The Investigators: Planet ATV owner accused of ripping off customers

The Investigators: Planet ATV owner accused of ripping off customers
Scott Hutchinson (Source: Facebook)
Scott Hutchinson (Source: Facebook)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some teenagers who worked hard all summer to pay for repairs to their four wheelers claim a local business owner took their money and weeks later still has not fixed their bikes.

Their parents said the owner of Planet ATV on Siegen Lane is nowhere to be found.

The Investigators tracked him down and learned he also allegedly owes money to the local government. Jeff Allen is frustrated when he looks over his son's disassembled four wheeler.

"It's missing a few things like one of the exhaust pipes, missing the engine of course. I don't know what all is missing. I didn't take it apart," Allen said.

Allen said he bought the ATV from a friend knowing it needed a little work. He said his teenage son saved up all summer to have the engine repaired. According to Allen, he took it in June to Planet ATV on Siegen Lane and spoke to the owner, Scott Hutchinson.

"He said that he had already ordered the parts and he needed to be reimbursed the money he had put out for the parts so we had to hurry up and gather the $2,000 and give it to him," Allen said.

Allen said Hutchinson told him he would have the ATV ready in four weeks, but when that didn't happen, he said he decided to take a ride to the business to see what was going on.

"I just had a real bad feeling because when I asked what was going on it was, 'I will call you back.' He would say 'I'm busy, I'm on the phone,' kept hanging up on me not returning my phone calls," Allen said.

When he pulled up, Allen said he could not believe his eyes.

"I noticed trailers and lots of people moving everything out. He said he was being audited by the government and that he owed taxes and that everything was seized. He said that I wasn't getting any money back and he was not able to do any more work to my bike," Allen said.

Allen said Hutchinson returned the frame of the four wheeler, a bunch of parts in a Tupperware container, and an engine. He said Hutchinson would not refund his money.

"He still has the money, said it's tied up in an account and he's not able to access it," Allen said.

Allen is not the only one.

Jeanice Moore said she also took her son's four wheeler to Planet ATV for repairs.

"That was my son's summer work money. He had worked all summer to raise the money to fix this. [Hutchinson] was supposed to return it in a week," Moore said.

Moore said her son paid Hutchinson up front with $1,200 cash. She said when she could not get Hutchinson on the phone, she decided to pay him a visit.

"The very next week we go by, which is the last week in August, and they were completely shut down," Moore said.

Moore said she has not been able to reach Hutchinson to get the four wheeler or a refund.

"If he knew he would be moving, had he called us and given us the opportunity to come back and get our ATV, and even deduct the money he needed to look at the ATV, we would've been okay with that. But not knowing where it is, or where the money is, or if he ordered the parts that's what's so frustrating," Moore said.

When the Investigators visited Planet ATV, the lights were out and the doors were locked. We did not find Hutchinson on the property, but we did encounter another disgruntled customer looking for his bike.

"He had it for four months. He done got paid for everything. I think it was like $5,200 to get it repaired," the man said.

When the Investigators called Planet ATV, we got an answering machine that said the business was closed.

When Hutchinson returned our call he declined an on-camera interview but explained the city closed down his business last week because he owes an "exorbitant amount of taxes."

According to court documents obtained by the Investigators, East Baton Rouge Parish sued Scott Hutchinson and his businesses in 2013 for $10,000 in taxes.

A company called High Lifter Products took Hutchinson to court last year, according to court records, to recoup $15,544 on an open account.

The Investigators also learned he owes the city-parish another $888 in property taxes from last year.

It is disappointing news for his customers hoping for a solution.

"He worked so hard for this, and there's nothing we can do. Sorry, you lost your bike," Allen said.

"Unfortunately, this might be one of those life lessons that my son might have to learn," Moore said.

Hutchinson told the Investigators he had around a dozen ATV's that belonged to customers, but he would not say where he is keeping them.

He added that he plans to fix and return them to their owners in 30 days.

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