My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California
So my father purchased a old valuable car. He had a repair shop give an estimate for the service and parts (exceeding $500) which he agreed to. My father paid for parts as it progressed. Time passed and the repair shop was taking longer than estimated on the estimate to complete the repair. They incouraged my father to extend his agreement and to do more work, witch he reluctantly did. So three years have passed and multiple payments have been maid. Many of the reciepts are slopily done having the services written in CHARGES, CREDITS & BALANCE SECTIONS. This makes it hard to determine what has been paid for. The shop owner is still holding the car and we are encouraging him to get it back but we arent sure of how to, and what our legal rights are right now.
So how long can a repair shop extend a service agreement and what would they need to do that?
At this point can they legaly keep the car?
What action should we take to get the car back? i.e. go pay the total balance and sue if he does not return the car (assuming thats an option)
Thank you in advance for any advice.