BBB Business Review

Is this your Business?

Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 11/27/2007

Socastee Automotive Inc.

Phone: (843) 293-7077

BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

Customer Complaints Summary

1 complaint closed with BBB in last 3 years | 0 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Problems with Product / Service1
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints1

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (1)
08/11/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details

Took car to Socastee Automotive to have the ECM (computer system) replaced and reprogrammed. No other repairs were requested nor authorized.
July 3rd had a mechanic look at my car because it would not stay running and after doing both a diagnostic and compression test, it was determined that the left side of my engine was not receiving a signal from the computer however the right side was working perfectly. The mechanic informed me that I needed to replace the ECM (computer) and have it reprogrammed to my car's engine which would cost me around $800 to fix. The 1st mechanic was not able to do the repair being that he did not have the proper machine to program the computer system so I called around and found that Socastee Automotive had the machine and was able to make the repairs I needed done to my 2004 Cadillac CTS. I had my car towed to the shop Monday evening (7/06) and by mid-afternoon Tuesday, I contacted the shop to make sure they had my car since I hadn't heard from anyone there. The owner confirmed my car was there then passed me off the the receptionist who took down my contact info and what I needed done to my car. Late Wednesday I decided to again contact the shop to check the status of my car and was informed by the owner ***** that he had changed the oil, replaced the oil filter, replaced the cam phaser, and just had to close valves 1, 3, and 5 on my engine and I would be good to go. Upset that he had preformed work that I didn't consent to, given prior knowledge of, or even authorize, I asked what my bill was and ***** stated $480. He claimed that $300 of which was for a new cam phaser along with $50 for towing. I expressed my dissatisfaction with him not calling to inform me prior to him doing the work that he did instead of the repairs I requested however my concerns meant nothing to him. Thursday July 9th, the 1st and only time the shop ever contacted me, I was expecting to hear my car was ready but instead ***** called to say my engine was blown. Furious I demanded to know what he did to my engine because prior to him beginning his work on my car the engine was not blown. He began making excuses by blaming my supposed lack of maintenance for the damage but changed his tune when I let him know that the car had oil regularly more so I hadn't even had it long enough to put 5k miles on it in addition to the fact that the tests ran on it 2 days before he got it showed no problems with my engine as the faulty computer system was preventing my engine from receiving the power it needed to drive. The following day (Friday) I called as soon as I woke up and to let ***** know that i refused to make for his unauthorized repairs and that all I would pay him for was the towing and an hour labor. He agreed to eat the cost of everything else however when i arrived at the shop he presented me with an invoice for $310. Questioning how he came up with that figure when the cam phaser alone was $300, labor was $85 an hour, the tow was $50, and $45 for the oil change/filter, he claimed that the cam phaser was actually a used part and wasn't $300. He demanded payment if I wanted my vehicle back so with no other option, I paid the invoice and had to have my car towed back home. The 1st mechanic who looked at my car asserted that the compression test he ran proved the engine was not blown in addition to the fact that the car was running the entire time he was looking at it and that Socastee Automotive had to have done something in error that damaged the engine. The way I was treated by the owner, how they never contacted me prior to working on my car, how ***** lied about the cost of the part and over charged me for work that was not authorized assure me that not only was I was taken advantage but now I am out a car that I purchased only months ago for $5,700 that's not worth $500 now thanks to Socastee Automotive. To add insult to injury, parts from my engine were left in a box in my trunk while others were dangling underneath the hood, not to mention the ones that he failed to return.

Desired Settlement
I want my engine replaced or the monetary value to have it replaced

Business Response
Contact Name and Title: Socastee Automotive
Contact Phone: XXXXXXXXXX
As the customer stated she did contact my shop inquiring if i had the equipment to replace and reprogram an ECM for her 2004 Cadillac CTS.She informed me that her car was in another shop and the mechanic diagnosed it with needing a new ECM and reprogrammed.I found it odd that the car was in the possession of a mechanic yet they did not have the proper equipment to complete the job yet they were able to properly diagnose it.I did explain before the car was towed that i indeed have the equipment but that i would have to run my own tests to diagnose the car that i would not use another mechanics word on what was wrong.When she had the car towed in to the shop she was aware of this.Due to a holiday weekend and the high volume of cars waiting for repair her car was not the first car being looked at or worked on July 7th. However she did speak to me & my receptionist confirming that the car was indeed towed in & it would be worked on as soon as we can get to it.On Wed i did speak to the customer and informed her that after completing a diagnostic check on the computer that it was indeed not the issue.The computer was checked for updates,injector pulse and for spark in cylinders 1,3, & 5 which were present.The code showed that she had a problem with the Cam sensor.I spoke with the customer and informed her that the car was misdiagnosed & the car needed additional diagnosis.I would have a complete answer once i pulled the intake and valve cover gaskets off upon doing so the timing gears were missing teeth which is usually caused by lack of maintenance usually caused by the car owner continuing to add oil to the car daily.When i spoke to the customer on the 9th i explained based on my findings the car was going to need a motor and that i didn't feel the price to fix it was worth her dumping the money into it.clearly she was not happy with my diagnosis and refused to pay the bill because she claims she didn't authorize it. the moment she had her car towed she was well aware that i would diagnosis it which was authorized in our first conversation.She did not want to pay for the time & labor that was put into the car. The car was bought several months ago and if she was having to add oil regularly there clearly was a problem with the engine before the car was towed to my shop. We have not been able to come to a resolution to this matter due to my shop not blowing up her engine and refuse to pay for a new motor. she has continued to slander my name on social media sites as well as sending private emails that dont match the story of her complaint

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
My car was properly diagnosed by ***** *******, an ASE Certified mechanic with Mobile Master Mechanic, Inc. on July 4th, 2015. Being that this is a "Mobile Mechanic", he came to my house as this type of service does not have a physical repair shop. With my car cranked and running, Mr. ******* began testing the different components of my vehicle and his tests confirmed that the left side of the engine was not receiving any signal from the ECM system. To confirm that the problem was indeed the computer, he conducted a compression test and which supported that the computer was in fact faulty and needed to be replaced. Considering that this is a MOBILE business, Mr. ******* was not able to replace the ECM nor reprogram it as he did not have the proper tools to do so. He informed me that I would be looking at around $800 to fix and recommended I go to the dealership for the repair.

Not wanting to have my car towed to the Cadillac dealership, I checked around for a mechanic close by in hopes of cutting back on the cost of towing. Monday, July 6th I contacted ***** and confirmed that he was able, capable, and had the tools needed to replace and reprogram the ECM to which he confirmed. He mentioned nothing about having to do his own diagnosis and simply told me to use his towing service to bring him my car. Immediately after speaking with him, I had his towing service pick up my car.

I called daily as not a single person from the shop picked up the phone to reach out to me with updates or the status. It was only AFTER ***** made unauthorized repairs was I informed upon my daily phone call. Any respectable repair shop would contact a customer first to let them know what the problem(s) is, then provide a rundown of the work needing to be done and most importantly, give the customer a quote for repairs and to have the work authorized. THIS WAS NEVER DONE.

If the engine in my car was in fact blown prior to him working on it, as he claims, this would have been evident from the minute he attempted to crank up my car because a car won't turn over, much less run if the engine doesn't work and if the engine doesn't work what is the point of doing an oil change, replacing the filter, and installing a new camphaser?

Knowing that I requested service to my ECM system and assuming that wasn't the issue, a phone call should have been made to inform me of such and then discuss my options from there. When I spoke with him that Wednesday he stated that he already changed the oil, replaced the filter, and installed a new cam phaser and once he shut the engine valves I would be ready to go after paying him $480 of which $300 was for the cam phaser, $50 for towing, $85 labor, and $45 oil change/filter.

The following day, which again was the 1st time *****, or anyone from the shop, ever contacted me was to tell me my engine was blown and needed to be replaced for a couple thousand dollars. I voiced my concerns about him not contacting me prior to beginning any work on my car, him making unauthorized repairs, and refused to pay him for charges apart from the towing and 1hr of labor. He agreed to eat the cost of the cam phaser so on Friday when I went to pay the bill and get my car you can imagine my shock when I was presented with an invoice for $310. When questioning how that amount was figured given the part alone was $300 and ***** responded it wasn't actually $300 bc he bought it used. Caught in a lie he became aggressive and since I was alone at the shop, I was concerned about my safety and just paid the bill so I could leave.

Upon getting my car back, ***** left a box full of parts in my trunk. I contacted him to ask him why parts were in a box and not on my car as they were before he damaged my engine and his response was that he would put everything back on but would cost me 2hrs of labor and the costs of the parts. Cleary he is a rip off and trying to take advantage of a single female who unbeknownst to him is not as dumb as he assumed when it comes to cars.

I hadn't even had the Cadillac long enough to put the miles on it prior to needing an oil change so of course I never had it changed. ***** blamed the use of conventional oil instead of synthetic however even the owner of the lot i purchased the car from stated that it wouldn't make a difference and he has always used conventional in his caddy. I had a small leak and topped off the oil every other month which is irrelevant because my car was running and would crank/roll over before he touched it and had he not damaged the engine then being the skilled mechanic he is, he would have immediately recognized the problem the 1st day he checked my car out. It doesn't take 4 days to figure that the engine is blown.

My car simply wasn't receiving the power it needed when accelerating and would shut off when given gas however if cranked and left in park or neutral it would remain steady and idle. After ***** and Socastee Auto "repaired" my 2004 Cadillac, I took it home with pieces of the engine in a box and it only worth scrap metal.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
When you order food from an establishment you tell them exactly what it is you want and you pay for exactly what your ordered.

I contacted Socastee Automotive for one thing and one thing only, to order a new ECM unit for my car and once it arrives, have it programmed to my vehicle. I did not ask ***** to diagnose my car as that would be pointless given that I had already paid another mechanic to diagnose my vehicle and find the problem 2 days before having the car towed to *****'s shop.

In case it was not clear in my previous response, my car had to be towed because the left side of the engine was not receiving a signal from the ECM and with only 1 side of the engine getting a signal, the car did not have enough power for it to accelerate.

If you were not going to perform the service that I requested or felt as if the 1st mechanic's diagnosis was incorrect, the first thing you should have done was contacted to inform me of your determinations and get my consent prior to starting any unauthorized work on my car in addition to providing me with a quote for repairs and parts to see if I approved but did you bother doing any of that? NO YOU DID NOT.

Did you order a new ECM as I requested and program it to my car? NO YOU DID NOT

Instead of ordering the part I requested from you, what you did do was take it upon yourself to order, service, and repair what YOU wanted to do.

Did you bother contacting me prior to changing my oil and replacing the oil filter? NO YOU DID NOT. Had you contacted me prior to doing such you would have been informed that I hadn't even driven the car 5,000 miles since the oil was last changed therefore it did not need to be changed nor the filter replaced.

Did you bother contacting me prior to ordering and installing a new Cam Phaser on my vehicle? AGIAN, NO YOU DID NOT. I surely did not request you order that part for my car.

Since you never ordered the ECM for my car there was absolutely no need for you to be tinkering around with it. The ECM is not located inside the engine nor in the oil container or even near a cam phaser so please do explain why you took the initiative to service those parts?

Fact of the matter is you had no business doing any thing to my car whatsoever until a replacement ECM was received by your shop. Being that you performed unauthorized work on my car which resulted in my engine being blown,you are responsible for the cost of my loss.

Trying to place the fault on me is ridiculous when you were never authorized or requested to do anything apart from replacing and programing an ECM.

Final Business Response
In "OUR" first conversation I clearly stated prior to the car being towed to my shop that I would be performing my own diagnostic work. Socastee auto does not use nor ever has used the word of another mechanic not performing the work.

I did not tinker with your car just found the cause of the problem.

Fact of the matter is your car was not running prior to being towed in and you were misinformed on what was wrong with the car. Any qualified mechanic with a Tech 2 scan tool would have clearly seen the computer was not the problem and was running fine. There is nothing that I completed that would have caused your engine to blow because the car came in with the issue.
The only thing that I did was properly diagnosed the vehicle.this is a common problem with your cars make and model and all supporting information will gladly be produced.
Trying to place the blame on a shop that was trying to get your car running and save you from unnecessary work and parts is unethical. As is slandering my business name.

Industry Comparison| Chart

Auto Repair & Service

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.


What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.


BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.