More complaints about Hilty Customs surface after WREG story
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG continues to get complaints about Sean Hilty and his now-closed auto repair shop.
After we aired a story last week, the complaints poured in.
Hilty declined to comment, but customers say they hope sharing their stories could force Hilty out of business for good.
“This keeps happening over and over and over,” said Melissa Anderson.
Sean Hilty once organized a caravan of trucks to escort a little boy who loved monster trucks to his final resting place.
WREG has video, because the station covered it.
News Channel 3 found a Facebook post that boasts Hilty’s credentials as the new head football coach of a semi-pro football team in Arlington.
However, customers of his now closed auto repair shop say, it’s all part of a pitch.
“He`s the slickest talker I`ve ever met in my life,” said Edward Holland.
After WREG shared Sandra Cook’s story, who said she paid Hilty $24,000 for a car restoration that never happened, more complaints poured into the newsroom.
The quote below is a snippet from a voicemail.
“I was calling about a story ya’ll had on Sean Hilty at Hilty Customs. He also scammed me out of about five grand.”
Another customer reached out on Facebook, said he paid for repairs, and is now forced to pay to get his truck back because it was towed when Hilty was evicted.
Anderson explained, “He started telling me that it was gonna cost thousands of dollars to fix all of the stuff that was wrong with our truck.”
Anderson says she paid Hilty $1500, and traded her truck for a car, but never got the title.
Eventually, she says a former employee contacted her.
“He told me that he’d taken out a title loan on the car right before I got it from him.”
That employee also claimed Anderson was one of several customers that got conned.
“Charging people for things that weren`t being done. He was telling them they needed a new transmission but he was only having the guys refill the transmission fluid. They thought they were just doing a flush but in the front, he`s taking the money for the bigger job,” explained Anderson.
Katyln Threet was possibly one of those customers.
“He supposedly changed the transmission fluid and that`s all he did to my vehicle,” said Threet.
That possibly put Threet, a single mom of two, in danger after paying for a part she says a worker, and other repair shops confirmed was likely never installed.
“My car was jerking really hard, shifting gears, while I was driving and I had my kids in the car and it came to the point where I couldn’t drive the car anymore.”
That was after Threet had taken it to Hilty, paid for a transmission replacement, and even complained about continued problems.
Edward Holland takes 23 medicines daily, as he suffers from Parkinson’s.
Holland went to Hilty for a motor but says he talked him into a full restoration.
WREG asked, “How much did you pay him?”
Holland replied, “$20,700.”
Holland says his car sat for eight months, and when he went to get it back, “He had took the motor out of it and sold it.”
Holland won a default judgment against Hilty, and a collections company was able to seize a few assets, but Holland himself hasn’t recouped any money.
He says Hilty called him.
“He said I ruined his life. Can you imagine that? I ruined his life,” Holland said.
No one answered the door at Hilty’s last known address, a five-bedroom, three-bathroom (according to online real estate websites) home in Bartlett.
When WREG got him on the phone, Hilty said he had no comment.
Hilty previously told WREG some of his former employees stole money, which caused problems for what he said were “a few” customers.
However, he didn’t provide an explanation for all of the complaints.
Despite Hilty’s silence, former customers like Anderson have plenty to say.
They want their money back, and Hilty forced out of business for good or into a jail cell.
“I think the important thing is just to keep him from doing it to anyone else,” Anderson said.
Threet said, “Maybe we can build a case against him and I’m not the only one.”
“If I thought that a bunch of us could get together and put him in prison, I’d be right there with them,” said Holland.
Some of the people we spoke with are considering going to the police. As for those trying to collect judgments like Anderson, Holland and Cook, wage garnishment could be an option if Hilty is no longer self-employed.