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5 On Your Side: McAllen woman seeking legal action against local auto shop

2 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Thursday, November 03 2022 Nov 3, 2022 November 03, 2022 6:13 PM November 03, 2022 in News - 5 On Your Side

A McAllen woman is seeking legal action against a local custom auto shop.

Amanda Gomez says Joe Hernandez, the owner of Top Kustomz Car Shop in McAllen, took thousands of dollars from her and didn't do the job she paid for. 

Gomez bought a blue ford truck back in May. She hired Hernandez to lift the truck, add new tires and rims — a job that totaled $14,500.

"Everything is custom-made, so he asked for payment upfront so that he can go and purchase everything," Gomez said. "I gave him payment, I started paying him May 26, and I believe the last payment was around June 6 or 7."

After a couple of months passed, Gomez says Hernandez told her to drop off her truck at his shop.

"He took my truck, had my truck for approximately a week and a half," Gomez said. "And then said, 'I'm going to take it over to this place, they're going to go ahead and take care of everything for us.'" 

Gomez says she tracked her truck and noticed it had not been moved from Top Kustomz for more than a week. 

Gomez says when she contacted Hernandez about it, he finally moved the truck to the other shop where the work was supposed to be done. 

"I went over there, and it was just sitting in the back, so I asked the gentleman, and he said 'Well he's never given a payment for doing the work, he never brought any of the parts to do it he keeps telling us 'I'm gonna bring them to him and never brings anything,''" Gomez said.

At that point, feeling like she was getting the runaround, Gomez got her truck back and requested a full refund from Hernandez, who initially told her no.

"I have a no-refund agreement on the bottom of every invoice I do," Hernandez said.

Gomez says she fought hard to get her money back and eventually got Hernandez to agree to a refund. 

Hernandez said the money was sent, but Gomez says she never received it. 

"He even said, 'I sent all $14,000 back through QuickBooks, you should be getting an email to tell you how do you want to get the money'. I'm like, 'That's not how it goes but OK,'" Gomez said. 

The money never reached Gomez.

Channel 5 reached out to Hernandez, and he said he would give Gomez the money, but not if the story is aired.

"Her trying to do that is probably going to completely ruin me," Hernandez said.

Gomez waited three weeks to give the opportunity for Hernandez to pay her back, but as of today, no payment has been made.

"How can you do that to somebody?" Gomez said. "I am out all this money, and you've been living it up the last couple of months."

Channel 5 reached back out to Hernandez to ask what the hold-up was. 

Hernandez told Channel 5 that he wanted Gomez to sign a notarized form saying she received her refund in full, but Gomez refuses to sign it until she actually sees the money. 

"I mean what is the rush here?" Hernandez said. "My sense of the rush is because she needs it for something and I get it, it's none of my damn business, I really don't care."

A check was finally delivered, but Gomez says the check bounced because the account had been closed. 

Hernandez says he has a new account and is willing to write another check, but Gomez has had enough.

Gomez is working with the Hidalgo County District Attorney's Office to figure out legal options. 

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