I spent last night writing an epic email to Stereo Masters, the place I visited while in search of a head unit. I talked on the phone with the same guy I saw a month and a half ago, and he actually remembered me, my car, and my head unit questions. He asked me to put everything that’s happened so far in writing. While it took some time to organize the information for him, it was all there thanks to my diligent blogging. (Who said these things were worthless?)
His response was quick and direct, which I appreciate. Unfortunately, he could only be as helpful as possible without actually helping me. Whoever works on this is going to want to start over. Since he knew I’m at a late enough stage not to want to cut my losses yet, he suggested I get a third party (i.e., a lawyer) to create a contract. So I spent some time thinking about how I want to approach that one.
Most lawyers give free consultations, and I want to be able to do it in person. This means I have to put my trip to Austin on hold and probably also spend some time figuring out a place to stay for at least a little longer while I straighten this out. Come hell or high water, I don’t not want to let this project make me ugly to the people who were just trying to help me.
I was surprised to find a message from Admir today, not too long after my morning run. He had samples ready for me to view. That was fast, considering how long I’ve been waiting for every other little thing he’s had to show me. I knew that this visit would be accompanied by an uncomfortable conversation, but I’m glad to have it out of the way.
He had changed his mind again and decided not to drill holes in the tinted glass. Instead, he put a layer of black, porous, heat-resistant hard foam between the light and the tinted glass and another layer of hard foam behind the cables. Each layer of foam is about three-fourths of an inch thick and surely cheaper than the piece of clear plexiglass that was supposed to go over the tinted piece, but that issue is minuscule compared to the other issues I have with him.
The sample headliner piece is two square feet. The left side as shown below had about 30 stars in blue and white scattered about an inch or two apart (cool). The right side had eight stars with a “shooting star” effect, which comprised of thin, wispy lines trailing the sparsely scattered points of light (shitty).
The picture I took has some glare from the window. But I think it’s quite obvious which side I expected to resemble the end result. He kind of tried to sell me on the shooting star idea, but I think it looks weak. And at this point, I don’t trust this guy to baby-sit my pet cockroach.
When he was done with his spiel, I told him why. I said I would consider buying another engine… online at one-fourth the price. He sat there dumbfounded. I told him that the product I found online was identical to the one he had purchased, and while I’m here, how about we count the cables coming out of this “custom built” engine he bought with my money?
Yep, there were five bundles of 30 cables, just like the one I found online. The person who sold Admir this part told him that he custom-made this thing with 250 cables. Again, as with everything else so far, why am I the one who has to point this stuff out?
I’m really annoyed that he even attempted for a second to make me take some of the responsibility for his mistake. He said something along the lines of “Well, I told you what it was going to be and you said you didn’t want spend a lot of time learning about this stuff.” First of all, I’m taking a much more active role in the customization of this car than almost any customer with my background has ever taken. Second, I shouldn’t have to learn anything. I should be able to rely on his expertise and trust that he’s going to make good decisions. Third, it’s now readily apparent that he is still learning about this stuff… ineffectively and at my expense.
This totally sucks, and I need to lawyer up. I explained that I would not give him any more money until I had a third party create a contract that will protect all of our interests (but given recent events, mostly mine). He made a flat-out poor decision that anyone with experience would have known not to make, and I can’t trust him with any more cash.
He had some more prices on the remaining items I need for my sound system. I wrote everything down so I can research the parts online myself. He had this semi-indignant attitude of “Well if you think you can do better, be my guest.” I had to briefly explain that I don’t want this kind of stuff to be up to me. I’m paying him to be able to get the parts he needs and put them in my car. He has shown me that he is not resourceful enough to do this on his own, so I have no choice.
He also told me about how much labor was going to be, which I am finding an almost laughable topic to broach at this point because I feel like I’ve been holding his hand the entire time. I have the money and don’t mind paying… if the work is done as expected. So yeah, the time to involve a lawyer is long overdue.
I would never say this to someone’s face, but he’s lucky I don’t sue his ass. This is negligence. But there’s not much I can do about it at this very moment, since it’s Saturday evening and most of the lawyers I know are getting ready to booze it up like professionals.