The Missouri attorney general’s office has filed a civil lawsuit against the operators of a Northland auto repair business, alleging they defrauded customers by making them pay upfront for repair services they never received.
The lawsuit alleges that John and Deborah Rocha, who own Mobile Auto Repair, failed to complete auto repairs as promised and misrepresented some repairs they had provided.
Since December 2010, at least 14 customers have said they paid for auto repair work that was never completed, according to the attorney general’s office. Those consumers lost more than $9,000, according to the lawsuit filed in Clay County Circuit Court.
Authorities said Rocha promised to make repairs and charged customers significant amounts of money that were followed by long delays in completing the repairs.
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On several occasions, the lawsuit contends, customers took their vehicles to other shops and were told that the repairs they paid for had not been done. Rocha did not respond to repeated attempts by authorities to negotiate an agreement with the customers, said Joe Bindbeutel, chief counsel for the consumer protection division in the attorney general’s office.
“The warning flags went up with us when we were hearing the same story over and over again,” Bindbeutel said. “We think this is an ongoing set of practices of someone really taking advantage of consumers, and we are going to make it right.”
John Rocha denied the allegations and said the majority of their customers are low-income residents and many did not have enough money to pay upfront. Rocha said he often allowed some customers to pay for only the parts that needed repair and did not charge them for the labor.
“There are no basis to these facts. They haven’t proven anything,” he said. “It’s a reversal of being innocence until proven guilty. My kindness is often mistaken for a weakness.”
The auto repair shop is at 2504 N.E. Vivion Road in Kansas City, North. It opened in 1993.