Monday, 01 August 2022 10:27

Tucson, AZ, Auto Body Shop Accused of Taking Customer’s Money, Not Completing Repair

Written by Chorus Nylander, KVOA News


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A Tucson, AZ, man told the News 4 Tucson Investigators he brought his truck to Action Paint and Body on Stone near Ft. Lowell for repairs, but said no work was done but the business cashed the check he gave them.

Brandon Beard said he crashed his truck in December 2021 and received an unendorsed $5,752 check from his insurance company. He said Action Paint and Body's owner, Larry Hardman, offered him a good deal and told him he's a veteran and works on Tucson police vehicles. Impressed, he thought Hardman seemed like the right choice.


"I thought it was going to be a good, honest, trustworthy man to do business with," Beard said.


News 4 Tucson Investigators checked with the City of Tucson and were told no city vehicles have been sent to Action Paint and Body.


Beard said Hardman told him to leave the check to hold his place in line for repairs, so he did. He said he didn't hear from Hardman again for two months.


"It was about two months later, I got a hold of him, he informed me he didn't have my check, he had spent the money and that he would pay me back when he could."


Beard said that never happened and he was shocked when he saw his signature on the cashed check. He said he never signed it.


"Both of the endorsements are in the same sloppy handwriting that is not my signature at all," Beard said.


He showed News 4 Tucson Investigators text messages he said were between him and Hardman, trying to get a response from Hardman. Hardman eventually responded, saying he would have a check for him. Beard said he never received any checks from Hardman.


The News 4 Tucson Investigators spent more than a week trying to contact Hardman. They called his shop and spoke to someone multiple times who said...

...Hardman wasn't there. They sent an email without a response. On July 27, they finally got a hold of Hardman.


He said he didn't have time for an on-camera interview but admitted he signed Beard's name on the check. He said Beard told him to do it. Beard said that is not true.


Hardman claimed he sent Beard multiple payments totaling $3,000 and said he would be sending more payments, one as soon as July 30.


He sent News 4 Tucson Investigators three receipts to prove it, showing a $1,500 payment May 22, a $500 payment May 31 and a $1,000 payment June 5. The receipts offer few details to verify the authenticity; parts are crossed out and different colored ink is used in some areas. Hardman's name and the business name are not anywhere on any of the receipts.


Action Paint and Body has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau and six complaints filed within the past year detailing similar experiences. The BBB said it has not received any response from Hardman about the complaints.


"We have a threshold and when we see a pattern of complaints is when we start working with other government agencies to try to get some action. We ask that anybody who has had a similar experience reach out and file a complaint as well," said Denisse Alvarez, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona.


Alvarez said once they receive a total of eight complaints they will pass off the information to the attorney general or Federal Trade Commission for further investigation.


Beard said he reported his case to Tucson police but was told it is a civil matter.


"Basically my only option is to go after him in civil court. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. He offered me a really good deal but it ended up costing me more than I bargained for," Beard said.


Hardman told News 4 Tucson Investigators he will be reaching out to the Better Business Bureau about the complaints. He blamed former employees he said he had to fire, and said he has been out of town for the past month.


We thank KVOA News for reprint permission.


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