ED Magedson – Founder
Debbie Rives2400 Demaret Lake Charles, Louisiana USA
Debbie Rives, Tony Eli, Toney Eli, Tony Johnson, Toney Johnson Car Mechanic Scam / Fraud/ Theft Houston Texas
In January 8th, 2013 while on the way to purchase new tire/rims for my vehicle my water pump failed on my BMW Z4. This caused me to pull my car over to a parking lot nearby to examine the issue. I noticed the failure due to noises that were coming from under my hood, a severe engine knocking sound. While speaking on the phone with my trusted mechanic, a man approached me and informed me that he would beat the quote by $100. He was riding in an later model Impala, maybe 2006, with different color front fenders. He had what he claimed to be his wife and his mother in the car. I agree that 450 is a good quote, the guy believes that he can replace the water pump without jacking up the car, which should have been my first red flag. On 2003 BMW Z4 in order to replace a water pump the engine must be put on a jack in order for the bolt to clear the top of the car. [continued below]....
While waiting at the autozone parking lot in his vehicle he later came back to inform me that the parts would be delivered to the shop. The shop was located on the corner of Rampart and Clarewood St. known as Jesse Auto Service and Collision. I will be investigating them on the near future. The con man/mechanic told me not to talk to the shop because if they discovered the car was mine and not his that he would not be able to get the discounted labor or cheap price on the parts. Another major red flag... He proceeded to drive me home after showing me the shop and "ordering" the parts. I happily complied under the belief that he was who he said he was and that he was doing good work. On November 11, I get a call, the con man/mechanic informs me that they had installed the water pump/thermostat but that they had started the car up but the engine was still making bad noises. This information was consistent with water pump failure since water pump failure keeps the coolant from reaching the engine which allows it to reach excessive temperatures. I believed him and was ready to scrap the car when he told me that he can either do a head gasket replacement or can completely rebuild the engine for the price of $1770. $1770 being an attractive price yet a reasonable one led me to believe that this was a good deal. Though I was suspicious I was not suspicious enough, I committed to the price of $1770 reluctantly as I was pressed for time, this car was my daily driver and the new school semester was approaching quickly, I had asked if these repairs would be done before Wednesday when my internship at Baylor College of Medicine started. He reassured me that everything would be ok, and that I would regret all the suspicion I had of him when he returns the car to me fixed. I'll quote his words, on the morning of the 11th of November I asked specifically "so your telling me that you'll have my car up and running by Wednesday the 13th?" The con man/ mechanic stated, "Ready to go," I agreed to let him do the "work".
The following morning he stopped by at my home to pick up the money for the rebuild, I was still skeptical at this point and would not give him or his "wife"/accomplice any money until I had at least verified his identity via drivers license. He informed me that he didn't bring his drivers license, but his wife would be more than happy to, she gave me an expired Louisiana ID and proclaimed and I quote "he doesn't believe any of this", but it had her photo on it which gave me some solace in the transaction, enough to remit $1770 in cash for the "rebuild" of my car. Before leaving the vehicle I also informed the con man/mechanic that I would like to see the car and the work he had done with the new water pump, to which he had replied quickly and confidently, "sure let's go right now." I assumed by how quick and confidently he responded that he was telling the truth, so I decided to stay home while he completed the "rebuild" of the car. The following evening I received a call from the con man/mechanic that he had rebuilt the engine but had found that a radiator fan wasn't working and that the car was still overheating. He said and I'll quote, "Let me get my electrical guy for a quote." While radiator fan damage is consistent with water pump failure, he failed to diagnose this issue before his "ready to go" quote, which was the first major red flag that I realized that I was in a precarious position with an individual who should not be trusted. A professional mechanic with as much experience as this con man/mechanic would have performed a comprehensive diagnostic before quoting a "Ready to Go" price.
I immediately got upset with the con man/mechanic and told him that he was negligent in holding true to his "Ready to Go" price, to which he responded and I quote, "$1770 was for the rebuild not "Ready to Go."" I willfully accepted his ignorance and discussed selling the vehicle to him, I realized at this point that any conversation with this man could be the last one so I attempted to arrange one last exchange between us so that I could arrive with an officer on the scene. I was able to negotiate him to a price of $1000 dollars down and another 5 over the course of the next 8 months. He ended the call. I got a call later that day that he said he'd agreed to the terms and that we needed to meet to arrange a notarized bill of sale, but he said that he wouldn't be able to do $1000 yet and that $200 was all he had, I knew at this point that this guy was a con man and was trying to separate me from the title of my vehicle. I researched vehicle titles and transferrance and learned that he could transfer a title with a notarized bill of sale. The only thing that would prevent him from owning the car in the issue of non-payment would be to get a lien on the vehicle from the local tax assessors office. I told him no, i will not accept the offer of $200, and that he needed at least $1000 before I sign anything. He informed me that he would have the money at the beginning of February, and that he would contact me.
At this point I was drained of the majority of my available funds and unable to provide myself adequate transportation, I was committed to the belief that the con man/mechanic was going to rebuild and fix my car and that it would have been ready to go before school started. On January 16th I received a phone call from the con man /mechanic, he said that we needed to get a bill of sale so that he could get insurance on the car under his name. I told him Im not signing anything until he at least has the $1000 up front. He then informed me that he had been in an accident, to which I replied, "that's your problem not mine." He then agreed to wait until he had the full $1000, and this was the last time I ever heard from him. On January 28, 2013 I check my mail to find two letters from an insurance company claiming that their client had been in an incident with my vehicle. The following day on January 29, 2013 I find out while picking up the mail that my car has been stored in an auto lot, and that the tow has been authorized by the Houston Police department. On January 31, 2013 I proceeded to the auto lot and observed the extensive amount of damage to the front and rear end of the vehicle rendering it completely inoperable.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/31/2014 06:14 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Debbie-Rives/Lake-Charles-Louisiana-70601/Debbie-Rives-Tony-Eli-Toney-Eli-Tony-Johnson-Toney-Johnson-Car-Mechanic-Scam-Fraud-1119984. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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