(WSVN) - If you take your car to the shop for repairs, you hope to get it back in a couple of weeks, right? Well, some people are being forced to wait months. It’s why they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Traffic is so frustrating, slow moving, backed up. Also frustrating for some people: they can’t get into that traffic.

Harvey Schwartz: “Where’s my car? You know, you keep telling me I’m going to have it the next day and then the next week.”

Back in October, Harvey was in an accident.

Harvey Schwartz: “I’m sure it wasn’t drivable. The whole front end was mashed in.”

A friend recommended a repair shop.

Harvey says the insurance company paid $24,000 for the work, and for 6 weeks.nothing happened.

Harvey Schwartz: “‘We’re waiting for parts, we’re waiting for this, we’re waiting for that.’ It was always something.”

Weeks turned into months, and then Harvey’s car then disappeared from the shop.

Harvey Schwartz: “It’s at our body shop. I said, ‘OK, then I’d like to go see it now.’ ‘You can’t go. We don’t want anybody to go out there.’”

By then Harvey had turned in his rental car and had to borrow his wife’s car when she wasn’t using it.

Harvey Schwartz: “It’s changed my whole life. I don’t do the things that I would normally do during the day anymore because I can’t get out of here unless the car is here.”

When Harvey’s car went into the shop in October, he expected it back in weeks. You know what month it is now.

Harvey Schwartz: “I have no idea what’s going on here. This is why I’m talking to you. I’m so frustrated.”

Harvey’s car was a wreck. Anthony’s truck was vandalized.

Anthony Rattigan: “The man was crazy. It was so crazy. I didn’t know what to think.”

Anthony’s catalytic converter, which reduces the emissions coming from a vehicle, was stolen. He had to tow his truck to the dealership.

Anthony Rattigan: “I bring my truck to the dealer the 14th of September.”

For six months it’s been sitting in the shop. Anthony has had to rent vehicles and borrow cars to get to work, even ride a bike to run errands.

Did I mention he’s waited six months to get a catalytic converter.

Anthony Rattigan: “I need my vehicle. I need my truck.”

Two vehicles, one similar problem, so Howard, please don’t blame it on the old excuse COVID supply chain.

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “The supply chain is not this broken, but in cases like this, the law doesn’t provide a good remedy. In fact, most solutions are bad. You can take your car from one shop to another, but you have to pay the first shop for what they did. You can sue in court, but that’s time consuming and expensive. The best solution: call the shop every day, be the squeaky wheel.”

We contacted the shop that had Anthony’s truck for six months, and four days later, they told us they found a converter, putting Anthony back on the road.

Anthony Rattigan: “I got my truck and I am happy, so happy.”

Harvey had waited four months. He got his vehicle three days after we spoke to the body shop.

Harvey Schwartz: “Well, I’m very happy that you guys got me my car back.”

Harvey is back on the road after his call to Help Me Howard.

Harvey Schwartz: “So I’m very thankful for Channel Seven and Help Me Howard,. you know, for getting the car back.”

Who’s to blame for the delays in car repairs?

Body shops say it’s the insurance companies trying to force them to use cheap parts instead of more expensive original manufacturer parts.

In some cases it is the supply chain, and in others it’s the repair shops, ‘cause six months for parts? Come on…

A problem left you a wreck? Don’t wait to crash. Head our way to repair your peace of mind.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

To file a complaint about a motor vehicle repair shop, call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352), for out-of-state residents, please call (850) 410-3800.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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