DENVER — A Denver auto shop suddenly closed, telling customers to pick up their broken down cars, but not their refunds.
“It’s horrible. It’s an outrage,” said Duran Automotive customer Clayton Chancey.
He told Contact Denver7 that a friend messaged him on Facebook that the store had been closed.
“Finding out what he had done to everyone’s car was a nightmare,” Chancey said.
A Facebook post on Duran Automotive’s Facebook page reads, “If you have your car here, please pick it up immediately. It is being closed.
Contact Denver7 has been exposing issues at Duran Automotive for more than a year following allegations that Joseph Duran, the store owner, has been withholding customers’ cars for more than a year. Now customers are coming forward saying the practice has continued.
Carmen Porras has the receipt for her BMW repair, paid for in advance in May 2021. She said her car sat with Duran Automotive for over a year and the repairs were never made. His license plates are now gone and his windshield is now cracked.
“I learned not to trust just anyone,” Porras said.
She said she had no way of recovering more than $2,500 from Duran.
“I can’t afford to have it fixed now,” Porras continued.
A former employee, who asked not to reveal his identity for fear of reprisal, briefly worked at Duran Automotive and said Duran robbed Peter to pay Paul.
“He was stealing people’s parts, like he was taking pieces of, say, my car and putting them in someone else’s car. I saw him do that,” the former employee said. .
On the shop’s last day, the owner told Duran he owed him money, according to the former employee.
“Apparently, [Duran] threw the keys at the man and said, “F this.” And that was it,” they said.
Leaving a lot of cars broken down, the former employee said, Duran disappeared. They found themselves trying to track down customers whose cars were in the parking lot.
Duran did not respond to Contact Denver7’s requests for comment. Court records show he has a lengthy criminal history, from criminal theft to criminal sexual assault.
“I haven’t spoken to him. I haven’t seen him. Nobody knows where he is,” Chancey said.
Chancey said he and other customers wanted to spread the word in case Duran decides to open up shop elsewhere again.
“It’s just not fair,” he said. “The community needs to know what we’re dealing with. You have people like that screwing everyone up.”
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