BEFORE YOU LET AAMCO WORK ON YOUR
TRANSMISSION PLEASE READ THIS FIRST:
AAMCO, America's Transmission Specialists?
This is the story of one man's ordeal with AAMCO, in his own words,
with every detail, (which is documented in writing, by receipts,
On March 24th, 1999, I picked up my 1984 Ford 250 Diesel Dually,
from Central Auto Service, in Grants, New Mexico. I paid the sum of
$1887.05 for "a rebuilt transmission from AAMCO" (which came from
the AAMCO in Albuquerque, N.M.) and a rebuilt torque converter, a
new flex plate, and misceleanous other labor.
The owner, "Harry" assured me that the transmission did indeed come
from Aamco in Albuquerque, and that it carried the "normal" AAMCO
warranty. (Which I inquired about from AAMCO and was informed it
was a 12 months, unlimited mileage, warranty.)
My wife and I drove the Ford pickup out of the shop, drove it to
Plainview, Texas, where we live, then drove it around a few days,
checking the tranmission fluid, regularly.
After about 1 week, we drove it to Elk City, Oklahoma, on business,
and were there for several days. After concluding our business
there, we left Elk City for Plainview, Texas. We drove aproximate
45 miles, and "surprise" surprise".... THE TRANSMISSION WENT OUT
I checked the fluid, (it was full) and then walked 1 1/2 miles to
a "nearby" restaurant, where I phone the 1-800 AAMCO number, for
the customer service.
The person who answered there, (Pennsylvania) told me, "...you must
contact the shop where the transmission was rebuilt, as our policy
is for the customer to return to the shop where the work was
I immediately phoned "Harry" at Central Auto, in Grants, N.M. and ,
to say the least, he was quite irate! "Harry" said, "I'll rip that
so-and-so's [expletives deleted] head off his shoulders! You hang
on and I'll phone him, and straighten him out."
I again phoned AAMCO in Albuquerque and talked to "Harry", who
said, "Well, "Harry" in Grants, did get the transmission from me, I
did rebuild it... but he didn't pay me for it." I shortly
thereafter called Grants again and that 'Harry' told me, "It is
true, I have a credit account with AAMCO in Albuquerque. They
always bill me for the transmissions I get there, and I pay for
them when I get their invoice." So you can see the pattern of
AAMCO's "Harry" continued to tell me, "You'll have to return the
tranmission to me by freight, and I'll rebuild it and send it back
to you." I called AAMCO Customer Service at least 3 times in the
interim, and received conflicting information, and suggestions.
First, a man (I believe his name was John) in Pennsylvania AAMCO,
after finding out I lived in Plainview, Texas, and that the nearest
AAMCO dealer was Rick Bighams AAMCO, in Lubbock, Texas, told
me, "Take the vehicle to Lubbock and they will see to it."
It turned out, I couldn't take it to Lubbock, a distance of over
200 miles, so had it towed back to Elk City, Okla. (45 miles away)
and had a tranmission shop there (an independent, as there is no
AAMCO dealer there) remove the transmission.
In the meantime, I spoke with a "Barbara" at 1-800-523-0401 (in
Pennsylvania, AAMCO Customer Relations) at extension 322. After
about 3 hours on the phone with her, telling and retelling this
story in minute details, SHE told me to have the mechanic in Elk
City take the transmission to the AAMCO agency at 3130 NW 39thSt.,
In Okla. City, OK. I phoned there and spoke to a woman who said
she "was in charge" and she asked me to "fax her any paperwork I
have on the transmission", which I promptly did.
When the man in Elk City took the transmission to her shop, she
phoned me and told me "We won't do anything with this transmission,
it MUST be shipped back to AAMCO in Albuquerque, N.M."
I told her, "So, go ahead and ship it...." The Okla. City AAMCO
distribuitorship sent it to the AAMCO shop in Albuquerque. I
recieved a phone call telling me they had shipped it. After a week,
I phoned AAMCO in Albuquerque, at 505-265-8848 and, after being
given the runaround by a "Mark", telling me he knew nothing of my
transmission, and that "Harry" was not there, I finally, (after 5
phone calls,) talked to "Harry".
"Harry" said, "I will rebuild the transmission and return it to Elk
City, Okla." He asked me for the address, and I told him where to
send it. He told me, "I'll ship it in about 5 days." (The 2nd
breakdown, after leaving Elk City, occurred on April 26, 1999) It
is now May 4th., 1999.)
On May 10th, I phoned the shop in Elk City, Okla. to see if the
transmission had arrived. In fact, IT HAD NOT ARRIVED, so I phoned
AAMCO "Harry" again, to see what was going on. I was
repeatedly "stonewalled", and lied to by "Mark" and "Harry", who
made every implausable excuse anyone could ever dream up. (During
this course of events, 9 weeks passed, which brought us into the
middle of June, and numerous phone calls were made.) Finally I
demanded to know when the unit was going to be shipped.
"Harry" promised to ship it "tomorrow"... and about 5 days later,
it arrived in Elk City, Okla. minus all but four of the pan bolts,
and minus the internal shift rod and linkage!
Four more phone calls, and one week later, the proper materials
finally arrived in Elk City, Okla., and the shop there installed
My wife and I went to Elk City, on JUly 5th, and picked up the Ford
Pickup, drove it 220 miles to Plainview, Texas. Four days later, on
July 9th, we left in the Ford Pickup to drive to Phoenix, AZ. We
drove only 38 miles, to Spring Lake, Texas and GUESS WHAT? THE
TRANSMISSION WENT OUT AGAIN!
We had it towed back to Plainview, and because of a tight schedule,
we drove our Dodge Van to Phoenix, Arizona. We were in Phoenix, for
the remaineder of the month, returning to Texas on August 1.
After a few days rest, I sent an email "Consumer Comments Form" to
AAMCO, and the next day, I recieved a phone call from a man
named "Steve" in Pennsylvania Customer Relations Dept. asking
me "if there was some problem..." I then proceeded to fill
in "Steve" with this story, and told him numerous times, "The whole
sordid story is logged on the computer in 'Barbara's' office."
Steve promised to "take care of it," promising to call me "right
It was, in fact, 2 days before I heard from "Steve" again. When he
called, he told me to take the pickup to Rick Bigham's AAMCO, in
Lubbock, Texas, where "they would take care of it," but that
I "would have to pay the labor to remove and replace the
transmission." (At this point, the prospect of getting anything
done was indeed delightful, so I agreed to "pay the labor" to
remove and replace the transmission. (Aprox. $300.00+ dollars)
We towed the Ford pickup to Lubbock AAMCO, on Thursday, August 5th,
1999 and I spoke personally to Rick Bigham, and Sam Long, two
apparent "managers" there. They assured me they "would take care of
it." I authorized them to check the transmission, (by removing the
pan, and the valve body) to assertain what might be wrong with it.
The following morning, I recieved a call from "Sam"... "We have
removed the transmission and it is burned out... We will not fix it
unless you pay for it. You have 3 options, you can pay $1300.00+
for one year warranty, or pay $2100.00 for 2 year warranty or
$2800.00 for a lifetime warranty." I asked them what they had
done. "Sam" said, "We have removed the transmission, totally
dismantled it, and have started rebuilding it." I replied, "You
have forgotten another option I have, I can come and get the
vehicle, and tow it home, and forget you." I told them to "do
nothing", and put the transmission in the back of the pickup, that
I would be down to get the pickup on Monday.Aug 9th.
We went down on Monday, August 9th, towed the pickup back to
Plainview, to a local independently owned shop, and found that
Lubbock AAMCO, had not only totally dismantled the transmission,
(they were attempting to, and planning on, rebuilding it without my
authorization, and "holding the pickup hostage" to force me to pay
their absorbitant price) but that they had totally dismantled my 2-
speed gear box (which cost $1800.00) and threw the parts into a box
in the back of the pickup.
I sent another email to AAMCO Customer Relations in Pennsylvania,
and told them exactly what had happened and that, in my
opinion, "they were all crooks, cutthroats, and highway robbers",
and that "I would do my best to get the word out about how AAMCO
The next day, I got another phone call from "Steve". He asked me
again, "what is the problem?..." I replied, "You read my email and
you don't know what the problem is?" I told him in great detail
what had happened, and that I wanted my 2-speed gearbox
reassembled, "at no charge to me."
"Steve" said, "I'll talk to them and call you right back." This was
about 4:45 P.M. on August 11th. He in fact, did not call me again
until August 12, in the afternoon. "Steve" said, "Tthey have agreed
to reassemble your 2-speed, at no cost to you. They apolagize..."
(Most certainly they would, after all the waves I made.)
In all fairness, I took the 2-speed to AAMCO in Lubbock, and they
did reassemble it, however, when I arrived, they told me, "We go it
tomorrow"... to which I replied, "Oh, no you won't. I drove 50
miles to bring this, and I'm not making another trip. You were
never authorized to touch it, and you will assemble it NOW. I'll
check back in one hour". "Sam" replied, "It'll take longer than
that." To which I replied, "I'll check back in one hour anyway."
I took the reassembled 2-speed gear box, (It was ready in 1 1/2
hours) to the local independent shop here in Plainview, and they
installed it behind the rebuilt transmission.
IT TOOK THEM ONLY 2 DAYS TO GET THE TRANSMISSION REBUILT, NOT 9 1/2
The local shop only charged me $475.00 TOTAL COST, parts AND labor.
AAMCO's "cheapest" price was $1300.00!
TELL ME WHO IS RIPPING WHOM OFF?
A personal word to anyone even remotely considering AAMCO for any
repairs: LET THE BUYER BEWARE! YOU COULD BE THE NEXT "BLEEDING"
VICTIM IN THE CONTINUING AAMCO SAGA!
DO YOU HAVE A BAD AAMCO EXPERIENCE
YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
If so, please email me at:
and I will be happy to add your story or your link to mine.
No profanity please.
*By the way, most businesses encourage people to link to their web
web sites, it brings in more traffic and gets the word out. Our
webmaster has received many free gifts from companies as a thank
you gesture for linking to them. AAMCO does not allow anyone to
link to their web site without prior written permission. What are
they trying to avoid? What are they trying to hide? Hey AAMCO, why
don't you WANT the word to get out??
Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Aamco Transmissions