Repairman Accused of Ripping off Customers

SCRANTON, Pa. -- The owner of an appliance repair business in Scranton is accused of ripping off his customers for hundreds of dollars.

John Hyland from Hyland Appliance Service was charged with theft by deception by the state attorney general's office.

A lawsuit filed by the attorney general's office alleges at least five victims gave Hyland a couple hundred dollars each to fix their appliances, but he allegedly kept the money and never finished the jobs.

Newswatch 16 talked to one victim who says for her it's not about the money but the principle.

When Michele Cigna of Carbondale heard a rumbling in her dryer, she decided to call Hyland Appliance Service in Scranton.

She wrote a $125 check in October of last year to John Hyland for service and parts.

She says he told her once the part arrived, he'd return to fix the dryer, but after repeated phone calls and weeks passed, he never came back.

"I felt violated. He came into my house, and he seemed to be a kind gentleman who knew what he was doing," Cigna said.

The attorney general's office says at least four other people gave Hyland money for work he didn't finish. He now faces charges of theft by deception.

This is not the first time Hyland has faced allegations like this.

Court records show over a three-year period between 2015 and 2018, courts in Lackawanna County awarded judgements in civil claims to five people, totaling close to $2,000, because Hyland didn't do the job he promised.

Cigna was relieved to hear the state filed these new criminal charges.

"I thought it's about time. It's been going on I think for quite some time. I don't think I'm the first, and I didn't think I would be the last," she said.

Cigna tells Newswatch 16 she is going to have her dad fix the dryer because she doesn't trust other repair companies now. She hopes Hyland gets what he deserves in court.

"He should pay restitution to all of us because he took the money and ran. There should be some type of consequences and he needs to be put out of business. He needs to stop doing this. It's a crime. He's committed a crime and it's gone on long enough," she said.

Hyland is scheduled to appear in court on March 15 to face those theft by deception charges.

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