Appliance center in Clearwater accused of broken machines and broken promises

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Customers of a Clearwater appliance store say they were sold appliances that broke down in just weeks and worthless warranties that did nothing to help.

Some of those customers reached out to 8 On Your Side, hoping to share their stories with others.

Customers told us they went to the Appliance Outlet Center in Clearwater on Gulf to Bay hoping for a good deal, but what they got instead were broken machines and broken promises.

“I don’t like to use the word victimized, I feel extremely taken advantage of,” upset customer Yvonne Bartolomeo said.

Bartolomeo reached out to 8 On Your Side saying she went to the Appliance Outlet Center but didn’t get what she paid for.

“He sold me a warranty, which made me feel comfortable. I went ahead and paid, just shy of $2,000 dollars. The dishwasher has never surfaced, the fridge went out in 25 days,” Bartolomeo said.

We spoke with three upset customers with similar stories.

“I was looking for a washer/dryer and the price was right,” said Kimberly Chandler, an upset customer.

“I spent $1,950 on the appliances,” said Michelle Cogmetti, another upset customer.

“You all say you’re victims of James Holecek?” Christine McLarty asked the women, and they all responded “Yes”.

All three women tell 8 On Your Side that they bought faulty appliances and worthless warranties, so we went to the business to get answers.

“We’ve heard you owe a lot of money to a lot of people, are you going to make it right?,” McLarty said as she was knocking on the door.

8 On Your Side found a lot of open doors as well as a lot of unanswered questions.

Although, James Holecek at his place of business, 8 On Your Side we find him on the Department of Corrections website stating Holecek served time for charges including grand theft and organized fraud.

When 8 On Your Side called the business we got his voicemail. However late Friday someone from that number texted us asking how they could help.

When we said we were 8 On Your Side they responded: “I’m out of town on business but there is no news story.”

We told him we spoke with some of his upset customers which they replied: “You can air whatever false story false propaganda and lies that you have…You as well as they will be sued for defamation.”

Clearwater police tell 8 On Your Side they’ve received reports about Holecek and are actively investigating his business practices.

According to public record, Holeck is facing an eviction notice on a property across the street the people currently living there were surprised and saddened when we told them today.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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