• Report: #1063130

Complaint Review: Transmissions Northwest

  • Submitted: Sat, June 29, 2013
  • Updated: Sat, June 29, 2013

  • Reported By: Mike — Milton Washington
Transmissions Northwest
14025 1st Ave S. Burien, Washington USA

Transmissions Northwest Transmission "rebuild" left car in dangerous condition and worse off AFTER I brought it in.. Burien Washington

*Author of original report: Former Manager Sentenced

*Author of original report: Manager claims ownership?

*Author of original report: One last rebuttal

*UPDATE Employee: Response

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Consumer Protection Act violations:

1 Sale by Deception .. bait and switch. Quoted me one price but charged another.
2 Charged above 10% law ... Claimed the job would cost $850. Later demanded $1990.
3 No customer bill of rights posted in lobby.
4 Failed to honor warrantee, Told me to stop blaming them and insisted tranny was fine.
5 When I said I'd have their work fixed elsewhere manager stated "Okay" and walked off.
6 Failed to charge sales tax ...manager put cash in pocket. Receipt has no tracking capability.

When Transmissions Northwest was "finished" my tranny would let out a loud clunk or bang
when I turned on the ignition, put it in gear or when I shifted into 2. It would bog down into 
overdrive too early and fail to release until my speed dropped to 15mph.

I have proofe in writing from two (2) certified GM dealerships that not only was my transmission
rebuild not professional but dangerously incompetent. Every bolt was left untightened or missing and every cotter pin was missing and in short time would cause more tranny problems and the front end, including a wheel, to go out of control and even come off. And that's not counting problems we couldn't see inside the tranny without tearing it down. One GM mechanic said there's no way it could all be accidental. In fact two employees who had worked on my car had been fired.  I was later told "we don't know what they did or didn't do".

March 1 ... described transmission problem to Transmission Northwest manager. Told it would cost
$850. No paperwork at this point. At this time I was also told there is no such thing as a
rebuilt tranny for sale..mine would need to be rebuilt. That would turn out to be a lie.

March 4...Took my '98 Pontiac Sunfire into shop in Burien. After it was in pieces I was told tranny
was "completely fried" and would be $1990.00 (despite the fact it had been shifting fine). If I
wanted it back I would have to pay $360 diagnostic charge and have it towed.

March 14 ... told job was done. Paid manager and picked up car. Went back to office
complaining 2 plastic hubcap caps were missing. Told manager "no problem".

I turn on car and all the warning lights light up. I notify owner. Manager can't get his scanners
(2 of them) to turn off warning lights but says it's no problem .. "It happens when a new tranny is
installed. It's nothing to worry about."

I go back to office a 3rd time when I discover tranny "clunks" into drive. Manager says "It's fine" and tells me to stop "playing" with it.

I go back to office 4th time when "clunk" gets worse. This time manager says the problem
sounds like "loose tranny mounts" but says "We've worked on your car all morning".

When I question the manager about racket coming from beneath the car he says it's my
motor and is now angry stating "You're trying to find problems. You're trying to blame us. We're 
professionals , you're the customer. I've been doing this for 19 years." "You wanted us to
fix your tranny ..we fixed it". I state "I'll go have it fixed". Manager says "Okay" and walks off.


On my way home car is making so much racket, driving awful on freeway and "lugging" into
overdrive and not wanting to release until I drop to 15mph, I'm afraid I'll tear it up. I go to Jet Chevrolet in Federal Way.

Turns out the racket beneath the car is caused by tranny fluid 5 quarts low .. half empty.
Mechanic says the 20 mile drive most likely caused damage to clutch plates, bearings and so on.

The warning lights mean something after all ... The right speed sensor connector had been
broken. More importantly ... the speed sensor inside the transmission was either broken or not
there. Cost to fix: $1100 at least for the 10-hour job plus other problems such as the overdrive issue. Could cost up to $4000 to rebuild.

Transmission NW manager claimed when I first called "there's no such thing as rebuilt
transmissions...you have to rebuild them yourself." I would later discover from Harnish GMC
in Puyallup the owner had lied ... GM had 200 remanufactured trannys for my car with 100,000
mile warranties for $2000. 


Gave the new job to Harnish and mechanic stated the following:

Manager was correct about loose tranny mounts ... they were ALL loose and
one (that costs $220) was broken and another's bolt had stripped itself...by weight of transmission jumping around.

Mechanic also states ALL the bolts holding tie-rod and front end together, even the power
steering, were loose or missing and the one last safety net .. the cotter pins were all missing.

Service advisor states it was a matter of time before I would have lost control.

Buying a remanufactured transmission was my cheapest course of action. Rebuilding 
Transmission Northwest's work could have cost $4000 for the tranny alone .. PLUS the
other damage, labor and parts for the broken tranny mounts, missing front end parts and so on.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/29/2013 01:45 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Transmissions-Northwest/Burien-Washington-98168/Transmissions-Northwest-Transmission-rebuild-left-car-in-dangerous-condition-and-worse-1063130. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Former Manager Sentenced

AUTHOR: Mike - ()

Transmission Northwest's manager most of 2013 on Jan 31, 2014 was sentenced to 24-months in prison (plus 3-yrs probation) for a felony indecent liberties conviction. Trans. NW allowed him to work in a position of dealing with the public despite the sexual assault charge hanging over him and despite racking up numerous complaints to deputies including one customer who had a knife pulled on him and another who was slugged in the chest so hard he was knocked to the ground (because his girlfriend had tried to record a conversation). 

One deputy, in his report, described the manager as "belligerent". Also, half the time he claimed he was the owner (even to police) and half the time he was the manager or "employee".

According to police reports, the most common complaint involves free tows that have ended up costing as much as $700. Once the company offers some "low ball" price (not in writing) and gives the "free tow" it can then jack up the price. When the customer turns down the higher price and wants their car back they're then required to pay the tow bill which is whatever the company wants. Their website clearly states "Free Towing ... pickup and delivery". The Attorney General calls that "Sale by Deception".

Other complaints include peoples cars coming out worse than they went in (one person had to give it to a junkyard) and vehicles being kept for up to (in one guy's case) 9 months!! Others have complained about not being given estimates in writing...a violation of Wa. Consumer Protection laws.

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#2 Author of original report

Manager claims ownership?

AUTHOR: Mike - ()

Unless something has changed, TNW has insisted I dealt with the manager, not the owner, which I accept.  But punch up YouTube and type in "Transmission Northwest Burien" and at 6:27 you'll hear and see the manager claim "I own this company." BBB records do not show the manager, Bill, as being the owner.  I wish the girl in the video would have responded "You mean you're Mr Oudong Saysana?"



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#3 Author of original report

One last rebuttal

AUTHOR: Mike - ()

This company keeps arguing about mounts.  FACT: The company did not tighten down the mounts causing two of them to break and a major bolt to strip because they could not take the weight of tne transmission banging around on them.  I had no such problem when I originally brought car to Transmissions Northwest.  The manager sent me on my way knowing they sounded loose.  IRONICALLY, they had been checked about a week before and a strut mount replaced.

About not following terms and conditions of Transmission Northwest's warrantee ... There were NO terms and conditions.  All it says is 12 month, 12,000 miles....no ifs, ands or buts.  Again, the manager was angry that I had kept raising issues about noises and stated "You asked us to fix your tranny, we fixed it".  He also stated "Anything else you hear is coming from the motor ... you're trying to find too many problems and trying to blame us"..."my mechanic test drove it and said it's okay".  And when I said "I'll go get it fixed" all manager said was "Okay" and walked off. So THAT was their response ... yet now they say I wasn't supposed to take it anywhere else.  Two certified GM dealerships say the  tranny and the company's work in general was awful...that besides not being bolted on tight and nuts and bolts being left off, the tranny shifted hard into second and bogged down as it shifted into 4th (overdrive) too early and would lose power and fail to release. I have receipts to back them up.  

Another Consumer Protection Act violation ... was never given a written estimate just like every other auto mechanic is required to offer in Washington State.  

This mater will probably need to be worked out in King County Superior Court.  But a final thought.  This company has balked at paying ANY damages.  But the Consumer Protection Act actually allows for TRIPPLE damages in cases such as this.  And even that's nothing compared to the cost had I not immediately gone to another dealer just hours later.  With many of the bolts in the front end missing and the few that WERE on only finger tight, it was a matter of time till I would have lost control.  Even the cotter safety pins were ALL missing...my last ounce of protection.  We'd be talking medical expenses ...or even a wrongful death had I lost control on a freeway.  

For the record...my car is NOT a '90.  It is a model year '98 with 90,000 miles.  My mother bought it new and kept is under a blanket for 7 years. 

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#4 UPDATE Employee


AUTHOR: TransmissionNW - ()


We understand your frusturations and apologize for any inconveniene we may have given you but we did not RIP you off. I understand you are trying everything you possibly can to tarnish our reputation but the bottom line is you did not follow the warranty procedures that EVERYONE else follows. You did no even inform us of the issues you were having, you were in a rush to leave.

It's not fair for you to blame us for your vehicle having bad transmission mounts. Your vehicle is over 10 years old. Those mounts go bad, all we did was put on the SAME transmission mounts thhat you had when you brought it in. We informed you the mounts were bad when you were complaining about the noise. We could have easily replaced them for you IF you had the time and patience. We didn't have the mounts in stock so we would have had to order them if you wanted them replaced.

Another problem, is when you brought it for a second opinion. One would think that "I just spent money to have my transmission repaired and their are a few issues that need to be addressed, I might want to call them and let them know."

Mike, we have repaired thousands of vehicles so if you want to vent, were perfectly fine with it but trying to say we ripped you off shouldn't be the word that sums up your experience.

None of our staff even had a bad converation with you. You just took it upon yourself to send us a bill for $4000 that we knew noting about and expected us to take care of the bill and when we said NO, you went on a binge to tarnish our reputation. Were not upset, we hope that we can make it up to you and were still willing to help you out in anyway possible. Were hoping your willing to forgive us for decisions you made on your own and that we never shut the door on you.



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