Family out $50K after handicap accessible SUV company closes

It wasn't just about the money with the van. The family was also grieving the loss of their son as they tried to sort out the problems with their van.

KALAMAZOO, MICH. - A West Michigan family is out $50,000 after purchasing a handicap accessible SUV for their son. The boy passed away in 2015, but two years later -- the family says they still don’t have the vehicle.

Sean and Christina Mulhearn say they’ve had nothing but problems with the company that modified the Honda Pilot.

The Scotts area couple purchased the SUV from an Ohio dealership. It was sent to Allegiant Mobility in Kalamazoo. The vehicle was supposed to be for their 15-year-old son, John, who had cerebral palsy.

John was a well-known face in the Western Michigan locker room in 2015.

"We wouldn't wish this on anybody else," said Sean. The boy's condition involved several trips to the doctor. "He had breathing issues. We’d been going to the Cleveland Clinic for treatments."

The Mulhearns say the problems with Allegiant Mobility started almost immediately when they used their credit card for a down payment. As work was underway, they discovered it had also been used for something else. "The people who grabbed it used it to buy video games and spent $800. That was a red flag, but we were already in it," Sean said. "They had it almost built."

Allegiant subtracted the amount from the final invoice and finished the vehicle.

"We get the car and a couple of weeks later, my son passed away," Sean said. John died of complications related to his cerebral palsy. "We were dealing with the grief of losing our 15-year-old son unexpectedly."

The Mulhearns stopped using the SUV.

The vehicle sat in the driveway until June of 2016, when they took it on a trip. "As soon as we turned on the AC, it didn't work."

The Mulhearns took it to their local dealership who repaired a leak for $2,100. But, the AC still didn't work. "The dealership said it looks like the air conditioner was cut, it's leaking, it wasn't sealed properly, and it looks like there are metal shavings in the air compressor," Sean said. They told him that it likely happened during the conversion.

The Mulhearns took it back to Allegiant Mobility. Sean said an employee named Drew offered to buy the Pilot back for $39,000. A text message shows the offer was made and the Mulhearns accepted.

“I think it surprised them," he said. "They said we know it's not enough, but we're going to offer this."

Fourteen months later, the Mulhearns still don't have the money or the vehicle. "The frustration is immense," Sean continued. "My wife is livid about it."

WZZM 13 checked with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs. The company was dissolved in July of 2017. Their phone number is disconnected, so we went to the company's office in Kalamazoo.

Work was still being done on several vehicles. The man inside said he was the mechanic and didn't know who we should contact. 13 On Your Side checked with Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs again. It shows Shawn Devrou as the owner. We couldn’t track him down, but did contact “Drew,” who is the main contact for the Mulhearns. The mechanic at Allegiant Mobility said, “If you call him, he ain't gonna answer. He won't call you back."

Drew did answer my call -- but, after telling me he was still working on the vehicle, he hung up without answering anymore questions. We tried calling him back, but he didn't answer his phone.

In the meantime, Sean was told they are waiting on a part for the vehicle. "I think they are stalling. I don't know what to believe anymore."

In October, the Mulhearns got another text message saying the part would be there the next day. It wasn't.

At this point, they just want it to be over, so they can move-on. "It's still tied to our son and it's hard to let go of that."

The Mulhearns are ready to ask for the vehicle back, even though it’s not complete. They hope someone else can fix it and maybe they can donate it to someone who needs it.

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