Hey guys-
Recently I took my 2003 Mazda Protege5 with 150k miles to a mechanic because It would not start after over heating. I had a new Radiator put in it and still didn’t fix the problem. The mechanic told me I now need a new cylinder head gasket. That didn’t fix the problem. So he told me I now need a new engine. The total would be around $3,000.00. Or he could just take the car from me and give me a digistream box for my Tv that would save me “hundreds of dollars” from a cable bill. (it streams live tv) I was so fed up- and on top of moving out of state I gave him the car in exchange. The box doesn’t work for beans and I still have the title to my car. He told me he sold the car to a nice family and needs the title asap. I feel so ripped off. I had just put in a new Cat. converter which was 2k. plus it was just registered. It had new rims, tires, tinted windows and a blue tooth stereo. It was in great condition minus this “engine” part. How much do you think I should have gotten from this? Was it fair. I feel like I was taken advantage of me because I’m a female. Any words??

You got ripped

it sounds like the mechanic wanted the car for himself. Presumably, he’ll fix it when there’s some downtime, and then he’ll flip it

There are so many red flags here, I don’t know where to begin

What I would do is this . . . go back with this junk box, and ask him nicely to just get your car back. Have it towed out of there. You need a second opinion, from a reputable and not shady shop

This guy is shady and incompetent. He should be reported


If that doesn’t work, you may want to seek professional advice, as to how to deal with this situation

Presumably the car wouldn’t be worth much, even if were still running. As is, it’s worth only what somebody what will give you for it

But you got ripped, just the same

Thank you for the quick response. Unfortunately I moved out of state and I am dealing with him over text/phone. If my car was running, the total worth of the car would be 3,800. Do you know how cheap a mechanic can actually repair an engine for? He told me it would take a lot of time and money and he is not really going to be making any money off of it IF HE could sell it. (which I know is crap probably) When I was in the shop he did tell me everything else looked great, and that was the only problem- the cylinder head gasket, even after “test” but a few days later it turned into a “engine” problem. Do you think its fair asking him for at least 500.00 in exchange for the title?

@Faberwoman He’s probably got a line on a junkyard engine, which he’ll install. And then he’ll sell the car for a profit

“Do you think its fair asking him for at least 500.00 in exchange for the title?”

That’s a tough question . . .

Clearly, you will never get the car back, now that you’ve moved to another state
And you did get ripped off, no doubt about it
Considering your current physical location, and the fact that we’re not talking a lot of money here . . . . relatively speaking . . . I’m not sure it’s worth “going after” this guy, so to speak

Get as much as you can out of this guy, for the title

I presume this guy put you under tremendous pressure, before you let him have the car and left with that useless tv box . . . ?!

In a few years, you can look back on this as a memorable life lesson

One more thing . . . make sure the title is legally transferred. You don’t want to getting parking tickets for this car, 2 years from now. You don’t want to somehow be held responsible, when the new owner gets in an accident and hurts somebody

There are no good answers, and no good advice, unfortunately

:-(( Dang… Well thank you for you input! I really do appreciate your words of advice. I will be trying to get what I can from him. I feel so bad being a hassle to him But I know I probably shouldn’t. Anyway, THANK YOU!

Digistream, so you know, uses the XBMC streaming service, which is of questionable legality. I’m frankly amazed the service has been around as long as it has without being sued out of existence. Wouldn’t at all surprise me if even if you get the box working, it stops working down the road once the service gets forcibly shut down.

Wow… that’s good to know. Thank You.

A wild thought . . . ask him for your money back for the repairs, since they didn’t get your car running again. You’re out money for repairs, which didn’t work, he’s got the car, and you’ve got nothing

A bit of advice . . . any remaining friends/relatives in the vicinity of the shop, tell them to avoid it like the plague, unless they want to lose money AND their car

So here is an update. I said to him that I have the lien release in hand, and I do not feel that the tv steaming box was a fair trade after all. I would like a fair monetary compensation. Hes reply was :

" Their was no swap. I gave you the box for free. You gave me the car because you did not want to pay for what we did and could not afford to continue more repairs. I am sorry you feel this way. On the box most likley you still dont know how to use it. If you need help on the box call me so I can help. If you can get a noterized letter from your bank that would be great. Ill pay for the letter. ? what is monatry compentions?

My reply: I Did not give you the car. You told me you had something better than a payment of cash " the box" I have the letter in hand it will cost $500.00 which is a fair compensation.

Am I being unreasonable here?? is 500.00 too much? The junk yard was going to give me 250.00!!

Well I think you are in a position to deal as he needs the title, Aka godfather “I am willing to sign over the title, but your box does not work for me, make me an offer i can’t refuse”

hmmm … this is a tough one … well, you did give him the car, right? You weren’t force to do that I presume, you did it b/c it was the best option you had available at the time. But I think there was at least some implied trade, since he represented that digi box would add some value of some kind to you.

And the mechanic really didn’t have the legal right to sell the car until he owned it, so he should have had the title first, before selling it. But that’s sort of a legal-eagle issue maybe, after all his plan was to fix it and sell it.

Ok, here’s what I think is fair. You return the digi-box to him, and he gives you the salvage yard price for the car, i.e. a cashier’s check for $250, then you sign the title to him.

@GeorgeSanJose Huh?

In this story, where is it told, that the mechanic already sold the car . . . ?!

I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself

“well, you did give him the car, right?”

I think the sleazebag mechanic really cranked up the pressure and convinced OP that the car was worth squat, and he’d take it off their hands, in exchange for that worthless box

A lousy trade, done under tremendous pressure, I assume

“best option you had available at the time.”

I don’t think so. The best option would have been to negotiate for a refund . . . full, or partial . . . of the repairs up to that point, because they didn’t get the car running. And then towing the car out of there to a better shop, for a second opinion

If that sleazebag’s diagnostic skills were even a little better, he’d have realized that the car needed more than a radiator and head gasket, from the sound of it

But OP unfortunately succumbed to this sleazebag’s pressure and made some poor decisions

That sleazebag is exactly the kind of individual that gives the repair industry a bad name


db4690: In this story, where is it told, that the mechanic already sold the car . . . ?!

Original post. He told me he sold the car to a nice family and needs the title asap.

Yup. I just went back and saw it

Apologies to all

Weird that I missed that

But it doesn’t change anything

This mechanic is a sleazball and incompetent


And probably made a profit, also, after convincing OP to make a very poor business decision

I think he did take advantage of the fact that OP is a lady

Guys, I see it differently. She severely overheated the car and the mechanic went through the steps to try and fix it. He went as far as replacing the head gasket, that didn’t work, and still had not gotten paid for the efforts up to that point. She didn’t want to pay any more than the bill had already rung up to, so she surrendered the car instead of paying the bill. She mentions costs, but never mentions what she paid, and the mechanic alludes to not getting money from her. The mechanic finished the job and then sold the car to recoup his costs. He is just asking for the title she should have given him when she surrendered the car. He could go through the legal steps to get the title under a mechanic’s lien, but he’s trying to save a few bucks. Probably because he still lost money on the deal. I’ve had to do the same before, and I seem to alway lose money on it. I really doubt he sold the car for anything near $3900. It’s 12 years old. The TV box was probably thrown in just to sweeten the deal for her because, quite frankly, she sounds like a difficult client. No offense.

I’m sticking to my guns . . .

If this mechanic had been competent, he’d have realized the radiator and headgasket wouldn’t be enough to get the engine running again

“Probably because he still lost money on the deal.”

I’m willing to bet he cleared at least $1000 in the end. Not great, but I think the only real loser in this story is OP


Document everything you have, clearly write down what happened, and file a formal complaint with the Consumer protection office of your state’s Atty General’s office. If, as some here suspect, he’s duped you, that’ll open an investigation that should not only get you squared away but prevent him from doing it to someone else. If he’s really on the “up & up” but just a bad technician, that’ll come out too.

Personally, the minute I read the “deal” he was offering I knew he was dishonest and despicable. And his offer just might land him with charges he never expected. It just may be that the 'box" he offered you is illegal. It might even turn up to be stolen.

And, if the act by which he obtained the car is illegal, he cannot have legal ownership, and he just might end up with fraud charges and a lawsuit from whoever he sold the car to.

Contact the AG’s office. You are not on your own in getting this resolved.

@db4690 , I understand your position, but remember, we are only getting one side and making inferences on just the impression she’s giving us. I’m getting red flags that there is a lot of missing info in this story.

@BustedKnuckles I appreciate the fact that no 2 people will read a story and interpret it the same way

Best case scenario . . . the mechanic is “merely” a moron

Worst case scenario . . . he’s a shady sleazeball AND a moron, which is my opinion

Bad decisions all around . . . OP and the mechanic

Maybe we’ll hear the other side of the story . . . but I’m not sure I want to, actually

for that matter, I’d be happiest if the lady doesn’t name the shop, or the mechanic

It can’t really serve any purpose at this point, in my opinion

Who’s to say either of the 2 parties involved are telling the entire story, and not leaving anything out, or exaggerating some details . . . ?!


That’d be the nice thing about an AG office investigation. The truth would come out whatever it is.

My opinion, and that’s all it is, is that the whole thing sounds like something shady has transpired.