In the early morning of Saturday October 9, 2004 my car broke down. My husband was in the car and called AAA. Having no clue where to have the car towed to, we took the recommendation of the wrecker driver to have the vehicle towed to their contract body shop, Pinellas Auto Body.
WELL!! They were informed verbally to contact us before racking up any charges. They called us later Saturday afternoon and told us the repair bill would be very costly. My husband told Rich at Pinellas Auto Body that we would have the car towed back home to avoid storage fees until we decided what to do. On Monday morning we called a few local garages that could do the same repairs for half the price. I called Pinellas Auto Body and spoke with Rich to inform him that AAA was going to be picking up the car.
No problem. When I called AAA they suggested that I make sure there were no fees added because if the wrecker driver goes out there, Pinellas Auto Body can't release the car. I did just that. This time I spoke with Jim the manager. I asked him if I owed any money and he told me "no." I called the new garage and informed him that the car was in tow. Hours later no car!! I called AAA and they told me that I owed Pinellas Auto Body $27.00 and they would not release the car to the wrecker driver. I couldn't believe my ears!! I called Jim back at Pinellas Auto Body and was very hostile on the phone with him, and he flat out informed me there was a fee due to "dismantle the car." He claimed he had never spoken with me. I was irate at this point. They were holding my car hostage!!
I asked him why he didn't disclose this information earlier when I spoke with him and he claimed our conversation never took place. I was in shock. He said he would call the owner Mark and see what he could do and Jim would call me back. He called back alright. Jim told me that I could not have the car unless the $27.00 was paid. It's not the amount that bothers me it's the whole point of the matter. They know you're desperate and obviously at their mercy and they take advantage!! If they were to inform me BEFORE there wouldn't have been a problem. I just don't understand why they did what they did. I called Pinellas Auto Body the first time out of sheer politeness to inform them that we were having the car towed and was trampled all over.
To end this story, my husband had to go down there and pay the fee before we could have the car towed to another garage. I think this is an outrage!! I can only imagine how many times they have screwed someone!! AAA was no help either. After all Pinellas Auto Body is practically writing their paychecks for all the referrals! Their prices are outrageous!! I used to know of Mark the owner and he drives around in his Mercedes Benz and Jaquars. Bravo for him for doing so well but I wouldn't say his business was built on brains!! I will tell everyone in my path not to do business with this company.