ORLANDO, Fla. — People trying to save money by using an off-site parking lot near Orlando International Airport feel they were taken for a ride. Consumers reached out to Action 9 and pointed to complaints about lost keys, keys being locked in cars and damage to vehicles at BMI Smart Parking in Orlando.
When people take off for vacation, they want to know the car they leave behind will be well taken care of. That’s why for E.V. Leonardo, her experience at BMI still has her blood boiling.
Leonardo told Action 9′s Jeff Deal, “I’ll never park there again.”
After a trip to New York with her family for Christmas, she returned after midnight to learn her keys were missing.
“And it was shocking to me. I have my entire family waiting outside. We’re ready to go home. We’re tired,” she said.
Leonardo and her family had to take an Uber home and paid a locksmith more than $300 for a new key. They then had to return to pick up the car. She claims BMI promised to reimburse her for the ride and the locksmith, but she’s still waiting.
BMI Smart Parking has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau. The agency website shows similar unanswered complaints.
On Google reviews, consumers posted photos of scratched and dented cars. It’s damage they allege was done at BMI while they were out of town. One reviewer even posted photos of what they believe to be racoon paw prints inside their car.
“It was cheap. So, I booked it,” said customer Joe Alves.
Alves told the Action 9 team his attempt to save money backfired because employees at BMI Smart Parking locked his keys inside his truck. He said the keys were right up on his dashboard.
Alves paid a locksmith to unlock his truck so he could get the keys. Like E.V. Leonardo, he claims BMI promised to reimburse him, but so far it hasn’t followed through.
He told Deal, “I’ve been reading reviews, and I see a lot of people are not getting reimbursed. And they assured me, ‘No, don’t listen to that. You’re gonna get reimbursed.’”
While he was back at the business trying to get his money back, he shot video showing cars packed in tight, some low down in ditches and several sets of keys just sitting on dashboards in the BMI parking lot.
Records show the Orange County Sheriff’s Office has been called to BMI’s address on Narcoossee Road 186 times in the past two years. Fourteen times deputies were called there for complaints about cars believed to have been stolen at that location.
When Action 9 stopped in to ask about the complaints, a man working at the front counter walked to a back office and returned moments later.
Deal asked, “Who was the guy you were talking to back there?
The employee answered, “He’s the owner of the place.”
Deal showed him a photo of owner Fabian Pourrain and asked, “Fabian?”
The worker answered, “Yeah, but I can’t annoy him with this.”
Deal followed up and questioned, “He won’t come out here and talk to us about it?”
The employee replied, “Yeah, no.”
While signs posted at the business claim BMI isn’t liable for a long list of things, consumers may still be able to sue for damages.
In fact, that’s what Alves did. He hopes small claims court with help get his money back and he hopes by speaking out, others will pay close attention to reviews before booking at BMI.
Deal asked, “What would you tell anybody who’s thinking about leaving their car there?”
Alves answered, “Don’t do it.”
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