What can I do about an auto mechanic who cannot fix my car but has had it for over 1 1/2 years and will not return it?

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What can I do about an auto mechanic who cannot fix my car but has had it for over 1 1/2 years and will not return it?

He took my Delorean. I had verbal agreement with him that after he fixed the car he fix my car, I would pay him cash for his labor and all parts. Now I believe that he damaged the engine and that is the reason that he still is holding my car and continues to lie that he will call me when car is ready. I’m looking for the lawyer to sue him for the damage to my car and for illegally holding it.

Asked on July 7, 2015 under Business Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You evidently know what to do: sue him for a court order seeking the return of the car and/or compensation for its damage or (if unrecoverable) its full value. You are unlikely to find an attorney to take this case on a contingency (only get paid if you get paid) basis, because it will not pay enough: even if the car was a total loss, it appears that the blue book values for DeLoreans even in mint shape are $30k or less, which means that this case might be worth $15k or less (since it's not likely that under these circumstances you'd get the car's full value). Contingency fees are usually 20% to 33%, so the lawyer might make $3k - $5k after months of work *if* you win. Most lawyers will not take a contingency case, which involves a risk of not being paid (since you can't every count 100% on winning) and delays in payment, unless they offer significantly more earning potential than  that. You could certanly hire a lawyer on an hourly rate to work on your case, or you could act as your own attorney ("pro se").


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