Mechanic leaves car owner with yard full of parts

Mechanic leaves car owner with yard full of parts

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"I've got pieces of my car scattered all over the place," said homeowner Mike Jennings. "I've got pieces of my car scattered all over the place," said homeowner Mike Jennings.
"He's not coming back. He's not going to finish his job," Jennings said. "He's not coming back. He's not going to finish his job," Jennings said.
Jennings has a message for anyone who sees Dominguez's flyer.  "Run, fast. Real fast." Jennings has a message for anyone who sees Dominguez's flyer. "Run, fast. Real fast."

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A North Knoxville man said a traveling mechanic he met on Craigslist didn't hold up his end of the deal.

Craigslist is an online site for classified ads where buyers and sellers can list or purchase goods and services from around the area. The site has opened up lots of new business opportunities.

But one Knoxville man had a dispute with a traveling mechanic he found on Craigslist.

In the past, if someone wanted to save money on car or truck repairs, many people would take their vehicle to a friend, sometimes called a "shade tree" mechanic.

Often with just a handshake, the car would be fixed and the car owner would pay after the job was done.

Nowadays, some mechanics will go to the customer's house, where the deal is a little more formal. 

An estimate or work order may be written up, the customer agrees to a price, the job is done and the customer makes the payment.

For the traveling mechanic who came to Fountain City, there were apparently no rules.

"I've got pieces of my car scattered all over the place," said homeowner Mike Jennings.

In Jennings' front yard, dozens of car parts were left behind by the traveling mechanic he hired last month to work on the engine of a 1996 Ford Mustang.

Jennings said the mechanic left his intake, bolts, the timing cover, valve covers, and belts all over the place.

The parts should be under the hood of his car, but the job that started three weeks ago is unfinished.

"This used to be a motor here," said Jennings. "This is what we have left. The timing pieces are laying here. Wiring, the master cylinder, the brake linings, they're not loose, they're broken off of it."

Jennings has two 1970s-model Cameros. He personally worked on their engines, but decided to hire someone else to work on the motor of his Mustang.

So he went looking on Craigslist and found a mechanic. In the ad, Jorge Dominguez claimed he, "wishes to serve the public."

Dominguez operates Travel Tech, a unique business where the mechanic comes to the customer.

"He's from the Sevierville area and these flyers have been passed out all over Knoxville, left on people's doors to make people think he'll actually help you," said Jennings.

He said Dominguez came to his home with his wife and a partner twice. Jennings paid them $125 each time as they took the engine apart. Then, he quit.

"He's not coming back. He's not going to finish his job," Jennings said.

Jennings said it may cost him an estimated $1500 to put the engine back together. He's called Dominguez, asking him to return.

6 On Your Side called to find out what went wrong. Dominguez declined an on-camera interview.

"I did half the job and he paid me for half the job," Dominguez told 6 On Your Side reporter Don Dare.

Dominguez said he has never left a customer without completing his work.

"Never, not even one. He's the only one, because I can't get it done. What does he want me to do?" he asked.

Another reason Dominguez quit: he said Jennings harassed him.

"Yes, I have called your phone quite a few times," Jennings said. "If I start someone's job, I'm a man of my word. I do what I say."

Those handshake agreements many have made with a friend who worked on their car are different from this more formal work agreement between Jennings and Travel Tech.

First, a work order should have been written up. It's a contract between the customer and the mechanic, authorizing the repair work and describing what will be done.

Some orders might include an estimate of the charges and often a guarantee, or warranty, is spelled out. All these measures are aimed at protecting consumers and the staff of the business.   

Unfortunately, Jennings had no work order or any papers with Travel Tech, which he acknowledges he should have asked for.

While Dominguez claimed he did nothing wrong and said he doesn't plan to return, Jennings said he's learned a lesson the hard way.

"I'm out of my money," said Jennings. "I've already lost what I paid to him. I don't want to see anybody else lose is the main thing."

He has a message for anyone who sees Dominguez's flyer.

"Run, fast. Real fast."

Jennings said Dominguez started to write out a work order, but claims later Dominguez told his business partner not to give it to Jennings.

Jennings now regrets not to going to a reputable repair shop for work on his car.


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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