Better Call Behnken: Woman never received car from Bradenton mechanic, out over $3,000

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Thelisa Rome wants the $3,025 owed to her.  She took a mechanic to court over a car she paid for in 2012 and never received.

The mechanic agreed through mediation to pay her back the $3,025, which is the $2,200 she paid for a used Chevy Cobalt, plus court costs.

This was in 2015, but Rome said mechanic Clarence Smith has not made one payment.

“Months turned into years,” Rome said.

She turned to 8 On Your Side for help.

We found Smith at his Bradenton shop. He acknowledged he owes the money, but said Rome changed her mind about the car after she paid for it. He said he agreed to pay her back, but fell on hard times and has not been able to afford to pay the money.

His story is that he had already invested her money into fixing it up the car and then she didn’t want it. She said he failed to deliver and would not give her money back.

The bottom line: Smith insists, he’ll pay her back, eventually. He said he’s been in business for years and never had a customer complaint like this and that he has every intention of making it right.

“Nothing she can do can put money in my pocket,” he said. “If she could, I’d have it already.”

Meanwhile, Rome is tired of waiting for her money.

“I just want my money back,” she said. “I need my money back.”

This situation makes Rome question why she took this to court in the first place, since enforcing the judgment is so difficult. She’s consulted with the court and learned getting her money back will likely mean heading back to court and spending more money, in an effort to get her money back.


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