Anyone with a car may have heard of or experienced a sketchy car mechanic before. And the end result is losing tons of money. But that’s not always the case. These 4 customers share the sweet revenge they got when they caught their car mechanic trying to scam them. The content has been edited for clarity purposes.
“Let Me Call My Dad”
“I do not look like I would know a single thing about cars, being with long blonde hair, a soft girly appearance, and an eternal baby face that makes me look about 15-16 years old. But I drive a rather beat-up-looking 2004 Avalon. My dad and brother are both mechanics. Not my profession, but I’ve learned a thing or seven from them and am very comfortable working on cars. I’m only mentioning my appearance because it’s pretty common for mechanics to assume that I’m an idiot about cars.
A while back, I was overwhelmed with life and didn’t have a good space to do it, so I took my car in to change the oil. The place offered a free-of-charge ‘head to toe’ inspection for any repairs that might need to be made. I knew my car was fine. I had pretty recently changed the air filter and brake pads. Rotors had maybe 40k miles on them and were in great condition. New serpentine belt too. Literally just didn’t feel like changing my oil.
After they changed my oil, the guy came back with the ‘inspection results’ on a clipboard and was holding my air filter. He had this grave look on his face like something was wrong. Mind you, this is a very busy place and there were lots of customers in the waiting room. He told me we needed to go over the results because my car was about to be completely broken down and also not safe to drive if I didn’t get several repairs done ASAP because these were all completely shot.
The repairs: new brake pads, new rotors, new calipers, replacement serpentine and drive belt, NEW AIR FILTER, new compressor or my AC will not work, and a couple more generic things. He showed me my air filter which was filled with dead grass, A DEAD WASP, some dirt, AND HAIR. He really scooped some bullshit off the shop floor and put it in my new air filter to try and freak me out. The total? About $1500 worth of work. It would be more expensive anywhere else but he was ‘willing to give me a deal.’
So I immediately started buying myself time by asking some basic questions that I knew he would have to explain so I could nod at him all wide-eyed while I came up with a good way to respond to what he was doing.
I asked, ‘What does the serpentine belt do? Is it important?’
I texted my dad, ‘I’m calling in a sec just play along.’
I told the guy, ‘Omg, that’s so scary. I can’t believe I was driving around like that. Thank you so much for caring! I don’t have the money so let me call my dad real quick to see if he can help me out. I can’t afford this.’
I then proceeded to enhance my dramatic performance by even working up a tear while I called my dad.
The guy was standing there with me in front of all the customers. I put my phone on speaker and gave my dad a whole sob story about how I needed money again.
He asked what the repairs were and how much.
I said, ‘I don’t know but it sounds REALLY bad. The mechanic says it’s dangerous. Dad, I can’t be without a car. What am I going to do?’
Then I asked the guy to tell my dad what the repairs were. He rattled it all off and my dad was playing his part PERFECTLY, and said, ‘Oh wow, I’m glad you caught this so she’s not in danger anymore.’
Little did this scammer know, he was the one in danger.
As he handed the phone back, I dropped the facade and started laughing really hard. As soon as dad heard me, he started laughing on the phone.
I said, ‘DAD DO YOU HEAR THIS BULLSHIT?! Get this, he brought me the new air filter I just put in to show me how dirty it was. He pulled shit off the floor or something and rubbed it on there.’
Dad and I continue to crack up. The audience in the waiting room was also cracking up. Scammy Mechanny was beet red and completely at a loss for words.
I handed him my air filter and told him to go vacuum it out and to make sure to let me see it before he put it back in. I sat and watched him put it back once it was clean and also watched him pull my car out to make sure he didn’t do anything horrible while I wasn’t looking.
I might have taken it a little far, but I REALLY hate when mechanics take advantage of people who don’t know anything about cars, so this felt like a massive win.”
Free Estimate Ad
“Many years ago I had an old Buick with a small radiator leak. I used to just add water once a week and it was fine, but it was slowly getting worse.
I saw an ad for a radiator shop that did free estimates. I gave them a call and they said I would have to leave the vehicle with them. I arranged a ride and when I dropped it off, I was told it would be one of three things. If they could patch it, it would be $50, if they could recore it, it would be $100, but if they had to replace it, it would be $250. These were of course 1980s prices.
Since it was just a tiny leak, I was sure it could just be patched. I didn’t hear from them the rest of the day so I called them the next day.
They told me, ‘That radiator is shot. You need a new one.’
I said, ‘No, thanks. I’ll be by to pick it up later.’
I heard just silence on the other end of the line but figured he was just angry he was losing a sale.
When I arrived, I was greeted by a different person who I had spoken with the day before.
He had a big smile on his face and said, ‘What can I do you for?’
I said, ‘I’m here to pick up the Buick.’
The smile just washed right off his face. Without saying a word, he turned around, grabbed the keys from a hook behind him, and then threw them at me. They bounced off the counter and landed on the floor by the front door. I was confused but picked them up and left.
When I got home, it all became clear. I popped the hood and saw they had removed the radiator and patched the leak. They then painted my radiator and reinstalled it and were going to sell it back to me as new. The paint was still tacky.
I drove that car for another six years and it never overheated once. About three years after the incident, the shop went out of business. The dumb part is if they had told me they could patch or recore it, I would have said sure go ahead, but since they tried to screw me they ended up screwing themselves.”
Where’s Mom’s 1989 Nissan Pickup?
“There was a small mechanic shop a few blocks away from where I lived by a man who I will call ‘P.’ My mom had been going to this mechanic for as long as I can remember, I would say at least 15 years.
I was 17 when this went down and was looking at getting my first car. I would have considered P to be a family friend at this point, so when he heard about me looking for a car he offered to gift me a car he had sitting on his lot for a while. Around this time my mom was wanting to also fix up her 1989 hardbody Nissan pickup truck (valuable due to its dependability) as it had been just sitting around for about a year. I don’t remember the exact timeline, but it would be safe to say my mom brought in the truck around the same time he offered to gift me the car.
For a few months, he always had an excuse for why the truck wasn’t ready yet or why he hasn’t gifted me the car yet. When it came to the car, it was always something like ‘the car has just been sitting around for a long time and needs work done on it. I will get to it when I can.’
And when it came to my mom’s truck it was ‘I have been really busy around the shop, so I haven’t got to it yet,’ or ‘I’m waiting on parts to come in.’
Since we had trusted P, we didn’t think much about it since we knew his shop had an excellent reputation in the area and was always busy. Also, I mean he was giving me a car for free, so I wasn’t going to keep pushing him for something he didn’t have to do. I would estimate this started around November and it wasn’t until around February or so that we felt it started to get out of hand.
My mom started contacting him at least once a week to see when the truck would be ready but was given an excuse each time. At this time, I knew I wasn’t going to get a car from him anymore, but I wanted my mom to get her truck back.
I researched who to make a complaint to if you are having an issue with an auto shop. In California, there is a department called the ‘Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)’ which licenses and governs all auto repair facilities. In the process of making a complaint, I had to look up the auto shop license. This was when I landed on a gold mine, his license had expired the previous September. So, I threw the report out the window for now and decided to confront him.
Now, I have never been confrontational. When I must confront someone, I start having an anxiety attack with a shaking high pitched voice and the whole nine yards. So, imagine a 17-year-old with a high pitch-shaky voice screaming at this guy to give my mom her car back.
He kind of brushed me off and I didn’t get anywhere, but as I was walking out I said to him something along the lines of ‘Have fun with the BAR when they find out you don’t have a license.’
The next thing I did was report him to the BAR for the whole situation including him still operating when he shouldn’t be. Over the next week, my mom was communicating with the person assigned to the case and within a couple of weeks we were marching back into P’s shop to pick up the truck.
After a very awkward situation where my mom paid for the services done, I was standing behind her still trying to act like I was in control. We left with the truck and were good to go.
A couple of months later, I saw the shop was closed down. When my mom and I look back on this, we are dead set that he was trying to steal my mom’s truck. Anybody who knows about old pickup trucks knows that a 1989 hardbody Nissan pickup truck is a great truck and can run forever. She has owned the truck since 1991 and it is currently at 250K miles while running the same engine and major components. She still gets offers for cash on the spot to this day.”
What New Parts?
“The week before Christmas, a mechanic installed new parts and billed my wife and me $1,800. That hurt. In March, the car broke down.
The new mechanic said, ‘Nope, these are not new parts … and even if they were, it would have cost $300.’
Me: ‘He said they were new!’
New mechanic: ‘Well, see these marks? It means it was rebuilt.’
The next day, I went online and found the owner of the Mobil gas station that worked on my car the first time. My plan was to accuse him of discrimination against my wife. And to show up with letters to send to the DMV and IRS stating the owner was issuing false invoices to customers.
When I met with the owner, I had my letters, his phony parts, and price sheets. But then I found out he was not the mechanic who worked on my car.
Me: ‘Call that mechanic.’
Owner: ‘I don’t have his number.’
Then he left my wife and me alone in his office. My wife then pointed to the Rolodex. We found the number of the mechanic. As we were writing it down, the owner came back, screaming, ‘I am calling the police! Leave!’
When we were walking out, I left my letters on his desk and said, ‘You can refund me or I am sending these out. You’re going to get audited and could lose your license!’
I went across the street, off the property, but then I went back when I saw the cops pull up.
I took a deep breath and explained how this guy charged my wife $1,800 for a repair that should have cost no more than $300.
Apparently one of the cops knows cars and he was ticked off. He said, ‘He charged you how much!? Wait here.’
Five minutes later, the office said, ‘Your refund is waiting for you inside. A full refund – on the spot.’
I still sent the letters anyway.”