INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — It was a car sale gone so horribly wrong that police were called to the scene.
The dispute involved a broken down Chevy Aveo and a car repair shop that’s been the focus of a FOX4 Problem Solver report before.
Jackie Holmes had towed the car to the shop in August to be repaired.
“We left the car there, and he (the owner) said he would be checking the car and give us a call right back,” Holmes said.
She heard from the owner, Vincent Grosso, a few days later. Holmes said Grosso told her the car wasn’t worth the cost of repairing. Holmes agreed and told Grosso she would sell it.
About a month later, on Labor Day, Holmes found a man interested in buying the car. When they arrived at the shop, it was closed.
But the car was sitting outside, exactly where Holmes had left it. Minutes after completing the transaction, Grosso showed up, demanding to know what was going on.
“I’m here to sell the car, and this guy is here to pick it up,” Jackie said she explained.
She said Gross insisted she couldn’t do that because she owed him $102.50 for diagnosing the car.
“So I took $100 bill out of my pocket and was handing it to him and was turning around to get the $2.50 out of my car,” she said.
That’s when she said Grosso changed his mind. He handed her back the money and said the bill was no longer $102.50. He had decided to add storage fees at $19 a day — making the total bill $400.
The man trying to buy the car, Kevin Shipman, said he was astonished by what Grosso was doing and at how mad he appeared to be.
“He said he was armed, and he wasn’t afraid to use it,” Shipman said.
According to cell phone video, Grosso also blocked in Holmes’ car and Shipman’s truck to prevent either of them and their families from leaving his property.
“I was worried about my grandkids’ safety,” said Shipman who along with Holmes called Independence police.
When police arrived, they called it a civil matter, stating there was nothing they could do.
“I was very disappointed in Independence police,” Shipman said.
Holmes will now have to sue Grosso to get her car back.
She could have a very good case. Consumer attorney Gina Chiala said can’t charge customers a storage fee unless they agree to it in advance.
“If the person at the repair shop said to the consumer I need you to pick up your car right away and if you don’t I’m going to charge you these fees and the person agreed that’s one thing,” Chiala said.
“But just to come out of the blue and charge the consumer with a major bill for storage and the consumer had no idea,” that’s a violation of Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act.
One would assume Grosso would be aware of that law since he’s been sued twice before by unhappy customers and lost.
Grosso, however, told FOX4 that he’s the real victim in this instance. He said Holmes threatened him (something both she and Shipman denied) and that she was aware of the storage fee because he has it posted in his shop.
This isn’t the first time Grosso and Complete Family Car Care have landed on television because of a dispute over a storage fee.
Seven years ago, Problem Solvers was contacted by Cheryl Bernard who had brought her vehicle to Grosso for repairs. She said Grosso kept delaying repairing her car and then had the audacity to charge her storage fees while she waited.
“Each month was another $1,000,” Bernard said.
Grosso insisted Bernard wasn’t interested in having her car repaired, and every time he called her to come pick it up, he could never reach her.
But the more we talked to Grosso, the more his story changed. He kept remembering times she’d stopped by.
Finally, Grosso agreed to give Bernard her back.
But this time, with Holmes’ car, Grosso won’t budge. Plus, he said the storage fee is no longer $19 a day. Now he wants $100.
Holmes is now talking to an attorney and warning as many people as she can.