Annie's Mailbox: What do I say to a friend who improperly fixed my car?

Dear Annie: My father and I co-own a vehicle. I recently had a mechanic friend install some parts for me as payment for babysitting his stepdaughter. After he completed the repair, more problems arose.

My father took the car in to the dealership and it turns out my friend caused hundreds of dollars in damage by not installing the parts correctly.

My father says I should bite the bullet and pay for these repairs and learn my lesson about having a friend work on my car. I argue that my friend is a certified and trained mechanic and should be held responsible for the new repairs that need to be done, even though our arrangement was informal.

How do I approach my friend and tell him his repair was faulty? Or is my father right?

— Car Trouble in Minnesota

Dear Car Trouble: We are surprised that a certified and trained mechanic would do such damage, and he should be informed. Simply let him know what happened after his repair work, and say you “thought he should know” in case he comes across a similar situation in the future. He should then offer to reimburse you for the repairs you needed to make because of his incompetence. At the very least, he still owes you for babysitting. But if he does not offer, your choice is to let it go or take him to court.

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