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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, i thought i'd sign up on here and put a warning post up about one of your members. I wasn't going to, but after finding more faults 3 months on, it was the last straw.

sxowner(Alex Livingston) Agree'd to take my car on for body work repair/resoration on my 1971 Hillman Imp Deluxe. He was recommended, although i now wish i had went to my second choice for all of the reasons you will soon see.

I dropped the car off at his on May 30th 2011 with a timescale of 5 weeks, maybe even 3-4 if he wasn't busy. (I asked to have it done in time for 2 weeks before the scottish car show at ingleston(show was the 15th July) so i could take it - and was told no problem)
And here was my in initial invoice

Obviously with him saying it would be done in 6 weeks, 1 week(5th june) in i was eager to find out what progress had been made, so dropped an email, asking if any had been made, only to be met with:
"no just making my plan for the front parts, the bit around the window and the metal below are the hardest parts. rest is fairly straight forward, it will be getting my full attention this week."

Fair enough i thought, get the whole thing planned then fire through it. So i held off asking again until the 12th, a week later. Got a replying telling me he had
"got dashh off and marked up where im cutting it."

I thought it was taking a while to make little progress but rather than cause problems i said nothing.
Again i waited another week, and on the 18th i asked if there was anymore progress, and was told
"started cutting, very carefully, should be more to see by end of week."

So three weeks in, and he had just started cutting? Meh, i stayed content not causing any arguments, but started to think that his 6 week deadline was going to be pretty tight...

On the 21st of june i asked if he had a rough time to when it'd be finished as time was getting on, and genuinely got the response "Ha ha, it will be done when it is done. il keep you up to date as i go along. had to go to hospital this week, so slowed down a little."
Now the hospital part doesn't bother me, these things happen! but the first part pissed me off, and with so little progress having been done before this it was starting to get to me.

With it getting to me how slow things were, once i got that reply, i came out and said what i was thinking "Was interested to see if you thought it would be completed in the next 2 weeks(that would be the 5 weeks). I know it's probably unlikely but there's a show in just under 4 weeks that i planned to attend (hence throwing all the money at the car and saving up to get it all done in a oner) and was just wondering if it would be possible? If not i may try to find someone else that could get it done in time, just since its the biggest show on the Scottish calendar and really wanted to get it out for this years show.

Alex quickly replied with "il try to get it done on time, but i will be finishing it.."

With him seeming so determined with it, i felt i may have came across abit harsh, so apologised
"sorry if i came across as a dick, just like i say, i really want to try get it done for this show, and as you've probably noticed i'm abit impatient. But like i say, just want to try and get it out if i can, not trying to create problems or anything"

He said "not a problem, should be ok for then." Those magic words there, i should never have listened to, and took the car back there and then, but stupidly i didn't.

On the 28th of June i asked for updates, and was told " its looking very sorry for its self right now, but should look better in the next couple of days. il ty and send you some pics tomorrow."

I got some pictures on the 30th, supposedly taken a week before, but not of any welding, just where things had been cut away, but at least i knew there had been some progress!

On the 12th July(obviously now no chance of being complete for the show!) i sent the dimensions of the windscreen i was asked for so the metal could be put in at the right size.

On the 14th of July, i asked what sort of timescale we were now looking at since i had missed the show.
Alex told me "hoping to be complete soon, possible end of weekend/begining of next week. but, better add a few days on that, so lets say, for now, end of next week. most jobs on it are taking more itme than i counted on."

On the 19th, i asked if it was still on track to be picked up by the end of the week, much to my sadness i was met by another disappointing email in reply
"still got a bit of work to do, always takes longer than i think, will keep you informed."

On the 28th July, i had got the first ever update that i didn't ask for
"had to do a few jobs on the doors, there been some cataloy added at some point, and the nearside sill needs some attention for most of the length. try to get some pics to you later."

it was at the font of the door low down, quite thin but covering very thin metal. the small hole grew as i cleaned it (with a grinder) and exposed some more farther back, none of them are big jobs, just take a bit of time.

Although, it meant the job was getting done properly(apparently) so i was happy that it had been found and fixed.

On the 29th, i was told there was more rust than he though, and the arches were hard to fit(didn't fit exactly correct) So more time seemed fair.

On the 30th, Alex asked for my old bonnet
"need to double check the height of the valence above the wing, ie the exact contour of the bonnet edge. been playing on my mind for a while, was going to check it with your new f/g bonnet when you got it, i was just looking at your pics when i saw the old bonnet. im sure its ok, but want to check..!!"

Again, meant the job must of been getting done properly, he could check panel gaps at the front end now(not that it made bugger all difference as you will see later.)

He asked if i wanted the orginal repaired(I wasn't going to bother as i could get a Brand new Fiberglass one for £100, so surely repairs would come close to that anyway so not worth it) I made Alex aware of that, but said he would have a look at it.

On the 30th i also asked if he wanted more of the balance paid(it stops me spending it) So another £250 was agreed, and i was told "should be sending it home to you by the end of the week, i hope !! ha ha shouldnt make promises, always takes longer than i think."

I got sent a few more pictures on the 3rd of August, was finally getting there!

I was sent the final invoice on the 9th August:

On the 9th i was also told it should be ready to take at the weekend(13th was the Saturday)
So i asked my neighbor to take me through with the trailer again, he agrees, only for me to be told on the 14th(the Sunday it won't be ready as more work needed done)
With me still being at school, and having paid £1040, the bank balance was at 0, and i was due money to my parents, so made sure there was no more charges for the work that still needed done, and i was told there wasn't!

On the 22nd i was told "going to have to charge you for the drivers sill, will keep it to a min. tho"

That minimum was £120

So the total is actually £1160

I finally got to collect the car on the 30th of August, and i'll say this here so Alex can't come on and say i've been unfair, he did say "if there anything you want done or changed, after you have it let me know. will pop up to your bit and do it."

So i collected it, with him not being there, only his missus to take the money( i knew this before hand, just assumed he was busy) But i do now wonder if it was because of the state of the work. I quickly chucked it on the trailer due to the rain and brought it home, and went out to work.

Later on when i finally started to look over it, my heart started sinking, the work was terrible, i couldn't believe it, all that time and money, and BOOM, wasn't done right

Here are the pictures of the finished article: project/problems/

These pictures don't do it justice, i need to get new ones of everything i've uncovered by removing filler and having a decent look round

When i saw these i sent this email(you can see the list of problems here)

  • First of all the arches have dents on them, which were brand new panels with no marks on them. See picture 1 and 2.
  • The channel on the passenger side A pillar goes off at an angle. See picture 3
  • There is a huge panel gap on the passenger side between the door and the new scuttle panel. See picture 4.
  • The welds on the passenger sill have not been ground back. See picture 5.
  • The rear crossmember no longer fits in, meaning i can't put the engine in, going to have to be pushed out using one of those chassis repair rams. See picture 6
  • Half of the lip along the bonnet is still rusty/rotten. See picture 7.
  • There is a few places that have been cut into while cutting out old metal, but have not been welded up, been advised this is dangerous since it's on the A pillars. See pic 8,9,10. And one under the bonnet on the scuttle lip, see picture 11.
  • You said you were going to flatten straighten out the front panel, you only seem to have put filler on the flat bit, and straightened the chassis leg abit, not touched the bottom of the panel. See picture picture 12.
  • The scuttle panel on the passenger side is about 10mil higher than the bonnet, which it's not on the drivers side. See picture 13.
  • On the drivers side, you have ground back the sill, but missed a bit that needs repaired. See picture 14

Also, i don't know where any of the nuts/screws/bolts go for the dash board, or any other parts that were un done go as they were all just left in a dish?

Because of this, i'm going to have ask for the money back so i can put it into a body shop to get repaired... I have had some opinions on the work done, and they also feel it should be booked into a body shop.

Alex replied with :
Arches, yes they were new but extremely bad fitting. Small dent caused by making both inner and outer fit, needs filled.
A pillar, cant see it. ?
Gap on passenger side. There is a big difference in the gaps on both sides, prob. to do with front end damage.
Welds not ground, if they need grounded not a prob.
Rear cross member not fitting ? I did not alter anything there.
The front A pillars have a substantial metal piller which is welded, what you see is the metal trim.
I did flatten panel, look closer, bottom section needs a new air box.
Scuttle panel, need to see it again.
Missed a bit ? need to see it.
Dashboard is left off cause you need to paint the car, thought it would be easier, there only 5 screws holding it, anybody could fit it.

These are all small problems that can be easily dealt with, you, and your dad visited my place several times, and praised my work ?? I asked you to come and inspect it before delivery which you did.?? This was an extremely rusty old imp with big front end damage, which extends over to the drivers side. To repair this would involve removing the air box and making a new one.
I have never had any problems with any work i have ever done on any car.. whether it be mechanical or body, this is a first for me..
I offered to come up take care of any problems in my last email. I now feel the issue is not me or the car, but you realise how much work is still left to finish it.

In addition to this there was a considerable of body filler on both sides of the car, which was not known to me, the Imp had been damaged on both sides.

During the time the car was here many people watched the car progress, among them, car body builders, I talked to them at length about your car and they saw and approved the work I had done. At the end as you know i had it inspected by two seperate welders.
I worked more hours on this car than i want to remember, you know this. If you where not happy with any part of it you had plenty of chances to speak up about any problems. I even said to you about the dashboard being left off, and you were fine with that.
There is clearly more to this than just the job, family issues, money, i dont know, BUT i will make good any of the small repairs needed.
I suggest you return the car to me, with a proper list, and we will talk about any work needing done.

I didn't even reply to this email, i had no money left for any repairs(as you can read, he was prepared to fix them all anyway) And i had no means of transport as i had already annoyed my neighbor enough with it.

I also couldn't get the bonnet to open once he had put it back on, but when i asked, said he hadn't touched it, i ended up having to split the pins on the hinges to get it off, he told me it opened when he had it, but yet when i opened it there was tools of his inside, perhaps couldn't get in to get them back?

  • Alex was working where the cross member goes in, as he replaced metal on both sides of it on the lower rear corners(obviously unbraced)
  • Also, the bonnet that he has only repaired half of(the half he done is uneven, not original shape) and took £80 off me for this? I could of had brand new FG for £100, as he knew!
  • The damage on the front end was nothing to do with the panel gaps on each side between the scuttle and door, as they weren't there before, and he replaced the scuttle, so there for set the panel gap himself. Oh and remember using the bonnet to check? Look at the photos one side is way to high!

Since then i've found more problems
Every single bit of filler he has put on the car i've grinded off, i'll try get pictures up tonight of the welds that were hidden behind that, they were atrocious like the rest of the car, i took the panel card off, and found he's also melted through wires for the rear electrics, and cut through one of the heater hoses(Repaired with a 90 degree corner bit of metal pipe.
I've had many people out to look at the welds, who all say he should be embarrassed, i'll get more pictures up tonight for you all to see. Me and a friend started to repair some of it last night and have started rewelding his welds, along with doing a repair on the sill that he completely missed:rant:

I did go through and see it at stages of the built, admittedly i should of took someone who knew what they were looking at, i went through and thought it was fine, but i didn't get close inspections just standing looking at it, being 17 and not having any bodywork experience was perhaps a bad move and like i say, a reason to take someone to look at it with me.

Just thought i'd put this up to warn everyone, i doubt i'll ever see any of my £1200 again, even once the small claims process has been finished, but if i can at least stop other people being ripped off, some good has come of it.


Premium Member
28,417 Posts
I've seen his work in the flesh, truly awful. Taking Chunk, Shaba and big Paul along with you to get a refund would be a good shout Ciaran.

96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like the only way forward to me!
Worst case,i use a fiver of fuel, on the other hand, i may get money back

19,034 Posts
mate i really do feel for you, and do hope you get it sorted soon

as for TJ take Lisa instead lol she will do more damage

Premium Member
4,596 Posts
This is shocking,in the pics the work looks awefull.My first car years ago a mk1 fiesta needed new sills that I welded myself (the first welding I ever did) and they looked 1000times better than those welds.Hope you get it all sorted.I think your due money back on this.

14 Posts
Really sorry to see these pics mate, and here the story, Im from a bodyshop background and simply cannot believe that someone would give a clients car back to them like that!

I think it says it all when he wasn't there on collection day, when completing a job for someone one of the best feelings is seeing a customers face light up at the good work you've done, seeing the customer so happy, but him not being there really does say that he bloody well knew what you would react like, and rightly so.

Again so sorry and I really do hope you get to see some money back.

70 Posts
Gutted to read this mate, have you got it sorted yet?
I can arrange for me and a few of the boys to pitch up in cammo with rifles if you need lol

1,877 Posts

32 Posts
im sure hes never had a problem with his work before, hes probably covered up the cock ups with catty, sorry to hear this bud but id be heading straight to trading standards as i cant see £1200 worth of work here just a total mess and a bank balance of 0, spread the word as word spreads fast, that is awful workmanship and he should be ashamed of that
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