by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Local business has been on national TV, getting positive attention for restoring old vending machines. But, Eyewitness News found, some customers had more complaints than praise. They even reported the company to authorities.
Daniel Jones lives in Rochester, N.Y. He says he bought a 1950s Coca-Cola machine and he wanted to get it refurbished. He hired Antiquities Vending in Granite Falls.
The owner, Alan Huffman, has been on programs ranging from public television to the History Channel. He says he's also collaborating with Food Network right now.
But months went by, and, Jones says Huffman kept making excuses.
"Called him on the phone and says, 'Look, we're so sick and tired of all your stories, just keep the machine. We're done with you. Let the authorities deal with you," Jones said he finally told Huffman.
So he reported the business to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper. So did another customer in New York and ones in Illinois, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, California and Alberta, Canada. Cooper got 10 complaints total.
"Our office is investigating this and is talking to this business to determine what the situation is," Cooper said.
Action 9 asked Huffman, "Are you ripping people off?" He said, "No, sir."
Huffman said these ten complaints are relatively few considering his 25 years in business. He said he got hurt last fall, couldn't work, and got behind on jobs. "Things like that happen. And you never know, you never known when something's going to happen," Huffman said. He also said the work he does takes time. Sometimes he has to order parts or send pieces out for detailing.
Within hours of Action 9 contacting Huffman, he started calling customers to make things right, even give full refunds. One emailed Action 9, "I'm not sure what has happened but all of a sudden Mr. Huffman got going on things." That customer added, "Amazing!"
Daniel Jones wrote "[I] was contacted by Alan Huffman this afternoon and he said that my machine was done. No charge." He still had his doubts it would pan out, but, when Action 9 Skyped with him a few days later, he said Huffman sent the machine and didn't charge him. "We un-crated it, we brought it in the house, plugged it in, everything works. We even had a bottle of Coke last night."
In fact, Cooper's office says all 10 complaints against Antiquities Vending are now resolved.
When Action 9 asked Huffman, "Is this finally done or is this going to keep happening? Are we going to see more complaints? Are we going to hear more from the [Attorney General's] office?" Huffman said, "No. No. No."
He's also trying to get his rating with the Better Business Bureau up. It was an F, but, at last check it was upgraded to D-minus. Huffman expects that to go up even more as the BBB goes through the complaints against him and sees that they've been resolved.