‘Anyone Know a Good Auto Mechanic?’

     CHICAGO (CN) – In a classic lawsuit against an auto shop, a customer claims police impounded his truck because the shop let an employee with a revoked license drive it around to deliver parts.
     Marin Rodriguez sued Jose Vacio and Classic Cars Body Shop & Repair, in Cook County Court.
     Rodriguez says he took his truck to the defendants because its “check engine” light was one.
     The auto shop, in Hometown, quoted him $398 for the repairs, he says.
     He left it there at 9 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2011, and was told he could pick it up that day between 5 and 6 p.m., Rodriguez says.
     Imagine his surprise when he got a call from Rosa, Classic Car’s receptionist, who told him at about 1:30 p.m. that “his truck had been impounded by Hometown Police.”
     “Rosa further represented to Mr. Rodriguez that the truck had been impounded due to it having an invalid license plate,” the complaint states. “She represented that this problem was discovered while the truck was being ‘road-tested’ by Jose Vacio, one of Classic Cars’ employees.
     “Following the call, Mr. Rodriguez went to the Hometown Police Department to retrieve his truck.
     “Upon Mr. Rodriguez’s arrival, he met with a Sergeant Tregoning.
     “Sergeant Tregoning informed Mr. Rodriguez that the actual reason for impounding the truck was that Jose Vacio had been arrested for driving the truck on a revoked/suspended driver’s license, (not the invalid truck license plate reason provided by Rosa).
     “Moreover, despite Rosa’s representation that the car had been fully repaired at the time it was impounded, and being road-tested, the car had not been properly repaired,” Rodriguez says. (Parentheses in complaint.)
     After paying $415 to reclaim his truck, Rodriguez says, he “immediately saw that it was full of auto parts, none of which had to do with his vehicle.”
     “If at the time Mr. Vacio was arrested, the truck had been fully repaired and was simply being road tested, there was no legitimate reason for car parts belonging to other vehicles to be in Mr. Rodriguez’s truck.
     “Plaintiff surmised from the condition of his truck that Mr. Vacio and Classic Cars had been using Mr. Rodriguez’s truck to transport their own auto parts for their own purposes without his permission,” the complaint states.
     The next day, as he drove to an emissions testing center, the truck’s check engine light reappeared, he says.
     He returned to Classic Cars, where “Mr. Vacio inspected Mr. Rodriguez’s truck and assured him that the light was incorrect and that the truck had been fully repair and would pass an emissions test. ….
     “Despite defendant’s multiple representations, the truck failed the inspection,” Rodriguez says in the complaint.
     He took his truck to a different repair shop, which “inspected the vehicle and informed him they would charge $600.00 to perform such repairs,” Rodriguez says in the complaint.
     After paying this, on top of the $800 he paid Classic Cars, including the impound fees, Rodriguez’s truck passed the emissions inspection.
     He seeks damages for deceptive business practices and fraud.
     He is represented by Lance Raphael with the Consumer Advocacy Center.

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