Paint shop jail! Should I bail?


Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2014
Mobile, AL
OK, I need some advice. I dropped off my 71 at the paint shop on July 5th of this year. The shop owner and I agreed (on paper) that he would finish final bodywork and paint the car within 60 days. I gave a down payment of $1500 to get things rolling. The remaining $3500 would be due after the job is finished.
Very little has been done to my car. The whole car has been sanded and that's about it. It has been over 90 days and all I get is excuses. It looks like he is having trouble keeping employees and maybe even keeping the doors open. My car is covered in body shop dust inside and out. My interior is brand new and now covered in thick dust. The engine is also covered in dust. They pulled the rear windshield off for paint and did not bother to cover it. Only one employee remains and is doing all the shop work.
My worry is that his shop is going under and that I will show up one day to find the place permanently locked and closed and my car will be trapped in red tape and court cases.
Should I just cut my losses and go get my car? Do I trust that he will finish the job? I check on the car twice a week and I get stories about how they are "about to start working on it" but that never happens. The owner is a poor communicator who avoids me and is never at the shop. He is going through a divorce and I'm worried that my car is just not a priority anymore (if it ever was).
I understand that I am getting a good price on the work and I understand that some people wait much longer to get their cars back but I don't want to ignore red flags that can be trouble if I wait. I have heard horror stories about cars getting stripped for parts and cars getting stolen or sold...
What should I do?


New Member
Sep 1, 2012
If he’s going through a divorce, I’m sure there’s going to be some sort of monetary split which is probably affecting his business. Warning signs are there especially if there’s only one employee. It’s hard to do since you put some cash down. Cut you losses and run. You may be able to get some of it back by telling him it’s a breach of contract or threatening small claims court. Probably not worth it though. Get your car and parts out of his shop before you go this route though.


Final Six
May 21, 2014
Hutto, TX
If you're asking us what you should do, then you're just looking for confirmation of what you already think you should do: BAIL!

Trust your gut. Take a friend or two and go get your car and all of your parts. Show up unannounced, so he doesn't have the chance to close shop on you or conveniently leave to run an errand. Give a heads up to the sheriff in case a problem develops. Consider the $1500 loss as part of the process. I spent that much on just parts that failed out of the box after install, but too late to get a refund. Good luck.


Veteran Member
Gold Member
Mar 1, 2020
There’s a good chance that if he becomes desperate for money he may start selling parts off your car. It’s happened to a number of people. The longer ypu wait the worse the outcome is going to be. Go,talk to the local sherriff and explain the situation and likely he’ll provide some deputy to stand by while you retrieve it.

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