This could set a legal precedent which affects many…
Whether you’re a car enthusiast, investor, or a shop owner, the recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling for Al Poller and Deb Poller vs. Okoboji Classic Cars, LLC could have big ramifications. The case involved a 1931 Chevrolet the Pollers took to Okoboji Classic Cars for restoration work after seeing the results of the shop’s labors. However, the result was anything but what they Pollers said they wanted and that’s where the legal trouble began.
This reminds us of the lawsuit NFL player Malik Jackson brought against West Coast Customs last year. Read about that here.
According to paperwork filed with the court, the Pollers paid $45,000 up front for the restoration of their ’31 Chevy. They claimed to have made a verbal agreement with Okoboji Classic Cars that the final bill would not exceed that amount. Most people don’t have bottomless pockets to pay for a car restoration, so it’s understandable why setting a limit to what can be spent would be important.
The kicker came when the shop provided a final bill for $112,367, well over twice what the Pollers said they could afford. After the case went to district court and both sides presented their case, the judge ruled Okoboji Classic Cars was due the balance of $67,396. However, that decision was appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court’s ruling.
In the decision, the Iowa Supreme Court explains the shop had violated the law by keeping the classic Chevrolet if it wasn’t paid the balance of the bill. It also clarified that in Iowa the law states a supplier must notify a consumer of several rights and provide authorization forms for work, something Okoboji Classic Cars failed to do. The court also ruled that the oral agreement between the Pollers and the shop was binding. In other words, a shop can’t just run up the bill after a customer tells them to limit work to a specific dollar amount.
This case reminds us of the lawsuit reportedly filed by Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Malik Jackson against West Coast Customs last summer. Jackson claimed the shop kept asking for more money on projects after they had agreed to a certain budget. As far as we know, that case is still making its way through the court system, but there’s always a possibility of the parties settling privately.
If you want to read the Iowa Supreme Court document, check it out here. Just be warned, it’s 47 pages of legalese.