View Full Version : Was I scammed?
01-16-2006, 11:42 PM
Don't know where else to post this question. I was at Walmart and approached by a man who said he could fix the football size dent on my car hood right there in the parking lot because he had tools. He had his young kids with him, and was repairing a dent on another woman car. He said I can watch everything and dont have to pay if it is not satisfactory. I agreed. He used flat hammers, a long crow bar looking tool, placed holes in the lowest point of the dent so he could use a pump/barrel type tool to raise it and hammer it into place. He got the dent into a much better shape much like the original except there are slight upper and lower levels still there. He sanded the area, applied a red non-rust putty over the holes and then sprayed a silver colored metal filler product over the top. After he was done he said a paint/body shop will bondo the rest and it will be good as new. I do know I will need a paint job but can anyone tell me if I was scammed or is this a legitimate job repair for a dent? I feel funny about it.
01-16-2006, 11:48 PM
You didn't post how much you payed . Mooch
01-27-2006, 03:30 AM
I paid him $300
01-27-2006, 04:29 AM
Was that "pump/barrel type" thingy a Slide Hammer?
From what you describe it sounds like sorta the right method of pulling dents.
Wally World huh? I'm usually sort of leary of people doing impromptu work out of thier cars, but given the current economic climate who I am do judge what a man's gotta do to put food on the table and to make ends meet.
Not sure about the pricing, maybe one of the senior members can help on that.
Usually a "shop" is supposed to charge a certain hourly rate plus parts and materials. If you took it to a shop that charges $50 per hour you should get about 5 hours of work and $50 in materials for your $300. However for someone working out of their car you should pay about half of the hourly rate which would then buy you about 10 hours of labor and materials for your $300. My guess is that this guy didn't take this long so I'd say you probably paid too much.
Dennis N. Schmidt
01-27-2006, 08:13 PM
So, your $300 down and the car still needs filler and paint. Yea pal you were cetainly scammed. If it was $300 and the car was painted and done that's not too bad. But you've got another $300 in filler, primer and paint to go so figure it out.
Why would you not ask up front what the cost would be and what the final result would be? Didn't you think the car would be painted? How exactly was he going to paint the car in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. With spray cans?
Did he claim to be able to do this without painting. There truly are magicians in paintless dent repair that can do these things but once we drill holes and use a slide hammer that thought's gone.
I find many fewer people asking to remove dents in my car at Nordstrom's than at Wal-Mart. Wonder why.
I paid him $300
Wow, $300 to drill a couple of holes in your sheetmetal, rough out the dent with a slide hammer and then smear some spot putty and spray bomb primer.
Sounds like before you had a car with a dent, now you're $300 poorer and have a car with sanded out paint, a couple holes and the immediate need for a body/paint guy.
At least those guys with the cardboard signs just take $5 and your car is no worse.
Sounds like a terrible deal.
01-27-2006, 10:47 PM
You were scammed big time. Learn from it and chalk it up to experience.
01-28-2006, 01:40 PM
I am working on a Honda right now in my stall, same thing. We are replacing both the quarter and the door he "repaired". I have seen this over the years many times, you got SCAMMED big time and I would look for that guy again and see if you can get the police involved. He is a THIEF and needs to be put in jail.
The common term is "Gypsy Bodyman". It has been going on for as long as there has been cars.
And DON'T feel bad, the guy is a CON ARTIST, not a bodyman. He is as good at CONNING people as I am at fixing cars. I have been taken by a con artist myself, for $1500. I will never make fun anyone again for falling for one of these sleeze balls. After it all went down, the guy was SOOOO good at conning that it didn't even hit me for a day what had happened! It is actually scary how this guy took me for $1500 and I was so worked up that I didn't even know what he had done for a day or so.
You are not at fault, HE is a criminal and you got robbed just like as if he broke into your home.
DO NOT FEEL BAD about this. But you won't soon forget, a VERY cheap lesson at $300.
01-28-2006, 02:27 PM
Wow. I didnt think these guys were still around. I remember my dad telling me these stories twenty years ago when i first got into bodywork about guys who would hang around parking lots and do this. They would do crude quickie repairs and say'now all you need to do is get it painted'. Well not to many shops are going to paint over that mess. And the paint part aint cheap! Martin, care to share your experience with being scammed so we can be aware if we come across it?
01-29-2006, 09:38 PM
Wings, like I said, I will never laugh or wonder "How in the world could you be so stupid" when I read in the paper about some old fool who falls for a con like the "pigeon drop" scheme or something.
In a nutshell, the guy wrote a check, didn't actually hand it to me. He left with a signed, "paid in full" work order without paying me. If you want to hear more, read on.
I will explain what happened, and there WILL be someone who says "How in the world could you be so stupid." Why, because they have never met up with someone skilled in the field of the con. Can you explain how a magician does all his tricks? How about that guy David Blaine, ever see him where he READS what people are thinking and does card tricks and things out on the street that literally freaks the person out so much that they will back away like the guy is the devil? Have you ever seen a guy play a guitar like Brian Setzer who can make the instrument do ANYTHING he wants? How about John Glover who can take a flat piece of steel and make a Model A fender out of it with no filler what so ever, have you seen that? This is what I am talking about, skills beyond your comprehension.
Sure you pull a quarter out of a child's ear or some card trick, pluck out Louie, Louie or Stairway to Heaven, or metal finish a small dent. But if you are the mere mortal as I am you can only dream of being able to do the things David, Brian and John can do. So before you think you can out smart a con or even understand what he can do to you, think again.
You want to hear more? Read on.
When I had my body shop about 15 years ago a neighbor of mine from the apartments had a damaged Toyota truck. I put my business card on the truck, first mistake. This gave him an insight, an opening glimpse into what kind of person I was. Don't ask me exactly what it meant, that I was "hungry" for business, that I was "available" for a con in some way, that was his first glimpse into who I was. He came to the shop and we struck a deal, he paid me half (about $1700) in cash up front for the parts. I later would learn from the cop I spoke with, that was part of the con. Paying me first for the parts in cash showed he would be "good for" the rest, he had plenty of money. It also said that his paying for all the parts would help in that I would "give up" and not pursue him for the conned amount being I had the parts paid for and I would "cut my losses," all part of his strategy.
During the repair he started putting pressure on me about how HE was so hurt by all this (the cost, the accident, etc.) on his head and how it was effecting him, sucking me into caring about him and his "pain." By the time it came for delivery he was all stressed because his car wasn't done, how could he get around, how he is loosing money at work and on and on and it was all MY fault because I didn't get the truck done faster. I was basically on time but this didn't matter, he wanted it done faster.
By the time it was done, I had promised to pay a rental car if he got one for the last few days. He cried and moaned about how this was inconveniencing him. On delivery he came in with a bill for a rental car from an airport renter (HUH?) for some ludicrous amount like $75.00 a day or something. After he pressured and cried and bitched I agreed to pay it. He wanted me to write him a check, I wanted to subtract it from my bill, again, another crying fit about how I am inconveniencing him. By the time he "wrote" the check he and I had gone back and forth a hundred times on many issues. This is all within minutes in my office. While he was writing the check it was racing thru my mind "I have to see his license," making sure I don't forget. I handed him his receipt signed, "paid in full check number blah, blah, blah." He drove off and I went back to work.
He had me so worked up, so flustered, so jacked up, I didn't know which end was up. I didn't sleep worth a crap, I couldn't think about a damn thing other than job, him, the truck, whatever. I would commonly run the bank with a check like that the moment the customer left. With this one, it was the next day when I was over at my brothers shop a few doors down when it hit me "I better hammer that check." I ran to my office and pulled open the drawer and there was NO CHECK. The dirty rotten sucker hadn't given me a check. The BS started with the first call "Oh, I gave it to you, you must have lost it" and said he would give me another "minus the stop payment fee" again, he was so inconvenienced by me. I waited, and waited, and called again, "oh Ralph isn't here" (his voice.) Forget that, no check.
I called the police to find that I was more screwed than I thought. Because from the very start he had me reeling I didn't fill out the work order properly. I had no "estimate amount" as required by law by the state of California. Because of this, if I were to sue him, I would not only not get the money he didn't give me, I would have to pay him back the whole $3300 or whatever the final bill was! I did after all write "paid in full," so as far as the court was concerned, I was paid in full for something I didn't deserve to be paid for!
I was so beat up about this I ended up going to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack, my heart was racing a million miles an hour.
I didn't stop there. I went to my apartment manager to warn her about him. She said, that wasn't the guy she rented the apartment to. She called him in to get his drivers license on record and showed me the copy. Get this, the license was done in Dec, this was the following June, his hair on the photo was straight, he had a beard and no glasses. In June, when all this went down, his hair was permed, he had no beard and glasses!
He ended up flaking on her and skipping out on a few months rent.
I did see MY parts on the truck get damaged much the same as they were when I fixed it. You see, he was a drunk. I was in my living room when I heard a crash and ran to the balcony to see him in his truck up on the sidewalk against a street sign! No kidding, I almost saw him get pulled out of his truck and his ass kicked, God that would have been cool.
Anyway, I have thank God forgotten most of the details (you wouldn't know by this long rant, would you) and it is a part of history. But I will tell you this, I have ran into a few similar guys over the years and his lesson taught me how to deal with it. At least I learned something.
01-30-2006, 09:32 AM
I don't know why people think they have a real chance against con men. That's what those guys do, we're amatures facing professionals. We all get taken occasionally. Hell, I bought a Harnilton watch for $25 in SF when I was in the service, lol.
I've had one guy call me, tell me he wanted a lot of cars done and ask for a better price. I told him I'd give him the tenth car free, so then he said, what about if you only do part of the details, the outside only? So, I said sure. I got there and his cars were crap boxes that were going to take much more time than I expected but I didn't have anything else scheduled that day so I started, and so did he. He started nit picking things that couldn't be fixed and complaining. I got about a third of the way around one car and he skept hammering me about the price so I stopped, unplugged my equipment, packed up, with him standing there looking at me and got ready to leave. He said he was going to call the police if I didn't finish the car and I told him if he called the police he'd better call an ambulance too and I drove off. Now, my wife, an attorney was po'd at me, to put it mildly, something about a "terrorist threat" and "I don't want to be bailing you out of jail."
Lucky for me guys like him don't really have a good relationship with law enforcement.
01-30-2006, 12:10 PM
Yep Robert, it can happen everyday to different degrees. I took a photo of that truck with MY parts are smashed after he hit that poll. I put the photo up on the wall of my office so I could see it from my desk. When every someone started giving me a hard time I would look up at the photo, look back at the guy and sayNO without batting a eye.
That photo, I have it in my tool box right now because of a guy at work, it reminds me that every question or comment out of his mouth has an agenda behind it.
The thing is, that gypsy bodyman who scammed this guy didn't just walk up and ask "Do you want me to fix that?" No, he started scamming from the first sight of him and started working him the second he walked up to the guy. He was a victim of a con, just like me.
No, he started scamming from the first sight of him and started working him the second he walked up to the guy. He was a victim of a con, just like me.
Even to the point that the scammer had his kids with him - playing the sympathy card.
03-23-2006, 11:07 PM
Thank you for your understanding and sharing your stories! Humanity, we make choices to be better than we are or worse. I pitty the con-mans children who will probably walk down his same path. For my experience... I'll just consider it charity fund. There are worse things that can happen.
May all good things come your way.
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