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Ballade Sports S2Ki Ban & Loss of Repair License

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Ballade Sports S2Ki Ban & Loss of Repair License

 
Old 04-03-2019, 03:13 PM
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Default Ballade Sports S2Ki Ban & Loss of Repair License

What's the consensus with this shop? They use to get a lot of rave reviews on s2ki, but they've now been banned and several people are saying it's not due to them ending their sponsor membership with the site. They've also not had a California Automotive Repair License since late 2018. Their recent Yelp reviews indicate that they are being fairly aggressive selling services and replacement parts that aren't needed. There have also been some pretty unprofessional responses by the shop to negative reviews on Yelp and Google.

I recently brought my car here and had an extremely negative experience and wished the information about their ban on s2ki and negative reviews on this site weren't so buried. I'd like to detail my negative experience, but it is concerning that there are rumors they utilize lawyers to try and remove negative criticism.
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Old 04-04-2019, 03:58 PM
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I've never had any work done there, but have been there multiple times and I know Alex a little bit as he's an old school S2ki member. Having that said, I believe both the good and the bad reviews of the company. I have talked to many people first hand that have had great experiences there and others who can corroborate the bad reviews, unfortunately.

You can dig up the review threads--they shouldn't be too buried, especially since S2ki barely moves these days. On that note, adding another review probably won't do much because of the aforementioned slow forum movement. I haven't heard of anyone being able to utilize lawyers to remove negative criticism unless the criticism can be easily found to be lies.
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris_Lum View Post
I've never had any work done there, but have been there multiple times and I know Alex a little bit as he's an old school S2ki member. Having that said, I believe both the good and the bad reviews of the company. I have talked to many people first hand that have had great experiences there and others who can corroborate the bad reviews, unfortunately.

You can dig up the review threads--they shouldn't be too buried, especially since S2ki barely moves these days. On that note, adding another review probably won't do much because of the aforementioned slow forum movement. I haven't heard of anyone being able to utilize lawyers to remove negative criticism unless the criticism can be easily found to be lies.
Thanks! I've heard/seen different opinions on why they were banned from S2ki, but it seems many people are speculating it is not due to renewing their membership.

I went into Ballade because I had seen many old positive reviews on s2ki. I went in to have an issue on my car looked at and it seems like I was told I needed a lot of other work done that after some research and a second opinion didn't seem necessary. A prime example was a long rant from Alex about how poor Billman's TCT was and that it was not a long term solution. He stated that was no longer working and needed to be replaced with a Ballade TCT and gear which after installation would have run me $650. There were many other repairs he wanted to make to parts on the car that had not broken as a preventative measure. He said over and over how he couldn't believe those parts had lasted me that long and he was only looking out for my best interest as I use my s2k as a daily driver. He required me to put down $1,500 for a deposit (50%) before they could start repairs.

When I cancelled within one business day he became very aggressive over the phone which is very similar to how he responds to reviews that aren't so glowing on Yelp and Google. He started to tell me he was going to charge me $600+ in parts from Honda and a $100 diagnostic fee. When asked if he had the parts he said no. He also said he refused to cancel or return the parts (even if they charged me a restocking fee) and insinuated it was a punishment due to me "not trusting him with my car". He then calmed down and started to salvage the job. Then started to leverage those parts I didn't need to get me to still come in to get the work I needed done. When I said no he went radio silent. Kept my $1,500 deposit and my key fob. Provided no bill, invoice, diagnostic write up, etc..
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AstroPhsx View Post
Thanks! I've heard/seen different opinions on why they were banned from S2ki, but it seems many people are speculating it is not due to renewing their membership.

I went into Ballade because I had seen many old positive reviews on s2ki. I went in to have an issue on my car looked at and it seems like I was told I needed a lot of other work done that after some research and a second opinion didn't seem necessary. A prime example was a long rant from Alex about how poor Billman's TCT was and that it was not a long term solution. He stated that was no longer working and needed to be replaced with a Ballade TCT and gear which after installation would have run me $650. There were many other repairs he wanted to make to parts on the car that had not broken as a preventative measure. He said over and over how he couldn't believe those parts had lasted me that long and he was only looking out for my best interest as I use my s2k as a daily driver. He required me to put down $1,500 for a deposit (50%) before they could start repairs.

When I cancelled within one business day he became very aggressive over the phone which is very similar to how he responds to reviews that aren't so glowing on Yelp and Google. He started to tell me he was going to charge me $600+ in parts from Honda and a $100 diagnostic fee. When asked if he had the parts he said no. He also said he refused to cancel or return the parts (even if they charged me a restocking fee) and insinuated it was a punishment due to me "not trusting him with my car". He then calmed down and started to salvage the job. Then started to leverage those parts I didn't need to get me to still come in to get the work I needed done. When I said no he went radio silent. Kept my $1,500 deposit and my key fob. Provided no bill, invoice, diagnostic write up, etc..
Was there no contract in place? And him keeping your fob is theft.
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AstroPhsx View Post
Thanks! I've heard/seen different opinions on why they were banned from S2ki, but it seems many people are speculating it is not due to renewing their membership.

I went into Ballade because I had seen many old positive reviews on s2ki. I went in to have an issue on my car looked at and it seems like I was told I needed a lot of other work done that after some research and a second opinion didn't seem necessary. A prime example was a long rant from Alex about how poor Billman's TCT was and that it was not a long term solution. He stated that was no longer working and needed to be replaced with a Ballade TCT and gear which after installation would have run me $650. There were many other repairs he wanted to make to parts on the car that had not broken as a preventative measure. He said over and over how he couldn't believe those parts had lasted me that long and he was only looking out for my best interest as I use my s2k as a daily driver. He required me to put down $1,500 for a deposit (50%) before they could start repairs.

When I cancelled within one business day he became very aggressive over the phone which is very similar to how he responds to reviews that aren't so glowing on Yelp and Google. He started to tell me he was going to charge me $600+ in parts from Honda and a $100 diagnostic fee. When asked if he had the parts he said no. He also said he refused to cancel or return the parts (even if they charged me a restocking fee) and insinuated it was a punishment due to me "not trusting him with my car". He then calmed down and started to salvage the job. Then started to leverage those parts I didn't need to get me to still come in to get the work I needed done. When I said no he went radio silent. Kept my $1,500 deposit and my key fob. Provided no bill, invoice, diagnostic write up, etc..
$650 for a TCT install?!? The TCT is $275 on their site, so he's charging almost $400 labor for a 10 minute job. I've heard more horror stories than not, and I avoid them like the plague. I have a friend who had work done by them and he got completely hosed with up-selling their products and shitty body work (when they had a body shop). If you didn't sign anything I would consult a lawyer about that deposit and your key fob. There are threads with recommended shops in SoCal in here, take it to one of those instead.
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:16 PM
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Im puting together a lawsuit against ballade. Here's my recent Yelp review explaining the issue. I have opened a formal complaint with the BBB as well. Basically sold me a refurbished block with a cracked OEM oil pressure sender hole.

For some reason, Yelp never posted my review that I made on 2/18/2019 but here it is:


Horrible experience. So bad that I am forced to talk to my lawyer considering a lawsuit against Alex and his shop for damages.
Engine overhaul nightmare that got much worse months after.
Used to be good, now quality of work is as low as it gets. Got a bottom end rebuild (Rebuilt F20C block) that failed (Oil pump failure, Engine seized) a few blocks from the shop! I want to add that before I left the shop, the car was missing:

-The exhaust header shield missing
-VTEC solenoid connector unplugged
-OEM oil sender cable missing the boot and cut-off, just hanging there
-Oil leaks from VTEC solenoid left un-fixed and NOT brought to my attention

I mentioned this and they had a guy come out and take care of this except for the oil sender connector. Alex's comment was: "That's just a dummy light, you don't need it."
Seriously? This is how they will give you your car back. I don't care if its a dummy light, it was hooked up when i brought the car in I expect it to be hooked up when i get the car back.
If you are doing an engine rebuild or install, wouldn't you let the customer know about oil leaks and give the option to get them fixed?

Alex stated that this was not their responsibility, that they only took care of installing the rebuilt block and that's it. Alex blamed the oil pump issue (I had them put a new pump in) on an aftermarket oil cooler that I had installed however I brought my car in running condition with this cooler so clearly not the issue here. He will never admit to making a mistake or being wrong. He later admitted that they had put too much tension on the oil pump chain while putting everything together.

Had to tow it back on my own expense (Which i never got reimbursed) and had to leave the car for about 3 additional weeks for them to re-do the work they should have done properly the first time. Got the car back running this time, everything connected as well however engine bay was a mess, had to spend a good 2 hours cleaning it. Messed up if you ask me, specially after what they put me through before and the thousands of dollars I spent now and in the past at their shop.

-Later that week I found the top passenger side transmission bolt loose!! Sticking out about an inch.

The car sat in my garage for a few months due to it needing a new clutch. Last month (Jan 2019) I took it in to another shop (Never coming back here) to replace the clutch and they found:

-1 missing starter bolt
-3 stripped transmission bolts (One of them I had spotted already as mentioned above) But it gets much much worse:
-3 out of 6 front subframe bolt HOLES STRIPPED!

The new shop was kind enough to fix the transmission bolts and replace the started bolt free of charge. They couldn't do anything about the subframe bolts because its the threads on the chassis that got damaged. I had to drive back home with 3 bolts holding the front subframe. Unsafe.

I immediately called Alex regarding this and he admitted he knew about this!!!! I asked him why he didn't mention this before and he said it was not important at the time and that this is a common issue, etc. Totally unacceptable. He promptly blamed it on the last shop that did my engine rebuild, more than 10 years ago!!

If you think that's it, there is more (Yes, it keeps getting worse).

A few weeks ago (Mind i've only driven the car once from the clutch job because dont want to drive with 3 subframe bolts) I noticed a new oil leak coming from the OEM oil sender. Upon inspection, I see what looks like JB weld on the back side of the sender port on the block..... Just when I thought this nightmare couldn't get worse, I found the port was cracked and fixed with JB weld either by Ballade or the previous block owner (This is a refurbished block). The car is now UNDRIVEABLE, hemorrhaging oil from the crack at a fast rate.

In the last 6 months I spent $6000+ for the rebuild at Ballade Sports and got a car that is completely messed up. I will need to pull the engine out again and get that crack fixed, not to mention fixing the subframe bolts! Thousands of dollars more.

I contacted Alex regarding this and obtain no response. I have all text messages, pictures of everything.

This place should no longer be in business. Work done here has lack of quality and attention to detail.


This shop was one good, sadly not the case anymore. They need to shut down for good.

Last edited by CapoS2K; 04-04-2019 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:21 PM
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Additionally, I have saved text messages going back and forth with Alex regarding ALL this.
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:48 PM
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I would have to agree with others to avoid. Had valve adjustment done with Alex a long time ago when they were still considered "good". Let's just say any mechanic that remotely respects your car would NEVER close your engine hood by throwing it up and letting it free fall onto the latch. He also tried to sell me on some secret formula he had for transmission fluid as well as his timing gear. Also tried to sell me on a flash pro, because 06+ runs lean.

My friend also had similar aggressive sales experience as others. He came in for an oil change. Alex tried to sell him on bunch of parts, when my friend repeatedly said he just wanted a oil change. After a hour's worth of "conversation", they came to a disagreement and my friend left without any oil change done.

All in all, I agree with others. His shop is toast. Definitely avoid
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Old 04-05-2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AstroPhsx View Post
Thanks! I've heard/seen different opinions on why they were banned from S2ki, but it seems many people are speculating it is not due to renewing their membership.

I went into Ballade because I had seen many old positive reviews on s2ki. I went in to have an issue on my car looked at and it seems like I was told I needed a lot of other work done that after some research and a second opinion didn't seem necessary. A prime example was a long rant from Alex about how poor Billman's TCT was and that it was not a long term solution. He stated that was no longer working and needed to be replaced with a Ballade TCT and gear which after installation would have run me $650. There were many other repairs he wanted to make to parts on the car that had not broken as a preventative measure. He said over and over how he couldn't believe those parts had lasted me that long and he was only looking out for my best interest as I use my s2k as a daily driver. He required me to put down $1,500 for a deposit (50%) before they could start repairs.

When I cancelled within one business day he became very aggressive over the phone which is very similar to how he responds to reviews that aren't so glowing on Yelp and Google. He started to tell me he was going to charge me $600+ in parts from Honda and a $100 diagnostic fee. When asked if he had the parts he said no. He also said he refused to cancel or return the parts (even if they charged me a restocking fee) and insinuated it was a punishment due to me "not trusting him with my car". He then calmed down and started to salvage the job. Then started to leverage those parts I didn't need to get me to still come in to get the work I needed done. When I said no he went radio silent. Kept my $1,500 deposit and my key fob. Provided no bill, invoice, diagnostic write up, etc..
That's terrible to hear, as well as the rest of the bad reviews that seem all too common these days. Hope you get it resolved soon. It's sad that there aren't very many honest shops these days.

I would recommend anyone looking for a mechanic for easy stuff like valve adjustments, oil changes, clutch jobs, suspension work, etc (no engine rebuilding), take your car to @mazdaspeed00 (Alan Lee). He is one of the most honest guys around.
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Old 04-05-2019, 12:05 PM
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For the record, BalladeSports did choose to end their relationship with S2KI/IB. Their title has been updated to show "Former Sponsor" instead of "Banned."
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