Man at Odds with Oklahoma Custom Auto Shop Over Wheelchair Mods for Truck
Written by Ashley Moss, KFOR News
Published Sept. 5, 2023
An Oklahoma man said he’s out thousands of dollars because of a years long conflict with a custom auto shop.
Jared Carroll told KFOR News he’s waited two years for the modifications to make his truck wheelchair accessible but he’s still without a ride.
Carroll had a life-changing car accident back in 2020 that left him with a severed spinal cord and in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down.
“I fell asleep at the wheel. I dozed off. When I woke up, I was in oncoming traffic,” said Carroll. “It looked like the Hulk just tore me in half.”
His mother, Regina Dodson, said she moved to Oklahoma from Louisiana temporarily to help Carroll recover.
But she said she stuck around in the Sooner State after a deal with Phat Phabz in Choctaw, OK, to make Carroll’s truck wheelchair accessible went sour over the price.
“[Initially they said] it’s going to cost you $8,000-$12,000. Worst case scenario, $18,000…And then tried to tell me …two months into the work [that we] already owed $17,000. Are you kidding me? How can it be this high and you’re not even close to being done,” Dodson said.
Carroll is on a fixed income, but said he and his mother have already sunk thousands more than planned into the project, saying they agreed to pay as much as $20,000 to get functional and cosmetic work done to the truck.
But he still can’t drive on his own.
“The work that I asked to be done when we agreed to do the job isn’t done," Carroll said, explaining requested work to be done on the cab corners and the bed of the truck. "At this point now [I’m] borrowing the money and I’m going to have to pay that back with interest.
“In order for my wheelchair to go in there, all of that had to be tucked and moved away," he continued. "[Now] there’s just a big hole in the middle [and] I don’t know what else to do other than to reach out to you guys."
Dodson said a back and forth over progress and price continued for months until a blow up over the request to replace cab corners.
“[The owner] sent back a message that said, 'You have got to be kidding me. We are already completing more work than you’re paying for and now you’re demanding more work to be completed for free. Absolutely not. You have lost your mind and reality. Please complete your payment so you can pick up this truck as it is. We are done,'” she said, reading from a text message exchange with the shop.
By phone Aug. 29, the owner of Phat Phabz said Carroll and Dodson’s version of events is not accurate.
“The customer has no more money to finish the truck. We agreed to a certain amount and we continued to work on the truck,” said Jake McKiddie. “We turned it over as a loss and the customer demanded we do more free work on the truck, so at that point I decided I was no longer working on the truck and we are putting it back together so they can come and get it."
“We’ve sent him a payment every time and I can show you straight out of [my bank] account,” Carroll countered.
Dodson and Carroll said they are considering going to court, but for now, they’re left with nothing but a hard lesson, and no wheels.
“I really stepped in a huge pile of crap [and] I want to go on with my life,” said Carroll.
“We just want the truck fixed,” Dodson added.
Phat Phabz declined to speak to the station on camera; however, they did tell KFOR they did everything they could to help the family, including offering deep discounts on the labor.