(WSVN) - A South Florida woman took her car to be restored years ago, and still hasn’t gotten it back. How long does a car shop get to do the job? Here’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser with the answer.
If you want to find Flash Studios, don’t expect to see a big sign or bold advertisements.
Which is just what Christina wants.
Christina Silvia, Flash Studios: “Because we like our people to find us organically, so we have a really amazing family of clients.”
Christina’s clients/friends come to Flash to look their best, and Christina loves to make them happy.
Christina Silvia: “I tried to go to college and tried to do all those things you are supposed to do, but hair and makeup was always it for me.”
Something else Christina enjoys? This 1983 El Camino that she spotted back in 2009.
Christina Silvia: “And one day, I literally ran outside and I said, ‘Dude, that car is so cool,’ and he is like, ‘Oh, it’s for sale.’ ‘Ah, how much?’ He named his price, and I was like, ‘I will buy it.'”
For years, she enjoyed the car, but if you look closely at the pictures, you can see rust was beginning to destroy the El Camino.
Christina Silvia: “It literally got to the point that car would rain inside when it was raining outside.”
Christina decided to fully restore her classic and did her research.
Christina Silvia: “He is supposedly the best metal worker for vintage cars.”
Over the next year and a half, as Christina got the money, the shop worked on the car, and then she made what she thought would be the last payment.
Christina Silvia: “It comes out to about $16,000.”
The car has been in the shop for a couple of years.
We spotted it in the lot, taken apart.
Christina can’t get an answer on when her car will be ready to drive again.
Christina Silvia: “Sometimes his voice mailbox is full, and which is why you guys are here, because I really need help. I don’t know what to do at this point.”
Well, Howard, restoration is not like a repair job, but legally, what is the time limit to finish the work?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Because there was no completion date in the contract, the law will use the phrase, ‘A reasonable amount of time under the circumstances.’ For a tune-up or an oil change, it could be hours, or a day. But restoration that involves finding the parts for an antique vehicles can be months. It shouldn’t be two years unless it’s a unique situation.”
I talked to the owner of ARS Automotive.
Marco Morales said he can restore a classic in a couple of weeks, but he said he warned Christina the El Camino was going to take a lot of time because it was badly rusted. It’s clear someone did work years ago, butchered the car and ruined many pieces, like the doors.
The car is now being painted and starting to look great, but Marco said the holdup now are the small details.
For example, he could not find a “donor car,” as he called it.
He ordered them but has no idea when they will come in.
Howard Finkelstein: “This is restoration, and while that is unique, car repairs are not. If your vehicle is in an accident or needs mechanical work, put a reasonable completion date on the estimate or contract. Make sure both sides sign it, and if they miss the deadline, in most cases, you can collect damages from the shop.”
Christina Silvia: “The paint is beautiful. The guy is really good at what he does.”
Christina is happy with the way the El Camino is turning out, but not happy it’s taken two years.
Christina Silvia: “I just want my car back.”
Hopefully Christina will soon be driving that fully restored El Camino.
As for normal car repairs, the state law requires that you be given a written estimate before the work begins that tells you how much it will cost and what work will be done. Ask for that paperwork, and if they do work you didn’t approve, you don’t have to pay for it.
Got a problem you think is a real classic? Ready to crank things up and get a solution? Shop with us, and let us restore your faith in things eventually working out.
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