ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 helps a group of local people who used a Groupon
in hopes of getting their cracked cellphone screens fixed but now don't have a phone at all.
Todd Ulrich uncovered disturbing information about an Orange County electronics repair shop he's investigated before for not returning customer's cellphones.
The $32 Groupon to replace broken cellphone screens looked great, so Alex Oesterreicher bought two and headed to Computer Controllers in south Orlando.
Oesterreicher left two Galaxy
S4 cellphones for repairs six months ago.
“I just feel like something fishy is going on,” said Oesterreicher.
In early January, Action 9 first found customers who couldn’t get their phones back. Since then, we've identified more than 35 people like Oesterreicher who will lose hundreds of dollars to replace those phones.
“It would be a $1,000 for the two of them combined,” said Oesterreicher.
Then, a store manager blamed problems on a financial dispute with a third party repair operation it paid to fix the phones but claimed that would be resolved soon.
Action 9 has since uncovered that the man in charge of Computer Controllers has a criminal record, including financial crimes. Hud Thompson, who was sentenced to 27 months in prison in 2003 for bank fraud, is now facing grand theft and burglary charges from a case a year ago, long before he ran the Groupon ads.
Ulrich found him at the store where he stayed in the back room.
“We have no comment,” said Thompson.
“Can we get their phones back, Hud?” asked Ulrich.
“Hud's not here. We have
no comment,” replied Thompson.
“I saw you in the back,” said Ulrich.
Thompson replied, “We have no comment.”
police investigators told Action 9 the criminal case remains open and they hope the store voluntarily returns the phones.
“It was a deal too good to be true? Yeah it looks like that unfortunately,” said Oesterreicher.
Since Action 9 first contacted Groupon, the company has canceled the cell repair offer and has refunded anyone who requested their money back.
The company also warned customers who bought it not to use it.