REVERE (CBS) — Travelers are always looking for a good deal to park their cars near Boston’s Logan Airport, but a long list of customers tell the WBZ I-Team the low price at one business was not worth the headache, or the damage to their vehicles.
And when customers tried to complain or demand a refund, they claim the owner was completely unresponsive.
When Mina Phomphakady returned from a March trip to Disney World, the first thing she noticed was a big white streak across her car. Upon further inspection, there was also a dent in the rear quarter panel of her 2014 Honda Civic.
But Phomphakady said employees at Select Airport Valet Parking on VFW Parkway in Revere tried to brush aside the damage and did not provide the company’s insurance policy.
When she asked for a refund for the parking, employees told her she would have to speak with the owner.
“I got the feeling they were just trying to get me to go away,” Phomphakady told WBZ from her home in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
When Joanne Hanson’s family returned after an unexpected family funeral, a smashed driver’s side window was the final kick in the gut.
“It was like what else can go wrong?” Hanson recalled.
The Marlborough resident was also surprised to see where her vehicle had been moved while she was gone: an overflow lot near the NECCO Candy Factory.
“It seemed like anyone could drive in and out at any time,” Hanson said. “There were no cameras. There was no security.”
When she got home, Hanson decided to read some of the online complaints about Select Airport Valet Parking. She was stunned.
“There was posting after posting of people’s cars that had been vandalized, ransacked, money taken or windows shattered,” she said.
In the past year, the I-Team counted more than 110 one-star reviews about the business on Yelp. Customers provided descriptions like “worst service I’ve experienced,” “if it was free, I’d still park somewhere else,” and “I despise this company.”
Even though Select’s website promises the on-demand shuttle “won’t keep you waiting,” the most common complaint was about wait times of more than an hour at Logan Airport. Some customers, like Phomphakady, said they eventually gave up and paid a taxi or Uber to get back to where their cars were parked.
“I’ve never had this kind of experience from a company in my life,” she told WBZ.
The I-Team also requested incidents filed with Revere police in the past two years and received 25 reports, which included damage to customer cars, theft of valuables like cash, gift cards and electronics, and even four different stolen vehicles.
Carmel Osterlund, a Brooklyn, Conn. business owner, filed a police report when she returned from her trip and noticed more than 200 miles had been logged on the odometer.
“I was appalled to see the amount of mileage put on my car,” said Osterlund, who was attracted to the business by the cheaper daily parking rate. “I have learned my lesson. I’ll take my keys next time and pay for the peace of mind it gives me.”
A handful of customers also submitted complaints to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.
Joseph Paydarfar noticed a large dent in his car when he returned to Boston in April 2015. His suspension was damaged and the car was not drivable, so he had to tow it to a repair shop near his home in Hanover, N.H.
“I tried to call the owner over 20 times, but never got through,” Paydarfar told WBZ. “My insurance company sent also sent him a letter and tried to call him. I was never able to get reimbursed and spent about $900 out of pocket.”
Difficulty reaching business owner Jim Marcotte was a common theme from all the customers the I-Team interviewed.
At first, Marcotte told WBZ he would do an interview to address the issues raised by repeated customer complaints. However, he later changed his mind and stopped responding to calls or emails. The I-Team could never find him at the Select Airport Valet Parking office, either.
Phomphakady sent her damage estimate to Marcotte, but is not optimistic the business will cover the cost of the repair to her vehicle.
“They are not taking responsibility or willing to deal with something that happened under their care,” she said.
After repeatedly trying to reach Marcotte unsuccessfully, Hanson eventually had to pay out of pocket to have her insurance company repair the smashed window.
“I wish I had done my homework,” she expressed. “If I had just looked, there was a list of very unhappy people and I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.”