I took my vehicle to a local, very reputable mechanic in my hometown. His normal sub-contracted, transmission mechanic was backed up for a couple of weeks and wouldn't have a quick enough turn around. We saw an ad for a complete transmission rebuild with a lifetime warranty and free towing. The local shop called and talked to "Larry" who seemed very knowledgeable and accommodating.
They did come get my 2006 Ford Expedition from my local shop. That's where the "Mr. Nice Guy" ended. Once your vehicle is in their possession, they will disassemble and your auto is useless and not drivable til they get the money they say you owe. We were told it would cost $1097 for a rebuild. Once it was in pieces in their possession, the price jumped to $2500!
The first work order that he emailed me had our original agreed price of $1097, but it was the wrong vehicle. "Larry" had emailed me a Toyota Land Cruiser invoice with my name on it. I called him, he sent the correct vehicle this time but was the wrong year and the wrong mileage with my name misspelled. Red Flag #1.
The next day "Larry" calls me and emails me with a list of things that were going to be additional charges to our agreed price. He claimed the insides of the transmission were chewed up and irreparable. The price had gone up 150%! It was now $2498 and he wanted a parts deposit. The deposit did not alarm me but, when he emailed me his bank account number to deposit "cash only" into his Bank of America account, Red Flag #2 went up! I called and asked to give him a credit card over the phone to which he informed me he was a "cash only" operation. No checks, no credit cards. Cash only. Sounded shady to me.
I called my local, trusted mechanic to inform him of what was going on. He didn't feel good about it. I didn't feel good about it. He called "Larry" to inquire about the discrepancy to which "Larry" told him that we were "wasting" his time. "Larry" then wanted to add on a $40 per day storage fee til we paid the cash deposit or we could come pick it up ourselves for $975, as is, not drivable, not fixed!
So, even though I would be out the money, it wasn't worth not knowing the quality of work that would have been done. We took a car hauler trailer to his address listed. We called "Larry" in advance to let him know we were bringing the cash deposit to him in person, not informing him that we were bring a trailer to tow the Expedition back home.
We pulled up. No sign, no advertising, just a bunch of "No Trespassing" signs hanging. It's an old warehouse. One pad-locked gate. It was the only way in or out for a vehicle. We walked in and there were 40+ cars and trucks around. One mechanic, one clean-up guy, and "Larry" was nowhere to be found. We told the mechanic, Scott, that we were there to take the vehicle back home. Offered him $500 for the disassembly and he wouldn't release it. Once "Larry" was informed by phone that were were there, he wouldn't answer his phone to negotiate. He would not even answer texts or calls from his own employees. It was obvious this was a very normal practice for them. Giving them the full amount was the only option. The clean-up guy, Earl, told me that Scott, the mechanic, had been beat up more than once by customers like us that had been lied to. That's why he was acting so stand-off. We were standing there being ignored by the employees as if we were non-existent. I assured him we were not there to be violent. We just wanted our Expedition back.
We had to pay the $975 to get them to open the gate. To top it all off, a wrecker service pulled up as were were opening the gate to which the driver says, "I'm here to pick up a Toyota Land Cruiser". The clean-up guy says, "Get in line..." very sarcastically. This happens all the time.
This is their scam!! They get your vehicle. Tear it down. Demand twice the original quote or more. They don't have any intention of fixing it! They just want your cash as a ransom fee for your own disabled vehicle! Stay away from these guys! They will have to answer one day for the lies, crimes, and evil they have done and are doing!
IRS... Go after these guys! They are not claiming the money flowing through there! "Larry" is a crook!