CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Wednesday’s troubleshooters is another customer complaint about a local appliance repairman named Augustine Balboa III.
We’ve introduced you to Mr. Balboa many times before. Tonight, a Port Aransas hotel owner tells her story.
Her name’s Jennifer Bender, and she remembers that day in early May, her first encounter with Augustine Balboa III.
It was just another day at the Port Aransas hotel she owns. She saw her son talking with a man on the premises.
“And he handed my son a business card and he said that he fixed appliances. And there was nothing with Freon he couldn’t repair,” she recalled.
The man was Augustine Balboa III, of Triple A Restaurant Repair, formerly AB Appliance Repair.
The conversation continued inside the front office.
“He seemed so sincere. So sincere,” Bender said. And personable, she added.
Before he left that day, Bender says he fixed a freezer for her, and she paid him a little more than $100 for that.
Four days later, Balboa was back and telling Bender the A/C unit in room 141 had to be replaced, not repaired.
But, because it was under warranty, and less than 2 years old, the company was giving her a brand new unit.
That day, May 9, she wrote him a check for almost $1,900.
She recalled what else he told her.
“‘But because warranty fraud is so prevalent, I need you to pay for the unit up front. And then I’ll bring it in three days and I’ll install it,'” she said Balboa told her.
Bender says that’s the last time she saw Balboa.
And that’s when Bender says her daughter went online and found other reviews.
“And the internet was flooded, flooded, with stories about this man. And how he does this continually,” she said.
The Troubleshooters have reported many stories of Balboa’s other customers, from March this year, going all the way back to 2011.
In 2017 Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzales advised customers with a complaint to save all documents and receipts and present it to the Corpus Christi Police Department.
The Troubleshooters have reached out to Balboa, as we have over the years, to give him an opportunity to give us his side of these stories. He hasn’t returned our calls.
In the meantime, Bender says it’s a life lesson learned the hard way.
“He’s never going to give me a dollar. I mean, never going to see a cent. He’s never gonna give me a dollar. Never going to be held accountable,” she said.
Remember, DA Gonzales advises that if you feel you’re a victim, collect all your evidence and present it to the CCPD.
She tells us she’s spoke to that office as well as the Port Aransas Police.