Some classic car enthusiasts in Nova Scotia spend thousands of dollars to get their cars to be repaired or repaired by professional auto body and mechanic shops, and they want to know if they will see their money or their cars again.
They said they repeatedly tried to negotiate with Curtis Customs Radical Garage and its owner Curtis MacLean in Elmsdale, NS, but the results were ignored, sometimes charging more than their original contract. Some said they were told that their vehicles would not be returned, while others would take them back in pieces.
Curtis Customs has been in business since 2005 and has won various honors over the years, including being a finalist 2014 East Hants Business Excellence Award. MacLean has also collaborated many times with the well-known auto manufacturer and auto news columnist Rich Evans.
Recently, however, more and more customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the work of this shop in an industrial park about 40 kilometers north of Halifax. Some customers have successfully sued McLean in small claims court.
McLean told CBC News in an email that he was unable to conduct an official interview on the complaint against him due to ongoing litigation.
Marc Dooley went to Curtis Customs for the first time in 2015, hoping to find expertise in car refurbishment. He said that it turned out that this was a “big mistake”, which caused headaches in the back and forth disputes with McLean over the years.
Dooley said he wanted to fix some rust and loopholes on his 2005 Lincoln pickup. He is from the Elmsdale area and said he noticed MacLean’s garage.
Dooley said: “He has a $6,000 solution, it’s just fixing the vulnerability and patching it, or a $30,000 solution, basically to give me a better car than a new car.”
Dooley said he and MacLean agreed on a price point of $30,000. Dooley paid half of the price in advance and paid the rest after the work was completed. Dooley said that an acquaintance of McLean told him that McLean was a bit slow to complete the work, but the work would be good.
“To be honest, I trust this man. I think he will be an excellent mechanic.”
Dooley’s car has been in Curtis Customs for almost six years, and he has been trying to retrieve it for the past two years.
Dooley said MacLean refused to return the vehicle and asked for more money.Dooley has contacted both parties Better Business Bureau (BBB) And the RCMP. The BBB told him that he said it could do nothing. He said the RCMP told him that they could help mediate the situation, but that was all.
A RCMP spokesperson told CBC News in an email that the force has responded to a complaint from a company in the Elmsdale Industrial Park where Curtis Customs is located.
“During these complaints, our members are involved in maintaining peace between all parties involved. These issues involve civil issues between private parties,” Cpl. Chris Marshall wrote.
‘This is my coffin’
Dooley’s Lincoln stayed in the shop, and he said he didn’t know where to start: “I think this is my coffin.”
And he is not the only one. Dooley was recently able to establish contact with others who had similar experiences at Curtis Customs.
Danny Hart and Kersten Hanke told CBC News that they gave MacLean a Can-Am Spyder, a three-wheeled motorcycle, as a $18,000 down payment for the refurbished Hart Nash Ambassador in 1939. Hart said that Ambassador Nash lost his parts during Curtis Customs and was unable to drive.
Nicholas Trenholm said in an interview that his 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo had parts removed. Another customer, Kevin Schreiner, said that his 1979 Ford pickup truck parts were taken away and McLean wanted to charge him more money.
Jim Downey said that after five years of traveling back and forth with MacLean, he lost nearly $25,000, but his 1969 Mustang has been torn to pieces.
Maurice Pommerville gave two cars to McLean in 2016, a 1967 Chevelle and a 1967 Camaro. He said his Chevelle was “destroyed” in the garage , Camaro’s parts were also removed.
Both Trenholm and Schreiner eventually took MacLean to small claims court and won. Schreiner received US$10,235 and Trenholm received US$12,500, but both said that they had never received the money from MacLean.
Pommerville also passed the small claims court and eventually retrieved the two cars he left in MacLean’s care, but he said it was a long and stressful process.
Pommerville initially agreed to lend his Chevelle to MacLean until the work of repairing his Camaro was completed, and then once completed, he would give Chevelle to MacLean.
The contract is “very clear,” Pommerville said. During his time when he owned Camaro, MacLean did not make any changes to Chevelle, just to make it suitable for the street. But one day, Pommerville said that he went to the store and found that Chevelle’s hood was destroyed in disbelief: “He cut off all the hood.”
Bomerville was very upset, but said he gave McLean another chance. However, after nearly four years of back and forth, Pommerville said he went to the store to check his car. He was shocked to see Camaro’s parts being removed and in a state of disrepair. He said he was subsequently turned away by McLean and told not to return to the store.
He finally submitted Against in court McLean won. McLean appealed, but it was unsuccessful.
MacLean was ordered to return the vehicle and its parts, and to pay Pommerville $426 to cover various costs related to the court proceedings.
Pommerville was able to retrieve two cars from the store’s parking lot, but still could not retrieve the parts. He said his next move is to submit a recovery order, which will allow the sheriff to confiscate the missing parts. It is also possible to seize McLean’s salary. He said that Chevrolet was seriously damaged and he had to sell it as a part.
“The carnage left behind is amazing,” Pomerville said. “From a sound point of view, people have lost a large part of their savings; they are saving to complete their dream project-missing. In some cases, the car is missing, so it’s just a shame. I really don’t want to This will happen to anyone else.”
Rob (RJ) McConnell, a former employee and bookkeeper of this store, provided Pommerville with a list of 9 names. He said that people owe money because their parts were sold, or they Paid for work that has never been done. He claims that the sum of the list exceeds $150,000.
In an interview, McConnell said that he still owed about $130,000, which was related to a business arrangement he reached with McLean during his work in McLean, involving parts procurement and rent payment.
McConnell opened a group on Facebook to serve people who have a poor customer service experience in the store. He said he didn’t like everything he saw while working there and was a witness in Pommerville’s small claims case against MacLean.
“I watched him take people’s car parts and sell them,” McConnell said.