ED Magedson – Founder
Carmen Auto Center256 Carmen Drive Camarillo, California United States of America
Before I arrived at the Carmen Auto Center on April 7, 2010 after 5:00 pm, I had been informed by my husband, my local auto repairman, and by the Auto Club Emergency Road Service employee (Auto Club of Southern California) that my Honda Civic has a problem with the alternator.
As soon as I greeted Mr. Tommy Nguyen, the mechanic, the Auto Club Emergency Road Service employee told him that my car has a problem with the alternator. The mechanic looked at me. It is also important to mention that I was present with my 8-year-old daughter. My daughter was just excited that I get the car fixed.
The Auto Club employee left, and I asked Mr. Nguyen how much it was to get the car fixed. He acted as if he didn't understand my question and mentioned an amount of $65.00. He kept going back and forth between the back of the building where I was with my daughter and the broken-down car and the gas station that is located in the front of the building.
I asked Mr. Nguyen whether he needed to take the car to the repair section of the building. He said that the car stayed where I had it. He also indicated that this was the way he would fix cars, right there in the back of the building.
Mr. Nguyen still kept going back and forth and returned with a form I had to sign. I gave him my name, address and phone number. I signed the form in order to give him permission to open the hood and start working on the car. The form also had an estimated amount of $65 on it with a description "check ... system." (I cannot read the middle word.)
As soon as the form was signed, Mr. Nguyen started talking a lot. He told me what he needed to do on my car. He gave an elaborate description on all the systems he had to check. My daughter got even more excited because she wanted to watch and see how a car gets fixed. I became suspicious because he knew it was the alternator.
Mr. Nguyen put some device on the engine and started running diagnostics. He kept going back and forth and ran a diagnostic for a few minutes. My daughter and I were alone for around 15 minutes while he kept going back and forth.
After around 20 minutes Mr. Nguyen told me that the car had a problem with the alternator. It wasn't new news to me. It must have been around 5:45 pm., and he told me that he could get the car fixed. However, the part in question, the alternator, is not in the building. He explained to me that he needed to get in touch with other stores to get the part. He also emphasized that, since it was after hours, it might be more difficult to find the part.
Mr. Nguyen went again to the front of the building and came back with an estimate to fix the car. He said it would be $300.21. I told him that it was a ripoff. He got upset. I told him that I wanted to get the car towed to my local repairman because I wasn't going to get car fixed by him. I called the Auto Club Emergency Road Service again to get my car towed.
While I was on the phone asking for a tow truck, the situation with Mr. Nguyen was getting very uncomfortable. He kept going to the front and back of the building.
Once I ordered a tow truck, I got in an argument with Mr. Nguyen because of the $300.21 he wanted. His English skills became limited, and he acted again as if he didn't know enough English to understand me.
He kept going back and forth and asked me to pay him $65.00. I told him that I wouldn't pay him $65.00 because he had known that the alternator was broken. I also told he that he didn't have to run any diagnostics on the car. I also pointed out that the time running the diagnostics was around 5 minutes; 5 minutes didn't cost $65.00.
Mr. Nguyen removed his device from the engine and wanted to take the key out of the ignition. I felt very threatened and told him that I would call the police. He said that he would call the police.
I decided to stay in the car while I was waiting with my daughter for the tow truck. In the meantime, Mr. Nguyen got on the phone. I didn't know whether he called the police or not. All I felt was threat and I wanted to leave with my daughter. The key was in the ignition, and I started the engine. To my surprise, the car worked, and I drove to my local car repair shop.
I parked the car and called my husband. My husband was still in class. His students were about to be done with an exam. We were waiting for about 15 minutes, and my husband arrived to take us home.
As soon as we got home, a message from a deputy was on our answering maching. I returned his phone call and explained what had happened during the past two hours with Mr. Nguyen. The deputy urged me to go back to Mr. Nguyen and pay $65.00. I complied.
I returned the following day (without my daughter) and paid $65.00. I filed a complaint with the Auto Club Emergency Road Services and explained what had happened with their employee. The company investigated and reimbursed $65.00 after a few days.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/22/2010 05:01 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/carmen-auto-center/camarillo-california-93010/carmen-auto-center-tommy-nguyen-the-mechanic-acted-as-if-english-is-a-difficult-language-595426. 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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