete and he was attempting to bill me more than double (so much for to be completed in a timely fashion!).

Steve says that these problems stem from poor decisions on my part. This is true. It was a poor decision to believe they were being honest with me. It was a poor decision to believe that they were BBB accredited. It was a poor decision to believe that they had expertise in restoring my car. It was a poor decision to believe they were interested in performing a quality service for a reasonable price. But mostly, it was a poor decision to not thoroughly research this company before I did business with them.  I was an extremely poor decision to do business with them at all. Steve has also said that there has been a lot of ignoring the details and the facts. Again, this is true, but it wasn't by me. For example, Steve has said the Better Business Bureau "F" rating is due to an outdated BBB logo. The BBB says they not accredited and have been asked to remove the logo (it remains to this day). It's not that the logo is simply "outdated".  They've broken parts, lost parts, and burned out parts through improper wiring.
 
I offered to pay Steve and Buffalo an additional $2500 to repair defective and improper installations and to replace the wiring harness theyd installed at a cost of over $8000 and 106+ hours of work. They should have done all this work for free. Afterall, I had previously paid them to complete this work. I have attempted and am still attempting to be fair. I believe that I have been FAR more than fair. Apparently, they dont want to be held liable for anything. Nothing apparently is ever their fault.

Since my original post, Ive gone to mediation with Steve.  He had offered to return the car to me for no addition costs. Unfortunately for both Steve and me, Id already spent $5000 on attorneys fees to force him to honor the contract he agreed to.  I refuse to let him to exhort money from me. What I believe really upsets Steve is in the course of making the agreed upon repairs, he saw how many hours it was costing him. The number of hours needed to make the repairs is simply a reflection of poor management skills. Steve finally got a very small taste of the BS that Id been putting up with for over 2 years. He didnt like the taste and he has attempted to bully his way out of it.
 
Do not do business with this company. Of course if you've read this far, it seems unlikely that you will. However.... let me restate it. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY! 
 
 
 
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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Mitch Wood has manipulated the facts!

AUTHOR: Buffalo Restorations - (United States of America)

My responses in "bold" below.

"My experience with this company has been nothing but horrific.  I brought in a C2 corvette for restoration. My initial estimate for a complete frame off restoration was a little over $38,000. After the initial $38,000 was spent and my car was completely disassembled and spread out over the shop floor. I was told it would be another $28,000 to complete the job, then another $3000, then another, then another. It's been over two years and the car still isn't finished"

This is a manipulation of the facts. Mr. Wood was never given an Estimate for complete restoration.  He was given a ballpark price for just a segment of work based on what we knew at the time of the condition of the vehicle. It was disclosed to him in writing of the many possible variances that one could be presented with, which equates to higher costs. Every week he came in and accepted the work completed and requested more work to be completed. At any time he could have stopped work and removed the vehicle. Everyone knows the issues with estimates and restoration. That is why any reputable restoration facility will have you legally waive your right to an estimate.  We work on a time and cost basis as each customer agrees to in writing prior to beginning any project. For a better understanding please review the article from Hemmings Motor news by Richard Lentinello 2009.

"They attempted to pass the car off to me as complete about 6 months ago, but once I received the car and started an inspection, things quickly went from bad to worse. The passenger door latch didn't work. The new gauges I'd purchased were burned out, the new wiper motor was also fried, the emergency brake light was always on, the driver side door wasn't hung straight because they'd broken a tap in the hinge and left it there instead of properly installing a bolt, the clutch inspection plate was missing and I had to pull debris from the flywheel, the fuel gauge and fuel sending unit were also fried.  The throttle rod to the carburetor was missing and a coat hanger was used instead. The soft top that they sub-contracted out (for $762, but charged me $1200) didn't seat properly to the decklid and showed a 1/4 inch or better gap. The car also suffered from a dozen other smaller problems including a variety of missing parts that they claimed they weren't responsible for"

Another manipulation of the facts. Mr. Wood asked to stop work on the vehicle and leave it AS IS since he didnt have the money to complete it.  We went over a final exit inspection. He accepted the vehicle as is and unfinished per HIS request. The wiper motor failed and was replaced at no charge by the manufacturer. He failed to mention that. The tap had been forgotten.  We of course corrected this at no charge. Mr. Wood wanted to use a throttle rod that didnt fit the new linkage. We fabricated a wire to use to load the vehicle on a trailer. It was documented on his exit agreement. Mark up on parts and subcontracted labor is at the discretion of the business. Most dealer repair shops have mark ups of 75% and up. There was 1 piece of trim that had been misplaced. We gladly replaced this at our expense. He failed to mention that.

"So far I've invested 3 times the original estimate in labor and another $30k in parts. They agreed (in writing) to complete the work for $2700, then reneged and handed me a bill for $5100 and change. Once I threatened legal action, they made me "a one time offer" to finish the work for $3200. I'll file suit against them this week. Whether I file for fraud or breach of contract is yet to be determined. I definitely feel defrauded"

Unfortunately Mr. Wood perceives his own agreement for this minor amount of work differently than the law does. We have completed the work requested at the agreed amount. Mr. Wood authorized additional work to be completed. It is only fair we charge for our services. 

"Whatever you do, DO NOT do business with this company! They can not be forced to close their doors fast enough. Due to all the bad reviews and reports filed against this company (they have an "F" score from the Better Business Bureau) they are attempting to change their name to something like West Coast Restorations. This company and it's owner Steve Warren are unscrupulous and are potentially breaking the law. We'll see what the court has to say"

Buffalo has been in business for over 42 years. It has been under new ownership for the last 3 years. We have hundreds of happy clients. Most of our business is VIA word of mouth. The current rating from the BBB is due to an out of date logo on our website. Once replaced our previous A rating will be reinstated. Please note it is not due to any complaints. In the 3 years I have been here, we have had only 1 complaint that was mutually resolved. Out of the nearly 300 projects thats a pretty good average. If Mitchell would have actually read the details of the rating he would have noticed that. We strongly feel that we have all of the relative documentation necessary to legally defend any claim brought against this company regarding this matter.
 
It is upsetting that despite every attempt to educate people on the cost of a quality restoration, they only end up hearing what they want to hear, believing what they want to believe and completely ignoring the details and the facts. They are caught up in the excitement of the build possibly, or maybe going through some difficult times such as a divorce and its a way of escaping the reality of the situation. We cannot be held liable for a customers buyers remorse, or poor financial decisions. The fact is we want every customer to drive away happy and despite our best attempts sometimes it just doesnt work out that way.


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