I took my car in for a "free" diagnostic inspection on 10/11/2004 but we only went for a road test due to the fact two hours had passed and they still hadn't put my car on the lift. Tom the Cust. Svc. Mgr.,was very nice and laid back, very interested in my occupation, which is a college student, so he knew from our conversation that I don't have tons of money to give out like it grew on trees and that this is my only car, which I take extremely great care of it, which he complemented me on!
He catered to those facts and stated that the owner of the shop Carl J. Lawrence was a graduate of a very well known local private college in our city and that he was real big on giving discounts to students and "helping them get back on the road in a safe dependable car". So with all that charm I felt a wee bit more trusting, but not fully, my mom and I even went on the road test with him.
I don't like just anybody under her hood! So we drove back to the shop and he informed me that just from driving it he knew that it was an "internal problem" and that the only way that they would know what was wrong with it is that they would have to take the trans out and tear it apart for an internal inspection. Okay I am a young female college kid who knows nothing about transmissions and here is this "professional specialist" telling me that I need this work done because it would be much better than going out buying a used car that could have major engine work needed or some other problems and that I knew I have kept my car up in good condition so why spend all that money and that I really couldn't afford another car.
It took so long for them to get my in on a lift I left and told Tom the Cust. Svc. Mgr., that I would come back Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004. Wednesday came and I took it back up there. It wasn't as busy as it was that Monday and they got it on the lift.I only gave them permission to do the free diagnostic: road test and computer scan, which I am still not sure that the computer scan was performed, and then he led me out to the bay and told me to smell my trans fluid, which I did.
That's when he started telling me that my trans fluid was varnished and that something internally was wrong with the trans it was getting too hot and something wasn't working properly it could be just a spring he didn't know the only way to find out was to take it out and take it apart.
So I gave them the okay to do the disassembly and reassembly of my trans at a cost of $286.00 plus FL State Tax total $306.02. He told me top leave it with them and he proceeded to finding me a rental car and did so he even went as far as to drive my mom and I over to the company, we thought what a nice little dude, we couldn't have been more incorrect, more like the devil in disguise, a real wolf ya know! HE promised me that my car would be ready by Friday, Oct. 15, 2004 and we went over this like two to three times because I told him I didn't have any money to rent a car beyond three days, he said not a problem.
Now before he did any of that disassembly he was supposed to call me and give me the results of the computer reading, never got that call I had to call him the very next morning Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004 at 8 am SHARP! I was then informed that he had already taken the trans out and it was "on the bench and he was preparing a bench report" I now know in retrospect, from another transmission repair person as a point of reference, that he could have told from the fluid check whether or not taking the trans apart would have been a good idea, but he was banking on the fact that he used his scare tactics on a young female customer who couldn't help but to get the problem fixed through them. Taking the trans out and exposing it to air and getting rid of the old fluid has now put my trans at a greater risk to total damage!
He knew that this would occur but failed to disclose this to me, if he had I would have said NO WAY! Why ruin a good thing? You know how I mentioned earlier that my car was suposed to be ready in three days, well when I went in to get the diagnosis and he had printed out an estimate for the REPAIR, it was $1809.94 repair job, I said "oh no, that's way more money than I want to put into my little car because it just wouldn't be worth it to me. Well at that point he just gets UGLY! He starts to say well we can't put that trans back together it's no good!
He then tries to get me to get a loan to get it fixed which I definitely was NOT about to do. My car is paid in full why go get a payment on it and especially with these clowns having any ties to it. I think not! So then he tells me that he can give me a student discount and a $100.00 off coupon discount which would bring it down to $1528.10, my answer is still no, just put it back together just how I DROVE it in! He says well I can't guarantee you that the car will run, you can tow it home and we can put your trans in your trunk. That's when I got ticked, I told him I didn't tow it in I want to drive it out just the same way I drove it in, smooth and quiet, with no problems except for the delayed gear shifting of the first and second gears upon acceleration after a stop.
He said okay, then he had the gall to tell me that if I would have gotten the car repaired with them then he would have put me ahead of all the other customers and showed me a $2000.00 invoice for another customers repair work to be done and tells me that since I am not getting it fixed that I was being pushed all the way back to the end of the line "because I'm not going to put you ahead of all my $2k " and that I wouldn't get my car back until another three to four days and proceeded to show us out the door.
I was so ticked I swear I had steam coming out of my ears! I got busy though. I called their corporate office and after a few phone tag sessions I got in touch with a Nicole Ext.313, she was very attentive when we did talk and got on the ball, as I write it is Friday, 10/15/2004 so she called today and spoke with the Owner Carl J. Lawrence and said that he said it would be ready Monday 10/18/2004 and it would be in the same working/running condition that I drove it in, and that she would follow up with me until I pick my car up. We will see because I will go above her if needs be, but so far, I can work with her.
I have filed complaints with every agency that will listen and take a complaint and has some power to do something. These clowns need to be stopped and put in check. I am thinking a class action alwsuit perhaps. When something like this happens it makes you feel so violated! If I can prevent just one person from going through this ordeal I'd feel very relieved! I honestly think that they are in the business of placing mechanics liens on peoples' vehicles and resaling them. They are some very shady characters and they have not seen or heard the last of me. They have chosen to rip the wrong girl, I will go about every legal avenue I know and can and will research to see that they are either closed down or majorly reformed!
Also, watch out for these geniuses, they may try to charge you storage fees while they are holding your auto HOSTAGE!, stick to you guns and don't you dare any pay storage, they're the cause of it not being removed. If all else seems to fail, I am thinking small claims, but looking at this site makes me think class action.
Anybody in Florida who had been victimized, I urge you to get on the on the phone or go online and call the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs they are the state body that regulates Auto repair shops and also get on the phone or online and file a complaint with the State Attorney General Charlie Christ's Office he is awesome in working on behalf of the consumer and he gets things done.
Also contact your local news media! Others deserve to be spared this heartache/headache. You know with the economy as unstable as it is most of us don't have money to throw away like its blades of grass, however we earn our money, we work hard for it and these clowns should be required to do the same, work for their money not scam and destroy other people's property and demand a pay check!
Anyone not in Florida, you can do the same but I only know how effective Florida agencies can be, but it can't hurt I'm sure. We all need to band together and let these crooks know that they can't handle us this way, we consumers have the power. Oh yeah and remember folks, have a good Paper trail/documentation and write down any names, days, times , and numbers of whom you have spoken with.
Anybody who can help me with this, you're the golden!
St. Petersburg, Florida
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Aamco Transmissions