• Report:  #733

Complaint Review: AAMCO - Alburquerque New Mexico & Pennsylvania

Reported By:
Mon, September 27, 1999

Albuquerque, (and main office in Pennsylvania) Alburquerque, New Mexico & Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Auto Repair Service
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ORIGINAL FILE DATE: 9-27-00 UPDATE 3-26-00... RESPONSE FROM AAMCO Albuquerque NM UPDATE 3-27-00... Thanks from AAmco BEFORE YOU LET AAMCO WORK ON YOUR TRANSMISSION PLEASE READ THIS FIRST: AAMCO, America's Transmission Specialists? This is the story of one man's ordeal with AAMCO, in his own words, with every detail, (which is documented in writing, by receipts, etc.) On March 24th, 1999, I picked up my 1984 Ford 250 Diesel Dually, from Central Auto Service, in Grants, New Mexico. I paid the sum of $1887.05 for "a rebuilt transmission from AAMCO" (which came from the AAMCO in Albuquerque, N.M.) and a rebuilt torque converter, a new flex plate, and misceleanous other labor. The owner, "Harry" assured me that the transmission did indeed come from Aamco in Albuquerque, and that it carried the "normal" AAMCO warranty. (Which I inquired about from AAMCO and was informed it was a 12 months, unlimited mileage, warranty.) My wife and I drove the Ford pickup out of the shop, drove it to Plainview, Texas, where we live, then drove it around a few days, checking the tranmission fluid, regularly. After about 1 week, we drove it to Elk City, Oklahoma, on business, and were there for several days. After concluding our business there, we left Elk City for Plainview, Texas. We drove aproximate 45 miles, and "surprise" surprise".... THE TRANSMISSION WENT OUT AGAIN! I checked the fluid, (it was full) and then walked 1 1/2 miles to a "nearby" restaurant, where I phone the 1-800 AAMCO number, for the customer service. The person who answered there, (Pennsylvania) told me, "...you must contact the shop where the transmission was rebuilt, as our policy is for the customer to return to the shop where the work was done..." I immediately phoned "Harry" at Central Auto, in Grants, N.M. and , to say the least, he was quite irate! "Harry" said, "I'll rip that so-and-so's [expletives deleted] head off his shoulders! You hang on and I'll phone him, and straighten him out." I again phoned AAMCO in Albuquerque and talked to "Harry", who said, "Well, "Harry" in Grants, did get the transmission from me, I did rebuild it... but he didn't pay me for it." I shortly thereafter called Grants again and that 'Harry' told me, "It is true, I have a credit account with AAMCO in Albuquerque. They always bill me for the transmissions I get there, and I pay for them when I get their invoice." So you can see the pattern of dishonesty emerging. AAMCO's "Harry" continued to tell me, "You'll have to return the tranmission to me by freight, and I'll rebuild it and send it back to you." I called AAMCO Customer Service at least 3 times in the interim, and received conflicting information, and suggestions. First, a man (I believe his name was John) in Pennsylvania AAMCO, after finding out I lived in Plainview, Texas, and that the nearest AAMCO dealer was Rick Bighams AAMCO, in Lubbock, Texas, told me, "Take the vehicle to Lubbock and they will see to it." It turned out, I couldn't take it to Lubbock, a distance of over 200 miles, so had it towed back to Elk City, Okla. (45 miles away) and had a tranmission shop there (an independent, as there is no AAMCO dealer there) remove the transmission. In the meantime, I spoke with a "Barbara" at 1-800-523-0401 (in Pennsylvania, AAMCO Customer Relations) at extension 322. After about 3 hours on the phone with her, telling and retelling this story in minute details, SHE told me to have the mechanic in Elk City take the transmission to the AAMCO agency at 3130 NW 39thSt., In Okla. City, OK. I phoned there and spoke to a woman who said she "was in charge" and she asked me to "fax her any paperwork I have on the transmission", which I promptly did. When the man in Elk City took the transmission to her shop, she phoned me and told me "We won't do anything with this transmission, it MUST be shipped back to AAMCO in Albuquerque, N.M." I told her, "So, go ahead and ship it...." The Okla. City AAMCO distribuitorship sent it to the AAMCO shop in Albuquerque. I recieved a phone call telling me they had shipped it. After a week, I phoned AAMCO in Albuquerque, at 505-265-8848 and, after being given the runaround by a "Mark", telling me he knew nothing of my transmission, and that "Harry" was not there, I finally, (after 5 phone calls,) talked to "Harry". "Harry" said, "I will rebuild the transmission and return it to Elk City, Okla." He asked me for the address, and I told him where to send it. He told me, "I'll ship it in about 5 days." (The 2nd breakdown, after leaving Elk City, occurred on April 26, 1999) It is now May 4th., 1999.) On May 10th, I phoned the shop in Elk City, Okla. to see if the transmission had arrived. In fact, IT HAD NOT ARRIVED, so I phoned AAMCO "Harry" again, to see what was going on. I was repeatedly "stonewalled", and lied to by "Mark" and "Harry", who made every implausable excuse anyone could ever dream up. (During this course of events, 9 weeks passed, which brought us into the middle of June, and numerous phone calls were made.) Finally I demanded to know when the unit was going to be shipped. "Harry" promised to ship it "tomorrow"... and about 5 days later, it arrived in Elk City, Okla. minus all but four of the pan bolts, and minus the internal shift rod and linkage! Four more phone calls, and one week later, the proper materials finally arrived in Elk City, Okla., and the shop there installed the transmission. My wife and I went to Elk City, on JUly 5th, and picked up the Ford Pickup, drove it 220 miles to Plainview, Texas. Four days later, on July 9th, we left in the Ford Pickup to drive to Phoenix, AZ. We drove only 38 miles, to Spring Lake, Texas and GUESS WHAT? THE TRANSMISSION WENT OUT AGAIN! We had it towed back to Plainview, and because of a tight schedule, we drove our Dodge Van to Phoenix, Arizona. We were in Phoenix, for the remaineder of the month, returning to Texas on August 1. After a few days rest, I sent an email "Consumer Comments Form" to AAMCO, and the next day, I recieved a phone call from a man named "Steve" in Pennsylvania Customer Relations Dept. asking me "if there was some problem..." I then proceeded to fill in "Steve" with this story, and told him numerous times, "The whole sordid story is logged on the computer in 'Barbara's' office." Steve promised to "take care of it," promising to call me "right back". It was, in fact, 2 days before I heard from "Steve" again. When he called, he told me to take the pickup to Rick Bigham's AAMCO, in Lubbock, Texas, where "they would take care of it," but that I "would have to pay the labor to remove and replace the transmission." (At this point, the prospect of getting anything done was indeed delightful, so I agreed to "pay the labor" to remove and replace the transmission. (Aprox. $300.00+ dollars) We towed the Ford pickup to Lubbock AAMCO, on Thursday, August 5th, 1999 and I spoke personally to Rick Bigham, and Sam Long, two apparent "managers" there. They assured me they "would take care of it." I authorized them to check the transmission, (by removing the pan, and the valve body) to assertain what might be wrong with it. The following morning, I recieved a call from "Sam"... "We have removed the transmission and it is burned out... We will not fix it unless you pay for it. You have 3 options, you can pay $1300.00+ for one year warranty, or pay $2100.00 for 2 year warranty or $2800.00 for a lifetime warranty." I asked them what they had done. "Sam" said, "We have removed the transmission, totally dismantled it, and have started rebuilding it." I replied, "You have forgotten another option I have, I can come and get the vehicle, and tow it home, and forget you." I told them to "do nothing", and put the transmission in the back of the pickup, that I would be down to get the pickup on Monday.Aug 9th. We went down on Monday, August 9th, towed the pickup back to Plainview, to a local independently owned shop, and found that Lubbock AAMCO, had not only totally dismantled the transmission, (they were attempting to, and planning on, rebuilding it without my authorization, and "holding the pickup hostage" to force me to pay their absorbitant price) but that they had totally dismantled my 2-speed gear box (which cost $1800.00) and threw the parts into a box in the back of the pickup. I sent another email to AAMCO Customer Relations in Pennsylvania, and told them exactly what had happened and that, in my opinion, "they were all crooks, cutthroats, and highway robbers", and that "I would do my best to get the word out about how AAMCO REALLY is." The next day, I got another phone call from "Steve". He asked me again, "what is the problem?..." I replied, "You read my email and you don't know what the problem is?" I told him in great detail what had happened, and that I wanted my 2-speed gearbox reassembled, "at no charge to me." "Steve" said, "I'll talk to them and call you right back." This was about 4:45 P.M. on August 11th. He in fact, did not call me again until August 12, in the afternoon. "Steve" said, "Tthey have agreed to reassemble your 2-speed, at no cost to you. They apolagize..." (Most certainly they would, after all the waves I made.) In all fairness, I took the 2-speed to AAMCO in Lubbock, and they did reassemble it, however, when I arrived, they told me, "We go it tomorrow"... to which I replied, "Oh, no you won't. I drove 50 miles to bring this, and I'm not making another trip. You were never authorized to touch it, and you will assemble it NOW. I'll check back in one hour". "Sam" replied, "It'll take longer than that." To which I replied, "I'll check back in one hour anyway." I took the reassembled 2-speed gear box, (It was ready in 1 1/2 hours) to the local independent shop here in Plainview, and they installed it behind the rebuilt transmission. IT TOOK THEM ONLY 2 DAYS TO GET THE TRANSMISSION REBUILT, NOT 9 1/2 WEEKS! The local shop only charged me $475.00 TOTAL COST, parts AND labor. AAMCO's "cheapest" price was $1300.00! TELL ME WHO IS RIPPING WHOM OFF? A personal word to anyone even remotely considering AAMCO for any repairs: LET THE BUYER BEWARE! YOU COULD BE THE NEXT "BLEEDING" VICTIM IN THE CONTINUING AAMCO SAGA! ----------------------------------------------------------------- DO YOU HAVE A BAD AAMCO EXPERIENCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? If so, please email me at: [email protected] and I will be happy to add your story or your link to mine. No profanity please. ----------------------------------------------------------------- *By the way, most businesses encourage people to link to their web web sites, it brings in more traffic and gets the word out. Our webmaster has received many free gifts from companies as a thank you gesture for linking to them. AAMCO does not allow anyone to link to their web site without prior written permission. What are they trying to avoid? What are they trying to hide? Hey AAMCO, why don't you WANT the word to get out?? ________________________________________________________________ ORIGINAL FILE DATE: 9-27-00 UPDATE 3-26-00... RESPONSE FROM AAMCO Albuquerque NM Subj: AAmco Albuquerque re-buttal Date: 3/26/00 5:01:07 AM US Mountain Standard Time From: [email protected] To: [email protected] This is a direct re-buttal in reference to a report filed on us, AAmco Albuquerque. While the situation was regretful, it is important to here the other side of the story, Maybe with some of these FACTS, consumers can draw their own conclusion. My dates are not exact, but here is our story. In March of 99, we where contacted by Central Auto repair in Grants New Mexico about a C6 transmission for a diesel Ford Pickup, At that time we informed them that AAmco had switched to a new warranty program as of 3/1/99, in which a warranty company assumes responsibility of our warranty after an initial period of 90 days, and that they would not honor any carry-out or bench transmission rebuilds and that the only warranty was 90 days at our center only. The warranty company or us for that matter cannot warranty someone else's installation or diagnosis for that matter. At any rate the price for the unit was approx. 595.00$, A parts runner came to Albuquerque and picked up the unit. Usually outside accounts will supply the old core and remit payment. Central Auto in Grants had always paid COD for any units sold to them (About 4 units over the last 3 years). We did not supply the Torque coverter or flexplate that were installed. We were informed they would submit payment when core was returned. We agreed to supply paperwork at that time. We did not ever receive the core or payment, Therefore no paperwork was issued. Usually we will offer a 12 month warranty if we are allowed to inspect the installation, but were never allowed to do so. This individual never came to AAmco in Albuquerque. We did not charge him 1875.00$. Central Auto did, His warranty lies with them. When i was contacted by this individual, i informed him of the situation and was told we would be sued for 35,000.00$ If we did not do something. Had this individual had work done at our center, we would have towed it to the nearest AAmco and had it taken care of. Naturally, we were concerned about being responsible for repairs in which we did not perform or get compensation for. At any rate we agreed to pay for shipping and repair unit at our facility. When we received the unit, The pan of the transmission was smashed up into the valve body, causing poor lubrication. The fluid is literally sucked through the filter, that filter was crammed into the valve body. Impossible to get goog flow like that. Eventually it will burn up, as it did. That was either an installation error or pan was struck. When we informed this individual we were told that that was a cop-out. We repaired the Transmission and shipped it back, We did not intentionally omit the manual linkage. We had built another unit and shipped it, and simply forgot to change linkages. It is my recollection that the unit was shipped to a body shop in Elk City, OK. Had it been at any Transmission facility, The linkage could have been replaced easily. The next contact we had was when AAmco in Lubbock called us, After an initial diagnosis, we authorized repairs. We were told the trans was slipping badly and they would call us the following day. The next morning i was contacted by Sam at AAmco Lubbock, i was told that the cooler lines which run from the transmission to the radiator and back were leaking profusely, causing it to overheat and burn up. We declined repairs. I was not involved any further other than one phone conversation with this individual, which i seem to remember differently. I flat out deny that he was called a "crazy old fool" and that "he would get nothing." I tried to explain the A) Installation errors. B) lack of payment and core. C) the fact we had actually tried to help best we could given the circumstances. I was informed that these were cop-outs and excuses and un acceptable explanations. He demanded 3500.00$ to remove his website. That is my recollection of events. First of all, AAmco in Albuquerque has been here for over 30 years at the same location with only one change of ownership. We try to make everyone happy, but we are not perfect. The communication and handling of this matter was less than perfect. We had just switched to the new program and were somewhat lost on its limitations. Had this incident happened through an independent transmission facility, it simply would have ended with "Get it back to me." This individual never set foot in our facility, i have never met him and we NEVER charged him1875.00$. I deeply regret the outcome of these events. We no longer sell ANY carryout units as a result. We simply cannot warranty other peoples work and materials. Regardless of the opinions of others, these were not cop-outs, but facts we dealt with. I only wish the vehicle would have been in our facility and none of this would be an issue. Sincerely, Mark, CSM AAmco Albuquerque 3-26-00 Consumer response note: Again I say as I did from day one... The owner, "Harry" assured me that the transmission did indeed come from AAMCO in Albuquerque, and that it carried the "normal" AAMCO warranty. (Which I inquired about from AAMCO and was informed it was a 12 months, unlimited mileage, warranty.) This transmission shop Central Auto Service, in Grants, New Mexico has been dealing with AAMCO for years. Central Auto was authorized by AAMCO, there was no need for inspection by AAMCO. The transmission was defective. In the name of good customer service, Just replace it! 3-27-00 Subj: Albuquerque Re-buttal Date: 3/27/00 6:02:05 PM US Mountain Standard Time From: [email protected] To: [email protected] Dear Sirs, Thank you for posting our re-buttlal,i believe that was a very proffesional and courteous move on your part,as every one knows there are two sides to every story.While i regret bieng posted in a negative matter,i thank the opportunity to respond.As i said,we are not perfect and cant make every one happy,but we do try. at first i did not agree with your service,especially with no forum to respond,but im very glad to have an opportunity to show both sides.Good luck to you and again,Thank you. Sincerely Mark,CSM AAmco Albuquerque

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