A series of customer complaints recently led to the arrest of an auto shop owner. While dissatisfied service or what some perceive as overpaying doesn’t normally result in a felony charge, these complaints were accompanied by a series of civil court cases. However, more recent accusations may have been what caused enough alarm to warrant an arrest for the Texas shop owner. In a series of civil actions that were brought against the shop owner, two ended in his favor while the plaintiffs failed to show in two separate cases.
The complaints against the shop owner and his employees vary from the quality of products to the overall cost of services, which were reportedly sometimes more than the original price that was quoted. Allegedly, some customers were sold damaged or incorrectly sized tires for their vehicle. This apparently led to at least one customer experiencing a blowout while driving.
In other instances, some customers claim to have been overcharged for services made to their vehicles. Some even claim that unauthorized work was performed and that they were forced to pay for it. As police were alerted to these grievances, the complaints rose to a criminal matter, due to how much money was involved. After the shop’s owner was arrested, he was charged with two felony theft charges, but was later released on bond.
The culmination of complaints for supposed unfair pricing practices at this Texas auto shop resulted in the felony charge that the owner is now facing. While the felony theft allegations are substantial, due to amount of money involved and the series of complaints that prefaced his arrest, the complaints and charges are still only allegations unless proved otherwise. In order to combat the charges, the shop owner will need to focus on the specifics of the formal accusations, as compared to the charging statutes involved. Before any conviction is possible, prosecutors must prove each and every element of the crimes charged by the strict burden of proof required in our criminal justice system
Source: kxan.com, “Auto shop owner facing felony charges after customer complaints”, Robert Maxwell, March 26, 2014