Well first off let's start off by saying I am not out to screw anyone. I am a family man, and lost my job...started posting ads on CL to find mechanic work until I got a position. I have been doing mechanic work for 8 years professionally. And have many happy side work customers, never had an issue before this.
Well I did work for this guy once, saved him 2,000$ off the quoted price that he got at the shop. He liked the work and had another job about a month later. When I got there he had overheated the car, and water was pouring out...and he notably drove it that way.
I got there told him what he needed. He gave me a sob story, and said just do it as cheap as possible. I can't afford the part, and do it up to the point...and he would put JV weld to seal the leak that would be left after I did the repairs. I told him many times, that this is not the way I work...I do it correctly. And that if I did this for him I would NOT guarantee the work. He said oh that is fine, so I did what he asked. I know at this point I should have had him sign a waiver, or not do the work at all...but I am kind hearted, and felt sorry for him and his family.
I then charged him $100 for 5 hrs of work (far below normal flag rate in our area which is about $80 an hr.) He got a few little things I needed, so got the job complete as to the standards he set forth. He said don't fill it up with the water, he would put the JV weld in...and start it tomorrow. I reminded him that I did not guarantee what I did, and as I told him before I started I would not give him a receipt for the work I did. He was fine with this, and I left.
Well 3 days later he calls, leaves messages saying that the it was misfiring. I did not respond, since I told him when I had left that it would not be guaranteed. He continued to call. Then about 1 and 1/2 weeks after the work was done, he wrote an email informing me he would sue. He said he got a mechanic to look at it and the intake manifold was put together incorrectly. And from the email seemed as if the mechanic fixed it. he said he was suing for the labor fee and damages.
I would have been happy to go fix what was wrong, but he was very hostile, and I felt threatened. I also only charged him 1/4 of the labor charges, and did what he asked for me to do. I don't work like that normally.
My questions (and any other info would be appreciated.)
What am I liable for?
He said I put together the intake manifold incorrectly does that mechanic have to prove his compentency?
If I charged him $100 for a 5 hr job, how will the court determine that is what he paid withouth the receipt?
Does he need to prove I caused this issue or will the statement of the exhaust manifold being put together incorrectly be enough?
If I have little disposable income, and rent, have an older vehichle what is the option to get the money from me?
How can they determine what was actually paid to fix the problem?
And if I went there and the car had noticibally been driven while overheated, which can cause issues with the intake manifold, can I fight that what I did directly caused the issue?