MUSKEGON, Mich. – It’s been over a week since the FOX 17 Problem Solvers confronted a Craigslist crook, and after repeated promises to make the situation right, a family is still out of a much needed $800.
Back in December, Melinda Gutierrez and her husband went looking for an affordable car they could use to comfortably cart around their two children. They found it in a 2005 Chrysler sedan for sale on Craigslist. The seller was 32-year-old Justin Langeland, and the deal was $1000 down plus a trade in for Gutierrez’s Impala.
After two meet-ups and $800 on the down payment later, Gutierrez stopped hearing from Langeland. She still didn’t have the car despite signed paperwork and the exchange of both parties’ licenses.
Worried she may never get her money back, Gutierrez reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers in early February while simultaneously filing against Langeland in small claims court. We met up with Gutierrez just a day after the court hearing Langeland failed to show up for. Despite winning her case, there were no indications he would refund her.
Posing as interested buyers ourselves, we reached out to Langeland, who told us no one had put any money down on the car yet. We scheduled a meet up, and after briefly confronting him, Langeland drove off. Minutes later, he texted us saying he wanted to make things right.
FOX 17 contacted Muskegon Court officials, got Justin’s payment options, and arranged a meeting between himself and Gutierrez in the parking lot of the court house. Citing an outstanding parking ticket, Langeland refused that idea. We finally convinced him to send a money order – which he tells us he did. We had high hopes that Gutierrez, at long last, would get her money back but when the day on which the money should have transferred to her account rolled around – no money. Justin claims he put the incorrect address on the money order, but we knew he had Gutierrez’s correct address from their initial license exchange and from text messages we had seen between the two in which Gutierrez explicitly provides him with it.
Now, Gutierrez has had to suspend her search for a car and has received shut off notices that the $800 would handily take care of.
FOX 17 Problem Solvers will continue this investigation until Gutierrez receives her funds.