It's time once again to wield the hammer of Carsumer Advocacy. In today's episode, however, it's not the consumer being oppressed by the big, bad corporation, but rather the small business owner defending himself against a customer. We take you to our scene set in sunny Ocala, Florida where a tuning shop called JapWorks is under siege by a 16 20-year-old kid. The shop owners are Aaron and Brandon, and the kid in question is Joe D who commissioned JapWorks to build out his Celica to the tune of $16,000. When the job was finished, Joe D denied ever agreeing to that much work despite having conversations with the owners in which he insisted that the bulk of the charges be paid upon delivery of the vehicle. Joe sent his mom and even his girlfriend to pick up the car, the latter even offering $60 and asking if her boyfriend could set up a payment plan.
What has ensued is one epic thread on the TampaRacing.com forums in which Aaron and Brandon have continually kept the community up to date on Joe's attempt to retrieve his Celica, which, by the way, was only recently financed by his mother who was told by her son that "sponsors" were paying for the car's customization. Aaron and Brandon also discovered that Joe has scammed people before after a number of victims came forward in the thread to identify shady dealings with him. The police and State Attorney's Office are now involved, and the car is tucked away in a secret location. Aaron tells us that wheels are in motion with state authorities to bring this dispute to a close, which will likely result in he and his partner taking possession of the car and selling it get their money back.

We highly suggest hitting up the forum thread below and following this madness across some 120 pages of posts. It gets especially interesting when Joe shows up to defend himself. Also, if your heart goes out to Aaron and Brandon who are bearing the weight of this financial burden, you can donate to help pay for the shop's legal fees here. Good luck guys!

UPDATE: We don't have the space to tell the whole story here, but Joe did put some money down and provided many parts and materials at the beginning of the project, though the shop owners realize the rest of their good faith was taken advantage of. And yes, Joe is 20 years old, not 16.



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