CARMICHAEL, Calif. — A Carmichael auto shop is being accused by customers of taking their cars out for joyrides and in one instance even crashing.
Edward Hughes said that in August, he took his 1965 AC Cobra Replica to Mass Appeal Auto Care to fix an issue with the car's distributor.
"On the 10th on a Tuesday, I got a call at my hotel from the owner of the shop telling me that my car had accidentally been destroyed. 'Accidentally,'" Hughes said. "Now, the anger's starting to set in because a lot of the things that I thought were gonna happen are not, and the more I find out about it, the more I find out most of it was lies."
He said the shop manager Dylan Dudley contacted him days after the crash saying an employee was behind the wheel when it happened. Hughes said Dudley initially told him everything would be taken care of, but has since not responded to any of his calls or texts.
"He refuses to talk to anyone. He refuses to answer any information," Hughes said. "I'm out $80,000 right now."
ABC 10 asked Dudley if his employee was the individual behind the wheel in the accident involving the 1965 Cobra that was crashed. He said he had no idea what we were talking about.
According to a California Highway Patrol report filed the night of the crash with Hughes's car, the person was driving the car on San Juan Avenue at a high rate of speed when it crashed into a 2010 Subaru Legacy. The report says that Rodney Sittman was the driver of the car and was found to be under the influence with a female passenger, who was ejected from the car during the crash.
The report says his California driver's license was suspended for a prior DUI conviction and that he was on active DUI probation for the same conviction at the time of the crash.
Local musician J. Diggs — a well known rapper in the area — said a similar experience happened to him. He said he brought his Porsche into Mass Appeal Auto Care a few months ago to try and get a catalytic convertor issue fixed. A couple of weeks later, Diggs said he went to pick up his car and paid $7,000, trusting the work was done.
"As soon as I pulled off, it's a whole other light on in my car about suspension or something else, so I'm like hold on," Diggs said. "So I drop it back off to him and then I get a call back from him a couple of days later. 'Hey, it's another problem that we didn't notice, and it's gonna cost $11,000 more to fix it."
Diggs said he came to find out that Dudley took his Porsche out for a joyride after Dudley took pictures of himself in Diggs car and sent them to an employee. That employee forwarded those texts to a friend of Diggs.
ABC 10 asked Dudley if he knew anything about the joyride that was taken in Diggs car. He said, “I have no idea.”
"I got some text messages, I got some pictures of him driving my car." Diggs said. "So when he told me it was $11,000 more, I'm saying to myself when are you gonna tell me that you've been driving my car and that you probably caused this."
Diggs ended up confronting Dudley at the shop about the joyride and the new problems that appeared on his car. He recorded the exchange and posted it on YouTube and social media. In that video, Dudley didn't say much.
"He just starts stuttering and then he just couldn't say nothing else," Diggs said. "I just basically broke it down like 'Hey, I know everything.'"
Another former customer, Kendra Carden also reached out to ABC10 saying that the same shop took over $3,000 in financing from her and didn't perform any of the work agreed upon on the truck that she and her husband own.
"He tried to price gouge us, charge us more money and then when we told him it was fraud and that he needed to give us our money back, he said, 'I've got a really good lawyer, good luck to you,' " Carden said.
Hughes and Diggs said they are getting lawyers involved. Carden said she plans on taking Dudley to small claims court.