AG Brnovich: Undercover Sting Results in Judgment Against Auto Repair Shop

PHOENIX  Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a $50,000 judgment against an Arizona auto repair shop caught on hidden camera defrauding customers during an undercover AG sting operation. GBY Transmissions, a transmission repair shop owned by Gerardo Figueroa Haros and managed by Gerardo Figueroa Salinas admitted to charging customers for auto repairs they didn’t need.

“Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is watching,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  “Businesses with a history of bad behavior and consumer complaints should expect a visit from our undercover Special Agents.  There will be consequences for businesses that rip customers off.”

Special Agents with the Attorney General’s Office conducted the sting operation. An automotive repair expert disconnected the vehicle’s transaxle/harness connector, which could easily be reconnected at a minimal cost of approximately $40 to $100. Instead of making the appropriate repairs, Defendants claimed that the undercover vehicle needed a complete transmission rebuild. Defendants charged the State $1,010.69 for installing unnecessary parts, for making unnecessary repairs to the vehicle, and for parts never replaced.     

In the Consent Judgment, Defendants admitted they advertised transmission rebuilds to Spanish-speaking consumers at rates of $189 to $375 for a transmission rebuild. Despite the Defendants’ advertised rates, Defendants admitted they never charged these low rates for transmission rebuilds. In addition, Defendants admitted they quoted unrealistically low estimates to consumers for transmission rebuilds. After disassembling a transmission, Defendants typically notified consumers of the actual cost of the repair work, which was significantly more expensive than the initial estimate Defendants provided.  Defendants took apart customers’ transmissions before giving an estimate. If customers refused to have their car repaired after the estimate, Defendants claimed it would cost hundreds just to reassemble the transmission without repairs.

Under the terms of the Consent Judgment, the Defendants will pay consumer restitution in the amount of $20,000, civil penalties in the amount of $15,000, and attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $15,000.  The Defendants have also agreed to extensive injunctive relief that would require Defendants to disclose all potential charges in writing prior to performing any repair services and would prohibit Defendants from performing additional repairs and charging additional amounts for repairs that exceed the original written estimate.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Alyse Meislik and Special Agent Melissa Opp with the Special Investigations Unit. 

If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by contacting the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1(800) 352-8431.  Bilingual consumer protection staff are available to assist. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s website.

For additional information, members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Spokesperson & Director of Media Relations at 602-339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov

See a GBY Transmissions advertisement.

Full copy of the Consent Judgment.