JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sam Allen has had enough and he wants his car from a former neighbor who claims to be a mechanic.
"What I really want is to be finished with this. You know, I've lost a lot of sleep," he said.
Since August 2013, Allen has been trying to get his 1989 Mercedes from a mechanic he met at an auto parts store who offered to help him with some repairs.
"He also helped me move. That's why I could trust the guy," said Allen
That trust disappeared, Allen said, after he gave the mechanic the key to his 1989 Mercedes 450. Allen said since then, he has made several attempts, even filed a police complaint, but was told it is not a crime, it is a civil matter.
"A police officer told me it is not stolen because I let him use the key," said Allen, "but that does not mean he can keep it forever."
Civil matter usually means court; being disabled on a limited income, Allen said he could not afford the $300 fee to file a lawsuit, but then he learned under the American Disability Act he may be eligible for a waiver.
"You can go with indigent status," he said, "but a lot of people must not know it."
He was deemed eligible, the fee was waived and he filed the lawsuit for $5,000 and/or his Mercedes.
"That's what I had to do after all this time," he said.
The question he keeps asking himself is the same question that became a movie: "Dude, where is my car?"
"Where is my car? " he asked.
Allen has been contacted by the People's Court about taking his case to the television arena. The case is scheduled to be heard in a Duval County Courtroom on May 29.
"The message to consumers is don't trust these fly-by-night mechanics that hang around auto parts stores. Don't trust anybody in an auto situation unless you know them," said Allen.
This happens more often than you think: So what can you do?
-If the person is going to make repairs, get a written estimate with what is done and the cost and keep it.
-You can use that to secure a bond by posting the amount with the courts. The courts will then give you a certificate telling the person to release the vehicle.
-The person or business has 60 days to file a lawsuit to recover the bond. If they fail to do so, the money is returned to the consumer.