(WSVN) - A South Florida repair shop closes its doors, leaving customers frustrated and angry. 7’s Brandon Beyer has our special report “Repair Despair.”
Ivan and Mark have never met, but both share the same story. They say their personal property is currently being held hostage.
Mark Holmes: “About a week ago, I figured this has really gone bad.”
Ivan Rodriguez: “I know that something bad is going to happen. We won’t see that equipment.”
In early July, Mark and Ivan went to a Pembroke Pines repair shop called Bitter Blue Lawn and Garden.
Mark took in his generator to get it fixed for hurricane season.
Mark Holmes: “We have run out of electricity here for 12 days at a time. This year, I found out my generator was running rough.”
Ivan wanted to cut his girlfriend’s lawn to save money, so he brought in his lawn gear.
Ivan Rodriguez: “The hedger to do the hedges, the edger, the weed wacker to do all the corners and the blower, so all four weren’t working.
Both men paid deposits and were told to check back in a few days. But when they called, all they got was the following recording.
Voicemail: “The mailbox belonging to Bitter Blue Small Engine Repair is full. Please hang up.”
After several failed attempts, Mark and Ivan drove by the repair shop.
Ivan Rodriguez: “There were a bunch of UPS and FedEx stickers, like attempted delivery stickers, all over the door.”
Mark Holmes: “And the repair shop was locked up tight.”
Not too far from Bitter Blue Lawn and Garden is their competitor, Degan’s. Its owners knew something strange was happening when calls poured in for help.
Wesley Angelotti, owner of Degan’s: “Numerous phone calls or people coming in. Then the stories started coming in, ‘I need to buy a lawn mower because my other lawn mower is stuck at another lawn mower shop.’ I’ve never heard something like that.”
As the weeks passed and the repair shop remained closed, both men say they started hearing different stories as to why.
Mark Holmes: “What I’ve heard is that one customer tried to talk to the owner, and it didn’t go well.”
We watched as customers came by the shop to try and pick up their equipment. Some didn’t appear happy to see it still closed with their items inside.
Wesley Angelotti: “We basically tried to reach out to the owner every way possible to say, ‘Hey, listen. We can help with the repairs. At least let these people get their equipment out.'”
We reached out to the owner of this closed repair shop, Marc Durand, but our calls and messages went unanswered.
Pembroke Pines Police had better luck, telling 7News in a statement:
“In July, 2018, one of our officers spoke with Mr. Durand. He advised that he would open up the business, but did not give a specific date. Recently we have made several attempts to contact with Mr. Durand with no success.”
The property manager for the building tried to help angry customers. He hired a locksmith and told Mark and Ivan to come pick up their equipment — but Pembroke Pines Police arrived and told the property manager not to remove the items out of the shop.
Mark Holmes: “They suggested that I file a small claims action and go through the county on that, but that’s pretty cost prohibitive.”
Frustrated customers are still stuck without their equipment.
Ivan Rodriguez: “My equipment is being held hostage. I have paid a deposit to have my equipment sit unrepaired and kept from me. This is the worst.”
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