Another customer complaint about local appliance repairman

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Wednesday’s troubleshooters is another customer complaint about a local equipment mechanic named Augustine Balboa III.

We have introduced you to Mr. Balboa many times. Tonight, a Port Aransas hotel owner shares her story.

Her name is Jennifer Bender and she remembers that day in early May, her first meeting with Augustine Balboa III.

It was just another day at their hotel in Port Aransas. She saw her son talking to a man on the premises.

“And he gave my son a business card and said he fixes appliances. And with Freon, there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix,” she recalls.

The man was Augustine Balboa III from Triple A Restaurant Repair, formerly AB Appliance Repair.

The conversation continued in reception.

“He seemed so sincere. So sincere,” Bender said. And personable, she added.

Before he left that day, Bender said he fixed a freezer for her, and she paid him just over $100 to do it.

Four days later, Balboa was back and told Bender the air conditioner in room 141 needed replacing, not repairing.

But since it was under warranty and less than 2 years old, the company gave her a brand new unit.

That day, May 9, she wrote him a check for nearly $1,900.

She remembered what else he had told her.

“But because warranty fraud is so prevalent, you have to pay for the device up front. And then I’ll bring it in three days and install it,” she said, Balboa told her.

Bender says that’s the last time she sees Balboa.

And then, Bender says, her daughter went online and found other reviews.

“And the internet has been awash, awash with stories about this man. And how he does it all the time,” she said.

The troubleshooters have shared many stories about other Balboa customers since March of this year, dating back to 2011.

In 2017, Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzales advised customers with a complaint to keep all documents and receipts and present them to the Corpus Christi Police Department.

The Troubleshooters reached out to Balboa, as we have over the years, to give him an opportunity to tell us his side of these stories. He didn’t return our calls.

Meanwhile, Bender says it’s a life lesson learned the hard way.

“He’ll never give me a dollar. I mean he’ll never see a dime. He will never give me a dollar. He will never be held accountable,” she said.

Remember, DA Gonzales advises if you feel you are a victim, gather all your evidence and present it to the CCPD.

She tells us that she has spoken to both this office and the Port Aransas Police Department.

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