Mechanic friend screwed up our vehicle

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.

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.

Don’t be accusatory. 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. Decide whether you value the friendship more than the cost of the repairs because that is what it may come down to.

Dear Annie: My boyfriend, who has always struggled with mild depression, recently suffered a severe trauma that left him with PTSD. Because his parents believe that therapy and medication are for “crazy people,” he has not received any type of treatment and shows no signs of getting better.

I know you often recommend nonprofit organizations, and I’m wondering if you could suggest some places he could contact for PTSD, stress and/or depression. I think talking to an actual person might be just what he needs, but the numbers would have to be free and anonymous to keep his parents from finding out. We’d both be very grateful for any suggestions you have. – Stressed Girlfriend

Dear Stressed: Here you go: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (; The Anxiety Disorders Assn. of America (; the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance ( We hope one of these excellent organizations will be able to help both of you.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Exhausted Wife,” whose husband expects her to pay for her share of their vacations, even though she can’t afford it.

I have spent 40 years married to a loving, wealthy woman who makes at least 10 times what I do.

For decades, I struggled (and resented) supplying 50 per cent of our common expenses.

A few years ago, I started contributing only 10 per cent of my income and have managed to accumulate a little savings. I feel so much better, and she never once gave me a hard time about it. She said to contribute whatever I could. She never travelled without me simply because I couldn’t afford the trip.

I suggest that “Exhausted” hire a cook and a house cleaner and pay them out of their common income so she feels less exploited.

If her husband doesn’t want to travel with her, she should go on her own. Maybe she’ll meet someone kinder. –Virginia Reader

Dear Virginia: We hope they have a common income she can access. Your wife wants to vacation with you and is sensible enough to understand that the disparity in income means she should pay a higher percentage of the cost. “Exhausted,” unfortunately, does not have a spouse like that.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to

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