PLUMERVILLE (KATV) -
An Arkansas business has been racking up complaints... so far without much consequence.
So we ask the question...why isn't anyone stepping up to shut this company down?
Even Jerry Collins himself may be asking that question.
If you read all of these complaints it becomes clear that Collins is very good at collecting money from his customers. He's also good at ducking phone calls and breaking promises.
But what he is best at it seems...is getting away with it.
Three years ago Jerry Collins told us he would do better.
"I can tell you this...we're in here to make sure that every customer is satisfied, happy...and we've got lots and lots of customers that way," Collins told us back in October of 2013. "Bet we do have a few that are not."
Since his promise to improve, 125 new complaints from 38 different states have been filed with the Arkansas attorney general's office.
The average age of each complainant: 62.
The average amount of money involved: $699.00
The total amount involved: $87,417.00.
"I get calls saying 'Oh I was told not to do business with that company in Arkansas so if that is where you are I'm not going to do business with you," says Stacey Weckwerth of Greenbrier. "It hurts us."
Weckwerth and her husband operate RV Cool in Greenbrier.
She is the only Arkansan over the past three years to file a complaint about Collins.
The Weckwerths have been in the business of refurbishing the refrigerator coils from RV units for over two decades.
"Not everybody can afford to go buy a new refrigerator when an RV refrigerator fails," says Wick Weckwerth. "They're expensive. You know...anywhere from $1,700.00 to three or four thousand dollars for a new refrigerator. And we can rebuild or repair the customer's refrigerator for a fraction of that."
In May of 2014 Stacey Weckwerth begged then Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to "Please do something" about Jerry Collins.
Others from across the country were doing the same.
Ronald in Florida writes: "Ordered cooling unit. Paid by check. Check cashed. Got nothing in return."
Paul from Texas: "You need to investigate this business and shut it down. It gives Arkansas a bad name."
Hank of Nebraska: "I am highly disappointed that there have been so many complaints and this business is still allowed to operate."
If you are travelling Interstate 40 going from Conway to Russellville look to your right a couple miles before Morillton and you'll see Collins' shop.
It has been called Nucold Refrigeration, RV Fridge House, RV Cool Fridge, RV Ice Box, and/or Fridge House over the years.
The sign outside right now says simply "RV Refrigeration Repair."
"Can I help you?" asked an employee at Collins' Plumerville shop.
"I'm looking for Jerry."
"He's not here right now," says the employee. "He just left."
We stopped recently. Jerry Collins wasn't there...but an employee got Collins on the phone.
"I did a story in 2014 and reported that you were doing your best to get back on the right track. Since that time there have been 125 new complaints filed with the attorney general's office. I'm not lying. I've got them in my hand. I can show them to you."
The Conway County Sheriffs department has taken 27 complaints against Collins since 2009...with nine so far this year.
The prosecutor's office was only interested in pursuing one...but no action has been taken for over a year.
Over the past 15 years well over 200 complaints have been filed with the attorney general's office.
Despite having the power of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act...so far four attorneys general...Pryor, Beebe, McDaniel and Rutledge...have all failed to stop Jerry Collins.
"What the attorney general told me is that because it was sold out of the state of Arkansas it was basically out of their jurisdiction," says David from California. "There was nothing they could do for me."
"The attorney general's office basically they said, you know, we can't do anything because you are out of state," according to Kelly from Washington.
"When the attorney general called me back they told me that there wasn't anything that they could do since I was out of state," echoed Virgil from Florida.
"I'll be honest...I don't know what all these agencies are for if they can't do something about it," says Wick Weckwerth. "You've got hundreds and hundreds of customers complaining, you know, repeatedly saying the same thing over and over again. Who is not doing their job? Or who doesn't have the authority? What are the agencies for? That's my big question."
84 of the complaints against Jerry Collins have been made since Attorney General Leslie Rutledge took office.
After trying for two weeks to interview her about this matter, we caught up with her Thursday morning during a monthly appearance on a Little Rock radio station.
"You and I are on the same team," says Ms. Rutledge. "We are going after the bad guys. And Arkansans need to know that the folks at the A.G.'s office work hard every single day and that we go after the bad guys on their behalf."
You can hear the entire exchange by visiting KATV's Facebook page.
Air date: October 27th, 2016