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Man says van being held hostage by repair shop, wants refund

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BATON ROUGE - A man took his van to a transmission shop almost two years ago, and it's still there. He's officially tired of waiting and contacted 2 On Your Side to help get it back.

Walker Estes, who is Deaf, said through an interpreter that his 2015 Nissan is being held hostage at a repair shop. He says the owner tells him the same story over and over again. Friday, the van was parked out front of Aamco Transmissions on Florida Boulevard.

Estes dropped his van off for transmission repairs in May 2020.

"They said they were happy to fix it, and they kept in contact with me, let me know how it was progressing," he said.

The van was briefly returned to him before it was dropped back off at Aamco Transmissions for more repairs. It's still not working properly.

"It's just been there since," Estes said.

The repairs have been paid for in full, about $4,300.

"They told me, 'oh it'll be ready in a week, it'll be ready in two weeks,'" he said. "I've shown up to the business, the doors are locked."

Estes isn't sure if it's been worked on or not. He just wants his car back and his money refunded. All this time, he's still paying insurance and a car note.

Estes says the last time he spoke with someone at Aamco was last summer, since the owner has stopped answering his phone calls. Instead, Estes has had other people call for him. He says those calls are initially answered but then ignored. One of his daughters stopped by the shop a few months ago and was told a new transmission had been ordered.

For the last couple of weeks, 2 On Your Side has left voicemails for Aamco Transmissions. Friday, the phone rolled to voicemail again. Then when WBRZ visited the business, proprietor Rusty Roux was there answering the phone. Roux told Brittany Weiss that a remanufactured transmission had been ordered for Estes' van two weeks ago. He also said he has "way too much going on right now" and is "completely stressed out." Roux said he'd call Estes when the van is ready.

Estes says he's heard that before.

"It's the same issues, they don't answer calls, it's avoidance," Estes said.

Roux said Estes will not be charged any more for the remanufactured transmission. Again, Estes has been told before that the transmission has been ordered.


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