Ariz. AG sues Phoenix towing company

Bryan Cohen May 10, 2012, 6:50am


PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against a Phoenix towing company that allegedly engaged in multiple consumer fraud violations, including charging a customer for repairs that were not actually made.

The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges that Sun Valley Towing LLC defrauded consumers through multiple repair scams.

The company was the subject of multiple consumer complaints, including delaying or not paying refunds, failing to honor warranties, threatening customers who inquired about the status of repairs, leaving vehicles in the shop for several months without repair, shoddy repair work and other alleged violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

"The defendants in this case have a history of questionable consumer practices," Horne said. "The video taken by our office clearly shows a technician correctly diagnosing a mechanical problem yet claiming that the problem is much more serious and expensive. We will continue to pursue these types of cases to send a message to any potential scammers that the next customer they try to defraud may be in fact be an agent from the attorney general's office, which, if it deters them, will make everyone's life better."

Horne's office conducted a sting operation by employing an automotive repair expert to verify the working condition of a vehicle. After parking it, the vehicle's inertia fuel cutoff switch was turned off.

An undercover agent called Sun Valley Towing and while the car was in the shop, a mechanic allegedly found the problem and reset the inertia fuel cutoff switch. The shop owner, Tim Kunselman, then allegedly asked for and received authorization to repair the fuel system, even though the employee had already corrected the problem.

Kunselman then allegedly said that the vehicle's fuel pump had been damaged and that a repair would require a cash payment of $340. After repairs were made, the agent asked for the old fuel pump but was allegedly told that it had been broken into 10 pieces and could not be given back.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Sun Valley from engaging in tow operations and auto repair. It also asks for restitution of $10,000 for each Consumer Fraud Act violation.

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