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Having worked on cars all my life, and having once owned my own shop, it clearly looks like the 1st shop was negligent in making sure the work was done completely and safely. From your story, on a Friday afternoon, it sounds like they got to the point of being close to closing time, and someone was in an awful hurry and didn't complete all of the work, as noted by the off center steering wheel and no alignment done. It also sounds like they had a very incompetent "tech?" do the work, as also noted by the failed A/C repairs.

While the 2nd shop most likely did not have a hand in loosening or removing any of the front end hardware that caused this, they are negligent in not discovering the source or extent of how badly, and what was causing, your front end to be that loose and making that loud of a noise and sending you back out on the road. If ball joint bolts/hardware were loose or missing, that should have been blatantly obvious to even a shade-tree mechanic, let alone someone who calls themselves a " professional tech". In my shop, if a customer came in with any issue that was deemed to be a major safety issue, but refused repair after being advised, I had them sign a waiver, and either tow it or drive at their own risk. We saw a lot of bad/shady work that people came in with from other shops. It gives a bad name to those that are reputable and competent.

If I were you, I would look into getting an attorney who specializes in auto repair cases, and/or take this to small claims court if either repair shop refuses responsibility. I would also report both to BBB, and your state's attorney general for possible legal action. As you mentioned, you were just earlier driving at highway speeds, and this could have not ended well not just for you, but the countless other motorists who may have been injured or killed as a result.
 

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Wow , that car is only worth $1,800.00 at most . Wow.
While his car may only be worth $1,800, if it was in overall good condition, with average to low mileage, sinking $4K into repairs still makes a LOT of economical sense to some, as opposed to trying to come up with thousand$$$ down, and taking on a 6 or 7 year payment. That's ASSUMING you can even FIND a new car at a reasonable price. Low mileage, newer used models are priced through the stratosphere right now, if you can even find one of those, and often at or above cost of some new. Trust me, just bought a new 2021 DD GT Plus at the end of May after doing a LOT of shopping. I couldn't believe how much, and how quickly, they wanted my 15+ y/o car in trade.
 
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