My beautiful Trans Am heading to DTM in 2017

 

To whom it may concern and those at DTM Autowerks,

I must say, I was very excited in 2017, to finally get my 1986 Antique Trans Am refurbished.

As you see, this car was my VERY first car that I purchased in 1987 and it is VERY special to me.
It has always been a great car and I had it stored in a climate controlled garage before going to DTM.

My Trans Am still looked great, still started, ran fine and passed inspection.

It did have rust around the wheel wells and underneath but was not super noticeable.

My dream was to have my Trans Am restored,  back to being amazing and also to change the color, as I really dislike red.

However, I never thought it would be possible and I did not have the money.

Then I saw an ad for DTM……..

 

Here is the 6+ year time line of my ordeal with DTM Autowerks and my car is still not finished

February 2017

  • Keith posted on facebook about DTM.
    After speaking with Keith about DTM in 2017, I now thought that refurbishing my car was very possible.
  • I knew nothing about refurbishing a car.
  • Keith convinced me that DTM would do a fantastic job on my car.
  • I agreed to bring the TA to DTM in 2017 because I was told by Keith, that my Trans Am could be refurbished inexpensively
  • I was told, that since I had no timeline to get it done quickly, I could pay for parts only, the car could be worked on by the mechanics in down time to keep them busy and it could be used for advertising to help DTM.
  • This was a win/win.
    • The DTM employees could work in down time, get DTM’s name out there and this was great for me, since money was extremely tight.
  • I was able to put a 5000 down payment for parts and my TA was taken to DTM March 2017.
    • NOTE – to date I have never seen an invoice as to what my 5000 down payment went to

 

Items already purchased for Trans Am

  • I had purchased quite a few items for my Trans Am previously, like spoiler, dash and gaskets for the t-top and other things that went with the car to be used.  They were located in the back seat of the car and went with the car to DTM.
  • I am not sure if the items that went with my car were charged to me by DTM, as with all the people working on my car, may have thought they were purchased by DTM and charged me for them.

 

NOTE – Keep in Mind while reading this 6+ year ordeal

  • Without the agreement made to me by Keith of DTM in February 2017, my Trans Am never would have gone to DTM for anything. I never even heard of DTM nor knew of its existence.
  • Without the agreement made to me by Keith of DTM in February 2017, I would not have gone to DTM basically because I could not afford to pay full price
  • Without the agreement made to me by Keith of DTM in February 2017, if I was coming as a regular paying client, I would have received an estimate, and my car would have been a priority and completed in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Because this agreement was suppose to benefit DTM as well as me, I have been VERY patient, 6+ years patient

 

After reading everything I have been put through by DTM, how would you feel if you (or your mother, sister, girlfriend, wife) were treated this way by a business?

 

 March 2017

  • Keith spoke to me on the phone, letting me know when my car would be picked up from my home.
  • Keith further stated how excited they all were at DTM to have the privilege to restore my car

 

April 7, 2017

  • My Trans Am was picked up from my home and transported to DTM
  • After my Trans Am arrived at DTM in April 2017, over the next 9 months, I got a few email updates, from Keith.

 

Dec 2017

  • Pictures sent to me, via email, of progress, I assume from Keith
  • No invoices were sent

 

Dec 2017 – June 2019  (1.5 years)

  • Keith left DTM, sometime during this time frame, not sure when
  • I sent a few emails inquiring how my car was, I heard nothing for 1.5 years!!
  • No invoices, photos or progress reports were sent

 

June 2019

  • Chris emailed me stating they were wrapping up a few large projects and he would have more time for my car
  • Chris did not mention anything about changing my agreement with DTM
  • No invoices or photos were sent

 

Oct 2019

  • Email from Chris – Chris stated they were repairing the rust.
  • Chris did not mention anything about changing my agreement with DTM
  • No invoices or photos were sent

 

Dec 2019

  • Email to DTM – I had asked for photos as things progressed and Chris replied that he would do that.
  • Chris did not mention anything about changing my agreement with DTM
  • No invoices or photos were sent

 

March 2020

  • Email from Chris – Chris stated he had a new manager so no progress to report.
  • Chris did not mention anything about changing my agreement with DTM
  • No invoices, photos or progress reports were sent

 

June – Aug 2020  (3 months)

  • I called DTM a few times but Chris was not in the office
  • I finally stopped by DTM and spoke with Chris.
  • I was shocked that after 3 years, my car was a shell.
    • My Trans Am was basically sitting in disrepair,  totally stripped, nothing in it, no engine, different color fenders, hood was off, etc.  covered in an inch of dust and looking like it came from the junk yard.
  • Chris stated
    • Keith left and basically things are now changed for me and will cost much more……..
    • I am losing money on your car
  • Chris made me feel like I was a nuisance to him. He was very condescending
  • I thought to myself, you are not losing any money as I paid for any parts used and you were using my car to fill in time with your employees.
  • Then Chris insensitively said – well, you can take it home until you have money……..
    • I wanted to say – Ya, so I am to take home a car that looks like junk now???? Really????
    • Was DTM going to get my car back to how it arrived?? All one color, running fine inside and out, clean and passed inspection….
  • So, now the NEW plan according to Chris, was that I would be contacted soon with a new plan.
  • I felt totally gut punched

 

 

Aug 2020 – Dec 2020  (5 months)

  • Covid Struck
    • My business lost 85% in 2020 due to covid and we still have not recovered back to 100% in 2023
  • There was NO replies to any of my emails for the rest of 2020.
  • No invoices, photos or progress reports were sent
  • No new plan sent

 

 

Jan 2021

  • Email from Norm stating he was taking over my project
  • No invoices, photos or progress reports were sent
  • No new plan sent

 

 

Feb 2021 – February 2022  (1 year)

  • I sent a few emails but received no replies
  • No invoices, photos or progress reports were sent
  • No new plan sent

 

 

Mar 2022

  • Email from Norm
  • estimate for completion for about 51,877
    • GULP, DOUBLE GULP
    • Now what was suppose to be promised by DTM as inexpensive was VERY expensive
    • It certainly was not expected to be tens of thousands of dollars. I have never refurbished a car before.
    • I felt totally cheated and gut punched.
    • I felt I had NO choice, my car looked like junk
    • I budgeted for this estimate, putting everything on hold and borrowed where I could.

 

ABOUT THE ESTIMATE

  • The estimate should have been for work needed to be done from this date FORWARD, NOT PRIOR WORK
  • On the estimate I noticed that ALL the work done PRIOR was included
    • all the engine work, fenders, rust and body repair that was already done when I saw Chris and my car on August 2021 – Chris pointed this out to me
    • The estimate CHARGED me for ALL the LABOR that I was under the impression was NOT to be charged
    • $17490 for labor costs for work that was already done under the guise of NO labor costs, only paying for parts.
  • Also, my original $5000 payment that was paid when the car was taken in was not shown.
  • This is unethical and I felt I had no choice

 

 

April 2022 – June 2022 

  • As my Trans Am was being worked on during this time, Norm kept me in the loop and things were progressing.
  • Norm sent photos of progress
  • As things were completed and installed, I was invoiced and made payment when the bill reached 10,000.
  • I have NEVER not paid when Norm asked

 

Paint Color

  • Norm and I spoke on the phone about paint color.
  • My first choice was black (which is in the estimate)
  • Norm stated it was hard to get black paint perfect and to save money off the estimate, it would be best to go with another color.
  • Norm budgeted $8875 for BLACK paint in the estimate and Norm said we could shave of about $4000 for another color. So we would be UNDER BUDGET
  • Norm came by my business to drop off paint chips and ask a few other things, like ideas on stereo and interior, etc.
    • We discussed an upgraded computer stereo sound system with gps. We would look at the options when it was time.
    • I showed him the decal I wanted on the hood and he said that could be created in the DTM shop with no problem
  • Once I made my paint choice, Norm again stopped by to pick everything back up.
  • He was easy to work with.

 

Car Completion Dates

Norm said my car would be done and ready to go home

  • In August 2022
  • Then September 2022
  • Then October 2022

 

October 2022

  • Then Norm called and asked for a payment to get my car in the shop to be painted for October, indicating that payment was for the paint and any costs up to that point.
  • My car was scheduled for being painted in October and then Norm said it needed 3 months to cure, so completion would now be early part of 2023
  • Payment was made

 

 

Dec 2022

  • Next I received an email from Chris to call him, just before Christmas.
    • Chris apparently, could not wait until the following week AFTER Christmas to speak with me
    • I thought he was going to tell me great news, that my car was ready for completion and I could take it home!!
    • I was wrong – Chris was pretty short with me on the phone.  Stating Norm no longer worked there and that he was losing money on my car and so on. That the paint job cost him an extra 8500 out of his pocket and that had to be paid for right away.
    • Chris made me feel that it was not his problem that my car was not completed and went on to say that it would cost another 10000 to complete.
    • Chris also stated to me – well, you can take your car home until you have the money…….This was a very insensitive comment as it was the FIRST time he said it to me

I asked for Chris to send me photos of my car painted.
I have never received any photos of my painted car and have no idea how it looks after being painted.

Merry Christmas to me . Payment was made to DTM. ☹️

After getting off the phone with Chris

  • I was very upset
    • MY CAR WAS TO BE COMPLETED BY DTM INEXPENSIVELY by paying for parts only and DTM was to have employees work on it when they had down time.
    • DTM went back on its promise to me
    • Looking at the Nov 22 PAID invoice sent by Norm, there was $7000 for body work to be paint ready,
    • On the Mar 2022 estimate, there was also $12650 worth of body work that was on the estimate,
      • that body work was completed when I saw Chris & my car Aug 2020???
    • Also on that estimate, a rear spoiler for 900 that I had already purchased that came with the car.

 

DTM NEVER told me costs were going over estimate until Dec 2022 on the phone with Chris

  • Not once was I told the Mar 2022 estimate was not correct or that anything would cost extra.
  • In fact, I thought we would be under the estimate since money was saved not painting my car black…….
  • If the original March estimate needed to be revised after 4 months in (June 2022), or after 6 months in (August 2022), then why wasn’t it?
  • AND Why was I not told??

NOTE – it is too bad that you let Norm go as he was the only person that seemed to care about my car and what I wanted.

February 21, 2023

  • Email from Brian wanting to speak with me
  • We have a phone conversation where Brain states that he has no idea what is going on and will need to go through all the paperwork and get back to me by end of week, February 24

 

March 6, 2023

  • I email Brian asking for some answers

 

March 7, 2023

  • Brian replies via email – still working on trying to figure things out

 

March 10, 2023  

  • Brian emails he is still collecting info

 

April 28, 2023 – 7 WEEKS LATER – NOTHING

March 7, 2023

  • Email from Brian, still going through everything

March 10, 2023

  • Email from Brian, trying to collect more info, since Norm was let go, it is hard for me to find and see what was worked out

May 2, 2023 – another 6 weeks, no communication

  • I sent an email to Brian stating maybe he does not know everything.  Sent him a link to THIS information from the beginning

June 20, 2023

  • Spoke with Brian.  He was going to get me a list of items needed to complete my car
  • I would order necessary items from Classic Industries and Crutchfield

July 20, 2023

  • Met up with Brian and he gave me the item list needed

July 30, 2023

  • Everything ordered

August – December 2023

  • Items were delivered
  • Many were backordered and arrived at DTM during these months
  • The last backordered item delivered to DTM was the Dash Pad

December 2023

  • Message from Brian that DTM will be closed Christmas week when my Dash pad was to be delivered
  • I contact Classic Industries to delay shipping until after the first of the year

January 12, 2024

  • Texted Brian to ask if he had received my dash pad
  • No reply

January 18, 2024

  • Called DTM to speak with Brian
  • Was told that Brian was out working for his business
  • Was also told that they had no workers who could install my cars electrical
  • I asked for Brian to call me

January 24, 2024

  • Brian left a message for me to call him
  • I returned the call, Mark answered.  I was told that Brian was not there and that he is now the manager
  • He then went on to say that they had no one to finish my car
  • I stated that they should find out where my car could go to be finished at a reasonable cost
  • Mark stated he would speak with Brian and Chris and get back to me

 

 

A client can not make an informed decision if we are not told what is going on. 

The lack of communication and professionalism by DTM did not help me as a client in anyway.

Again –

Without the agreement made to me by Keith of DTM, my Trans Am never would have gone to DTM for anything.  I never even heard of DTM nor knew of its existence.

 

Ethical

  • I have run a business for over 32 years and would never treat a client as I have been treated by DTM
  • If I take on a job, telling the client I will NOT charge labor, I in good conscious will NOT charge labor
  • If I tell a client that we can do a job for X amount, and confirm with client.  I am ethically bound to follow through.  (If I have an ethical business)
  • If I quoted a client wrong, I learn from my mistake, eat the extra cost and make sure it does not happen again in the future to other clients.
  • It is my problem as the owner.

However, I understand estimates.  I have never refurbished a car, this is YOUR business.  An estimate should be pretty close and in case of overages, etc, there should be a clause that it could be X amount over.  That was never mentioned.  My car was with DTM for 5 years before I got an estimate.  There is no reason why DTM did not know my car pretty well, so the estimate should have been pretty spot on.

Trust

  • I trusted Keith when I was told that DTM could refurbish my car inexpensively with a win/win agreement
  • I trusted Chris when he said he was wrapping up a few big projects and would be working on my car and NEVER saying he would be going back on DTM’s promise to do this inexpensively
  • I trusted Norm when I was told that DTM could complete my car for the estimate.

 

Totals

  • Estimate given in 2017 – pay for parts only
  • Estimate given March 2022 total – 51,877.03
  • To date – Total paid to DTM – 54,400.00

 

Considering the original agreement was I only to pay for parts and no labor – Contrary to Chris’s statement of he is losing money on me, DTM has made money on me

 

Feeling Cheated

  • I am feeling VERY cheated by DTM at this point
  • First I was told that I could get me car refurbished by paying for parts only and DTM could use my car to keep the employees busy & advertising
  • Then after my car was a junk pile, I am told it will cost be over $50,000 to get it completed
  • Then I am told that it cost an extra 8500 for my car to be painted
    • On the estimate given to me by Norm, I was quoted 8875 to change my color to BLACK. I was told that black almost doubles the paint price.  We decided to go to a CHEAPER color to bring estimate down
  • Chris further stated that there was more rust that the guys in the shop did not see, which is why it cost 8500 more????
    • On the invoice given to me by Norm there is a 7000 charge to get my car paint ready? No one saw any more rust while doing 7000 worth of work?
  • Also, in an email dated October 2019 from Chris, I was told that DTM was working on repairing the rust.
    • So for the next 5 years, no one noticed anymore rust, Until it went in to be painted after $7000 to get it paint ready??
  • Also on the original estimate included a complete new interior, tires, all decals, new windshield and more.
    • All included in the March 2022 estimate, which now I am being told is apparently not included and would cost more…..
    • Totaling $10,060
  • Then in December 2022, Chris states it will cost an extra $10,000 to complete my car
  • I feel like I am being double and triple charged for things

 

Other Feelings

  • I am VERY angry at how I have been treated.
  • I am feeling that I have been lied to
  • I am feeling very disappointed in this whole ordeal
  • I am now VERY worried about my car.
    • So many people working on it, so many people not knowing what is going on.
    • So many people telling me one thing and then another person telling me something else.
    • Is my car really getting top quality work done?

 

Here is what I want – 

  • I want my car completed, cleaned and inspection sticker  by May 30, 2023

In my opinion It should be paid for by the surplus amount already paid to DTM – $27,550

  • How did I come to this amount –
    • I have paid for $17490 worth of labor that was done PRIOR to the Estimate in March 2022
      • That I had NO idea I was going to have to pay for as per the original agreement with DTM
    • The March 2022 Estimate includes $10,060 for interior, windshield, decals, tires, etc

However, I believe that Chris wants money and to be fair, let’s compromise

  • Chris stated on the phone that it would be about 10,000 to complete my car
  • With everything that has happened in the past 6+ years, I am willing to compromise with Chris/DTM 50/50 for completion, about $5000

I want my car completed inside and out

  • Includes all items that I will choose, as discussed with Norm previously
    • all interior, seats, carpeting, console, dash, Etc
    • Amazing computer Stereo and sound system with GPS
    • windshield (not sure what happened to my original windshield but was in estimate)
    • tires of my choosing
    • Decals to my specifications, created and placed on TA
    • All other work that needs to be completed to body, brakes, engine, seals, gas tank, all lines and hoses, gaskets, wiring, etc
    • Inspection Sticker
    • Cleaned inside and out

DTM standard warranty, 24,000 mile warranty in writing on all work, parts and labor starting from the date I pick up my car to go home.

DTM was to use may Trans Am in their advertising and calendar – this authorization has been rescinded by me, the owner

  • I do not want my car and any photo/video of my car to be used by DTM in any way
  • I do not want my car featured in DTM calendar
  • I do not want my car featured in print, on the web or social media by DTM or any employee or associate.

I will have my car checked bumber to bumber by my mechanic later.  For my peace of mind.

If anything is found to be wrong or under quality, DTM will repair/replace at DTM expense.

You must understand that DTM did destroy any trust I had with DTM, any associates and employees.

Let’s get my car completed by May 30, 2023.  6+ years is long enough.

Sincerely,

Dorinne Whynott

 

 

 

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