One man’s botched car repair work is another man’s warning.
“There’s nothing I can do about this and I don’t want to deal with the same guy again,” said Addison Chang.
The 75-year-old was in the parking lot of Times Supermarket in Kahala when he was approached by a man who said he owned a mobile auto body shop and offered to fix the dents.
Before he could say no, Chang says the man started working on the car on the spot in the parking lot.
“At that point, it was too late already, but they fixed the front, not exactly perfect,” explained Chang.
The bill came to $820. Chang was frustrated when he noticed a hole that wasn’t there before on the inside of the door.
“They used this hole to pull out the dent,” he said.
Now Chang says he has to fork over more money to fix the repairs.
Is it legal to operate a mobile auto body shop here in Hawaii?
According to Stephen Levins, executive director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection, “It’s hard when you say legal. It’s not per se illegal, but the devil’s in the details on this type of thing.”
Levins says there’s no state law forbidding mobile auto body shops. Unless they’re doing mechanical work, they aren’t required to be licensed.
But they can’t work just anywhere.
“If you’re operating in a shopping center, the shopping center may have prohibitions against doing that,” Levins said.
Times Supermarkets management tells us it does not allow mobile auto body shops to perform work on its property. A manager says he recently had to chase a mobile auto body shop away from the parking lot.
DCCA says while there are plenty of reputable businesses, be wary of who approaches you.
“Don’t just give up your money because someone says they’ll do a job for you and get a good deal. A lot of times, those aren’t true,” Levins said.
Chang says learn from him: “I want the people of Hawaii to know, if somebody approaches you in a parking lot, beware that something might happen.”