SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - You've probably heard the saying that 'honesty is the best policy." What you're about to see in our Tipline Investigation is what happens when a business apparently doesn't have that policy.
San Luis Obispo resident Jim Hall is on the ground pointing out the damage to his 2004 Porsche 911.
"The rock guard or whatever that is, is hanging down right there. It goes back and hits certain parts of the chassis," said Hall.
On January 30, the Hall's took their pristine, low mileage Porsche to SG&S Automotive in San Luis Obispo for just an oil change. The mechanic called that afternoon and asked if he could keep it an extra day because they mistakenly nicked the bumper.
Two days later, the clutch went out and the Hall's had to pay another $1400 in repairs.
Five weeks go by and a bill from Cal-Trans arrived in the mail.
"It said they wanted $146 for sprinkler repair on Highway 101. And I said, 'What's that for?' we looked at the car and said, 'the 911?" said Jim Hall with a stunned look on his face.
Cal-Trans claimed the Porsche was in an accident. They saw the date and quickly realized it was the same day they had the oil changed.
"It got very frustrating. We found out and figured out we'd been lied to about the nick in the front of the bumper," said Hall.
They also said the clutch was damaged in the crash and couldn't believe the shop charged them to repair it.
"When we walked into the mechanic's bay the next day with the car, the owner/manager said to me that he still didn't know anything about it. He was still just learning," said Carol Hall.
She said they confronted Guy, the manager at SG&S Automotive. What SG&S didn't know is the Hall's had the bill from Cal-Trans and a copy of the CHP report which listed the mechanic as the driver.
"Few more non-truths were told to us. Even to find out, that it came back to the shop it's my understanding on a tow truck," said Jim Hall.
Carol Hall said the truth finally came out when she misread the CHP report and confronted Guy believing the crash happened in Atascadero.
"And I said to him, 'I don't appreciate that somebody took this car up joy riding in Atascadero.' And he said, 'No, he wasn't in Atascadero. I know he wasn't in Atascadero. I know the CHP officer, I'm friends with him and I was there.' Up until this moment he told us three or four times that he knew nothing about it," said Carol Hall.
"Simple fact, we were not told the truth and tried to cover it up. Really frustrating," said Jim Hall.
We know the mechanic took the 911 for a test drive after the oil change. The CHP report indicates he entered the 101 freeway, stepped on the gas, spun out and flew off the roadway 150 feet north of Santa Rosa Street in San Luis Obispo. He hit and damaged a paddle marker and a sprinkler head.
The Hall's said Guy at SG&S ultimately caved in under all the evidence.
"He just said, 'I should have been more forthright.' He was very calm, very collected. Then he said, 'I need to go home, I'm having a bad day.'" said Carol Hall.
Despite that admission, the Hall's said SG&S refused to refund their $1,400 for the clutch repair and fairly compensate them for the damage to their once-pristine Porsche.
"He said, 'We can't come to terms. Here's my insurance guy, go deal with him,'" said Jim Hall.
The Hall's said the car just sat in their garage, The Bureau of Automotive Repair wouldn't take action and nothing was happening with insurance so, they called the NewsChannel 3 Tipline.
I called SG&S hoping to get their side of the story. They did not want to talk. Instead, I was told the problem was being resolved.
The Hall's said that's when things started moving forward. SG&S eventually agreed to buy the car from the Hall's for about $26,900 and the shop's insurance paid them $8,000.
Hall's are happy they got their money back. They're not happy their once loved Porsche is gone and that SG&S might sell the car and profit from this whole ordeal.
In case your wondering, SG&S did not refund the Hall's for the oil change. SG&S did not return our calls for a comment for this story.
Read the Porsche collision documentation here.
Keep this in mind, most mechanics are honest and hard working. But here's some advice in case you do run into a problem: Even though the Bureau of Automotive Repair didn't work for the Hall's in this case, it is a very good resource for consumers.
Another good resource is the Independent Automotive Professional Association (IAPA),
If you have a problem and need help, call our NewsChannel 3 Tipline at 805-882-3903, or submit your tip on our NewsChannel 3 Investigates homepage.