SALISBURY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A Salisbury business that can’t keep the lights on is also facing scrutiny from customers, who say a local car shop owner doesn’t fix their cars. Former employees even claim he doesn’t pay them.
“To me, he's a crook,” said former Advantage Wholesale Transmissions shop manager, Vladimir Corporan. “He's a con artist, he's a pathological liar,” he said.
Both customers and former employees told FOX 46 Charley Price, the owner of Advantage Wholesale Transmissions, makes promises he doesn’t keep.
“He told me no more than two to three weeks and he'd have my car back to me,” said Keith Neely, a customer.
Neely took his Toyota Camry in for a new transmission; the first “fix” failed.
“In October of 2017,” Neely recalled, while driving, the car just shut off on me.”
He took the car back; it’s been sitting at the shop since then. The whole time, Neely says Charley Price has been giving him the runaround.
“It was always just lie, after lie, after lie, after lie,” Neely said.
What Neely didn’t know is that he’s not the only one.
“My husband gets in the car, starts to drive it away, gets barely around the block and it won't move,” recalled Stephanie Daniels, another Advantage Wholesale Transmissions customer. “I said, ‘you take that car back there right now and he's going to fix this,’” she said.
Customers, growing frustrated, started showing up in person, demanding answers.
“They would just show up cursing at me,” said Corporan. “Yelling at me, demanding answers that I didn't have,” he said.
Daniels admitted with a chuckle, “I'm one of the customers that yelled at Vlad!”
Corporan, the former shop manager said he quit within weeks.
“I know I wasn't getting paid,” he said. “I couldn't pay my employees, and we didn't even have money to buy parts.”
Ricky Powell, a former mechanic at Price’s shop, says he, too, quit.
“Got tired of not getting paid,” he told FOX 46.
Powell says Price did shoddy work, and cut corners; sometimes he said Price would make an old transmission look new, and sell it to a customer.
“He can make up a lie on the spot as good as anybody I've ever met,” he said.
We uncovered a number of small claims judgements against Price. He also owed both the states of California and North Carolina tens of thousands of dollars.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s office knows him well.
“We can seize money from peoples' bank accounts, and we've tried to do that with him too, but we can't find any bank accounts he has money in,” said Lieutenant Jason Owens.
FOX 46 showed up to get results, and get answers.
When we asked Price for an explanation, he said, “Customers cars we have had way too long, for sure, number one,” he continued, “number two, employees have not done the right job on our customers' cars. That's why they are no longer employed here.”
Daniels who is fed up with getting the runaround told FOX 46 that’d be his answer.
“Basically, Charley told every lie that you can think of and threw the employees under the bus,” she said, “and always blaming it on them; never taking responsibility for his own actions.”
We asked Price if he wrote worthless checks. He said he did, adding, “just because we’re always running short.”
Employees say he can’t keep the power on. While we were there, the electric company stopped by; so did yet another customer to check up on his car.
“I don't believe a word that he says anymore,” said Adiel Benites.
The signs in price’s shop say “satisfaction guaranteed,” but there’s a whole lot of dissatisfaction piling up.
“He says anything just to take care of Charley Price,” Corporan said.
As for Neely’s car, Price said it should be finished by the end of this week, however, when we went to check on its status, the tires had cobwebs hanging from them.