LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Dozens of people have been scammed by the owner of a Louisville home appliance repair company and they want their money back.
After hearing several complaints against Skyfire Appliance Repair, WDRB Investigates reached out directly to the owner to ask questions about the alleged actions.
Chris Smith is a former wrestler known as Christian Skyfire but he is also known as Dub C and Johnny Homeless. He moved from the ring to become the mechanic and owner of Skyfire Appliance Repair.
Victim after victim, including Jeanne Bibelhauser, filed a complaint against his company. She said she realized Skyfire wasn’t going to return to her house and make repairs after a week or so.
“I thought I could trust the guy. He’s done jobs before, one or two, and they’ve been decent,” said her husband, Todd Bibelhauser.
But not this time.
In the last 3 years, the Better Business Bureau has registered 21 complaints against Skyfire Appliance Repair, which has an “F” rating and one star rating out of five.
WDRB’s Valerie Chinn interviews Chris Smith.
“So what the BBB saw at Skyfire isn’t just a long history of complaints, it’s a pattern of complaints,” said the BBB’s Whitney Adkins. “All complaints are unanswered (which sadly tells me we have a company that is not responding that does not appear to be making any effort to address the complaints at hand.”
Some complained online.
“This company/guy is a scammer!!!! Didn’t fix it, didn’t call back, cashed our check and walked away,” one customer wrote.
“His company is now called Appliance Repair Lou Beware,” said another.
Others reported losing money ranging from $445 to $1,000.
The Bibelhauser family hired Smith to fix a broken stove/oven that was making a noise that was keeping Jeanne up at night.
“Oh yeah. The oven’s going out again,” she said. “He told me it was probably the motherboard and happened to bring one. He installed the new motherboard and we paid him $480 and that night had the same problem.”
A year later it is still not fixed. The only way the family can stop the noise is by turning off the circuit breaker.
“He said it was probably a bad motherboard and he would order a new one and come out and replace it. Then it was just another apology, said it would be a while, then he stopped answering his phone and texts and we didn’t hear anything,” said Jeanne Bibelhauser.
Claims by dozens of people who said they were scammed by Skyfire prompted WDRB News to track him down and record the phone calls needed to contact him.
“Hi Chris, Valerie Chinn from WDRB News. A lot of people say you scammed them.”
WDRB went to Smith’s last known address first, but neighbors said he moved a few months ago. So our team called him to arrange an appliance repair appointment to speak to him personally about the Bibelhauser stove.
“They showed up at their house and tried to fix devices, but you take their money and leave those devices unrepaired.”
Smith replied, “Call the office. I have no comment.”
“What about all these people saying you took hundreds of dollars? They have a 5 on the Better Business Bureau. Do you want to say something? We want to know your side of the story.”
Smith closed the car door and drove off.
Many of the customers who said they were scammed said they just wanted their money back. Several others have since called and emailed WDRB News that they too have been scammed.
Todd Bibelhauser said he was frustrated by the situation.
“I can’t believe there are people out there who can do this all the time and can’t be blamed for it,” he said.
Smith later called WDRB.
“Miss Valerie, I’m sorry for my reaction a minute ago. I’d like to speak to you. I’m just curious how far this (story) is going?”
“What do you think?”
“Am I going to be locked up or something or…”
“We just want to know your side of the story. We are journalists and people came to us because they lost a lot of money.”
“Right, and I’m ready to fix any problems I’ve made.”
Smith also runs Skyfire Entertainment. He said his former business partner was primarily responsible for the problems with Skyfire Appliance Repair.
Smith said his wrestling days were over and that he was now “old and broken”.
Shawn Sands has owned Supreme Wrestling for 25 years. He said Smith briefly wrestled for his company to pay off some of his debt after renting a wrestling ring from him for three shows and never paying the bill. Sands said he and Smith “broke up,” but he still owes him about $300.
For the dozens of people in and around Louisville who still have broken devices, Todd Bibelhauser shared his anger.
“It’s annoying. I don’t understand how people behave anymore,” he said.
Greg Burton of Sellersburg, Indiana, tells a similar story.
“Smith came to my house on December 28, 2020 to look at a refrigerator that wasn’t cooling, and the freezer wasn’t even getting cool,” Burton said. “He diagnosed the problem as a faulty circuit board and charged me $540.60 to fix it. I paid him half and he came back a week later on January 5, 2021, at which point I paid him the other half.
“Of course the fridge wasn’t working properly when he left, but he told me I had to give him 24 hours before all the electronics were synced,” Burton added. “Due to numerous contact attempts, he either never showed up at the promised time or simply didn’t answer the phone. He just lied all the time. Eventually he promised to send me a refund which of course never arrived.”
Kristina Blizzard also contacted WDRB News and said Smith cheated her out of $386.90 in September 2020.
“He said he replaced the control panel on the top of my fridge. He didn’t do it,” Blizzard said. “The legitimate repairman, LG repairman, who came later said he was sure the part he claimed to have replaced was the original of the fridge because when they make the fridge they install that part from the inside and all Connecting cables stow inside.
“When you replace this part the wires are bound to be up. The control panel was the original. The real problem was that the compressor failed. It was a known problem and was replaced at no cost even though the fridge was out of warranty, ”, said Blizzard.
Noel Naranjo told WDRB News: “He should fix my fridge. He billed me $529.70 and that was on March 19, 2020.”
Bonnie First said her washing machine was leaking water and she called Smith to fix the problem.
“After he ‘fixed’ it and left, I ran a charge and it crashed again,” said First, who lost $300.
Roger Foster said he got off easy.
“All he got out of me was a $60 fee to overlook it,” Foster said. “Said the control panel went down and never came back. So I guess I dodged a bullet compared to others.”
Emily McCreary said Smith should fix her mother’s freezer.
“I committed myself to them. He owes Mom $150,” McCreary said.
Others sent screenshots of their text messages with Smith to get him to come back and fix their devices after he took their money.
Minutes after WDRB News contacted Smith again, he posted on Appliance Repair Lou’s Facebook page that his shop was permanently closed.
“If you’ve ever been wronged, send a message to this page for rectification,” he wrote.
Smith told WDRB he will make any repairs he owes people since 2019, but didn’t say how long that might take.
The Bibelhauser family received word from Smith that he was finally refunding their money under a repayment plan. They said Smith made them an $80 payment through Venmo, the first of many payments he owes them.
Smith told WDRB he’s still planning an interview, but didn’t say when.
Meanwhile, Jeanne Bibelhauser said she is still waiting for her stove to be repaired.
“The stove still gives the same error message and still goes off and still makes the same beeping,” she said.
If you have information related to this story or any other story that you think the WDRB Investigation Team should investigate, you can email us at Investigate@wdrb.com or call the WDRB Investigation Hotline at 502-322-1297 call up.
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