Schmuck of the Week

Shmuck of the Week: more than double your displeasure

Start your engines.

Here’s the sad vehicular truth: When you take your car in for repairs, you just pretty much assume you’re going to get screwed by the mechanic. He’s either going to tell you something is broken when it’s not, make up the name of some part that needs fixin’ or charge you for things he didn’t do.

And why do we assume the worst? Because of guys like Timothy and Charles Gemelli, the former owners and operators of American Engine engine-repair franchises in Commerce City and Colorado Springs.

The brothers agreed to pay $300,000 to ninety car owners who were forced to fork over thousands of dollars more in car repair bills than what the Gemelli boys originally estimated. The settlement was announced on November 13 by the state Attorney General’s office, which had investigated the pair.

The brothers worked by giving customers low-ball estimates and then asking for an $800 deposit. Once they started the work, the Gemellis would then tell the owners that the problems was much worse than anticipated. The final repair charges were typically about 60 percent over the estimate -- about $1,500 too high -- according to the Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General John Suthers' office received more than sixty complaints about American Eagle over four years. The company is no longer allowed to operate engine-repair businesses in Colorado.

Take that out for a drive.

For previous Shmucks, see our Shmuck of the Week archive.