On August 11, 2006 I took my automobile, a 1995 Mercury Sable, to Aamco, El Monte CA, for a transmission check up. It made a noise when I drove faster than 35 miles a hour (1st gear). I found Aamco through the recommendation of Pep Boy's, El Monte CA. I went to Pep Boys because the place where I bought the car uses them for repairs, tune ups, etc. When I purchased the car I also purchased a Customer Protection Service Contract. The contract stated that I needed to only have approved repair companies work on my car and Pep Boy's told me that they send people with my type of protection contract to Aamco El Monte. When my husband and I drove into the parking lot of Aamco El Monte we felt comfortable because there was a big sign stating; COMPLETE AUTO REPAIR AND TRANSMISSION SPECIALIST, COMPLETE ENGINE REPAIR, FREE DIAGNOSIS, FREE TOWING, FREE RENTAL CAR. The operator of Aamco El Monte is Charles Onwuegbusi. He was the person who attended us. He had the Jerry Springer Show on television and we all watched and chatted, I guess you might say my husband and I felt at ease because of Mr. Onwuegbusi's banter. I looked around his waiting room/office and saw the list of prices for diagnostic work on transmissions. The highest amount was $90 some odd dollars or so. Anyway there were no really high prices so I didnt feel concerned. When I told Mr. Onwuegbusi about the protection contract he said that I had nothing to worry about. That he had worked with them before and that they had a relationship. Because August 11, 2006 was on a Friday, he said that he would contact them on Monday. He had a mechanic drive us in my car to the Enterprise Auto Rental. He said that this drive would be a diagnosis drive. Before we left for the rental agency we filled out an External Diagnosis Order #700713 form. He asked me to give him a statement as to why I brought the car in and I did. He had drawn a line next to it and asked me to sign, so I did. I thought that this line was attesting what I had said. There was nothing else written around my signature. I did sign two more times giving Aamco permission to perform a road test (which we would do on the way to the rental) and external and visual diagnostic checks. If there was to be a Sump Test it would cost $______. It was left blank. This I am noticing after the fact. On Saturday, 8/12/06, we took the rental car back to Enterprise because my husband and I felt that they were too expensive for Aamco to pay because we knew of Budget Rental where the amount was considerably less. On Saturday I called Aamco for status and he said that he would have to contact them on Monday because they were closed. He assured us that there were no problems. That he had a relationship with the adjuster. On Sunday I realized that I hadn't gotten a copy of my work order. At first I thought I had misplaced it. I was looking everywhere. I thought I should not panic that maybe I had forgotten it in Mr. Onwuegbusis office. But I did feel a sense of panic because this paper was the only thing that proved that my car was there. When I spoke to him on Monday he said that the Protection coverage was approved for $1325.00. He said that his charges were $2600. I told him that that was too much. He said he would check to see if he could do it for less. To call him on Tuesday. I asked him for a copy of the order and he said that he has never given one to anyone. I told him that I wanted one and he said Tuesday I could have one. I told him that I could not afford the other half ($1325) and that I would have to pick the car up and take it home. He told me that he had taken it apart and that I would have to pay him $595.00 before I could take it. That it was an 'RDI' charge. I asked him who told him he could do that and he said that I signed. I thought, 'I cannot make him mad because I have no paperwork. He could keep my car for as long as he wants.' I have been sick since 2000 so my mind was not all there. I begin to feel taken advantaged of, tricked, and afraid that I wouldn't get my car. On Tuesday I called him and he told me to go to his office that morning but I had a doctors appointment so I told him that I would be there that afternoon. As my husband and I were driving to Los Angeles I begin to worry because I had not gotten a copy of the work order. I called the Protection company and they told me that I was approved for $1325.00 and that I could take the car to any certified repair shop. I asked my husband to turn around and go to Aamco. When we got there Mr. Onwuegbusi was not there so his worker called him on the phone. I asked Mr. Onwuegbusi for the order and he said that it was locked up and that no one could give it to me but him. He told me that he has never given a copy of the work order to anyone. He then spoke to his worker. The worker hung up and he made a copy of it. Above where the signed line was drawn and to the side was the writing 'RDI_595'. I got the order and scribbled 'DID NOT HAVE ON WHEN I SIGNED I NEVER GOT ANY COPY OF ANYTHING'. The worker asked for it back or he could lose his job so I gave it back to him. And I left with a copy. I went to the El Monte Police Department to get help in me getting my car. They met me there and he said that I could get my car Thursday, 8/17, and pay $595.00. I told him that he was holding my car hostage. I called PrePaid Legal Services and I was referred to an attorney named Juan (Fax # 213-612-9174). Attorney Juan told me to do whatever I had to do to get my car from hostage, including paying the $595.00, so that's what I did. I contacted A Transmission and they met us Friday, 8/18, with a tow truck. The El Monte PD was there too. I called the Bureau of Automotive Repair and filed a complaint. They found in my favor but won't tell me the specifics without a court order. They did send me papers to file suit in the small claims court. Mr. Onwuegbusi was going to refund me my money but Aamco told him not to pay me until they investigate. I still have not heard from Aamco nor Mr. Onwuegbusi.
He never told me that he would have to tear the transmission down. He told me that when he gets the OK from the warranty company he would let me know but he took it upon his self to tear it down. When I called the warranty company back (about the new repairer) Jacklyn extension 302 and Daniele at AUL Administrators (extended warranty company) said I was covered for the $1325.00, but when the adjuster went to A Transmission to examine the transmission the adjuster said that the warranty would not cover because (since the transmission was cleaned to be put back by Aamco at my request to put it back the way I brought it in). This does not make sense because they told Mr. Onwuegbusi that it was approved for $1325.00, according to Mr. Onwuegbusi and Jacklyn and Daniele. They could not find any indication that anything had broken. The damage they NOW determine to be (worn out) because of no shavings from slipped gear(My question is then how or why did it get approved before? I don't get it; 1st it's approved with Aamco and now it's denied with A Transmission. When I called AUI back they now had no record of ever approving the work. I believe Mr. Onwuegbusi did damage to my claim when he canceled with them. I have it in writing by Aamco El Monte that the adjuster approved $1325.00 with them. They would not let me cancel him to let the new repairer take over until Mr. Onwuegbusi (Aamco) called them and cancelled. Also, on the work order he wrote 'towed in' making the assumption by a reader that the car was totally disabled, but that was not true. We drove the car in we just couldn't go faster than 35mph. When I told him to put it back as it was it now couldn't go in reverse. So he left it more damaged than when he received it. When I told him this in front of the police he got angry and scribbled it out on the original work order that I do not have a copy of but BAR does. He refused to give me any more copies of anything.
I want a refund for the $595.00 and the car rental, and the transmission repair because I believe Aamco El Monte used trickery, fraud, and untrue advertising. Aamco (the parent) stepped in and joined Mr. Onwuegbusi in denying me my refund and therefore I believe they assisted him in damaging me, also.
He was going to reimburse me but didn't because he said,'AAMCO is going to investigate and get back to you.' They have not.
I claim I am owed:
ENTERPRISE RENTAL 8/11- 8/12/07 2 days $33.64 ea $ 67.27
BUDGET RENTAL 8/12 -8/17/07 5 days $29.99 ea 149.95
TEAR DOWN 595.00
Amount that Aamco El Monte stated on typed work order
#121496 that the warranty said to him, they would pay 1,325.00
TOTAL OWED ME $ 2,137.22
This Statement of Facts is to the best of my recall and not intended to defraud, mislead, nor misrepresent to anyone.
Enclosures: Consumer Affairs/BAR Case Letter (BAR case # SE2006013337)
To contact AAMCO.Com 1-800-GO-AAMCO
baldwin park, California
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