SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Angry customers of an auto repair shop had to go to court to get their vehicles back, despite paying thousands of dollars for repairs.
Kristina Kinney first contacted the CBS4 Problem Solvers team about Superior Auto and Diesel earlier this year. In February, Kinney said she was struggling to get the Shelbyville company to release her diesel truck. By then, she had paid more than $5,000.
“He kept saying, ‘Oh, this little thing needs worked on. Oh, we’ve got to order the part or it hasn’t come in yet,’ and everything was so fishy, so I started doing a lot of research,” Kinney said.
Kinney found out she wasn’t the only one taking her case to court. Nine people filed court cases against Superior Auto and Diesel and former owner Alan Jones in the last two years, including four cases filed since May.
“I gave him almost $4,500 for the repairs,” customer Jason Burke said.
“(I spent) somewhere around $5,000 or $6,000 I think, out of pocket,” customer John Keller said. “Financially, it’s been disastrous.”
In more than one case, customers spent even more money hiring attorneys, like Justin Gifford. Gifford said his client paid more than $7,000 up front for repairs that kept getting delayed.
“His phone calls were either being dodged or the gates were locked, so he couldn’t go get his truck back,” Gifford said.
Judges have ordered the company to pay customers back a total of $25,000, but most of them have not received any money.
In October, Shelby County prosecutors filed felony auto theft charges against Alan Jones. In court paperwork, a police investigator described speaking to a customer who said he spent two years trying to get his truck back. The charges remain pending.
The CBS4 Problem Solvers reached out multiple times to Jones and Superior Auto and Diesel for comment. Calls, emails and social media messages were not returned.
Burke, who received a court order to recover his 1965 Ford Galaxie, said it took a call from a former employee to get the car back.
“I get these phone calls and messages, ‘Hey, I think I have your car,'” Burke said. “People need to know, you need to watch out where you take your vehicles.”
Burke and Kinney hoped other car owners will take the time to look up court cases against a company and take precautions like asking for references and only putting down partial payment.
Kinney eventually got her truck back and spent another $2,000 at a different shop to get it running. She said it took her faith and the support of her church to get past her anger.
“I do pray for him,” Kinney said.
Before you hire a company, you can search for information at the following places:
- Mycase.in.gov for court cases (search by owner name and business name)
- Better Business Bureau of central Indiana for complaints
- INBiz for business registration and owner information
If you have an issue with a business, you can also file a consumer complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at the link here.