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lagonda

Crap Chrome Plating; Thoughts On Response?

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lagonda

Not much chrome on my CTi...this relates to my 1951 Riley RMB. This was my first car, which I bought in 1974. Drove it for 8 months and 1200 miles in 1975; took it off the road to replace the roof covering. A maybe 3 week job that developed into complete restoration. In the end I had the car restored professionally. I could have bought 4 top condition Rileys for what that restoration cost me....but hey, I liked my Riley.

 

Unfortunately no fairytale ending despite that outlay. The restoration was completed by Autumn 2013 except for the trimming....only for the trimmer to delay endlessly. I at last got to drive my Riley once again in June 2015; I covered 2400 miles in 7 weeks....and a big end failed. The restoration had been bodywork only; the car had been running fine in 1975, so mechanics were limited to a service, and complete brake overhaul.

 

Chrome appeared OK when I collected the car. It did rain on our UK trip, especially the first week, however the car was washed and polished twice before returning to France. Following the breakdown, it was brought back here and garaged...huge depression; had lived like a church mouse to pay for the restoration, so could hardly bear to look at the car. February last year, I got it out and gave it a dust down and wash....horrified to discover that the front bumpers and overriders, rear overriders, and both spotlight rims were all very rusty. Not surface rust, but bubbling and pitting.

 

Took photos and emailed those to the restorer. He spoke with the platers (a firm in Poole which you might wish to avoid using), who asked for better photos. Chrome is difficult to photo due to reflections, so I couldn't take better photos until I took the parts off the car. I really didn't want to start dismantling the car, at least until I started the engine rebuild...which I started on recently. Furthermore, little point in removing the parts until a UK trip planned...which will be later this month. The restorer had told me the platers were decent people to deal with, and appeared reasonable to deal with.

 

I've explained the reason for the delay, and expressed my concern as to their plating deteriorating so badly, after just 7 weeks external exposure. It has of course been stored well, both whilst being restored/trimmed, and since return here. The storage is in no way damp, and the rest of the chrome on the car is fine...it wasn't done all at the same time, or by this plater...but I do know these are the parts they plated. Here's their reply:

 

"Chipping, flaking or rust spots depend on how the products are used, stored, the atmosphere they are kept in and many other factors which is something we have no control over. Any problems need to be brought to our attention as soon as possible, or certainly within a few weeks from your work being collected.

 

Under the circumstances we must regretfully inform you that there is little we can do to bring these units back to the condition when they left our factory in August 2013."

 

Frankly I would have thought they would value their reputation higher than a self-serving excuse. What do you think? Do I have a comeback legally, or does the unfortunate delay mean I'm at the mercy of their goodwill?

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Gaz205

I feel your pain but they have to take your word for it that you are telling the truth about exposure etc.

I think a better argument would be 'regardless of what's it's been exposed to, the chrome has only lasted 4 years'

Its easier for the firm to get out of it than you achieving what you want from it. We are all trusting of others and it was all done in good faith.

Your claim lies with the person who restored your car though not the chromer. He subbed the work out and it's for him to rectify.

Edited by Gaz205

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lagonda

Hi Gareth,

My feeling entirely. They are not disputing the corrosion or exposure (which can easily be evidenced).

 

Thanks for confirming what I thought about the restorer's status in this, that was going to be my next question. I'll have another prod at the platers; pretty unimpressed that they place such little importance on customer satisfaction. I had an issue with a badge for the LG6 restored by Pamela David Enamels 17 years ago. They had soldered (and soft-soldered at that), the retaining studs onto the badge, and two out of three had simply fallen away. They did harrumph mildly at the time passed, but did fusion weld new studs on without demur. Impressed; result happy customer, and I'm happy to recommend that firm to anyone. That's got to be good for them as well as me, surely?!

 

Laurence

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toolie72

Sounds like nickels not stuck right

Does restorer still use them?

 

If exposure mattered that much then front struts would not be made from chromed bar,taps would not have been chromed for last hundred years (unless you kept them dry???) and my Raleigh Routier circa late 80's wouldn't only now be showing spots on the chrome wheels (yes steel wheels-old skool!!)

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Leslie green

Id say after 4 years you have no comeback whatsoever , they are right in saying if it happened soon after they had plated it they would have stood over it as it clearly would have been faulty but too much time has passed .Id say your best bet would be best to ask for a discount on getting it redone with a guarantee as a goodwill gesture .Impressed it took 38 years to restore though !

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Biggles

Your contract was with the restorer but given the timescale, you're shafted. That said, even after 4 years, for it to go rusty as you describe means it was a seriously poor job in the first place and any decent plater will know that. I would not want to use either restorer or plater again nor would I want anyone else to use them so I'd name names as I wouldn't want anyone else to get ripped off the way it sounds like you have been.

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lagonda

Dorsetware in Poole. The restorer has (conveniently) retired early. The platers had been advised of this issue in February 2016, and I had the impression then, that they intended to be honourable, pending better photos, which it was not possible for me to take at the time.

 

I had a 1971 Fiat 500 which I bought in 1979, never garaged, used for commuting. Someone span into me on the A3 in 1983....minor body damage but the impact loosened the exhaust, stripping threads. MoT expired and no time so I bought another and pushed it into an overgrown area at the side of the house. Around 1991, I pulled it out.....and proceeded to restore it. You'll probably know Fiats of this area rusted badly....had to replace the front panel, front wings and cills. The chrome.....it polished up like new. It couldn't have been stored in a worse environment. I have original Riley bumper parts, battle scarred and dented....but the 70 year old chrome is BETTER than it is on these Dorsetware plated parts!

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Gaz205

What's your thoughts now? Are these parts readily available to purchase and restore them rather than yours that are now thoroughly set in with rust? The problem is the time scale, and the sub contracting of the work. The more you try and negotiate with this firm the further away you'll get from achieving what you want. We are all defensive of our money. Throw positive energy into starting from scratch and I wouldn't even say learn from it because there is no blame on yourself here, but I think it'll be a pipe dream to get any gratuity from them.

Maybe use a larger more expensive firm with some form of written warranty?

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lagonda

Tempted to send them to a firm in Poland recommended by a friend with a prewar Wolseley....then send bill to my restorer.

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