Customer: Auto Mechanic Illegally Parked My Car

When you take your car to a shop for repair, you trust the shop to take good care of your car, but Arlington resident Deborah Kelly said her repair shop parked her car illegally and wouldn't pay the fees after the car was towed.

"I love this car," Kelly said as she looked at pictures of her 1998 BMW 528i.

Love may be an understatement. Kelly's car, which she named Iman, is clean, cared for, even coddled. She was upset when she said a distracted driver damaged it, denting the door, so she took it to a repair shop she'd used before, A & R Auto Group.

Kelly said she was "flabbergasted" when she later received a call from a towing yard telling her they had her car.

"I'm like, 'My car should be at the auto shop,'" she said.

Kelly said she found out a worker at her repair shop had parked her car illegally. By the time she received the notice in the mail, she had a $255 towing charge and a week's worth of storage fees. She said the repair shop wouldn't help, so she contacted Deanna Dewberry and NBC 5 Responds.

When the consumer team arrived, a man Kelly identified as the owner of A & R Auto Group closed the bay. Dewberry knocked repeatedly, but no one inside would talk.

When Dewberry contacted the attorney for the towing company, the owner agreed to remove the storage fees and let Kelly have her car back if she paid the $255 towing charge.

"I want my car out," Kelly said. "I just want it out and back."

When Kelly picked up her keys from the repair shop, the mechanic responsible for illegally parking her car apologized and gave her the money to get her car out.

Advice for Vehicle Owners

It’s a good practice to find a mechanic and auto body shop you trust before you actually need one. Here's how:

  • Ask whether your mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General offices for complaints against the business.
  • Labor rates, fees and guarantees should be posted in the waiting room or front office.
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