Dickheads with Engines
Every car owner's nightmare: Your car is dead. You relied on some professionals to fix it, but it turns out they ain't so professional, and you're fucked to the tune of a few grand. That shit sucks, but it's pretty run-of-the-mill sucky shit.
Now, say instead that you know how to fix it yourself, but you need to put a new engine in it. Say you buy that engine for a large amount of money, put it in there your damn self with days of hard labor, and only at that point figure out that it's a dead damn engine. For a fun twist, say that who you bought said dead engine from some folks who turn out to not be your average, run-of-the-mill dickheads with engines, but instead some kind of crazy Israeli money-laundering mafia family, and you've got to find a way to fight back.
So what I've got is a dead car with a dead engine in it. My car has been dead for a year, and it's more broken than when the saga started. I've been rebuilding it from the ground up with my mechanic dad, and we're in the hole somewhere between four and ten thousand dollars. We have spent hundreds of hours working on this thing, and my poor dad literally has nightmares about this fucking car. It’s been on a lift in his shop for months, confounding him, pissing both of us off and leaving me relying on public transportation.
We've got a severe case of Dickheads with Engines.
Back in the beginning, I had the car towed a thousand miles south to his garage, and I followed soon after, thinking this would save me money in the long run. Just fix it up rather than dumping it for scrap. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?
So ol' Dad gets on the internet and finds a remanufactured engine from what looked to be a reputable dealer. That may sound shady, but this kind of thing is done all the time. Remanufacturers take a crappy old engine, like mine, and re-outfit it in various ways to make it gorgeous, shiny, new, functional and safe. But a shop with the exact engine you need may or may not be in your state.
So say you do find one available out of state and you buy it. It gets sent to you and then you have two options: 1) pay a mechanic to install it for you or 2) you and your dad do it, because he is a beyond-professional-level, anal-retentive, ex-Navy-machine-room kinda guy who can rebuild anyfuckingthing. None of this registers as an unusual transaction among the car-savvy and frequently the deal goes off without a hitch.
What happens less frequently is that someone takes a huge amount of your money and sends you a literal hunk of junk.
Then, when you confront them about said hunk of junk, they tell you to fuck right off.
See, there are many engine rebuilders in the great state of California to choose from. Some of them have the engine we need, some don't. Some have “F” ratings on the Better Business Bureau, some don’t. My dad, not expecting aggressive swindling from all sides, decided to simply avoid the Fs. Good plan, right? Well. Turns out, no matter who you send your money to, you get an engine with the F-rated business’ return address on the pallet. We’ll call them Dickheads with Engines. Cool, cool. First clue. Here we go, motherfuckers.
Since then, I’ve recently learned that your personal problems are considered small claims (AKA Judge Judy-level bullshit) if damages are under $10,000. I’ve also learned that it’s quite hard to sue someone for a small claims matter if they don’t live in your state. Those of us who just use Amazon don’t realize that it’s still the legal Wild West out there on the Internet. It’s actually super kinda easy for someone to fuck you to the tune of $9,999 and walk away laughing. All they have to do is either ignore you until you get tired/broke or shut down their business and disappear.
So what’s next?
I, a bleeding heart liberal and generally lovely person, decided to confront this issue by spending my time on the phone being transferred between clueless law clerk offices. My dad, an old-school Texan who looks like Clint Eastwood (but probably owns more guns), has decided to confront the issue by figuring out how to burn down the head dickhead’s house. He says this half-jokingly at best.
In order to take either approach, I have to figure out who exactly we go after.
Next question: Who, then, is DBA Dickheads with Engines?
Not an easy question to answer.
Aggressive Googling (I am an ace millennial, after all) teaches me that there are literally 20 businesses associated with the same address that we received the piece of shit engine from. More than half are engine-related, but the rest are as diverse as barbers and carpet cleaners. Nine out of ten of those engine-related business have one-star, "F" ratings, and generally enraged reviews all over the internet. And none of the carpet cleaners or salons have a single visitor or rating.
Son. Of. A. Bitch.
I smell a rat, homies.
A little bit more Googling tells me that they forgot to hide the domain registration for one single business, one that is undeniably tied to Dickheads with Engines. They ain't that smart, they used their own initials in the name of this particular front.
Gotcha, bitch. I can now become my true self: a Google witch.
To my dad, it must surely seem that out of thin air I am conjuring up information such as aliases, home addresses, parents’ names, phone numbers, children’s names, property records, Facebook profiles and pictures. I know exactly where they’re from, I know where they live now. I know the value of their homes, and I can see their cars on street view. (They're making a hell of a lot of money doing whatever it is they do, I can say that much.) I can draw them their own family tree. We should all be aware that all of this information is fairly easily accessible by any determined nerd who grew up with relatively unfettered access to the web.
I almost wish I were exaggerating, but I am a child of the Internet Age. Because our inquiries directed at their warehouse have gone unanswered, I am inclined to do nothing more than send an irritated letter via a lawyer to a home address. I am, at heart, a peaceful person.
Daddy ain’t. Good luck, dickheads.