$8,750 gone, but no car, and no trust.


Byline: Clive McFarlane


The villain in this story is not hard to identify.

He is Michael Costa, who, like the basketball player who raises his hand as soon as the referee's whistle blows, readily admits he promised Worcester resident Jason Smith a 2002 Subaru WRX and that he took almost $9,000 from Mr. Smith, but never delivered the car.

"It was poor judgment on my part," Mr. Costa told me.

"It was just a deal that went bad, and I am fully prepared to reimburse the kid."

But this is like saying he has another car to sell Mr. Smith, and the part-time teacher and college student wants nothing more to do with Mr. Costa.

Mr. Smith is instead going after William Rocco, the owner of Jake's Auto Detailing, for whom Mr. Costa worked while he was taking Mr. Smith's money, Mr. Smith said.

In need of a vehicle after totaling his car in a 10-car pileup on Interstate 495 in November, Mr. Smith asked Mr. Costa to purchase a car for him through auction.

He had previously engaged Mr. Costa to conduct diagnostic tests on his car at Jake's Auto, so he felt pretty secure in doing business with him again.

On Dec. 14, he gave Mr. Costa a $400 cash deposit on a Subaru he had picked from an auction book provided by Mr. Costa.

He gave Mr. Costa another cash payment of $750 later that month, and final payments of $5,100 in cash and $2,500 in a money order on Jan 8.

All receipts for payments were made out on pages of Jake's Auto Detailing receipt book, Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Costa never delivered the car, telling Mr. Smith on numerous occasions that he was having problems securing the title. He, however, placated Mr. Smith by agreeing to carry the cost of a rental car.

He apparently didn't follow through on that promise, either, because the rental company, Enterprise, now says Mr. Smith owes it $1,917.

Mr. Smith is threatening to sue Mr. Rocco if he does not give back the money he gave Mr. Costa for the Subaru, as well as his outstanding rental fees.

But Mr. Rocco said he was unaware of the transaction between Mr. Smith and Mr. Costa.

Furthermore, Mr. Costa, with whom he has since parted ways, was not an employee, but rather someone who rented a bay from him and did some mechanic work for the business, Mr. Rocco said.

Occasionally, he said, Mr. Costa brought in customers...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT