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Report: #77838

Complaint Review: Cottman Transmission - Salem Massachusetts

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Watertown Massachusetts
  • Cottman Transmission 135 Canal Street Salem, Massachusetts U.S.A.

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I took my 94 Ford Escort to Cottman on Canal Street in Salem on the morning of January 17th cuz the tranny is leaking. The owner seemed cool enough and we went for the obligatory test drive and he noted that the car seems to be operating normally. Then it went into their shop and onto a riser and he showed me where was leaking.

Unfortunately it seems to be coming from inside a seal and the only way to find out what's causing it is to take the whole transmission OUT of the car and take it apart. And it's going to cost $325 to find out. So I say OK, and he doesn't even have any "real" paperwork or authorization form for me to fill out and sign so he asks for the last 4-digits of my Social Security # as an authorization, and writes it down on a blank piece of paper. It's too early in the morning for me to wonder what's wrong with walking out of a transmission shop with no documentation of what I just agreed to.

He also tells me it's not going to be "some $800 job..." and I'm "looking at anywhere from $1500-$2800" to repair it. I knew tranmission work was expensive but then I start to wonder why he's quoting me such high prices when it could be something minor. So OK whatever. But as the weekend passes I start to get this really bad feeling about the whole thing. A few friends said the price seemed a bit high, esp. since the guy didn't even know what was wrong with it and was acting like it was definitely going to be a major repair job, as if the whole tranny would have to be overhauled.

So I get online Monday night and do a google search on "Cottman" and lo and behold, my search turns up a few hundred matches, and a few dozen pages are comments from customers about how awful Cottman is. I spent about 2 hours going through them all and ALL of it was nothing but negative feedback on what a rip-off they are (thank you Rip Off Report!!!). I read horror story after horror story of unsuspecting customers who brought their vehicles in for transmission work and somehow it was ALWAYS a major repair job, nothing was ever simple; and how they'd have to keep bringing them back because the tranmissions that were supposedly repaired kept failing; and lots of stories of how Cottman would hang onto their cars for weeks at a time and give everyone the runaround when they'd call and ask "Any idea when my car will be ready or I can get it back?" One guy said his car had 700 extra miles on it when he got it back!!!

After reading all that I knew that bad feeling I had was legitimate so I called and left them a message saying I'd changed my mind and decided I wanted to take it to my own mechanic first, so don't bother taking the tranny out and my boyfriend will come by first thing in the morning to pick it up.

Next morning boyfriend calls and says the service technician ("Chuck") wants to talk to me. Apparently he'd already taken it out but hadn't taken it apart yet. I told him not to bother, just put it back in and yes, I know it's still going to be $325. I also told him I had concerns about doing business with them because the owner never gave me any paperwork. He said that seemed very strange and OK, he can have my car ready for me by 5PM that day. Boyfriend was standing right there when Chuck wrote it down and put "boyfriend" as an authorization to put the tranny back in unrepaired.

2 hours later Chucky boy calls back and starts screaming at me for lying to him, accusing me of trying to deceive them, that there was paperwork and he had it in front of him so he doesn't have to work on my car cuz he's got all these other cars that DO need repairs so I'm being put at the bottom of the priority list. I told him he obviously misunderstood what I was talking about regarding paperwork -- I never said there wasn't any, I just said that the owner never gave ME anything in writing. He said that didn't matter, he didn't care and he doesn't have to honor his agreement to have my car ready by 5PM cuz I tried to decieve them.

After screaming at me for several more minutes he puts the owner Steve on who then screams at me some more cuz y'know... screaming at customers is a great way to do business, right?

At that point the owner tells me he doesn't even want my business and he'll call tomorrow and give me a "rough estimate" of how long it's going to take to get the tranny back in my car and have it ready for me to pick up. I then ask him if he would be willing to put this "rough estimate" in writing and he refuses. I then ask him if he can at least fax me some kind of invoice for the $325 with room to add my credit card info and signature, y'know...just so there are no more disputes about that labor fee and just to show that I am indeed going to pay the $325. He refuses. At this point I now completely understand why I couldn't find ONE good review of this company (well, other than their own web site which had all of like, 6 good 'testimonials'). I hang up the phone and burst into tears. Did I forget to mention I was at work too? Not like I have enough job stress...I really needed some MORE stress from a couple of obnoxious transmission experts.

Later on that day he called back and said "We'll do the work for you but we'll want all the money up front" and I say "I thought you didn't want my business? And what makes you think I even want to do business with you now anyway? No thanks. Just give me my car back ASAP!" So he said "Fine, we might be able to have it done by the end of the day tomorrow. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know."

That was Tuesday. Tomorrow was yesterday. I never got my "courtesy" call. And I'm not holding my breath. They're holding my poor baby hostage!!! And I'm out $325. I'll probably have to pay someone else the same amount AGAIN, but next time I'm taking the car to a place that my mechanic recommends, which I should've done in the first place. I didn't take it there first cuz I don't think he does transmission work, but I'm sure he would refer me to someone who does that he trusts, and since he's a friend of a friend of our family, I know he's not gonna rip me off or send me someplace else that will rip me off or do a crappy job. Oi.

I've already contacted a local investigative business news reporter AND the BBB. All of this just because some angry service technician wouldn't honor his agreement to have my car ready by the end of the day at 5PM. I swear if my car is not ready by Noon on Saturday I'm going to initiate legal action -- my boyfriend was a witness when Chuck verbally told me he'd have the car ready by 5PM that day (and he also wrote it down, my boyfriend saw him!), not to mention the fact that they've violated their own code of ethics.

More like customer DISservice! I will never ever do business with ANY Cottman again!

Julianna
Watertown, Massachusetts
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Cottman Transmission

STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!

Click here to see Rip-off Reports filed where consumers say thank you Rip-off Report & badbusinessbureau.com, that we saved them money. Not included are the thousands of thank you e-mails we get every week.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/22/2004 05:16 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/cottman-transmission/salem-massachusetts-01970/cottman-transmission-ripoff-rude-jerks-who-will-treat-you-like-crap-if-you-dont-let-them-77838. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#5 Author of original report

Cottman Still Stinks

AUTHOR: Julianna - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Well I finally got my car back, and took it to a transmission shop my mechanic recommended. The guys at the new shop were VERY helpful and honest...and said I was lucky I made it home: Cottman didn't do a very good job putting the transmission back in and the right axle was ready to come off. They had to reseal that part, repair an inner C.V. clip on outer boot, twist the outer boot back into place, refill with fluid (because of the right axle problem, most of the new fluid Cottman put in leaked out!), and adjusted the T.V. cable back into original position.

Cost $106 just to repair what Cottman screwed up that was supposedly repaired.

The seal seems to have stopped the leak though...but I continue to monitor the fluids and check for leaks just in case...and the price the new shop quoted me for a complete overhaul was WAY less than Cottman.

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#4 Consumer Comment

go after headquarters ..They are well aware of the deceptive "warranty" advertising.

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Write this person about your story.

Francis J. Hendrie, Consumer Protection Agent
21 South 12th St., 2nd Fl.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

They are well aware of the deceptive "warranty" advertising. The smiling Nascar driver and the "home of the 75000 no bull warranty" have given too many people a sense of false confidence.

It is even more serious because much of it is "interstate commerce". They do in fact receive (in Pennsylvania) royalties and fees derived from your payments regardless of where you took your car for service.

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#3 Consumer Suggestion

what is good for the goose is good for the gander

AUTHOR: Greg - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2004

Tranz man I agree with you other than a Franchise shop doesn't need to be in a bind to get the most out of every customer. The first time I heard these sayings was at a sales meeting for Mr. T ( Whats the difference in a 500 dollar tranny and a 700 tranny?)(Just ask) and of coarse the famous regional opt manager who coined the phrase you didn't charge enough if they don't leave crying.

Now I've heard these sayings for almost thirty years from all three franchise offices and by the way the 500 dollar thing from along time ago coarse I remember it being said about 200 dollar tranys to.

Anyway every time I have seen this used is when the sales man says I got this handled and it doesn't happen so he starts this yelling to confuse the shop owner and of the shop owner knows whats going on but he plays along anyway ( sales man may be burning out what ever) any way stick to your guns also look at the receipt it may still have the clause saying that the Tran will work as good or better on return of the car if it doesn't then remember what is good for the goose is good for the gander. In other words it don't work as good as it did understand.

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#2 Consumer Comment

THE COTTMAN SHUFFLE

AUTHOR: TRANZMN - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Friday, January 30, 2004

Julianna~~~~~What you have experienced is a shop that is having $$$$ problems~~~~~The job there is to get the most they can get from every customer no matter what !~~~~~~No matter what the problem is it needs to be overhauled.~~~~The company ethics code looks good on paper but what the shop operating costs are is hard to implement. Unless~~~~The shop has all the business it can handle with a very knowledgeable crew~~~~~I haven't seen a shop like this yet.~~~~~I,m not sure if the promise to get the car done by the time of this writing has been honored~~~~~the ss# is what is taught in the Cottman (Skool) since the most prospective new owners are from other professions non automotive related. THE TRANZMN

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#1 Consumer Comment

THE COTTMAN SHUFFLE

AUTHOR: TRANZMN - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Friday, January 30, 2004

Julianna~~~~~What you have experienced is a shop that is having $$$$ problems~~~~~The job there is to get the most they can get from every customer no matter what !~~~~~~No matter what the problem is it needs to be overhauled.~~~~The company ethics code looks good on paper but what the shop operating costs are is hard to implement. Unless~~~~The shop has all the business it can handle with a very knowledgeable crew~~~~~I haven't seen a shop like this yet.~~~~~I,m not sure if the promise to get the car done by the time of this writing has been honored~~~~~the ss# is what is taught in the Cottman (Skool) since the most prospective new owners are from other professions non automotive related. THE TRANZMN

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