Phone Fury: Cellphone repair store owner facing numerous city violations

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Friday, January 19, 2018
Cellphone repair store owner facing numerous city violations
The I-Team has an update on those emotional cases of "phone fury" that were first reported in September.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The I-Team has an update on those emotional cases of "phone fury" that were first reported in September. A city court hearing was held this week for local phone repair man, Hayssam Atrache, who faces a long list of violations.

The I-Team has learned that the phone repair store in question is now closed and the owner is trying to settle his city violations, most of which are for "engaging in prohibited acts."

It all started when angry customers, who say they were ripped off, turned to social media and the I-Team.

Social media posts were shared by people with heated customer disputes, but now the store Phone Fixed 4 Less is quiet and closed in the city's Montclare neighborhood.

The owner's attorney told the I-Team that Hayssam Atrache has no plans to re-open. The closure was due to building code violations and an emergency vacate notice.

But Atrache, who rented the space, faces 22 citations for consumer complaints.

In court this week, Atrache's attorney said he's getting the case continued and plans to reach a settlement. Atrache faces up to $50,000 in fines from the city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) after consumers claimed Atrache raised prices on them after they'd handed over their phones. There were also complaints of adding additional repairs and returning "fixed" phones with new problems.

"The phone was repaired so my son gets in the car, we are not even a block away and he's like mom the phone doesn't work," said customer Donna Digioia.


Watch more of the disputes caught on camera

After the I-Team started investigating, the city's Business Affairs Consumer Protection sent in undercover investigators.

"He fixed the cracked screen but all of the internal stuff must be broken because the internet doesn't work and you can't text," said Antonio Torres with Business Affairs Consumer Protection.

When we talked to Atrache in September, he defended his business.

Hayssam Atrache: "I always do my best to do it perfect but I don't know... some customers... 95 percent happy."

Jason Knowles: "Do you change the price?"

Atrache: "Never."

Knowles: "But people say you do change the price."

Atrache: "That's my opinion... opinion, I don't know, everyone have an opinion."

Atrache was not in court this week and the case has been continued now three times, but his attorney hopes to reach a settlement by the next court hearing in March.

When getting your phone repaired make sure you always pay with a credit card so you can dispute that charge and check out a business's record first online.