On Your Side Investigators: Woman feels she was taken for a ride by former Irondale auto mechanic

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A woman in Birmingham tells us she was taken for a ride by an Irondale auto repair business.

Late last year a woman, who doesn't want us to show her face, took her Pontiac Bonneville to "The Car Guys" in Irondale. She needed a new starter installed. The owner Joe Ellis told her he would take care of it.  Months have gone by and nothing has happened.

"No call, no estimate. How much its going to be? Nothing," the woman said.

The woman eventually got her car back and its still missing a starter, battery, she can't get into her trunk and she says something's wrong with her back seats.

"Looks like to me he just tried selling my parts which he probably did cause everything is gone and he jacked my trunk up. I can't even get into my trunk..and he had the keys to the trunk," the woman said.

The Car Guys on Highway 78 is now empty and there's a "For Rent" sign on the door.. The woman did file a report against Ellis with Irondale Police. Cops tell us they have received a few other complaints against the business.

"I'm not sure why the business closed but evidently he kept a lot of customers cars. I had several calls. Its terrible what he did to this lady and somebody should pay for that," Detective Sgt. Michael Mangina with Irondale Police said.

We spoke to Ellis Monday afternoon. He claims the woman didn't have the money to pay for the starter and that's why her car sat on his lot for months.

"She brought us one starter and it didn't work. It didn't fit. It was the wrong starter. And she never could afford to actually get the vehicle fixed. So it just sits there on the lot. I didn't charge her storage or anything like that," Ellis said.

Ellis doesn't know why the woman's car ended up with missing parts. He says he paid for a towing company to have her car delivered back to her.

"You couldn't get $125 at a junk yard for that car before she brought it to me or right now," Ellis added.

Just been heartache because this car was given to me and I really haven't had any major problems with it. I just want my money. Just him to refund everything to my car because its just going to cost me more money..its like I got to start over," the woman said.

Ellis says he went bankrupt after some of his employees took him for a ride and that's why he had to close. He's now living in Arkansas.

The Better Business Bureau has received a handful of complaints against this business. Right now Irondale Police tell us its just a civil matter and advises the woman to take her case to small claims court if she wants to try and recoup money.

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