Dozens of customers are losing money from a repair service that has already been fined by the state. That's according to the Office of Consumer Protection which is suing the owner of Shane's Appliance for the second time in the last four years.
Shane Mulleitner has already been forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines as well as refunds back to customers. So now the state is looking to make sure the Waipahu company goes out of business for good.
Sandra Bourquin was frantic when her refrigerator was leaking water all over the floor, so she contacted Shane's Appliance to get it fixed.
She said after he gave the fridge a quick look, she got a bill. "He scribbled something on a piece of paper for me to sign and said that will be $586," Bourquin said, "and, I'm like, I'm sorry, and he said you have to pay for the parts before I order them or they won't ship them to me."
She later found out that the parts needed were less than a hundred dollars, so she asked Mulleitner for a refund. She said he told her no and has not heard from him since.
Yukiko Matsuura says she paid $1,500 to get a dishwasher fixed and to replace a garbage disposal. She said she later found out that the disposal cost about $80, but was charged $800. She, too, asked Mulleitner for a refund and never got it.
"I just want to get money back," Matsuura said, "so I said please give me back money. Look at our kitchen, it's not fancy or anything, just please give me back."
KHON2 first brought you the story about Shane's Appliance back in 2011 after Action Line received several complaints. The DCCA's Office of Consumer Complaints sued the company, and in a 2013 court order, Mulleitner was forced to repay 23 customers more than $12,300 and another $7,000 in fines.
The state filed another lawsuit Monday on behalf of another 16 customers.
When asked if Mulleitner should continue to do business considering his background, office director Stephen Levins said "well, that's one of the things we're going to be asking the court, to take a careful look at his performance and whether, in fact, he should be doing business in the state of Hawaii."
The online feedback on Shane's Appliance has not been good. The Better Business Bureau of Hawaii gave the business an F grade and Yelp review ratings average one star out of five.
Efforts to contact Mulleitner have gone with no response.
Consumers are encouraged to check out a business before calling them for home repairs and urges everyone to be especially cautious if a repairman demands payment upfront, prior to performing any services.
To check out a business online and to research complaints history, click here.
Consumers with complaints against Mulleitner, Shane's Appliance can call the Office of Consumer Protection at 587-4272, or file online.