Jessica Strong’s ordeal with a residential repair shop in Cleveland has shed light on a growing issue in Northeast Ohio. After her 2019 Dodge Challenger was damaged in an accident, Strong turned to a neighborhood home repair shop to get her car fixed. Little did she know that this decision would lead to months of frustration.
The Department of Building and Housing in Cleveland is currently investigating the repair shop that Strong chose. It turns out that the shop is operating without authorization, leaving customers like Strong in a difficult position. This problem has become all too common in the region, as News 5 has been reporting on similar cases for the past few months.
Strong initially paid the repair shop owner upfront in mid-July, with the expectation that her car would be repaired within ten days. However, as weeks went by without any progress updates, she grew increasingly frustrated. The repair shop owner had shown her what seemed to be legitimate certificates and permits, leading her to believe that he operated a legitimate body repair shop. But it soon became clear that this was not the case.
In mid-September, Strong took matters into her own hands and contacted Cleveland police. Together with investigators, she visited the repair shop and was shocked to find her car still dismantled and unfinished. The door was completely ripped open, the wire for the speakers was hanging loose, and the door locks were exposed. The repair shop owner appeared to have no intention of meeting his commitments to Strong.
David Roberts, the chief assistant director of law for code enforcement at Cleveland’s Building and Housing department, explained that city inspectors had visited the repair shop and were now investigating it as an unauthorized operation. During the inspection, two dismantled cars were seen in the front, and the repair shop owner had gone to great lengths to hide other cars behind a high fence in the back. Roberts stressed the importance of consumers doing their homework and obtaining written contracts before making any payments. Operating an unauthorized repair shop is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Aside from the legal consequences, unauthorized repair shops also pose risks to the community. Roberts noted that if a fire were to break out in one of these shops, the consequences could be disastrous. Additionally, the improper handling of waste products like oil and solvents adds to the environmental concerns associated with such operations. It is clear that unauthorized repair shops jeopardize the health, safety, and overall well-being of neighborhoods.
Out of respect for the ongoing investigation by the City of Cleveland, News 5 has decided not to name the specific repair shop involved in Strong’s case. The City encourages homeowners to report any unauthorized car repair shops by dialing the 3-1-1 hotline. It is crucial for consumers to be cautious and avoid taking chances with their vehicles. As Strong points out, it is not worth risking a valuable asset like a $40,000 car just to save some money.
This incident serves as a reminder for everyone to be vigilant and research thoroughly before entrusting their vehicles to any repair shop, especially those operating out of residential areas. Strong’s unfortunate experience highlights the importance of following proper protocols and working with licensed professionals. The City of Cleveland’s investigation into unauthorized repair shops is an important step towards safeguarding the interests of consumers and maintaining the integrity of the automotive repair industry.
News 5 remains committed to following through on this story and will continue to report on developments. The hope is that by shedding light on such issues, consumers will be better equipped to make informed decisions and avoid falling victim to unauthorized repair shops. To ensure a safe and reliable repair experience, it is crucial to prioritize legitimacy and seek out authorized establishments for all automotive repair needs.