Courts rule HVAC company owner faked his own glowing online testimonials.
MARIETTA, Ga. - A loose cannon. A bully. A despicable character.
Strong words from the head of Georgia's consumer protection division describing the owner of a business the FOX 5 I-Team has warned you about for years. Mechanic's Heating and Air closed its doors in the wake of a $1.3 million judgment.
In 2007, a FOX 5 I-Team hidden camera investigation exposed the shady business dealings of the Marietta company and its wacky owner Monty White, Jr.
We caught a paid-on-commission service tech embellishing work she insisted we needed, claiming problems we didn't have, and one time installing the wrong fuse.
According to the court judgment, White instructed his technicians to inflate their invoices on each service call.
Upset customers complained to us and the local Better Business Bureau.
But instead of responding to those consumer complaints in the way you might expect from a business, Mechanic's owner Monty White employed a tactic we've never seen. He went on the attack, setting up fake websites in the names of those upset customers, trying his best to embarrass them.
He posted the divorce proceedings for one critic. For others, he included maps and directions to their homes complete with profanity-laced comments. White even created fake websites in the names of some of the state investigators.
"Somebody like this ought to be pursued to the gates of hell if possible," said a blunt John Sours, head of the state's consumer protection office. "Having had the experience dealing with him and the Viet Kong, I would put him in the same category."
White didn't stop with fake websites. According to the judge's order, White also repeatedly posted fake on-line testimonials for Mechanic's Heating and Air. White was banned from ever working in the air conditioning business in Georgia again. He met once with director Sours, then failed to show for any of the court hearings, sold his home and moved to Florida. He did not return messages asking for comment.
A business bully who couldn't stand the heat when the fan was aimed right back his way.
"There's good guys and bad guys, and then there's White," said Sours. "He's in a category all of his own."