My $15,500 oil change and the mechanic from hell

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by PeterS, Apr 23, 2004.


What would you do in this case?

  1. Seek criminal prosecution

  2. File a suit in small claims court for $2,500.00

  3. Get him to agree to make me payments

  4. Let it go

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 24, 2003
    Full Name:
    Well, here is the post that I really wanted to avoid. I was hopeful that my mechanic would have met my demand to recoup some of my investment with him. That did not happen today. In polishing up this post, I am actually saddened by having to draft it.

    First off, THINK before you do your own maintenance! I did not and it cost me dearly. Before I figured out that I drained the gearbox and not the crankcase, it was too late (oops!). OK, live and learn. After many oil changes I did on my last 308, I thought I would have had this task nailed down! Unfortunately, at that point, my troubles were just beginning.

    The post titled “Wayne Hynes” Scammer ( ) posted on 2/16/04 made me ‘smell a rat’. This post had noble merit and that my dealings with Wayne Hynes of SR Exotic Automotive in Livermore,CA. shaped my worst fears with a mechanic that I entrusted with my car, valuable time and my money.

    March, 2003:

    It was March 25th of 2003. I delivered my car to Wayne Hynes of SR Exotic Automotive in Livermore,CA. My gearbox was making a very bad noise. Wayne looked at the gearbox and confirmed what I had done. He stated he could fix the gearbox and talked up a grand story of expertise. After about ten days, he called me and stated that the 4th-5th gear and a few syncro’s were toast. Wayne quoted me $8500 for the full rebuild which included the labor. With great sincerity in asking for a deposit to cover the hard parts (NEVER AGAIN WILL I DO THIS), I wrote him a check for $6,000.00. The estimated time for the completion of this job was eight to ten weeks.

    Top of April, 2003:

    I called Wayne for a finish date. He said that he had sent the 4th-5th gear off to Australia to be fabricated. In my attempts to nail him down for a completion date, I had to listen to stories (of dozens to come in the months ahead) about his racing mechanic days, other cars he has worked on, etc. He was a master at changing the subject and babbling on about things that did not relate to my job (Master Babble, as I will call it).

    End of April, 2003:

    The end of April came along with zero noticeable progress. It was at this time that Wayne told me that he wanted to make my 308 a ‘real hot rod show car’ and he would be adding the new Moton air shocks, a custom aluminum flywheel, quick-disconnect brackets for the AC, aluminum flywheel and a water pump. The Master Babble was in full swing. In addition, he would fabricate a custom exhaust for $3200, which I accepted. All of this was to be at no additional cost to me, except for the exhaust. All of this was going on (with my money, I assume, while he was not proceeding in completing the job I had originally paid him to execute).

    June 2003:

    It’s now the top of June. Wayne had no confirmed dates on when the 4th-5th gear would be available, but said, “soon, they are working on it”. (In the months to come, ‘THEY’ became all of the non-specific outside parties that Wayne dealt with). More Master Babble.

    End of June, 2003:

    By the third week of June, still no parts. “Where is my gearbox”, I asked. He stated it was at his home for safekeeping. It was about that time I paid him the balance of the $8500.

    End of June, 2003:

    About two weeks later he called me and asked for half of the cost of the exhaust and he would call the $3200 even if I gave him a check for $1600. Like an idiot, I complied. Now I am at $10,100 with nothing to show for the money. It was about that time I asked him for a receipt of all the money I had paid him to date. Through the months, I made multiple requests for such with no action from Wayne. I resorted to email’s with this request to have some sort of record (if it went to court). My requests went unadressed.

    July – December, 2003:

    Between July and December, all I received from Wayne were broken promises and the royal runaround. What I did not know at the time was that Wayne had sent my flywheel, water pump and timing belt CAM gear to a fab shop in Seattle for duplication. What was worse was the fact that mine were not the parts that were sent out. Per the above post link, “he is trying to develop his own line of Ferrari and Porsche aftermarket parts. I did the design and development of several parts for Wayne. Now Wayne has refused to pay for the cost of which he agreed. Wayne has also taken upon him self to put these parts on customer’s cars with out doing any testing, putting the customer and their cars at a substantial risk. Wayne is in no financial position to be doing things like this. If a customer ends up with a problem he can not afford to make good on it”…... How right Eric was! Little did I know at the time that my clutch, 4th-5th gear, flywheel, water pump and CAM gear was at Eric’s shop.

    Middle of January, 2004:

    A few weeks after being promised my car for Christmas, again, the Master Babble continued. “We are wailing away on your car, parts will be coming in soon, your gearbox is just about done and the headers are in the mail and you will have your car by March 21st for your birthday”….uh hu. A week later (A Sunday), I drove by Wayne’s shop to find my car in the back alley of his locked shop with the car cover blown off. I was very upset. I called Wayne on his cell phone about this. He clearly blamed it on his mechanic for not pulling the car in the shop the Friday prior. I did not believe this for a minute! With a new promise date of the end of March, 2004, I got the Red Tag (temp registration) from DMV and placed it in the rear window.

    All of this time in which I believed that the gearbox was at his house for ‘safe keeping’ (as I was told by Wayne), Wayne told me that the gearbox was actually at a gearshop in the Bay Area for some final checking.

    February 2004:

    “We are getting real close to buttoning up this bad-boy”. Off to DMV for another Red Tag good through the end of April. I clearly stated at that time that the priority was to get the car running and I could return for the Moton’s and the exhaust. Again, more Master Babble.

    March, 2004:

    The first week of March, I asked Wayne about the gearbox. He stated he was on his way to pick it up from the gearshop. Two days later, I called Wayne again for the status. He stated that he was on his way to the gearshop to drop off the hard parts! When I busted him on this, the same song and dance started of how hard he was working for me and the $20K worth of his own parts he was adding to my car at no cost. I hung up and called the gearshop. When I asked the gearshop about my job, the owner laughed and stated that my gearbox has been in a box in his shop for about ten months collecting dust! At that time, I gave him the OK to buy used parts and get it done. In four days, my gearbox was back together. Seven days went by after it was done and Wayne had yet to pick it up! I went to the gearshop, paid about $2500 and delivered it to Wayne. At that time, he chewed ME out for doing that and mentioned that maybe it was best that I just pick up my car and get it out of his shop. I then stated that if got my car done in two weeks, I would waive the money I spent. That cooled him down. To augment this, on March 15th, Wayne stated that “I have everything I need to finish your car. What I do not have, I can get it in a day….. What would that tell you?

    April, 2004:

    Three weeks went by and I had had it. $13,200 later, the headers, flywheel and the front shocks were still in the mail and only the rear Moton’s and the water pump were installed. I had no idea where my old parts were. Promises, promises, promise. BS, BS, BS. Since the engine and gearbox were in the car, the following Saturday, I decided to pick up my car. I showed up with a flatbed (another $350.00 for a tow back to my house) and filled up my Explorer with boxes of parts. My headers were not found in his shop. God knows where they were sent. I left a demand letter to have about $4500 and the front Moton’s mailed to me by 4/23 to prevent legal action. This was the amount that I paid for the gearbox and the exhaust.

    On the day I picked up the car, I started calling other owners of cars that were in his shop and other people that Wayne had done business with. I learned of guys that were in worse shape with their cars than I was. Parts all over the country and no work fully completed after several months in his shop. There was even one customer’s 328 that was parked in back of Wayne’s shop next to a dumpster in the rain! Other customers I spoke with had similar stories as mine (and I expect them to chime in on this thread).

    At this time, I will spend an additional $1500+ plus labor to get my 308 put back together. Inclusive is what I may have to pay the fab shop in Seattle that is holding parts that Wayne sent him to duplicate. I may need to buy back my flywheel, clutch, pressure plate and water pump in addition to the $750 for the used headers I found elsewhere. All in all, when the car is back together, I will have spent a total of $15,500.00 that could have been done for about $4500 (20 hours of labor plus the cost of the gearbox rebuild).

    Live and learn, oh ya! I could have had a gear shop lined up and brought the car to a different mechanic and had the car out in 2-4 weeks. I trusted Wayne with my car and my money. I trust you would agree that I was lied to and cheated. I had great patience and got screwed. It’s scenario’s like this one that gives a bad name to the really good mechanics out there that actually care about their customers and the reputation of their business.

    I don’t know what happened to this guy. When I bought the car, I brought it to him for a 30K service. He had it completed in about 5 weeks. The work was perfect and a week ahead of his estimate. I have no clue what has happened in his life that made him do this to me.

    All totaled: Initial job: $8,500.00. Gearbox: $2,400.00. Three flatbed tows: $1,050. Exhaust: $1,600. Buying lost parts: $1,000.00. Labor to put the car back together: $1,000.00. Seeing this guy put in jail: PRICELESS!


    Ps: I would bet that if Wayne reads this post, he will come back with a story that he was putting $20K worth of product on my car at his cost, the headers are actually in his hands and that I do not have patience.

    I waited 13 months. Enough is enough. He did not execute the specific job I paid him for in advance. Once I started to get involved with the shop that had my gearbox, I was able to get it rebuilt in a week. ANY mechanic with a heavy workload would not have taken more than ten weeks to whip this job out. I drove the car in and towed it out along with an Explorer full of boxed parts. This entire experience has been a nightmare and an absolute shame.

    Please see the attached photos of what I now have in my garage…..And I am one of his ‘luckier’ customers!


    Attached Files:

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  3. 1975gt4don

    1975gt4don Formula Junior

    Nov 5, 2003
    Peoples Rep of CA
    Full Name:
    Smog Exempt
    May this fricking idiot never hurt another Fcar again. At least from anyone from this forum. This is why I do my own work PERIOD. Except bodywork and painting, I don't have a choice. Someone should hang that SOAB. I hope you take him to the cleaners in court.
  4. tvrfreak

    tvrfreak F1 Rookie

    Mar 31, 2003
    Full Name:
    F K
    Wow! 13 months? 15 grand (and counting)! What a complete jerk.

    Some lessons I have learnt the hard way:
    Never, ever accept offers to improve your car.
    Never, ever drop your car off at a mechanic's, until he's ready to work on it.
    Never establish a close enough personal relationship with a mechanic that it will interfere with the professional relationship.

    Always draft up a "Satement of Work to be Performed" beforehand.
    This must contain: All prices, all work, who will be paid what and when, and dates of completion.
    Explain that it protects you, and more importantly, HIM. Make a copy, hand him the copy, and keep the original. If he does not agree, and things get tense, be prepared to walk away from the deal. Assume that he's covering up something by not agreeing to sign the document.
    Never have your car unloaded UNTIL this statement is signed.
    Never pay more than 10-20% up front. If your mechanic demands payment for parts up front, he has credit problems. You should not be using him, because he will most likely play a shell game with your money and parts.

    Explain that you need him to inspect the parts, approve them, and inform you of their arrival, BEFORE you pay for them. Drop your car off only after he has ALL the needed parts on hand.

    If you have another vehicle (your Explorer sounds ideal), you could have put a trailer hitch on it (100 bucks) and rented a trailer from U-haul (15 bucks per day). That would have saved you some money on the towing.

    Learn as much as you possibly can about the work involved. An informed consumer is less likely to be taken for a ride. I can't believe you are happy that he took a "mere" 5 weeks to do a 30k service earlier on.

    What an absolute ASSWIPE.
  5. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    Oh my gosh. I'm glad I took the time to read your post. You got seriously screwed over. Just shows that you have to be very careful...
  6. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    Matt F
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  8. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    Full Name:
    hang him?????? i say beat him to death with red hot tensioner bearing assemblies. or flog him with the old belts. ...... maye both????? i have been in a situation like this. a long time ago. I WON!! seriously, let the courts have him.
  9. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Sep 18, 2002
    The Cold North
    Full Name:
    that is awful. This type of thing gives the entire industry a bad name. I would really like to have a "sit down" with this guy and let him know what he is doing to the rest of us out there, trying to be honest and respectful.

  10. The Mad Hatter

    The Mad Hatter Formula Junior

    Feb 27, 2004
    Full Name:
    The Mad Hatter
    Man, I read your post twice just to try and comprehend what this has been like for you. I can't believe that one human being could actually do something this horrendous to another. A tragedy...and I wish you the best in your quest to get even!

  11. redhead

    redhead F1 Rookie

    Dec 26, 2001
    Full Name:

    I too deal (dealt) with Wayne. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I am sorry to not only see the monetery loss, but like Tom has said, the reputation of shops everywhere. I hope you are able to recoup some of the money.
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  13. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    Peters, I feel for you man, just reading your post brought up all the automotive faces from my personal "shame of fame" although none of them can touch your man. I wish you the best and thanks for sharing this with us so hopefully it won't happen to anyone else. John
  14. RAYMAN

    RAYMAN Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2004
    Full Name:
    Raymond Santilli
    Man that takes guts to tell a story like that, but sure makes riviting reading.
  15. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
    Moderator Owner

    Dec 14, 2003
    Montreal Canada
    Full Name:
    Although I don't encourage violence, a good beating would be better than any lawsuit. I had a similar (but far less expensive) encounter with a rip off artist who sold me a differential for my Fiat Spider a few years back. Although I was very diplomatic at the start, I only manged to get a partial refund after I got someone to get him out of bed (at eleven at night) and practically threaten him. Since then, I'm a lot more judicious with who I do business with.

    As far as this joker is concerned, I believe that "every dog has his day." And the day will come when he will try to scr*w the wrong person, who won't think twice about taking the law into his own hands.
  16. ChuckEBaby

    ChuckEBaby Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Nov 7, 2003
    Full Name:
    I say call the other owners that you are aware
    of and everyone get one Attorney together.
    Share the costs and Sue him in Court!
    You should probably consult with one
    yourself first to make sure that you can
    Sue him as a group, collectively.

    I'd bet he doesn't have the Money to defend
    himself though and would likely result in his
    Insolvency. He's obviously Robbing Peter to
    Pay Paul, and, unless he owns the Real Estate
    where his Shop is located he may not have a
    Pot to Piss in. In which case, at best you would
    shut him down.

    Good Luck & Nail this SOB!
  17. shelbee

    shelbee Guest

    Don't you think one post should suffice??

    I think it was partly your fault to give him Money FIRST, never do that,

    Secondly why didn't you seek repair at the authorized Ferrari dealer??

    Even an authorized Ferrari dealer can scam you for un necessary fees. Therefore you HAVE to do your HOMEWORK prior to the work order.

    If you have to seek authorized dealer out of state or ship the car elsewhere. A small change to pay for a transportation rather than screwing up your car.

    Finally any thought of selling that 308 to get rid of bad memory??


    Aug 20, 2001
    East Coast
    Full Name:
    Jon K.

    First off I am very sorry to hear this. I know first hand how frustrating this can be and how it can totally ruin your outlook on your car.

    A good friend of mine is going through the same routine as you. He has a 1988 BMW M5 (somewhat rare car). He sent his motor to be rebuilt at a very reputable shop in NC (similar to your shop it's a one man operation). This engine builder is known all over the US and is one of maybe four such engine builders that specialize in this particular M engine.

    The engine was rebuilt in 2001 but took half a year. When my friend got the engine back it was burning oil and it was discovered that the engine builder had gotten a bad batch of piston rings. It was agreed that the engine builder would rebuild engine at no cost.

    At this stage my friend decided to enlarge the engine and turbocharge it with custom turbo setup and custom engine management control system.

    Price quoted him was $7500 and three months time. This was in May 2002.

    Well to make a long story short, it took until December 2003 NEARLY 18 months later and seven trips to NC (about 8 hours). In addition the turbo part of the engine never got completed because the engine builder never completed anything and on top of that ruined the motor. He didn't know how to tune the engine managment system and the motor which should have made at least 50-60 extra hp made less hp than before.

    When my friend had a leakdown done the numbers were aweful (60% in some cases). And to top it off the bill was almost 11K and this was without the Turbo installed (thought the parts were purchased and fabricated).

    The engine has since been returned back to the shop and it was agreed again that it would be torn down to find the problem but the engine has been sitting for months and nothing has been done.

    BOTTOM LINE: He has looked into legal action and he does have email correspondence outlining the cost quote and all the problems with the engine (the engine builder is a bit naive about email).

    But he had no written contract and it appears at least in his case that North Carolina law leaves little chance at recovering anything.

    He has dumped almost 25K into this engine and it's ruined. To top it off this engine can only be rebuilt by a few people and he's been quoted another 15K to have it rebuilt again.

    He has gotten to the point where he is so frustrated and upset that he no longer wants the car, and believe me when I tell this his passion for that car ( I have one too but its a race car) is the same as many of us Ferrari owners.

    I know laws differ in different parts of the country but unless you have extensive receipts and something in writting it's going to be a long uphill battle.

    Good Luck !


    Jon P. Kofod
  19. RAYMAN

    RAYMAN Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2004
    Full Name:
    Raymond Santilli
    Well i say don't sue, NO attorney will bring the passion you have towards this guy, you'll just end up getting screwed twice, as a matter of fact you'll find you'll have two enemy's and the mechanic will seem like a nice guy!

    I know it's tough, but turn the other cheek, this guy will get his, the sooner you put it behind you the better, the emotional pain of a lawsuit is more painful than the money you've lost.
  20. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    North shore, MA
    Full Name:
    THE Birdman
    Sue his ASS!
  21. Victory

    Victory Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2004
    Can't you take him to court?

    He shouldn't be allowed to to the same scam to someone else.
  22. tvrfreak

    tvrfreak F1 Rookie

    Mar 31, 2003
    Full Name:
    F K
    Are you on crack?
  23. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 24, 2003
    Full Name:
    I agree with you. When I brought the car to his shop, I could not have driven it another 50 miles. Since I received excellent work from him on the prior 30K service, I no reason to think I was going to get a good screwing. Just a lesson leaned!
  24. GregD

    GregD Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Full Name:
    Jesus man
    You need to spend a little more on an attorney, take it to court and be done with it. In the meantime, hopefully you can have your car put back together.

    Please dont take it personally, as I know how things can build on themselves,
    but after about the 2nd or 3rd month, Didnt you get that feeling like I gotta get my car the hell outta there?

    Dont bother talking to this guy about payments, you wont get jack unless your tony soprano. If you want your money back, hire an attorney. I wouldnt let it go.
  25. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 24, 2003
    Full Name:
    I let myself fall for the stories of how everything is coming together. One thing I have learned is that you should not piss off a mechanic that has your car scattered all over his shop.
  26. PSP

    PSP Formula Junior

    Mar 31, 2001
    Lake Forest, CA USA
    Full Name:
    Patrick S. Perry
    The part I'm a little confused about involves your replies in the other thread from February. You seemed VERY supportive at that time - well past where my patience would have ended.

    In retrospect, wouldn't it have been prudent not to lend support as it would appear that your response does?
  27. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 14, 2003
    In front of you
    Full Name:
    MAN! If ever someone needed a, (ahem) "Visit!"

  28. wings

    wings Formula Junior

    Dec 13, 2003
    Peter: Shall I call my friend Guido to pay him a visit. Scumbag that he is!

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