Scam Alert: Beware Of Suspicious Oil Leak, Mechanic Referral

April 21, 2010


If someone ever walks up to you and points out an oil leak, then just happens to know of a mechanic who they say can fix it for cheap, be very wary.

The scam sure isn't new, but it's again found new life in Western New York State.

In recent years, according to the Consumer Federation of America, auto repair issues have been the third most frequent area of consumer complaint, after only home improvement and auto sales. Common issues, along with scams encouraging repairs that aren't needed, include cost overruns in which final bills far exceed initial estimates, and failure to properly finish the repair.

In parking lots, they would pour oil, or even coffee under cars or behind them, then convince the elderly drivers that they needed major repairs—of course providing a referral to a 'mechanic.'

Kevin Gervasio, of Albany County, New York, was arraigned on 14 counts, including grand larceny; his mother was arraigned on three counts, and his aunt was arrested.

The 29-year-old Gervasio told a Buffalo TV station that his mother told him to go put oil under an elderly driver's car.

Together, they targeted seniors, and collected thousands of dollars for car repairs that were never needed in the first place.

Seven people in that area have already admitted they were victimized, so you can bet there are many, many more.

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If you have any doubt about a situation, have the vehicle towed to your own trusted mechanic, find one through the American Automobile Association (AAA), or file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

[CBS 6 Albany]

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