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Old 17.03.2012, 21:56
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Weird experience in a garage

Hi,

I brought my infiniti from America, and I have been struggling for months in order to register it in Basel. Now I gave up on finding ways to make it cheaper, and just wanted find anyone who could at least do the modification Basel MFK asked me to do. (installing automatic height adjustment for Xenon light, and automatic washer)

So I found this tuning garage -the owner speaks English- in Zurich through the insurance agent whom I met in this forum. I sent my car inspection result sheet to him, and he said he could do it. So I went to his garage, talked about how he would do the modification, the price and time. I left my car there, and waited until the day he said it will be finished. He said he will call me with the final price before I come to pick it up.

(Tuesday)
However, this guy didn't call me back on that day, and wouldn't even pick up my phone calls. I was super worried since the car is not registered in Switzerland, and also I left my car and key, without receiving any written document saying that he will be repairing my car. So I thought maybe he just sold my car illegally and disappeared.

After dozens of failed attempted, I called him with my office phone, instead of my cell phone, and he didn't pick up, but I got a phone call back after a few seconds from his brother who doesn't speak English. So I asked what is going on, and he said his brother will be back and call after 1 or 2 hours. (Of course, I didn't get any call back. Again, no one would pick up the phone calls)

(Wednesday)
The next day, I tried calling them with my wife's phone. And after a few minute, she got the call back from the same person, saying that he doesn't speak English. So I called him again with my phone, and the same guy picked up this time. He said his brother had an accident, and he is in the hospital. My Swiss colleague called him for me, and asked what is going on. He said his brother fell down from the stair, broke his back, and will be back home tomorrow. But the car is opened up already, and only his brother will be able to fix it.

(Thursday)
I called one day later, of course no one picked up. And I was thinking "maybe this guy is paralyzed or something, that he can't even pick up the phone. poor guy. His family, including the brother, must be so sad now."

(Friday)
I waited one more day, and called again. Again no one picked up. And in the afternoon, I got a text message from this guy, saying that he is his brother, my car key will be stored in the digi safe at the garage at 17:00. His brother is still in the hospital. And he sent me the PIN for the safe. I have to work until 19:00, so I decided to pick up my car on Saturday. I had no clue whether the car is fixed or not, whether it is closed or not, no price information, no future plan about the tuning etc. no one would answer my phone calls.

(Saturday)
I woke up early in the morning. Mad 2-hour-long trip to the garage. I found my car parked in front of the garage, but the modifications I asked weren't done. No one was in the garage, but I could get my key from the Digi Safe with the PIN. I was relived and disappointed at the same time. But couldn't do anything about it, so I left the garage....

About 50 meters away from the garage, I saw the garage owner driving his car to the garage. (I could easily recognize his car, because he drove me back to the station when I left my car, and had a big sticker on the back with the garage ad. Plus, I saw his face in his car.) So I headed back to the garage right away. I couldn't find his car on the front parking spaces. I drove around the building, and I could find his car behind the building. I parked my car right in front of his car. I called his cell phone, and office, knocked the office door, waited for about 15 minutes next to his car.

I thought maybe I could reach him from the garage front door, so I walked to the front door, and couldn't see anyone from there. And when I came back down to the rear entrance..... his car was gone...


I drove back to Basel, without gaining any more information. I was glad that at least my car seemed fine. (I couldn't spot any difference on my car while driving back for about 90 minute..)

Can you guys guess what is going on...? Maybe I am just over thinking, but why wouldn't he call back? And it seems like he intentionally waited until I disappear, and ran away... (Cuz my car is quite rare in Switzerland, plus I have American license plate...)

I will call him on Monday, but I don't think he will pick up my phone call.
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Old 18.03.2012, 00:48
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Sounds like he hasn't the balls to tell you he can't/won't/doesn't want to do the job.

Forget about him. Surely NISSAN can do it for you ?
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Old 18.03.2012, 12:00
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Sounds really strange.
Do you have evidence that you left your car during those days at this guy's garage?
Just in case a crime was committed with your car during those days.
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Old 18.03.2012, 12:15
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

car tuners have a terrible reputation for a reason, had almost identicle experiences with 2 tunning companies in the uk, except I had to go legal on them and it took me over a year to get my car back.

Move on, and whatever you do don't let that clown anywhere near your car again!!
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Old 18.03.2012, 16:57
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Thanks for the reply!

Wow, I am a bit scared now. What if this guy really committed a crime with my car..? I don't have any written evidence that my car was there. But I have emails that I sent to the insurance agent, and my bosses telling them that I left my car there. And also the text message that I got from his phone number, saying that he is his brother...

I just sent a online message to MFP Basel asking, if they can recommend any technician who can do this modification.

(I tried Infiniti Basel, and they were unable to make any adjustments regarding electrical parts. They only have one mechanic... I wonder if Nissan might have something...)
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Old 19.03.2012, 21:19
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Popcorn time!

Look, rather than going off at the deep end, it might be better to find out what happened before you start casting aspersions about your car having been sold, or involved in a crime, or the garage was using it for some nefarious purposes.

From what you've written you sound way too paranoid, bordering on bunny boiler, but maybe... just maybe, he was sick that's why you couldn't get him, people do get sick you know. That would account for why you couldn't get him at work, and did get someone who couldn't speak English who did it appear return a call. Rather inconsiderate for the guy to be in a hospital when your spam can needs fixing I know eh, but you still saw fit to call multiple times and even getting other people to do it, all seemingly getting the same answer, and continued to call for another 2 days

You mention work, which presumably needed parts, but don't say if the parts were actually there to fix your car when you dropped it off or if they needed to be ordered. In the meantime the guy had his accident, and despite being told the dude being in hospital, you'd rather ponder the fact that your car could have been used in a drive by fonduing.

I'd be a little more supportive if you knew that something rhum was happening with your car, and had evidence of such. However, it would appear from what you say, you took it to a garage, they ordered the bits, the only English speaking guy who could work on you car has an accident, and the work wasn't done. Dis-appointing outcome for you, but I'll bet he wasn't impressed at being in hospital either, so maybe it was just a unfortunate accident that put back the work on your car.... but lets not let that get in the way of a good slurring eh
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Old 20.03.2012, 13:53
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Why don't you take the spare key with you next time? there must be one for such a car? You can still take your car home and follow up the recovery of the other key with owner of that garage?

EDIT* Woops, Sorry, when I first read the post I thought you did not get the key back. Ignore this please........

Last edited by Neil600; 20.03.2012 at 15:46.
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Old 20.03.2012, 14:37
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

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Popcorn time!

Look, rather than going off at the deep end, it might be better to find out what happened before you start casting aspersions about your car having been sold, or involved in a crime, or the garage was using it for some nefarious purposes.

From what you've written you sound way too paranoid, bordering on bunny boiler, but maybe... just maybe, he was sick that's why you couldn't get him, people do get sick you know. That would account for why you couldn't get him at work, and did get someone who couldn't speak English who did it appear return a call. Rather inconsiderate for the guy to be in a hospital when your spam can needs fixing I know eh, but you still saw fit to call multiple times and even getting other people to do it, all seemingly getting the same answer, and continued to call for another 2 days

You mention work, which presumably needed parts, but don't say if the parts were actually there to fix your car when you dropped it off or if they needed to be ordered. In the meantime the guy had his accident, and despite being told the dude being in hospital, you'd rather ponder the fact that your car could have been used in a drive by fonduing.

I'd be a little more supportive if you knew that something rhum was happening with your car, and had evidence of such. However, it would appear from what you say, you took it to a garage, they ordered the bits, the only English speaking guy who could work on you car has an accident, and the work wasn't done. Dis-appointing outcome for you, but I'll bet he wasn't impressed at being in hospital either, so maybe it was just a unfortunate accident that put back the work on your car.... but lets not let that get in the way of a good slurring eh
Wow that is a nice attitude towards a newbie looking for advice!!! Kinda shows the kind of person you are!

Back to subject: How do you explain the guy driving the next day he had a broken back. He must have had a record recovery. And again sneaking off.... Also not picking up the phone when called from cell phone (caller ID??) only when called from office landline.

Very strange, so your reaction and bashing of the OP is out of line and RUDE
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Old 20.03.2012, 14:59
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

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Wow that is a nice attitude towards a newbie looking for advice!!! Kinda shows the kind of person you are!
No offense to you or the OP, as most people are here to help, but sometimes people have to learn to help themselves a bit as well.

If I recall correctly from other threads, isn't this the car that is US spec. that the owner never thought to investigate or do any homework on before brining it here, a car not produced for Europe, with no CoC, that failed the MFK, has a few not so easily correctable attributes, and now runs into a problem with a garage.

Indeed OP has my sympathy, but really this was not an unforeseen complication from a very difficult car import, ie. finding someone with specialised knowledge of that brand, to make difficult technical modifications to pass the not so easy MFK. Indeed it will not be a walk in the park to get anyone to work on the car most likely.
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Old 20.03.2012, 15:08
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Sounds like you were too high maintenance, and rather than confront you about it, preferred to fabricate a reason why you shouldn't call and then just gave you the car back.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned, leaving a high value item like that - and yes having no registration or contract to support as evidence could present a problem.

On the other hand, you happily list every day of the week, excluding the first contact. How long had you left it there before inundating them with calls?

I've been in the same position - left my bike to have some work done, still no contact a week after the quoted time. For specialized work like this, they know you don't have many alternatives. I've found that they generally prefer to work slowly, and a niche market like this allows them the leverage to stretch that as far as they want.

You need to tread the very fine line of following-up and harassing them.
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Old 20.03.2012, 15:29
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

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About 50 meters away from the garage, I saw the garage owner driving his car to the garage. (I could easily recognize his car, because he drove me back to the station when I left my car, and had a big sticker on the back with the garage ad. Plus, I saw his face in his car.) So I headed back to the garage right away. I couldn't find his car on the front parking spaces. I drove around the building, and I could find his car behind the building. I parked my car right in front of his car. I called his cell phone, and office, knocked the office door, waited for about 15 minutes next to his car.

I thought maybe I could reach him from the garage front door, so I walked to the front door, and couldn't see anyone from there. And when I came back down to the rear entrance..... his car was gone...
If his brother had his cell phone, maybe he also had his car? maybe his brother looks like him? Maybe he didn't see the point in answering the phone because he doesn't speak english anyway?
Maybe you just need to wait until the guy is out of the hospital and talk to him personally?
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Old 20.03.2012, 15:39
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

do people really believe the garage owner is being hard done by here??

I've seen this loads of times, small specialist 'tunning' companies that can't say no to any job, take on anything and everything, then realise they can't actually do the work, get no jobs finished, then wonder why they have gone bust. The motoring forums are literally full of horror stories like this

the only odd things about the whole story are the op got his car back with very little agro, and the op didn't (or hasn't yet) got a bill from the garage for 'work done'
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Old 20.03.2012, 19:28
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

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do people really believe the garage owner is being hard done by here??

I've seen this loads of times, small specialist 'tunning' companies that can't say no to any job, take on anything and everything, then realise they can't actually do the work, get no jobs finished, then wonder why they have gone bust. The motoring forums are literally full of horror stories like this.

the only odd things about the whole story are the op got his car back with very little agro, and the op didn't (or hasn't yet) got a bill from the garage for 'work done'
I don't think anyone has said they feel sorry for the garage owner, just not overly sympathetic to the op, given the rather the plausible answer the op was provided with. No evidence has been provided that the garage has done anything untoward, yet ridicous things like the car has been sold or used in a crime are being tossed about. I'd just rather have a full account than the 1 sided and OTT soundings that are being put out.... Maybe even from the garage if they get to read this.

Not all garages are rogues, contrary to what some think, and this may or may not be one... Who knows, but I'd rather not sling mud without proof that mud deserves to be slung.
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Old 20.03.2012, 23:31
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

I can relate to the garage, if he thought it was beyond his capabilities. I used to have a second hand '92 Canadian Honda Civic here (was imported by someone else and I bought it). Was cheap, but the local garage gave up half way through on the required repairs as the parts (brake calipers; were seized solid) were in no way easy to come by. Garage was generally great, but he simply did not have the time to do the research, or to rebuild the calipers. So, I took the car back and did all the work myself, with a lot of great help tracking parts down from Derendinger. Car passed the MFK too! (it was a 1.6 VTec - went like a rocket!)

So, yes, it can be frustrating and hard having an Auslander Auto!
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Old 22.03.2012, 10:03
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Huh? What on earth is weird about it? You take your car to a garage for work, the guy who is to do it and the only one who speaks English has an accident and ends up in hospital. Even through the language barrier ("broken back" leaves a lot of room for loss in translation, especially when the message is going through several people as you describe) they manage to ensure you can get your car back, yet you prefer to assume the worst? Maybe I've been here too long but on what planet is a presumption of nefarious doings either reasonable or logical? Personally I would think twice before posting something potentially libellous on an Internet forum instead of taking a perfectly ordinary explanation at face value.
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Old 22.03.2012, 13:30
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Or MAYBE all they said were lies, made a duplicate of the car key and can sell it to foreigners interested in (unregistered) cars from the area?

If you are driven by the "what ifs", you will end up with paranoid things like this, but since you come from America, then you KNOW this can happen, so, in reality, you're not being paranoid at all, just "making sure of".

I know this answer is no helpful at all, but I think you should register it and insure it, ASAP.

Go to the Stealership and have the mods done. I will cost you a fortune, yes, but if you prefer a DIY, try an Infiti forum, you might find something useful and cheap.

Good luck.
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Old 23.03.2012, 10:29
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Re: Weird experience in a garage

Be useful, I think, to know the details of the 'outfit', so that others can share their experiences! Or to stay away!
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