Seldom will "air" being trapped in the porosity of the composite
material cause bubbles. Any bodyman worth his salt knows that solvent
and water needs to be baked out or allowed to thoroughly dry before
you paint a composite body part. It's the liquid that expands and
lifts the paint, seldom will just air lift the paint. That includes
all of the cars that have them, like Buick whose front fenders have
been made from the same stuff for years. Also if he used a stripper it
may have still been active when he painted it, another no, no.
He screwed the pooch, time to talk to the BBB and your AG. Then get
some printed information to prove your point, ( I doubt a news group
reply will do it), and take him to small claims court, if their $
limit will cover it.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. of course, that is only good
advice if you want to catch flies.
Still, you might try talking to him nicely, say you know that the bubbles
are caused by 1. liquid that soaked into the bare panels that he didn't bake
out and are now leaching out with time, 2. stripper that was not completely
cleaned and neutralized, or 3. insufficient body prep. Leave him an out and
he might take it.
Ask him how he would like to handle fixing it. Realistically, he should fix
it for free, but in the big scheme of things, it will cost you to get that
free job, unless your dad or brother is an attorney. So figure that if he
offers to fix it and it only cost you a $100 or so, then that may not be a
If he refuses, then you can get tough, and tell him will pursue other means
and see him in court. If you get to this point, BY NO MEANS have your car
in his shop, now or in the future. If it is in and you need to complete the
bill to get it out, pay right now and get it out. DO NOT tell him you will
see him in court and then leave to get the money to pay the bill. A quick
over-rev of the engine while you are gone, some pebbles or small nuts in the
intake, etc. and you have a car with major problems. I'm sure that most
shops have enough pieces of scrap engines that a few broken piston rings in
the intake and there is no way to tell he did it.
Then follow through. If small claims has a limit high enough to cover, you
are best off here. You don't need an attorney in many states but the
business does. (first victory, he has out of pocket expenses.) The judge
tends to pull for the customer unless you have some outrageous claim. Some
hard evidence of what causes the paint to bubble (painting fiberglass books
from library, bookstore, etc.) and he is done.
You might get a statement from Dad. He has enough experience painting, he
can via email even get me to paint a decent coat.
You could also run it pass another unrelated body shop and ask for an
estimate and a request as to what caused the bubbles. If they don't know
the other shop and don't know what you are doing, it would be pretty strong
evidence in your favor against him.
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