April 17, 2006
St. Louis, Mo. — A St. Louis business that accepted payments to repair or refinish metal goods often did little or no work and in some cases, lost, damaged or destroyed customers' treasured mementoes, Attorney General Jay Nixon says. Nixon is suing Matthew Buha, the owner of Crest Plating and Metal Restoration, 8843 Manchester Road. Buha also is the owner of 3-B Investments LLC, which was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Crest Plating is no longer in business.
The lawsuit says Buha violated Missouri consumer protection laws by misrepresenting that he would provide the metal replating and refinishing services and by accepting payment in advance for work he never completed. Buha also did not return deposits paid by customers for the work that wasn't performed.
"Customers would bring in antiques and other items that had great monetary or sentimental value to be repaired or to have a new gloss applied," Nixon says. "Unfortunately, what they would end up with was work that was paid for but not done or, worse yet, family heirlooms that were ruined. To those folks, these were priceless treasures that can't be replaced."
Nixon says his office is aware of at least 15 customers who encountered such problems with Crest Plating. Some customers did not receive refunds of their deposits or advance payments, which were as much in some cases as almost $1,000. The value of the items that were lost, damaged or destroyed was as much as several thousands of dollars, Nixon says.
Nixon is asking the St. Louis County Circuit Court to order Buha to pay full restitution to customers and to pay appropriate penalties to the state. The lawsuit also seeks an order prohibiting Buha from further violations of Missouri consumer protection laws.