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Thread: antique tractor dilema

  1. #1
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    antique tractor dilema

    When I gave up the cattle and sold my acreage, my antique Massey-Harris 44D tractor was no longer of use to me. It had sprung a mysterious oil leak and I had it taken to a local repair shop. Their job was to fix the leak. I checked with them several times. Finally they told me I needed a new starter. That was a surprise because it had never failed on me but I had no way to prove them wrong. Now finding an antique starter is no easy task. Weeks, and many-many phone calls and e-mails later, I located one. Took to shop. Months passed they never called me. I called their shop, got voice mail. Went in, they were always busy, said they would get to it after fixing tractors for guys who really needed theirs. That, I could sympathize with and didn't argue. Finally, months later, I got an answer. They had fixed many things they were not told to do. But they said it was needed. Naturally, the bill is huge. The leak, BTW, was a hose. Just made such a mess I couldn't locate. It's a family operation, buncha brothers, I never talk to same guy twice. Well, they have it for sale. I think, I'll just let them sell it and pay the bill out of the proceeds instead of paying promptly. After all, eight months should be adequate and they, IMHO, should have called me with progress reports. BTW, Tod can look out the front door of his shop and see it. That said, I'm going to miss it but have no further use for it.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
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    Gotta say Frank, if you took it in for a leak to be repaired and never gave them the go ahead for the additional work, the hose is all you should be responsible for. Seems a little underhanded to me.

    Tell Tod to go ahead and get it! He could plow that big field behind his shop!

  3. #3
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    Hi Frank,

    I have to jump in here with Ed. I don't know anything about tractors, but I do know about right, wrong and people taking advantage. Seems to me you have a solid basis to go to small claims court, or whatever its equivalent is in your area. Like Ed said, if you didn't authorize the repairs, you shouldn't be held accountable for them. Just my $.02. Looks like a real nice machine too.

    Ken

  4. #4
    Hi Frank.

    The first thing I would do is to get an itemized bill. Be ready to drive the tractor away right then. After all, you need to take it for a test run. Then I would pay them for the leak repair and the starter motor repair. After that I would tell them that all the other work was not approved, and that in your opinion was not needed. But, just because you are such a really nice guy, you will pay them for the cost of the parts used. If you have a big burly friend, take him along for "moral support." A better "convincer" would be a friend that is a deputy sheriff. Of course, there is always the JP court.

    Do Not allow them to sell it for you. Worst case, take it home, cover it up, and let it rest in the barn. If it is truly an antique tractor, it will be like money in the bank.

  5. #5
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    I have spent a lot of time observing the small claims court. It is same court and judge as municipal (small crimes) court. I've been there as a newspaper reporter, deputy, bail bondsman and as a debt collector bringing suits. Bottom line with issues like this is 'did I receive benefit from the work performed?'. Answer, yes. I would still owe the money. Some states have laws that clarify situations like this but most don't. Years ago I took some business law courses. A case example often given involves a roofer who put a new roof on house 'B' when he should have done house 'A'. Owner of house 'B' must still pay because he received benefit from the job, wanted or not. Currently, I don't have a negotiating tool in this matter. They are on a highly visible location and would have better luck than me selling at home.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  6. #6
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    I hope you can add in some of the cost to the sale of the tractor! Maybe you should tell them that you want to get $X out of the tractor and anything over and above that is theirs to keep! Might give them some incentive to get the best price for you!

  7. #7
    Frank said:"I've been there as a newspaper reporter, deputy, bail bondsman and as a debt collector bringing suits. "

    Well Frank, ther is the whole problem. You can't hold a job!

  8. #8
    You kind of got the short end of the stick, but at the same time in reading between the lines it sounds like your tractor was a bit rough. I have no idea what you have for a machine, but not every old tractor is worth keeping. Its hard because like you once I had to trade in my old 1958 Ford 900 Wide Front End Diesel Powered tractor. Only 1500 were made, but it was in rough shape and I needed the money to make the down payment on a new one. Yes it was my Grandfather's tractor and it had many miles and many fond memories, but sometimes things just aren't worth keeping.

    Also keep in mind that in rural areas, lawsuits sometimes cost far more than they are worth. I am not talking money here either.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis S Johnson View Post
    ..........Also keep in mind that in rural areas, lawsuits sometimes cost far more than they are worth. I am not talking money here either.
    Yeah, especially if you ever need them to do any work for you again.

    I'm confident that Frank will get it sorted, he is no ones fool
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis S Johnson View Post
    You kind of got the short end of the stick, but at the same time in reading between the lines it sounds like your tractor was a bit rough. I have no idea what you have for a machine, but not every old tractor is worth keeping. Its hard because like you once I had to trade in my old 1958 Ford 900 Wide Front End Diesel Powered tractor. Only 1500 were made, but it was in rough shape and I needed the money to make the down payment on a new one. Yes it was my Grandfather's tractor and it had many miles and many fond memories, but sometimes things just aren't worth keeping.

    Also keep in mind that in rural areas, lawsuits sometimes cost far more than they are worth. I am not talking money here either.
    You are right about lawsuit not being worth the trouble and money. It is hard to dispute 'I said/he said' issues. And impossible for judges to sort out. Memories are fragile things. And with four brothers sticking up for each other the balance would not be in my favor. I'll just negotiate with them and probably end up taking a lower price on the tractor sale.
    But, it is an excellent tractor. Restored before I bought it. It has another 50 years of use left. If I had more land, I would keep it.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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