On 12/21/12, I brought my car in on a referral from my cousin, Billy Shubin, who is also my regular mechanic. I purchased my vehicle in Illinois, drove it to California, and was required to change out my catalytic converter in order to have one up to California standards so that I can pass smog. I had this done at Contreraz Budget Smog.
When all was done and I came to get my car, I payed and asked for my old catalytic converter back, mind you, it was in no way broken or damaged. The owner, Angel Contreraz, told me that he was required by California law to keep the old converter as it is hazardous material. I thought nothing of it, as I know little to nothing about cars or auto repair, and went on my way.
I got into my car and that's when I noticed that it had been parked in neutral and when I started it, tried to shift and the shifter was broken. I rolled down my window, yelled to the mechanic, Larry Contreraz, and his immediate response was, "I didn't do it!" I told him the situation, and he told me that "you might think we did this, but we didn't, these things happen and we didn't break your shifter." He then offered to try and fix it so it would work temporarily. In the process, however, of his "fixing" the shifter temporarily, he ripped off the plastic housing to the steering column and broke it, as well as my hazard flasher light switch which now does not function properly. I had been sitting in the car with him the entire time, about a half hour to 45 minutes, while he was fumbling with the column.
I came in there wanting a catalytic converter and a smog, and I received my car back with a broken shifter, and I watched Larry Contreraz try to fix it, but in the process ended up breaking even more things (my hazard lights and plastic steering column housing) They did, however, offer to replace the shifter without the cost of labor if I had brought that part back. I was very frustrated with the service of Contreraz Budget Smog, and really wanted nothing to do with them from then on.
I took my vehicle back to my regular mechanic, Billy Shubin, on 12/29 to have my shifter professionally fixed, as I was frustrated with the service of Contreraz Budget Smog. Billy Shubin then informed me that they were required to give me back my used parts (catalytic converter) and that they were possibly trying to scam me. This is also when it was confirmed by Billy Shubin that Larry Contreraz had broken my hazard lights as well as my plastic steering column housing.
I called that evening of 12/29 and talked to Larry Contreraz, who then denied breaking anything on my car, telling me he hadn't really remembered, and that if I wanted my old part back, I would have to pay a core fee. I did some research and found that catalytic converters don't require a core fee, as they are unable to be rebuilt. I then asked him to have his boss, Angel Contreraz, contact me.
Angel Contreraz finally contacted me on January 2nd, and I told him the situation with everything going on. He then told me that I could get my catalytic converter back but I had to wait 30 days in order to get it back, and I would have to pay a core fee. He said he would talk to Larry Contreraz about what had happened and would get back to me. I informed my mechanic, Billy Shubin, and he said that we should speak in person.
The next day, January 3rd, Billy Shubin and I showed up at Contreraz Budget Smog. We then asked if we could get our old parts back, and we wanted Angel and Larry Contreraz to look at what they had broken on my car. I wanted to see their business license number, and I asked Angel Contreraz to see it. He pointed at the wall behind the counter, and said "there it is." I said "it's too far for anyone to see," to which he responded "you better get some f**king glasses then." After he said this, Billy Shubin defended me and told him not to talk to me like that, and that's when Angel Contreraz pounded his fists on the counter and began threatening Billy Shubin with violence, calling him vulgar names and cursing at both of us. Angel Contreraz then motioned Billy Shubin to go outside so that they would fight. I began recording this on my phone, as I was afraid something would happen, and that this level of unprofessionalism should be documented. After about 10 minutes of him cursing us out and calling the police telling us to leave, I finally get to ask him about my catalytic converter, and he told me I have 30 days but only this time he said I didn't have to play a core fee. I was flabbergasted and traumatized by the anger and hostility of Angel Contreraz. I honestly did not expect anything like that to happen.
Larry Contreraz broke parts on my car, they tried to keep my old catalytic converter, and Angel Contreraz cursed out myself and Billy Shubin, threatened us with violence, and it was all around the most unprofessional and immature business encounter I had ever experienced.