A Missouri woman is suing a Wichita car repair shop for damage she says it did to her Ferrari.
Megan Hollenback says she sent her 1990 Ferrari 348 TS from her then-home in California to the Wichita-based mechanic's shop she trusted, AutoHouse Stuttgart, after its timing belt broke in 2015. But instead of successfully completing the needed repairs and performing requested routine maintenance, the shop further damaged the car and its engine, she claims in a lawsuit filed in Sedgwick County District Court on March 21.
By the time she picked it up, the lawsuit alleges, scratches and dents marred the Ferrari's paint, its interior was water damaged and its engine needed rebuilt for a second time - all of which was estimated to cost $40,000 to fix.
Donald Snook, an attorney for AutoHouse Stuttgart and its owner Reza Eftekhar, denied the allegations. He called the lawsuit "slanderous and defamatory."
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Hollenback's attorney did not return a phone message from The Eagle seeking comment on the case.
"Mr. Eftekhar has been in business since 1986 and has a longstanding reputation for high-quality and professional service," Snook said. The shop is located at 1106 E. Second St.
"When the timing belt breaks, especially on something like a Ferrari, it can cause extensive damage to other components" which can increase repair costs, he said.
Hollenback, he said, picked up the car before the all of the necessary repairs were complete because she wanted to sell it. The car, he said, was not damaged as a result of the shop's work.
In addition to damaging the car, the lawsuit accuses AutoHouse Stuttgart of breaching a contract, fraud and misrepresentation for allegedly telling Hollenback that "it had replaced old, worn out, damaged, or missing parts ... with new parts" when it supposedly hadn't.
Snook said Eftekhar did agree to do the work for Hollenback and performed the repairs as requested. But he said the amount she contends Eftekhar agreed to charge her for all of it - $11,000 - isn't true.
"She changed what she wanted done, and in fact Reza hasn't been paid for all of the parts and labor," he said.
"There is a whole lot of proof on our side that indicates that her claims are false," he added.
Hollenback is seeking more than $75,000 in damages. Her lawsuit alleges AutoHouse Stuttgart violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits deceptive and unconscionable business practices.
The retail value of Ferraris with the same model and year as Hollenback's is between $41,900 and $87,200, according to NADA's website. Neither the value of Hollenback's car nor the purchase price was mentioned in her lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Hollenback took "meticulous care of the vehicle's paint and body" and "invested time in maintaining the vehicle's mechanical parts" before she shipped the Ferrari to Kansas for the repairs in September 2015. When the car arrived at AutoHouse, the shop agreed to store the car until Hollenback could save the money needed for the repairs, which she paid in April 2016, the suit says.
After the shop started the work, Hollenback called to check on the Ferrari and was told the damage caused by the timing belt break "was more extensive than expected," the lawsuit says. When she contacted the shop again a few months later, it continues, Eftekhar told her the timing belt had damaged the car's head assembly "beyond repair," so she bought replacement parts that cost $2,718.
Later, the lawsuit says, Hollenback was told she needed to buy valves that were supposed to be included in the original $11,000 work agreement and photos she received of the car mid-repair "showed that the engine had been removed improperly."
Hollenback had a Kansas City repair shop pick up her Ferrari in November 2016. That shop, according to the lawsuit, told Hollenback the car's paint and body "was in bad condition, with large, deep scratches all over the vehicle." It also told her that a wrong diagnosis and "unworkmanllike repairs" caused the car to suffer "catastrophic failure" that required the engine be rebuilt a second time. The Kansas City shop estimated the repair cost to be about $40,000.
Snook, the attorney for AutoHouse, denied that AutoHouse's work was shoddy.
"He (Eftekhar) has never been sued by any customer or anybody in the 30-plus years he's been in business," he said. "He's never been sued, period."