The following is a letter sent to the CEO of AAMCO Mr Mark Graham and the detail of teh letter is self explanatory.
Mr M Graham
Dear Mr Graham,
I am writing to you over my concerns of what only can be described as false advertising. I am referring to your companys currently screened advertisement where they, AAMCO, purport to be the experts in automatic transmissions and warn against the excessive and unnecessary costs that may be incurred at other establishments.
Additionally in the advertisements the message is that if there is a simple fix to the transmission, that is quick and inexpensive, this is the course of action that will be taken.
On the basis of this I contacted your branch in Warwick RI and had a discussion with the lady at the other end
of the phone in which I explained the issue and booked the vehicle in for an exploratory analysis.
The problem with my sons vehicle, a 1993 Volvo 80, was that the transmission was stuck in winter mode. After a few days I contacted the AAMCO garage and again had a discussion with the lady at the reception where she informed me that they had performed a diagnostic on the vehicle and all indications were that there were some problems with the transmission and it would have to be overhauled. When asking the cost I was told that the overhaul would come to some $1700, and it could also be more if there were items of hardware that needed replacing.
Due to the age of the vehicle and its Blue book value I declined and had the vehicle collected and taken back to
my home in Newport. My son a Junior at UVM did some independent research on the internet and discovered that this problem is often caused by the selector switch mounted on the exterior of the transmission. On his own initiative my son purchased the switch from a local Volvo dealership for $160 and spent the next three hours removing the old switch and replacing it with the new one, using information and photographs from the internet. This was the FIRST TIME that my son had worked on a car and the whole exercise should have taken an hour only. The transmission performed perfectly after this switch change and the warning indicators automatically reset themselves. Could you please explain to me why this option was not suggested by your experts?
As a result of AAMCOs advertising I would have at least expected, with the years of experience and expertise stated, that : A 19 year old college Junior would not have had more insight or experience than certified qualified mechanics in research and diagnosis of the problem The AAMCO garage would have been able to detect the real issue rather than as stated in the advertisement (not incur unnecessary costs)
The AAMCO repairer would have suggested alternatives e.g. replacement of the selector switch or the electronic
controller or even a flushing of the system and clean out of the valve chest to try and eliminate the problem. And that the vehicle would have been returned in the same condition. I am referring to the air intake system that was thrown in
the trunk instead of being correctly replaced.
Naturally you can understand my opening sentiments and feeling that there was an attempt being made either
through inexperience, unprofessionalism or dishonesty to have me pay substantially more than was necessary to remedy a simple issue that your experts should have been aware of or had the ability to detect.
For your information I have lodged a complaint with the office of fair trading Ref:34115831 and passed this
information on to the RI attorney General on their suggestion.
The AAMCO garage details are as follows:
1077 Toll Gate Road
Phone 401 821 1200
I sincerely hope that some action/attention is given to this matter to protect other less aware or advised consumers from being subjected to excessive and unnecessary costs in contradiction to the claims made by AAMCO.
Martyn F W