Garage Accused of Fraud and Intimidation
Sky News investigators claim staff threatened customer with rape
A local garage is being accused of fraud and threatening behaviour against customers following an investigation by the Sky News team.
The garage, at 192 Brent Road, Southall remains in business despite a massive number of complaints to both the police and Trading Standards. Customers have complained that after bringing their cars in for repair they were presented with extortionate bills for repairs and then had their cars impounded if they didn't pay.
Sky's investigators found that the garage has been trading since 1982, originally as the Heathrow Engine Centre. This company was dissolved last year owing creditors £554,573 and several other company names have been used to operate at the site. Dissatisfied customers have taken the garage to court but found that the directors have closed down the company being sued and set up under a new name. As a result over £60,000 worth of fines remain unpaid.
Sky claims that invoices seized from this company by Trading Standards revealed 206 customers had been overcharged a total of £87,000. They have spoken to customers who told them of threats and intimidation when they attempted to recover their vehicle including one woman who said that staff threatened to rape her. She said: "I told him it was my daughter's car and she really needed it. He replied he would rape me and my daughter and blow my husband's head off."
When Sky attempted to film at the garage they were thrown off the premises and their camera crew were attacked.
The garage in Southall has shares a website address as another garage in Twickenham, which dissolved owing customers £74,000 in unpaid fines.
Ealing Trading Standards said: "We've received hundreds of complaints about this company. "We always look to take action against businesses with so many complaints, but the contracts they use make it impossible to bring them to court. We would always advise people to get quotes in writing, read all the fine print and know exactly where they stand before entering into any contractual arrangement."
The company currently trades under the following websites:
April 21, 2011