ED Magedson – Founder
Smart Start5635 W 55th St Chicago, Illinois USA
Smart Start Faulty Equipment Chicago Illinois
I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to drive again regardless if it was with a BAID or not. I had a pretty pleasant experience with Smart Start when I was calling to schedule the appointment. I went to the mechanic shop that they recommended and I ended up having to pay more for the installation, which I wasn't prepared for. The explination that I got from the owner of the shop was that “due to the difficulty of the installation and the time that it took, I unfortunately have to charge you more money.” Smart Start told me it should take an hour to an hour and a half and I sat there for 3 1/2 hours!!! I was also told it would cost $104.95 and I ended up paying $187.95 due to the upcharge.
When I was at the mechanic shop I practiced on the unit and I caught on to the technique fairly quickly. After the first day I had a high level of trouble as the device kept saying, "blow harder" "hum louder" "abort tamper" every time I blew. It would take me approximately 6 or 7 blows just to start my car. After about a week and 3 days I was driving to the store and had a moving test which I was unable to complete because it kept giving me errors. Needless to say I was pulled over on the side of the road since my car horn started honking and my lights started flashing. Not only was it humiliating but it was also frustrating! I attempted to blow again and ended up being locked out of the device. At this point I call Smart Start and they tell me to unplug the device, plug it back in, hit the sides and blow into the back of the unit. I do this four times with the Smart Start Specialist on the phone and my car finally starts. I ask him if this will count as a violation and he said yes. I was like you have been on the phone with me and you heard me hum and told me I was properly performing the tests and this is my fault?! He said yes ma'am clearly you haven't been performing the tests correctly. I continue my trip to the store and get to my destination. As I'm driving back to my house the device is beeping asking for a rolling test again. I keep getting the error "hum stronger" and again am unable to complete the test within six minutes. My car horn is honking and I find myself on the side of the road AGAIN!!!
I call smart start and they try to do a soft reset, I go through the same motions of unplugging and plugging in the device, and hitting the sides. The device will not accept my blow as it keeps giving me the error of "hum stronger." At this point I'm literally on the verge of tears and the Smart Start Specialist asks me if I have any tools on me!?!? Really, I didn't realize I had to carry a tool bag with me to use the device. I respond, "No I don't have tools on me!" The Specialist tells me well your only option at this point is to call a tow truck. My phone at this point is almost dead so I call my brother and let him know what happened and he calls me a tow truck. My phone dies and I'm sitting on the side of the road at this point for two hours. A cop comes, I tell him my situation and he gives me a phone charger. My brother was unable to locate a tow truck company that would come get me since they didn't have my exact location. The cop called a tow truck company for me and I had to pay $165.00 in order to get my car 15 miles down the road.
I called Smart Start the next day to make sure that everything was documented on my car and then I told them that I had a Violock on my unit and I was wondering what I had to do. At this point they tell me I have to go back to the place that installed it and pay $75 to get the violation off. My battery was dead on my car so I had a friend come over to jump it so that I can get to the mechanic. Again, I CAN'T START MY CAR!!!! HUM STRONGER! I began reading reviews and someone had similar problems stating that they had to put their teeth on the mouthpiece so the unit picked up the humming. I tried it and it was the first time I passed the test on my first attempt. I ended up going to the mechanic today to get the violation off and it said RMU battery low replace unit. Of course, he tells me that he will be unable to get the unit replaced until Monday.
I am fully intending to get the refund for the tow and the violation reset as this is due to Smart Start's faulty equipment. They never admit that it is their fault and they always say you must have not been performing the tests correctly even if they are on the phone with you. I am paying a lot of money for the privilege to drive and to maintain a normal life by going to work and going to the grocery store. I'm not a wealthy person and I'm extremely nervous that this will keep happening and this is definitely not something I can afford.
If I could go the next 11 months without driving I would and if it's an option for you I would highly recommend it. It is not worth the money, frustration, and humiliation to have to deal with a device that clearly has issues.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/07/2013 02:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Smart-Start/Chicago-Illinois-60638/Smart-Start-Faulty-Equipment-Chicago-Illinois-1105211. 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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