BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - One year after News 6 investigated a Brevard County auto mechanic, more consumers have come forward accusing the same mechanic of shoddy work and taking their money.
"He's taking advantage of people in Brevard County who don't have a lot of money," Tony Altizer told News 6.
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Several consumers had the same complaint.
"He kinda targets people who look like they don't know any better, Meghan May said.
"He had my vehicle for over three months and never really repaired it," David Christman said.
Altizer, May and Christman don't know each other, but they all have one thing in common: They all took their vehicles to J&B Transmissions on US 1 in Cocoa, and all say they were taken for a ride.
"He ripped me off," Christman said. "I just see so many complaints, how could he still be in business?"
They all had different issues. They all paid from $200 to $2,000. They also all took their vehicles to different mechanics after they were supposedly repaired by J&B and they all got a surprise.
"They looked at it and said, 'This is junk. This is absolute garbage,'" Altizer said.
He said the other mechanic told him nothing on his wife's car had been touched.
It was the same story for May. Another mechanic told her the parts that were supposedly replaced, "had never been touched."
All three say they dealt with the owner, Bruce Hunt.
When News 6 went to the business to speak with Hunt, he called the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and asked us to leave.
A number of customers have called the sheriff's office on Hunt.
News 6 pulled the sheriff's office calls for service for the address of the business and found in the past three years, deputies showed up to the business at least 53 times, at least 14 of those to assist citizens with disputes over vehicles and customers asking for escorts to pick up their vehicles.
Brevard Sheriff's Office spokesman Tod Goodyear said the department is all-too-familiar with J&B Transmissions.
"We have been out there on many occasions, having been asked to respond by reporting people to assist with disputes over a repair," Goodyear said.
The sheriff's office said the disputes are civil matters.
J & B Transmissions has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The company currently has five open complaints with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which issues licenses for auto mechanics.
A department spokesperson said if they find the business has broken the law while investigating the open cases, it will take action.
"It's ridiculous that he can keep his license and stay in business and they don't shut him down because there are so many complaints about everything," Christman said.
News 6 took that statement to Commissioner Adam Putnam, who has lead the Department of Agriculture for the past seven years.
Investigator Louis Bolden asked what the department does to protect consumers from predatory mechanics.
"We've worked very closely with the attorney general," Putnam said. "When you've had fraudulent repairs, or if you believe you're a victim of deceptive trade practices, we've aggressively pursued that."
In the past two years the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has denied or suspended more than 700 motor vehicle repair licenses, and imposed more than $200,000 in fines, according to a spokesperson.
While the department investigates claims against J&B Transmissions former customers say they have a warning.
"Don't go to J&B for anything," May said. "The shop needs to be closed," Altizer said.
Anyone who has had problems with the shop is asked to file a formal complaint with the state, but the bottom line is, you can't depend on the state to protect you.
The people we interviewed said they came forward to warn others.
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