Action 9: Woman claims valet joy ride damaged car



ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 worked to help an Altamonte Springs woman, who blamed an airport parking service for a costly joy ride.

Michelle Gross claims someone drove her car for a few hundred miles and caused serious damage.

And as Action 9's Todd Ulrich uncovered, the company is owned by the same men responsible for sky high gas prices near the airport, too.

Gross wanted to save money parking near the airport, so she chose Express Airport Valet Parking, where you leave the keys, too.

But when Gross picked up her Jeep Wrangler four days later, the vehicle wouldn't move.

"I was pretty shocked,” said Gross.

Gross said employees had it tagged as "undriveable."

“No one had any idea what happened," she said.

Gross had the Jeep towed to a repair shop where mechanics found a busted clutch and blamed it on aggressive driving.

The shop's work order also listed mileage at 76,308.

When Gross left the Jeep at Express Airport Valet, an employee recorded the mileage at 76,037.

“Oh, my gosh. That's almost 300 more miles than when I left it on the parking lot," said Gross. "It sounded like someone took a joy ride."

Gross said the company denied driving the car and refused to pay for the $800 clutch repair.

“They make me feel violated,” said Gross.

Express Airport Valet has an F rating at the Better Business Bureau.

Ulrich also found it's operated by the same men who run Sun Gas, a controversial company charging more than $5 for a gallon of gas.

Action 9 went there to get some answers.

 “She says her Jeep Wrangler was taken for a joy ride and damaged?” Ulrich said.

“I can't comment without seeing tickets or anything like that," the manager said.

Later, company owners told Action 9 the odometer readings were not accurate and that clutches routinely fail in high-mileage older vehicles and their employees did nothing wrong.

Gross stands by her story.

“I just don't want it to happen to anyone else," she said.

Company owners said their BBB record is not fair for two complaints, and its online reviews are positive.

They said they even fired one employee for mishandling Gross' complaint but maintain her vehicle never left the lot.