7 On Your Side goes 7,000 miles for shop owner's refund

CRANFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Seven On Your Side always goes the extra mile for our viewers, but in this case, we traveled 7,000 of them all the way to India and back to try and get one consumer his money back.

The owner of a small business in New Jersey spent thousands buying ads to promote his business on grocery store shopping carts. But when the stores suddenly shut down, he found himself in a lurch.

Joseph O'Neill paid $16,000 last summer to put ads for his auto body shop all over the local Pathmarks and A&Ps, right before the grocery chain went bankrupt. O'Neill's ad salesman told him he got fired, and he couldn't reach anyone for answers.

He had just taken over Benner's Auto Body in Cranford after his dad died suddenly from cancer, and Joseph, who grew up in the business, wanted to invest in advertising to bring in new customers.

The salesman for AdCart, also known as Shopper Local, sold him on placards to be placed inside every cart at three local supermarkets.

But within days of signing the contracts, the stores went belly up, and they would all close in a few months. But Shopper Local/AdCart called him from New Delhi, offering him a prorated refund of $12,400. O'Neill said the voicemail promising a refund was made last November.

Then, this April, he was offered to be paid off $3,000 each month. But even that never happened. So we got in touch with the call center in Southeast Asia, and again, they promised a four-month payment plan.

Then came the game changer, when we found Shoppers Local's owner was actually in Raleigh, North Carolina, living in a sprawling 7,000-square foot, $1.4 million mansion. Soon after we pointed that out to the company, the Raleigh office sent O'Neill two checks totaling his full refund.

O'Neill's money bumps our total recovered for the year to more than $1,301,000, and it's the earliest we've ever gone over a million bucks. And it's all thanks to the viewers, who keep emailing and calling us asking for help. Next stop? $2 million. Stay tuned.
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