Apologies for the looooong post to follow!
I dropped my M4-P with VL 35mm on it whIle In Big Bend National Part about 6 weeks ago. The advance lever was wonky, rangefinder out of alignment, shutter speed knob wonky and the VL was knocked out of adjustment. Still took good pIctures....I learned to compensate
First week of April took it to my local "good" repair guy. He loves LeIcas an told me that he could fix In no problem. 3 weeks later he called with an estimate of $250 for the body and $100 for the lens telling me that new parts were needed and It would take a few weeks longer to get It back to me. The estimate seemed high but I want to support my local film shop so I told him to go for It.
I see this guy at least once a week...I use the darkroom at his shop and buy lots of small Items from him. I would call myself a good customer. I asked him about the body/lens a few times and he told me they were taken apart In his home repair shop and would be done "eventually."
He called last Thurs telling me it was done. I asked If It was perfect; more of a joke as he loves LeIcas almost as much as I. He assured me It was.
Stopped by Sat afternoon to grab It. I looked a the InvoIce...$350 listed. I took It out of the wrapper....thIngs went downhill! I ran the advance lever and It still felt bad. I compared to my M6 In my bag and no way Is the M4 Right Right. He said the new parts would need to "break In." I then noticed the RF was still out of adjustment then noticed the shutter speed dial was just as bad as before. I put the VL 35 on my M6 and found It was still off! He was calm and told me "he" would repair It again. I asked why It was so bad after 6 weeks of waItIng..he would only say that "he" would repair It again.
I was so pissed I had to take a walk. I returned and he then told me he does not do the repair but sends it out to some guy he knows that usually does good work. He said he would take it back to the guy in a week or so and have him look it over again. He also told me that it was obvious that no work had been done to the camera/lens. I asked him when I would get my camera back and help told me it takes time and he would call me.
Again I started seeing red. I left to collect my thoughts. I returned and told him no worries about anything but I need my camera and want it back. I have paid him no money and he did no work. I do not trust either him or the repair guy. I hired him to do the work; not farm it out to some unknown. I asked for my camera. He refuses to give it to me. He now says that since he paid the repair guy it is up to the repair guy to either fix it or to refund the money the shop owner paid when it was delivered not fixed.
I told him that I wanted my property back immediately. I told him that I do not authorize nor will I pay for any repairs to any of my equipment in his shop.
I have drafted a demand letter for return of my property and will deliver it to him certified tomorrow AM with Wed 6pm as the return deadline. If I do not get It back then I guess I will sue and file for a criminal warrant. We can do that here. I say what he did, the sheriff reviews it then files a quick court date and hopefully a warrant for his arrest will be he result. He has a court date within a few days and the judge either puts him In jail or I get my stuff back. I believe this is theft by conversion.
My fear Is that he will give the camera to this 3rd party and I will never see It again.
What can I do? Any other suggestions?