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Panel beater living in my campervan

By ThatUniStudent - 17 January 2012 66

After having my campervan in for repairs for almost a month and a half, I was alerted by it’s alarm late last night. That itself is not unusual, it has a motion sensor alarm that sends me text messages when it is set off. I get them all the time when it is on, but it was programmed to only send them outside of business hours. Anyway I got one last week near to 10pm so I drove down to the panel beaters to investigate. Sure enough the lights in the campervan were on. So I grabbed a rather large and convenient car lug wrench and went to investigate. Instead of a crook, there’s the panel beater making himself at home in the back of my campervan. I stood there wondering what to do, and after trying to yell at him he switched off the light and went to sleep. The van at the time was in a fenced yard where I could not get to it.

So the reason why there’s been no work on my van is that the panel beater is now using it as a temporary home. 🙁

So anyway I rang him and demanded he start work on the van, got the usual promises and bullcrap from him. Last night the alarm went off again so I went to investigate and there’s someone asleep in the back of the van again. They were snoring loudly and didn’t wake up even when I shook the van. I didn’t have the spare key on me so I could not force him out of it.

I’ve had enough and will go claim the van back tomorrow. But after a month and a half I’ve got a van that still needs work on the rust, that has devalued. That now has batteries that were new and are now a month and a half older. Plus I’m paying for ongoing costs like insurance etc.

I checked the ACT Fair Trading web site and found a link to the ACT Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Industry) Act 2010

http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2010-16/default.asp

On page 17 of the PDF version, section 25 it states:

“Licence condition—time to carry out work
It is a condition of a licence that the licensee—
(a) complete motor vehicle repair work in a reasonable time; and”

So I figure a week would have been a reasonable time, a month and a half is not. I think it is about time this guy lost that licence. In theory I should complain to the Office of Regulatory Services, but has anyone done anything like this before? Any tips on if I am wasting my time? Any suggestions on a better solution?

What’s Your opinion?


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66 Responses to
Panel beater living in my campervan
schmeah 3:32 pm 17 Jan 12

Sorry, this sounds outrageous – borderline unbelievable ..

I suggest you actually name the panel beater in question because this sort of behaviour is really unacceptable. If you are unwilling to do that, take photos and post them to RiotAct, this guy will be out of business in no time.

rosscoact 2:43 pm 17 Jan 12

take a photo and tweet it with the name of the panel beater

colourful sydney rac 2:17 pm 17 Jan 12

PickedANickname said :

ohhh sounds like a job for Today/Tonight!

Even they wouldn’t touch something this concocted.

PickedANickname 2:04 pm 17 Jan 12

ohhh sounds like a job for Today/Tonight!

Hank 1:26 pm 17 Jan 12

poetix said :

Is he Swedish?

Was he wearing socks and sandals when you dropped the camper off?

colourful sydney rac 1:20 pm 17 Jan 12

quewastaken said :

I’m involved with the industry and am in and out of panel shops every day and I’d love to see you name and shame the responsible shop.

And if you are going to take this further, even if you’re taking it to the owner (assuming this isn’t a chain and you haven’t been dealing with him already), GET PROOF. Video, photos, anything that can prove someone has been living/sleeping in your van.

9 times out of 10 the boss will turn around and defend his workers and if it gets to a stage where you are in court, it’s very easy for him to say “My panelbeater/painter was working on the car after hours” or something along the lines of that. Look at it this way, if the guy is being allowed to live in a customers vehicle, they’re going to go out of their way to keep him out of trouble.

Unless of course they ARE working on it after hours. Which of course is entirely possible.

I am willing to bet, London to a brick, that no such evidence will arise.

Instant Mash 1:17 pm 17 Jan 12

Just make yourself at home in his workshop. There’s not much he can do about you when you have all of his tools too.

quewastaken 1:09 pm 17 Jan 12

I’m involved with the industry and am in and out of panel shops every day and I’d love to see you name and shame the responsible shop.

And if you are going to take this further, even if you’re taking it to the owner (assuming this isn’t a chain and you haven’t been dealing with him already), GET PROOF. Video, photos, anything that can prove someone has been living/sleeping in your van.

9 times out of 10 the boss will turn around and defend his workers and if it gets to a stage where you are in court, it’s very easy for him to say “My panelbeater/painter was working on the car after hours” or something along the lines of that. Look at it this way, if the guy is being allowed to live in a customers vehicle, they’re going to go out of their way to keep him out of trouble.

Unless of course they ARE working on it after hours. Which of course is entirely possible.

RedDogInCan 12:22 pm 17 Jan 12

Remove your campervan NOW. If the panelbeater can’t afford a place to live then what other bills can’t he afford to pay. Remove your property before the creditors come calling and seize everything in sight.

poetix 12:21 pm 17 Jan 12

Is he Swedish?

dpm 11:40 am 17 Jan 12

DermottBanana said :

You’ve let this go on for 6 weeks?
He obviously saw you coming a mile away.

Not sure about that! How many panel beaters are there that think: “Awesome! A home to live in!” when they get a van to work on??
Funny story though!

DermottBanana 11:12 am 17 Jan 12

You’ve let this go on for 6 weeks?
He obviously saw you coming a mile away.

harvyk1 11:10 am 17 Jan 12

I’m with JessP, since they have been using your van, charge them rent. Explain that if they don’t pay the rental bill, and do the repair within a time period (specify the time exactly and hold them to it) explain that you will take them to fair trading. Also explain that you will be taking them to the small claims court to enforce the invoice.

JessP 10:55 am 17 Jan 12

Funny. Guess not for you though.

How about when you pick it up you charge him rent for use of the van? Say $100 a night?

Dilandach 10:44 am 17 Jan 12

See fair trading first, see what they say. If this panel beater has a boss or the business has an owner, approach them and see what they say. If you approach the panel beater in question first before going to anyone higher on the totem pole than he is, he’s likely to clean out his gear.

…but if he’s the boss and owner, not sure.

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