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What you need to know before you hire an auto shop

David Bozell next to his 2010 Chevy Camaro
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jan 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-21 12:43:07-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — No one likes dealing with auto repairs. It's expensive and usually not something you're expecting. One valley driver says he went through the unexpected when he took his car to a local shop. 13 Consumer Advocate Tricia Kean has his story and three tips to making sure you're hiring with a reputable business.

"I tried not to show my irritation at all. I tried to be calm with them," says David Bozell.

He's fed up with a valley body shop. He says they took his beautiful show car, a Transformer's addition Chevy Camaro, and ruined it. David took it to RodModz on Dean Martin Drive, near Tropicana, after a fender bender accident back in November.

"They were supposed to repaint the fender and replace the mirror and fix the wheel and the tire rod," says David.

But David says there were problems from the beginning. He says they actually ran out of paint at one point. And that's not all.

"He was complaining about how his buffer was overheating. So that Sunday on the 16th I ran home and picked up my buffer and I ran it back to him," says David.

With one delay after another, David says he was pleading for the shop to finish the job.

"They had my car. It was torn apart. So the last thing I wanted to do was upset them," says David.

With no end in sight, David reached out to Channel 13. He also told other car owners at the shop, he was talking to the news.

David thinks someone told the shop owners, Channel 13 was getting involved. Because before we even reached out to the business, David got his car back.

"I got a message saying that the vehicle was out front," says David.

RodModz parked the Camaro outside David's house and took off.

"And I'm like oh my gosh, at least we got our car back," says David.

But David says they did a terrible job, with visible ripples in the paint and overspray on the window. We reached out to RodModz, but they declined to speak with us on camera.

In a letter David found in his car, the business says it ran into "every issue possible" and "...reluctantly returns the vehicle to the customer in what RodModz would say is an incomplete condition." But because of David's comments, they no longer wish to work on his Camaro.

David says he doesn't plan to pay a dime of the more than $7,000 balance.

"There's absolutely no way. I mean it's going to cost me at least three grand to get it corrected," says David.

So what do you need to know before having work done at any body shop or garage? Number 1: Do your research.

"Automotive-related businesses have to be licensed with the DMV," says Kevin Malone with the Nevada DMV.

The Nevada DMV lists every properly licensed company right on its website. Unfortunately, many people don't check it ahead of time. David wasn't aware he could do that.

"RodModz does not have a DMV business license, nor have they applied for one yet," says Malone.

We asked RodModz about that, but they refused to go on the record.

Before hiring a business, also be sure to check out reviews with the Better Business Bureau, AAA, or Yelp.

Number 2: Before work begins, make sure your mechanic knows you want the old parts being replaced. Vegas Auto Care owner John Skaw says, use the internet to look up the part.

"And then you can match to what you see in your hands, to what they told you was wrong in the car," says Skaw.

If you're not interested in taking greasy car parts home, then take plenty of pictures of the part in question. Number 3: "Get a second opinion. It's just like a doctor," says Skaw.

Most people stick with the first place they go. But you want to make sure you're getting the best repair, for the best price.

David says he's learned his lesson, and now he's taking time to warn others.

"Investigate. Do your research. Don't believe everything you hear," says David.

Here is the entire statement we received from RodModz:

Mr. Bozell brought his Camaro to us after it was hit in an accident. Normally, we do not accept insurance claims, but since Mr Bozell is the President of a car club that we were working with, we accepted the job.

Geico Insurance approved replacing the fender, touching up the front bumper, replacing the side mirror, replacing the inner tie rod end, replacing the tire and having the wheel reconditioned. We replaced and upgraded his front brake pads out of our own pocket, as they were needed.

Upon prepping the fender and bumper, we found that the vehicle had been painted before and was not the proper paint color. We informed Mr Bozell that we would be nice and use some of the labor funds paid from Geico to get enough supplies to repaint the entire vehicle so the color would match correctly. He agreed to this.

Geico paid out $2100 for the job, in which we let Mr Bozell keep $200 so that he could have a good Thanksgiving dinner with his family.

The vehicle was prepped and painted and the mechanical repairs were completed. We ran into issues with the clearcoat not sticking (delaminating), so we had to shave it back down and paint again. Once again, it would not stick.

We then brought in another painter to repaint the clear coat again, to see if it was our error that was causing the issues. The clear coat once again would not stick. Although we do not have verifiable proof, after consulting several other professional painters, we believe that we received the wrong mix, or aged/contaminated, supplies to paint the vehicle.

During all of this, Geico no longer would pay for Mr Bozell's rental car. We offered to cover the cost of the rental, since the vehicle was taking so long to get correct. After 3 days, Mr Bozell returned the rental car, even though the Camaro was not completed.

This is when, according to Mr Bozell, his wife started insinuating threats towards the company. We offered to put a provided transmission into his truck at no labor cost so that he would have a vehicle to drive.

Mr Bozell agreed to let us try one more time to get the clear coat to stick, and if that didn't work, we would return the vehicle with an IOU to redo the paint job completely at our expense once we had time to recover the costs that at this point had been coming out of our pocket.

We tried once more time with no success. Mr Bozell was informed again, and stated that he needed his vehicle and that the IOU previously offered would work for him.

We then started receiving voicemails and social media messages insinuating more threats towards the company.

Finally on January14, we received a text message to reassemble and return the vehicle. That is what we did and we dropped the vehicle off at Mr Bozell's house with paperwork stating that due to his insinuating threats, we were revoking the offer of the IOU. This paperwork also stated that we were reluctantly returning the vehicle in an incomplete condition at the customer's request.

We have over $7000 in supplies, materials and time into this vehicle that neither Mr Bozell nor Geico has paid us for. We have made every attempt possible to provide quality work and when that was not possible at this time, we offered the IOU for a later date.

We apologized for the delays numerous times. None of this was good enough for Mr Bozell. At this point, we have revoked the offer of the IOU and have informed Mr Bozell that due to his insinuating threats and social media bashing of the company, that he, his family, and his associates are not welcome at our shop.