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I got gyped

I live in Georgia. I was traveling in New Jersey and I got in an accident. The battery was knocked loose, it bent the fan blade which ripped a hole in the radiator. I had the car towed to a repair shop and told them I needed the car fixed so that I could drive home to Georgia.

They told me the repairs were done, I left, and 45 minutes later found that I could not accelerate. When I opened up the hood the engine bay was covered in transmission fluid. The repair shop was closed, the transmission was dead, and I was stuck on the side of the NJ turnpike. I had the car towed again and I turned over the title to the tow shop to wreck the vehicle. I then got a rental car and went home.

I am not going to pay the repair shop for their faulty work. The transmission hooks into the radiator and I know it was not damaged in the accident, so it has to be their doing. How do I make sure I don’t have to pay them?

Tough spot. If you paid by credit card, contact the card issuer for instructions on disputing a charge. Do this quickly, as you usually only have a limited time. A statement from the second shop detailing what they found, preferably notarized, would be a great help.

Assuming the first shop replaced the radiator (or at least removed it to have it repaired), it sounds like a line to the built-in transmission cooler wasn’t reinstalled properly (hose clamp not tightened).

I don’t think you went about this the best way. It’s going to be hard to prove what you’re stating and now the car is out of your hands and signed over to another owner (tow shop). Unless you got pictures or the tow company documented anything and is willing to testify in small claims court, I don’t think you’ll have a great case, even if you are 100% in the right.

That’s my take, someone else might disagree.

While I agree with NYBo that you can (and should) dispute the charge with your credit card company, I also agree with Jad that your position is weakened as a result of no longer having the car in your possession. If the attorney for the apparently negligent repair shop tells you to produce evidence of neglect, it doesn’t sound like you have much evidence to produce.

Having a car break down very far from home is always a pain, and you experienced even more pain than usual, so I really empathize with you.
Good luck!

They are obligated to correct the problem at their cost and you are obligated to pay for the original work.

Beyond that you’ll need to see an attorney.

I agree with the other posters. Sounds like a transmission cooler line came loose and the gambling odds are that someone did not tighten a clamp properly or failed to tighten/stripped out a threaded fitting.

There’s also a very good chance you’re going to need another transmission or a rebuild depending on how long this “no acceleration” lasted. Clutch lining material is very, very thin even when new and lack of fluid pressure can wipe it out pretty quickly.