The Auto Legend - Destroyed my engine and refuses to pay
SUMMARY: Kevin Gonzalez of The Auto Legend (TAL) worked on Mark Frederick's car… caused excessive damage to car… agreed to have a third party, Ferrari of Tampa Bay (FOTB), fix car… Kevin and his dad Dennis Gonzalez reneged on promise to pay for excessive damaged.
MAIN: Mark Frederick handed his 1998 Ferrari 355 F1 GTB over to Massimo Mondino at The Auto Legend for the car's 30,000 mile service on Nov 9, 2010. Massimo said work will take 2-3 weeks to finish. Massimo asked for, and received, $2,500 in order to acquire parts needed to do the work.
Massimo never gave me, or had me sign a written estimate before the work was performed. Instead, he wrote all notes of my vehicle work on a large paper tablet. Kevin Gonzalez (a mechanic?) is in and out of the office and garage during the conversation.
Massimo calls me one week later to request I have the CV Joint covers replaced and repaint the valve covers. This will cost an additional $1,000 which he wanted upfront, and I paid. Kevin is present all during the conversation.
I called one week later to see how the work was progressing… Kevin answers the phone and says the work is going well. I call another week later… Kevin answers the phone again. He says that the work will take a little longer in order to do a good job. I ask where Massimo is. Kevin says he went back to Italy to tend to a dying mother.
End of Dec my car is done. I hear lot of noise at idle. Kevin says he believes it is normal. I pay the remaining $3,800 and drive off. Many of my warning lights are on (engine, transmission, etc.) Kevin said that the car has computers which will have "to re-learn".
I drive off his lot… the car has no power, I hear a bang sound and the engine dies. Kevin gives back $3,800 to me until the point he gets the car working right.
Two months later Kevin is still trying to figure out why car is not running right.
Mid-February I approach Bruce Brown service manager at Ferrari of Tampa Bay (FOTB). Said he knows my story because Kevin asked his mechanics to help him back in Dec when the car would not run… mechanics told Kevin that his cam timing was off on the engine.
Bruce said that he will advice Kevin that he can "sub-out" the work by taking my car from Kevin and fixing it right… then Kevin can owe FOTB for the work performed.
Bruce told me that from what he knows; Massimo is not coming back to America. That Kevin is buying the business (or bought the business) with the help of Kevin's dad, Dennis Gonzalez.
Feb 16, FOTB takes my car from TAL.
Feb 18, FOTB notices that car has one dead cylinder…possible bent valve.
Mar 3, FOTB discovers that heads are damage… cam is also damage. Mechanic Thaddeus Grashel sees that timing belts are way too tight. Master Italian Technician Umberto Masoni says Kevin made 3 major mistakes with the job… 1- Too much silicone glue on Cam Seals which resulted in plugged oil holes in the both heads… 2- Timing belt adjusters were not adjusted, resulting in too-tight belts, cause the cams to grind themselves into the aluminum heads… 3– Did not replace cheap lower crank gears, resulting in the possible jump in timing, creating the wrong timing that made the valves hit.
Bruce calls Kevin to tell him the bad news that the cost will be more. Bruce contacts me and says that the work is approve by Kevin, Dennis, TAL... FOTB proceeds to fix my car.
Mid-March Andrew Allwein, Director of Ferrari Service writes me and tells me that the work is still approved by TAL (Kevin and Dennis) and he is in communication with them daily.
May 9, Andrew is trying to get a hold of Kevin on the phone, and sent him e-mails to notify him that he will owe $13,107.50 on my bill.
May 19, Andrew contacts Kevin and notifies him that my car is fixed and it is time for them (Kevin, Dennis, TAL) to pay their bill $13,107.50 to Ferrari. They (Kevin, Dennis, TAL) say they will not pay Ferrari… and told Ferrari to notify me that I will have to sue them (Kevin, Dennis, TAL) for the $13,107.50.