• Report: #825251

Complaint Review: SMART START

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  • Submitted: Thu, January 19, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, January 19, 2012

  • Reported By: ktontherocks — dimondale Michigan United States of America
5551 S. Pennsylvania Lansing, MI 48911 Lansing, Michigan United States of America


*Consumer Comment: No Sympathy?

*Consumer Comment: Welcome to the Cash Extraction Machine

*Consumer Comment: Somehow, I can't feel any sympathy for you...

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I have been sober since 3-3-08. I have not had a SINGLE drop of alcohol since then. The Sec. of State took away my license. After one year, I appealed and was denied. The following year I appealed again (spending another $3000.00 - lawyer fees, etc.) I was given driving privileges under a restricted license. One of those restrictions was to have an Interlock safety device installed in to my vehicle. I called around 4 different places for prices and chose "Smart Start" to have this device installed. The main reason I chose this place was because it was about $50.00 cheaper than every where else. Now I know why.

 I had the device installed for $200.00 and that covered the first 2 months. Every other month is $160.00. On a Friday night (friday the 13th it just so happened to be!) I was leaving a hospital after visiting a friend, got in to my vehicle and blew in to the machine (following proper protocol, as I had done this entire time with no problems) The first blow read: VIOLOCK4days. Then it had be blow about 30 seconds later and it then read "PASS". My heart sunk. The first thing that came to mind is, THIS IS A SCAM! I had done absolutely NOTHING wrong to put myself in jeopardy of blowing "dirty". I go online and found out that I am not alone when it comes to Smart Start. A lot of other people have fallen victim to this scam/trap. I broke in tears at the place where this device was installed, because I do not have $50.00 to just hand out for doing NOTHING wrong! I drank water before blowing in to the device, had not eaten anything a LONG time before blowing in to the machine, nothing was out of the ordinary. I now suffer severe anxiety to even drive. Every time I get in to my car I am scared to death that there is going to be another violation and there is nothing I can do about it. I should not have to feel like a victim.

It has been almost 4 years since I have drank and now this is haunting me. I feel like I should not have to defend myself because NOTHING I did was wrong. I demanded answers when I had to get the device off "lock". The guys at Auto Lab gave me the run around, and a bunch of stutters. They said that "Smart Start" leaves them in the dark when it comes to explaining why there was a violation. They explained that it wasn't an alcohol related offense (no kidding?) that it was a violation because I missed a "rolling retest" which is IMPOSSIBLE because I had JUST started my vehicle. I feel like I have been taken completely advantage of. I have no idea who else to take this up with. I do not know what I will do if this happens again.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/19/2012 12:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

No Sympathy?

AUTHOR: Steve - ()

I am sorry you have lost friends to drunk drivers. It truly is a tragic thing. But you do not have to be a serial offender to get an interlock placed into your vehicle.

And what you are saying is that no one can change their ways, realize the grave mistakes they have done? They are all condemned forever regardless of circumstances behind thier convictions? Because after all, you have never made a mistake before. You have never sped in your vehicle, which if you lost control, could just as easily kill someone else.

Granted, if someone kills someone else during their drinking and drive stupidity, I can totally understand revoking their license forever. But I have also had friends convicted of drunk driving because they started their car to warm it up in the middle of winter but never moved it from the spot they parked it in at the bar. They were sleeping in the back seat. Made no matter to the cops. Car running, your drunk, rough day for you.

And Smart Start is known for ripping people off. Maybe some of them deserve it because they shouldnt ever be allowed to have a license back, but not everyone falls in that catagory.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Welcome to the Cash Extraction Machine

AUTHOR: MLogger - ()

What you have experienced is nothing unusual for SmartStart. Their goal is to extract as much additional cash from you as possible at each visit. Look at all of e complaints from people being charged to replace their defective wires, tow bills, etc. i would suggest keeping a list and once your probation is over, suing them in small claims court. It doesn't really matter if you win or lose - the idea is to cost them attorneys' fees. Drag it out. File lots of discovery motions. Show them what cash extraction is all about on the losing end.

I very stupidly earned myself a well-deserved DWI a couple years ago and I had to go through all of the above. It sucks I know.

As for you Ken, if you've EVER been in an "accident" that was your fault, you have caused more damage that I ever have. I enclose "accident" in quotes because there is really no such thing. All call wrecks are caused by someone being stupid or inattentive (which is also stupid). 60% of fatal call wrecks are caused by people being stupid while stone cold sober and frankly, I'm not sure which is worse: being stupid but oblivious to it - or being stupid and fully aware of it. You can spew your self-righteous cr@p all you like, but the probabilty that you have been stupid or inattentive behind the wheel is probably close to 1, whether or not you caused a wreck. The only difference being that there seems to be some sort of moral thing cast upon DWI offenders while the other idiots on the road get a pass. Personally I think anyone who causes a car accident should have to pay higher fines, insurance, etc. than a DWI that doesn't cause damage because seriously, which is worse: actual damage or the theoretical risk of damage?
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#3 Consumer Comment

Somehow, I can't feel any sympathy for you...


For your license to have been revoked, you surely were a serial DUI offender.

I want to take this time to thank the courts for grounding you and if it were me, you wouldn't have a conditional license either.

YOU alone, chose to drink and drive, endangering all around you.  I don't know if your interlock is Ripping you off or not, but live with it.

I lost 2 good friends (separate "accidents"), due to drunken drivers like you. The surviving members of their families were seriously injured as well.  No forgiveness here. And no, I wouldn't trust you at all not to re-offend.
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