This happened on 9/15/08. I was on my way to school from St Augustine (I go to DSC). I came to a stop off the highway and everything was fine. When I went to accelerate, the car hesitated and there was a loud thud. The engine light came on but the car was working fine. It wasn't until I left and accelerated that I found the problem: my car wouldn't shift out of first.
I stopped at the ATC (part of Daytona State) to look up transmission repair shops. I found that there was an AAMCO nearby, so I figured I'd take the car there since it was a national brand. Boy was I stupid!
They did their diagnosis which I never saw the paperwork for. Then, the manager, I think his name is Don, came in and said that they had found it was an internal problem and they would have to take the transmission out. I never received a written estimate to sign. He told me that it would run over $500 dollars with just labor alone.
I told him that he could find out what was wrong but told him that I wouldn't have the money for at least three weeks. I never signed anything authorizing them to do it. I've needed to get a rental car now for at least two weeks. Which that alone is over 300 dollars.
He called me yesterday on the 16th and told me the total repairs would be $2137.34. I wasn't sure if I wanted to have them do it because, again, I didn't have that money. He asked me my birthdate and I gave it to him. Apparently, that was authorization to do the repairs.
Now, he wants me to pay that money for repairs that I didn't authorize. In fact, he told me that it was a felony to not pay. He said that they would file with a judge and if I got pulled over I would go to jail. Today, when I asked him for the paperwork with my signatures, he told me that the paperwork was for internal use and that I didn't have a right to see the papers with MY signature on them. He also told me that if I couldn't afford to pay for the car, good luck with a lawyer because no one in Daytona would take my case.
I've tried to contact Corporate, but apparently there have been so many complaints the number is only for locating businesses.
Well, now they are holding my car for hostage, along with everything in it that I couldn't get out the first day. All I can say is know your legal rights. If they try to bully you, bully back.
St Augustine, Florida