CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side has the results of a month-long investigation into a Chesapeake Auto Repair business that several dissatisfied customers have taken to court.
They claim they paid Top Notch Auto Repair in Chesapeake to fix their cars, but Top Notch never did.
11 of the cases went to court, and the customers won judgments against Top Notch Auto Repair owner Mike Fey.
The case complaints read, “didn’t fix my car, I paid him.” “I gave chance for him to fix the car, he never did, and I kept getting the run-around.” “He couldn’t find my car.” “He installed my engine, and it caught on fire when I turned on the A-C.”
You get the point, these customers are not happy.
“They are saying this is the wrong battery, and this is the name of the company Top Notch Auto,” says Donnie Roberson who is looking under the hood of his 2004 Mercedes Benz E-320.
Roberson claims on January 17 he dropped his Mercedes at Top Notch Auto, and paid owner Mike Fey $1,000 to replace his transmission. After three months of waiting Roberson gave up and demanded Fey return his money and his car.
“I said, Mike, I’ve had enough. I have to come get my car, and take it somewhere else because evidently you can’t do the job.”
Fey then demanded Roberson pay another $1,000 to get back his car, which outraged Roberson who then called police, and Roberson was upset with the condition of his car when he got it back, “I feel like he vandalized my car,” Roberson said.
After that incident, Roberson’s car which was inoperable, was towed to American Car Care.
10 On Your Side asked the mechanic there to rate the quality of work done on the car by Top Notch Auto.
He doesn’t want to be identified but said on camera, “The quality of work was very poor. All the missing stuff, there was damage, the grease on the inside interior,” he said.
The mechanic also found:
- The car interior was not put back together.
- The fuse cover was missing, and there were missing bolts.
- The wrong battery was in the car.
Roberson ended up taking Mike Fey to court June 1. Fey failed to show up.
The judge then awarded Roberson a $4,600 judgment against Fey. Roberson adds, “That $4,600. I haven’t received it yet.”
Roberson’s not alone. 10 On Your Side’s investigation found 11 cases over the last nine years with judgments against Fey totaling over $30,000.
According to the court records, Fey only showed up to four of the 11 cases.
Aware of all the court actions against Fey, Roberson called 10 On Your Side, and we found Mike Fey.
10 On Your Side surprised him at his Top Notch Auto. We asked him, “Why are you not performing the work? They allege you are not performing it.”
Mike Fey answered back, “I have been performing work. I have been.” We countered, “Well then how come the judges are awarding them this money?”
10 On Your Side then asked Fey why he isn’t showing up in court for Roberson and the other cases? Fey responded, “I still got to go to court for him.”
10 On Your Side reminded Fey it’s too late to go to court for Roberson because the court date was almost a month earlier. We told him, “It’s (the court date is) over. You owe him (Roberson) $4,606. Here’s the court paperwork right here.”
Fey also says he completes all the work, but the court documents suggest otherwise. We told Fey,. “Now, I appreciate that you think you’re right, but the judge says you are wrong.” Fey then answered, “Well, the judge is the one who is right. I never said I was always right.”
Make no mistake, Fey has satisfied customers, and we found one when we were confronting him about the dissatisfied customers and the legal actions taken against him.
“I would call him a backyard mechanic,” says Ken who wouldn’t give his last name.
10 On Your Side learned a lot about Mike Fey’s business from Ken, who calls himself a long time satisfied customer, and who says he always brings with him what he wants Fey to replace like the fuel filter he was holding.
10 On Your Side followed up with Ken, “So you always bring your parts here. Do you give him money up front?” Ken responded, “No, I come in here, have him fix my car. He fixes it, and I pay him… and I ask him the price before he works, and he is always half the price as everyone else. He is usually straight up.”
The difference for Roberson, he did have to pay up front, $2,000, and Fey failed to deliver a working transmission three times.
For that Fey blames the junkyard where he got the transmissions, “When I call the junk yard, it’s like ‘hey, you got a good transmission?’ Oh yeah. Oh, how much is it, so and so? I’m not there to pull the car. It’s junk. It’s junk to me. Who knows if the transmission is good, bad, you know what I’m saying?”
In the end, according to court documents, it appears Fey was unable to provide the service to satisfy the expectations of these customers.
10 On Your Side asked him if he is going to return any of the money.
Fey responded, “If that is what’s proven yeah. I have to talk to my lawyer.”
10 On Your Side reminded him it was proven.
Fey answered, “I’ll have a lawyer for all this.”
We asked who the lawyer was.
Fey then walked away and slipped into the back part of the garage, saying as he walked away, “I got a new lawyer. I’ll take care of everything, OK.”
In followup conversations with Mike Fey, he told us the lawyer he has is to lay the ground work to file for personal bankruptcy protection. Fey told 10 On Your Side he hopes this protects him from the judgments against him in court.
It should also be noted that Top Notch Auto Repair is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau.