PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — State regulators confirm that Auto Legends Towing and Repair in Pasco County is under investigation after I-Team Reporter Jackie Callaway brought to light customer complaints that allege the work done on their vehicles didn't match their invoices.
Customer Mark Faltynek's invoice shows he paid Auto Legends Towing and Repair shop $1150 for two new catalytic converters last July.
After picking up the 2008 SUV, Faltynek says the check engine light came back on and stayed on. The Sorento seemed to be running okay so Faltynek waited seven months before asking Friendly Kia to inspect the vehicle.
He said the service technician told him he got the signal was because the parts "are not new." In a written description of service, Friendly Kia found the catalytic converters had never been replaced and referred to the parts now on the vehicle as "original equipment."
"I was mad, I was irate," said Faltynek.
Friendly Kia agreed to the I-Team's request to examine the vehicle on camera and show us their findings. Kia Master Technician Jay Turner showed Jackie what they found under Faltynek's hood.
"You tell by the obvious rust and lack of marks on the bolts that nobody has touched this in forever," Turner said, noting that neither converter had been replaced.
And that's not all.
"This side clearly has spray paint on it, and you can see the overspray," said Turner.
Turner worked on Kia's for 17 years. He concluded someone recently spray painted one of the parts Faltynek paid Auto Legends to replace.
"They essentially just spray painted over rust," Turner said.
Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirms it has turned over both the Faltynek case and at least one other to its law enforcement division.
"We've received several complaints on auto shops she is involved with, and those cases are currently under investigation with our office of agriculture and law enforcement," FDACS Manager Rick Kimsey said.
A second case, also the subject of an I-Team investigation, involves Jaymie Matthews, who says she's been fighting Auto Legends and owner Debra Noonan for most of the past year over a 1966 Plymouth Fury.
Matthews says her late ex-husband, who died in 2020, left the vehicle for their 12-year old son. According to county records, Matthews now owns the car.
The Fury was at Auto Legends for repairs when then-owner Sal Pelligrino passed away. Matthews says she is willing to pay any remaining balance to collect the vehicle but says Auto Legends has not sent her one.
"I can't get a bill," she said.
Auto Legends has filed a lien on the Fury in court. It states the vehicle will be auctioned off May 18 over $6,700 in repairs that were detailed in an invoice the business submitted to the state.
The I-Team repeatedly asked Auto Legends owner Debra Noonan for a final bill on the Fury, proof of repairs on the Fury, and proof the catalytic converters were replaced on the Kia Sorento. Noonan refused to provide any documents or grant an interview.
The law mandates vehicle repair businesses provide an estimate for repairs over $100. There is no way to predict how long the state's investigation into both these cases will take.
If they find criminal wrongdoing, those findings will be turned over to the state attorney's office for prosecution.
Among other things, the business could lose its license to operate.
Before leaving your car with any auto repair business, confirm they are registered with the state and check their complaint record here.