OAK GROVE, Mo. — It was Jan. 9 when Devin and Jennifer Slimmer dropped off their 2014 Taurus at T&G Automotive. They needed the water pump replaced. It was a job that supposed to take about a day.
More than 40 days later they have yet to get it back.
The Slimmers say all they have heard from T&G Automotive are excuses. Getting in touch with the owner of T& G Automotive Matt Coin has been a struggle.
“He’s in and out a lot and we don’t know where he is,” Jennifer Slimmer said she was told by a woman answering the phones at the car repair shop.
When they do reach owner Matt Coin, the news is rarely good. The repair job that he told them would cost about $1,400 keeps climbing, first to $1,700, then to $2,000 and then $2500.
Even then, the repair never seems to happen.
By January 19, 10 days after dropping off their car, the Slimmers informed T&G Automotive that they would be picking up their car that day – ready or not.
They arrived at 4:30 pm. For two hours they waited. Finally, at 6:30 pm, owner Coin pulled the car out of the shop and took it for a 20 minute test drive. The Slimmers were hopeful until Coin told them he needed to make a few more minor adjustments, but would have the car ready to pick up the following day.
“We heard nothing, nothing , nothing,” Mrs. Slimmer said.
After another week had passed, the Slimmers showed up again at T&G Automotive, but this time they brough Oak Grove Police. Again, they demanded their car back. But the woman at the desk told them that only Matt Coin could return their car and he wasn’t at work.
“Then please get him on the phone,” Mrs. Slimmer said she told her.
When Coin got on the phone, he said he couldn’t give them their car back because it was completely torn apart. He had determined it needed a new timing chain.
An automotive expert told FOX4 Problem Solvers that a good mechanic would have noticed the timing chain was bad at the same time he replaced the water pump, instead of waiting another week to make that diagnosis.
By this point, 40 days had passed and the Slimmers were giving up hope that the car would ever be repaired. They had taken pristine care of the Taurus since buying it new and hoped to give it to their son when he leaves for college this fall.
Now they aren’t sure whether they’ll ever see the Taurus again. They said T&G Automotive has refused to allow them to inspect the car or even remove their personal belongings.
That’s why the Slimmers called FOX4 Problem Solvers.
Problem Solvers paid a visit to the Oak Grove shop and met with that same woman who the Slimmers say is always behind the front desk, but never has any idea where owner Matt Coin is.
Seconds after walking through the day, with our camera rolling, the woman immediately called Coin telling them FOX4 was in the lobby.
We told Coin we were planning on airing a story about this 40-day car repair saga and were eager to hear his side.
Coin insisted the whole ordeal would not have dragged out this long, but he said the Slimmers were difficult customers and he was having trouble getting them to agree to his bill. The Slimmers told us they have never actually seen a bill.
So we asked Coin how much the Slimmers owed him. He said he’d first have to add it up.
The final bill was $2,500, about $1,000 more than the Slimmers were initially told when dropping off their car. Coin said the new price included the water pump, the timing chain, new spark plugs and a thermostat.
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Although the Slimmers were skeptical of the much higher price tag, they agreed to pay it just to get their car back
The happy ending to this story is that the Slimmers now have their Taurus again – although they say it’s running much rougher than when they dropped it off.
They plan to take the Taurus to different mechanic to have their $2500 repair job inspected. One thing they know for sure, they said, is that they’ll never use T&G Automotive again.