March 15, 2024 at 1:48 pm

Scammy Mechanic Takes Advantage Of Military Personnel, So Marine Gets Revenge And Turns The Entire Operation Upside Down

by Chris Allen

VeteranMechanicGoByeBye Scammy Mechanic Takes Advantage Of Military Personnel, So Marine Gets Revenge And Turns The Entire Operation Upside Down

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Mechanic takes advantage of young customer, charging them WAY too much, for services not remotely asked for. It just makes your blood boil.

But when you’re a veteran, and you’re taking advantage of another active service member like that? Well there’s bound to be hell to pay.

And this is a story exactly like that. Except the ending is OH so worth it.

Veteran Mechanic taking advantage of active duty military and retirees messes with the wrong person and his buddy goes down with him

This happened back in 2002 on Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. I was stationed down the way at 32nd Street Naval Base for my MIlitary Occupation Specialty school and was a new Lance Corporal (E3) at the time.

I had a 1994 Dodge Spirit with 180K miles or so and I’d just driven it across the country. I bought it a few days before leaving KS at an Auto auction. A couple weeks into my school it died, at the gate, next to the sentry.

After an initial freak out that I was a suicide bomber and the subsequent search of me and my car everyone calms down and they help push my car to the top of the hill so I can coast down the other side and into the auto repair shop parking lot which thankfully went without incident.

Well that must have been an insanely tense minute or so!

OP reaches into his back pocket for some knowledge.

And that knowledge base came in handy.

Before I go in I call my dad and then his cousin. My dad knows a ton about cars and his cousin is a mechanic with his own very successful shop (like a dozen work bays and they handle everything from regular cars to farm equipment to semis).

I know a fair bit about cars on my own but he knows everything. Between us we decide it looks like the distributor or the distributor cap is the issue. My dad’s cousin says it’s a common issue on Spirits from this time and recommends I get it fixed here by a real mechanic.

Now at this point it’s important to note his shop did a very thorough once over for me after I bought the car and gave me good notes on the condition of the car in writing, from his shop.

I go in and talk to the guy at the counter. They’re not too busy and pull it into a bay and run their diagnostics, same thing. Distributor cap. Cool. I get the services agreement saying they’ll replace it and call me if they find anything else.

Flash forward a few days, and the sticker shock was real.

I hear nothing until the end of the week when they call and say my car is ready. When I get there they present me with a bill for like $1400!

Wow. Just wow. Now my heart has stopped beating and I say something about that being a lot for a distributor cap. The guy who owns the place (I find out he’s a veteran from way back) breaks off talking to a Master Sergeant (MSgt – E8) and comes over to talk to me.

He starts telling me about how it was much worse than they originally thought and they ended up having to replace my radiator (plus hoses) and my timing belt and a head gasket. I’m still in shock and say something like the head gasket was fine two weeks ago and so was the radiator and the timing.

He puts his hand on my shoulder and tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about bc they’ve been waiting to fail for a long time now.

Oh the condescension was palpable.

How much you wanna bet this owner kept his cool, and was reasonable?…

I’m confused now and say that’s not possible. I bought it two weeks ago and… He cuts me off and says I was sold a complete lemon and I should have had it checked. He says he felt bad for me and this should have cost over $2000 but he cut me a deal and he can work with me in an installment plan but will have to charge me interest.

Now I’m suspicious and starting to get p***ed and I say the only repair I authorized was a distributor cap and they should have called me before doing anything else and I start to explain I’ve got paperwork from the inspection I had done that said those other things were fine.

I’m going to get it from the car and the MSgt grabs me by the arm and starts telling me I’m being ungrateful and disrespectful to a respected mechanic and business owner and asks me if I’m implying he’s cheating me. Every time I try to open my mouth he cuts me off and keeps telling the owner not to worry, he’ll make sure this young pup pays what is owed.

He’s threatening to take me over to admin and have my pay docked.

There it is. Red flag in the mind.

“Pay. Docked.”


Now I’m angry and a bit scared. Another Marine intervenes and says that’s a little extreme and to let me say my piece. I get permission to get into my car to get my maintenance history which includes an oil change, the inspection documentation and the original quote for the distributor cap work.

At this point there’s a crowd of customers and some other passers by. The owner of the garage and MSgt are in full theater mode talking about how I’m not appreciating the huge help they’ve been and I’m trying to get out of paying for work I asked for. Now I’m mostly just p***ed.

I come in and the MSgt cuts me off and tells me to be careful how I talk to his friend. I ask the MSgt if he’s going to let me speak or keep interrupting me while I’m in a private conversation with a business owner.

Good for him. OP squared his shoulders and prepared the counter attack.

Receipts in hand.


I ask him if he owns part of the shop (no) and ask why he’s so interested in not hearing a Marine out. Then I get out the original statement of services and say the distributor cap is all I agreed to. I also ask why he didn’t call me and he says he called my barracks several times and left messages including ones telling me the car was undrivable until the repairs were made so he went with the lowest cost option to get me back on the road.

Oops. I say, that’s interesting, the only number I gave you is my cell phone and I don’t have any messages or even attempted calls until the previous evening when they left a message that my car was ready.

I show everyone my call history (including a Captain who’s very interested and standing quietly by). The MSgt has backed off and the Capt is quietly talking to him off on the side.

Cue: rats scurrying.


Now the owner is backpedaling a bit and saying he was thinking of a different customer but he’s already made the replacement and has to charge me for the work. Then I pull out the stuff from the inspection and it has some fun little statements in it.

Statements like: Timing belt good, timing good. Check again in 30K miles. Radiator, appears to be recently replaced. All hoses new in last 6 months. Nothing on the head gasket but there’s a statement that there are no leaks in that area which was why he said he had to replace it. I say he can put all of my original stuff back on because all I’m paying for is the distributor cap work.

He gets red faced and starts demanding I pay for the labor and he can’t put things back on because they were too badly damaged in the removal process.

Now the entire shop starts turning on this moron.

And it sounds like they’ve been waiting to do so for a long long time.

Now some old retired guy chimes in from the back and asks “what kind of mechanic damages things when they take them apart?” The owner drags out my radiator and there is a giant hole in one side that looks like it was stabbed with a crowbar.

Now a couple other people (locals) are questioning past situations where he ‘helped them’ out with repairs they didn’t know they needed. The MSgt tried to walk off and a Colonel and a Sergeant Major in civilian attire post him to the side for a later conversation.

The Capt pulls me aside and asks to see the info I have and to see my phone again and steps behind the counter to photocopy it all. He has a truly evil grin. Turns out he’s a prior Enlisted former infantry Marine who became an Officer after going back to college. He has suspected this shop of being crooked for a while but never had enough proof.

Well what do you know…

Others had their eyes on this scumbag.

Who’d’ve thunk it!

He’s on the commanding general’s staff and they were looking into complaints from permanent personnel and retirees in the area. The owner is sweating bullets now. I only pay for the distributor cap and get a statement that says my balance is zero so he doesn’t try anything in the future.

The Capt takes me to dinner and gets my info and basically a statement from me of what happened. After dinner he takes me back to his office while he types up something for me to sign about the whole incident and I call Verizon to get them to fax over the incoming / outgoing calls from my number from the past week.

He explains that the MSgt has been steering a lot of customers to his buddy and they suspect he’s getting kick backs. The Capt and several others have been taking their cars there for months to try to catch the guy doing what he did to me. The MSgt sealed his fate when he started threatening to take my pay.

It went potentially even deeper, with kickbacks.

The Captain showed his gratitude with some beers, and a job-well-done all around.

They suspected he was getting kickbacks or favors in exchange for hooking up his buddy. Now he has the justification he needs to formally look into the MSgt. The Capt was thrilled and bought me a 6 pack for using up so much of my Friday evening.

I wasn’t around long enough to see the outcome but when I left there were auditors from base services going through the business with a fine tooth comb and it was a legal matter. Once something like that gets started it probably means a business and the owners will get kicked out of the on base location (the base owns the building and the owner leases it).

He and his business would also end up blacklisted as a place known for taking advantage of service members. Most commands give this out to people who check in so no one patronizes them.

It still boggles my mind that one veteran would try to use that status to take advantage of others. Or that a senior Marine would do that to other Marines. I know there are people out there like that but having the shared common background we do, I expect better.

Mine too, buddy. Mine too.

Scammers ALWAYS get what’s coming.

But boy is it fun to watch play out in that moment.

Let’s see what folks had to say.

One person recalled when they WORKED in that same shop!

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

The swear words were flying for this bold, hubristic shop owner.

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

Another Marine recalls that exact shop.

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

While one other commenter fills us in on some potential fallout.

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

Scammers = failures.

Want to read another story where somebody got satisfying revenge? Check out this post about a woman who tracked down a contractor who tried to vanish without a trace.