ORLANDO, Fla. - An auto repair shop wrecked an Orlando man’s car then refused to cover the loss.
Consumer investigator Todd Ulrich confronted shop managers to seek answers.
Jamie Espinosa must drive his mom's car to work because his 2015 Lexus was totaled in a crash. He blames the body shop that was supposed to repair a minor dent.
“Every time I think about it, I just get angry,” Espinosa said.
He left his car at High Care Collision for a quick bumper repair. Instead, a month later he got a call and he was told his car had been wrecked.
According to the police report, the guy behind the wheel was Wilfredo Mangini.
“Hey Wilfredo, Todd Ulrich from Channel 9,” said Ulrich as he spotted Mangini in the shop. “What were you doing in his car that night, Wilfredo? Is it fair to drive a car here for repair, wreck it and then walk away?” Ulrich asked. Mangini did not respond.
Espinosa claims he couldn't get answers at the shop either, so he contacted Action 9.
His insurance covered the car loan balance, but Espinosa said he is still at a loss.
“How much money have you lost?” Ulrich asked.
“From the down payment, $5,000, and I was paying $400 a month and had paid six months,” Espinosa said.
He said shop managers told him the employee drove his car to pick up paint for repairs.
“What do you think of that story?” Ulrich asked.
“I don't believe it,” Espinosa responded.
Espinosa claims the odometer shows someone at the repair shop drove his car for more than 3,000 miles.
“Were they taking joyrides in your car?” Ulrich asked.
“I believe so, I believe so. There were even tolls,” Espinosa replied.
A year ago, another customer told state investigators that High Care Collision ran up miles and tolls on her car for a month.
Shop managers didn't answer our questions.
“He said, ‘Go talk to my lawyer.’ He just didn't care,” Espinosa said.
Action 9 helped Espinosa send a complaint to Florida's Division of Consumer Services. That agency regulates auto repair shops.
High Care Collision has not disclosed if it has business insurance to cover Espinosa’s loss.
Experts advise consumers to ask for proof of insurance before signing a repair estimate.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.