• Report:  #25307

Complaint Review: Cottman Transmission/Steve Downing - Worthington Ohio

Reported By:
- Dublin, OH,
Thu, July 25, 2002

Cottman Transmission/Steve Downing
999 Worthington Woods Loop Road Worthington, 43085 Ohio, U.S.A.
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I have never been so upset in all my life!!! I knew being a woman and going into a mechanics garage was sure to get me into financial trouble, but I really thought that this company was honest since it is nationally recognized. I took my car to Cottman Transmission in Worthington, Ohio on 6/4/02 to have them tell me what they would charge to get the transmission fixed. I told the Manager Steve Downing that I had been all over town and the cheapest repair I could find was more than I wanted to spend.

He told me he could do a partial repair but I would have to being it back within 3 months to finish the transmission repair, however the total cost would only be $1400.00 and he would deduct the cost of the partial repair from the total amount. Well of course I said ok since the partial fix may keep it running for a little bit longer while I came up with the rest of the money. Steve kept my car for a week and said he did what he could, however, there was no difference in the way the car drove or in the way the transmission shifted but I still paid $713.81 and accepted that he couldn't fix it properly (which is what he said) and that I would have to come up with the difference from the $1400.00 to have it properly repaired (and I would have to do this within 90 days or the offer to deduct the first repair from the total cost would not be applicable).

Well since I could not drive my car at all now, I had no other choice than to come up with the other $700.00 to finish the repairs or take my care to AATCO to have a brand new transmission put in it within 3 days for $1100.00. So I decided to let Cottman finish what they had started for the difference of no more than $800.00 (which I specifically asked Steve before I left the first time, I said, So I just need to come up with another $800.00 and I can have my car's transmission fixed in it's entirety, correct? and he said, yes ma'am.

I took my car back to Cottman on 7/2/02 and dropped if off. Well, I just got off the phone with Mr. Downing and he told me that my car was still not done (2 weeks later) and that the cost was going to be $1300.00 ON TOP of the $700.00 that I already spent for him to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to my car the first time!!!

I do not have this money and have no idea right now as to how I'm going to get this money, it took me a month (without a car, mind you, since it couldn't be driven after he "fixed" it the first time) to come up with the other $800.00, how I'm going to come up with another $500.00 is beyond me!!! I should have taken my car to AATCO back in June and paid them the $1100.00 and had a working car within 3 days instead of going almost 2 months without a car and paying $2000.00. I'm telling all my friends and clients to be sure not to go to Cottman unless they want to be royally screwed and come out with no money and a car that still doesn't work, once they get it back because Steve is too busy buying new houses off the money he's taking from everyone to supposedly work on their cars (that's why he said it was taking so long - he just bought a new house and was taking time off to move!) I'm a small business owner and always put my clients first and do not make any money off them AND Guarantee that the service they receive is done right or they don't have to pay me.

I do have in writing on the receipt from the first "repair" that Steve was deducting the first charge from the total cost. I honestly can't believe that Cottmans screwed me twice! I did take my car to another mechanic after Steve so called "fixed" my car the first time and was told that there had not been a thing done to it since the last time I brought it into him back in May! This is why I was sure I'd only be charged the $800.00 for the second repair - surely Steve wasn't bold enough to charge me the full amount after getting half the amount and not doing a thing - boy was I wrong!!! Steve told me he had to do some "extra stuff" to my car besides the regular transmission repairs, is it Cottmans normal practice to just do whatever "they" think needs to be done without requesting their customers permission first and then automatically charge them for the extra work??? I've never been so disappointed and appalled in my entire life. I never even signed an invoice or any forms requesting any work to be done to my car (which I thought was strange from the get go), when I brought my car in the second time, Steve was on the phone trying to talk his way out of a law suit and told me to just lay the keys on the counter and he'd fix me up I guess I should have found out what kind of fix me up he was planning on doing. Also, I didn't even get a chance to request the old parts back like I realized I could have done after the first repair. I noticed on the invoice he had me fill out the first time I was there that there was box to check if you requested your old parts back after they replaced them I did not get this opportunity the second time.

I just want to know if there is any thing I can do and if not, at least let other people know (especially women) what kind of business Cottman in Worthington is running!

Also, I did send an email to the Cottman home office saying exactly what I just said (only a bit more colorful, since I was extremely upset), I received an email back from Carol Iacullo saying:

Dear Ms. Ulrich,

Customer Relations stands ready to provide support and assistance to all Cottman Customers, however, we are human too, and are entitled to expect some common courtesy and decency. I can understand you may be upset, but that is no excuse for the type of vulgarity you are sending to us.

Perhaps you should look in the mirror before throwing stones at others. If you should decide to seek out our assistance, please give us the abridged version and toss the bad language.

Sincerely yours,

Carol Iacullo

Director - Customer Relations

To which myself and my attorney rebutted:


Ms. Iacullo,

I expect common courtesy and decency when I pay someone to repair my car as they stated me they would at the price they quoted, however I did not receive that from your company so please feel free to write bad language and vulgarity back to me, however I did not steal from you so you have no reason to talk to me like that. (And the throwing stones scenario makes no sense).

Yes, I am very upset; I have never been lied to or taken advantage of by a nationally recognized company. I apologize for the language, however that does not mean I'm not an educated person; I'm just an abused customer.

I do not believe I'll be needing your assistance; I've already contacted my attorney along with all the local television news channels who help consumers protect themselves against local services when they are being taken advantage of, also, if I have to, I plan on standing outside your store with pamphlets describing how I was taken advantage of and warning others (especially women) of your common practice of stealing and lying.

Please be aware that I have also found others in this area who are trying to file law suits against your store in Worthington regarding the same type of situations, maybe we can get together and come up with a class action suit to file against Cottman's. I don't believe I'll have any problems taking care of this issue on my own.

Thank you for your prompt contact and disregard of a former customer. (Michelle Ulrich)



Thank you for copying me on this one. I understand your frustration and personally know another individual who has had a similar experience with this company. I will be speaking to you soon regarding your situation. Cottman seems to be a reputable company with the exception of a few franchises which are given to less than ethical practices. I do not think it is fair to judge the whole corporation based on a couple of bad operators however, I agree that corporate needs to be aware of the damage being done under their name.

I will bring this to the floor at the meeting Thursday, Friday I am playing golf with Tom and he loves these cases and I will post an inquiry on my website to find out if this is widespread in this area. If you have not done so DO NOT pick up the car until we have spoken! I would like to think this can be settled without getting ugly and that they would rather be fixing transmissions than sitting in court.

To which we both received this email from the automated response system at Cottman's home office: We are currently experiencing some computer problems and it may take a few days for us to respond to you via email. If you have an emergency, please feel free to contact the Home Office at 215-643-5885. Thank You. So you see that Cottman, Ms. Carol Iacullo, and their franchises are certainly in the practice of lying, stealing, and cheating customers out of everything they can. And how Ms. Iacullo can equate "lying" and "stealing" to "throwing stones" is beyond me, obviously you do not have to be too intelligent to work for Cottman either!


Dublin, Ohio

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1 Updates & Rebuttals

Cottman Transmission / Steve Downing ripoff fraudulent ripoff business Worthington Ohio


Wed, August 07, 2002

This is a follow up on the work I had Steve Downing at Cottman Transmission perform on my car back in June and July.

As you know the first time they "fixed" the transmission, they did not do a thing to it but charged me over $700.00.

The second time they "fixed" it I was finally able to get the cost down to the price they quoted me which was $800.00 (they tried to charge me $1200.00).

However... $1500.00 later, three weeks in the shop, and 100 miles added to the odometer and the car runs exactly the same as it did back in June (this is August!)

The car can not be driven (my father won't even drive it!) and I no longer have transportation or the money to take my car somewhere else to have them replace the transmission like Cottman was supposed to do!

I have contacted the Director of Customer Relations, Carol Iacullo, who I had contacted before and have not received a reply what-so-ever from her.

I was able to talk them into giving me a 6 month or 6000 mile warranty but that apparently is something Cottman doesn't stand behind.

I'm really in a tight spot and don't know what I'm going to do. I just want others to know what they have done to me along with 3 other women in the same week.

I contacted the local news channel and they could not help me based on the fact they had already done rip off stories on Cottman previously and it hasn't helped any. The woman I spoke with at Channel 10 in Columbus, Ohio said that Cottman did the same thing to another woman 3 days prior to my report, she was from out of town and they would not honor their warranty here or at any other Cottman store, she was out $2000.00.

I have contacted the Attoney General and the BBB but haven't heard anything back from them yet. If anyone knows what else I can do, I would really appreciate any feedback.

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