Complaint: On July 9, 2013 I drove my 2003 Toyota Rav4 to the Advanced Auto center to have it inspected for possible suspension issues. My car had been driving a little rougher than usual but never stopped running. Upon inspection, I was asked to leave my automobile for three days and I received an invoice for struts and transmission mounts totaling $2,711.11. On the third day prior to me going to retrieve my car i received a phone call alerting me that I also needed a computer (approximately $2,000). Myself and my coworker ****** ******** (XXX)XXX-XXXX called the shop to discuss my concerns. I spoke with **** ****** we decided that before i agreed to purchasing the computer I would go to the shop and test drive the car to gauge its performance for myself. Upon my arrival I was alerted that i needed to pay in full prior to my being able to test drive my own car. Once I paid, I got in the car and attempted to start it and it would not even start. Keep in mind that i have owned this car for 10 years and i have NEVER received any problem starting it until i took it to this shop. During our phone conversation **** said that she had not drove the car, but she offered to drive it and call me back with information, I insisted that I would come and drive it myself. Obviously, the car was in better shape prior to me bringing it to this shop and spending close to three thousand dollars on it. **** says that she told me on the phone that the car would not start, this is just a flat out lie and I was completely shocked at this claim. I have a witness (***************) that was present on the phone call and can verify that she never told us the car would not even start. I am a fair lady that doesn't mind paying for services that i truly need, but I also know that some people tend to try and take advantage of women, in particular women from a Foreign country (English is my 2nd language). I drove to the shop, my car started with no problems, after spending nearly three thousand dollars the car is worse.
Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: Refund
I would like my car to be in at least the same shape it was upon its arrival, the car wont even start and they made me pay $2,711.11. I demand that something be done about this as this is not fair and just an attempt to extort me.
Business' Initial Response
See attached statement from my Service Manager, **** *****, as she had 100% of the communication
contact with, ****** ***, regarding her vehicle.
I'm Scott ******, the owner of Advanced Auto Center. First off, I take great exception to the statement that ****** *** has made that we made an attempt to extort to her. I have been operating my
business in the West Sacramento community for approximately 13 years. I have supported numerous
children's programs and charities during that time. I have personally donated thousands of dollars of my money to support sporting programs, Make a wish foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Susan G. Komen organization to name a few. I'm a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served as a police officer for over 14 years in nearby communities. I have a high level of integrity and take great exception to this statement so she can embellish her story.
Extort , means to "To obtain from another by coercion or intimidation" I read no place in her
statement that this such thing happened. ****** made a statement that some people tend to "take
advantage of women, in particular women from a Foreign country" A better portion of my customer
base are women, and It would not be that way if we took advantage of women. My Service Advisor Is a
lady. I can supply numerous references from my female customers that would negate that statement of hers.
****** told us when she dropped the vehicle off that she wanted us to "check for a noise like going over bumps when driving and at times feels rough too". ****** never told us the Check Engine Light had recently been on. We test drove her vehicle and noticed a potential drivability issue in addition to the noise and rough running. There was no check engine light on. We called ****** and advised her that her front struts were making a loud clunking noise. We checked the vehicle for rough running and found the motor mounts in such poor condition that the engine was moving approximately 6 inches when going from drive to reverse in our service bay. Note: the vehicle idled perfectly and didn't feel there were any misfires or that the engine was running rough. The "feels rough" was a vibration coming from the motor mounts which were not holding the engine in place as it ran. I personally verified these finding with my technician. **** advised ****** of our findings with the suspension and motors mounts and then suggested a drivability diagnostic to address what the tech experienced on his test drive. **** advised ****** that we needed to address the initial complaint prior to moving forward with the
drivability diagnostic to confirm that her suspension complaint was resolved. ****** verbally approved the suspension repairs along with the motor mounts, which was her initial concern. ****** also authorized a drivability diagnostic. Before we ordered parts to repair her initial concern, I had **** email a completed copy of the estimate so ****** could see what she was authorizing for repairs. We told ****** we would not be doing any repairs or ordering any parts until she fully understood what was going on with the repairs and sent an email response back with a written authorization. I have a copy of that email and her response for authorization of work to be performed.
Consumer's Desired Resolution: ******'s vehicle is in much better shape than it was when it came into my repair shop. The consumer was given all the old parts for which could be inspected if she desires.****** acknowledged that the vehicle had a previous check engine light on before she brought the vehicle into my shop, however, ****** omitted telling us that until she was overheard on the telephone with her husband telling him that. The check engine was not on when it came into the shop, but the only code found in the vehicle's computer was a history code for the problem she is having now. My shop did no fluid changes or anything else that would cause the problem she is having now. This would have been 100% preventable if the customer would have been honest about her vehicle when she dropped it off.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
August 22, 2013
RE: Case #XXXXXXXX: Advanced Auto Center
Advanced Auto Center was negligent when it deceptively understated ****** ***'s car problems by seeking her permission to make repairs to her suspension, transmission mounts, and struts, when in fact they knew it would not improve the car's performance.
Advanced Auto Center employee **** ***** was negligent when she called Ms. *** at work but never thought to inform her that her car was immobile after three days of service in Advanced Auto Center. ****** McIntyre overheard the conversation and will attest to that. Yet Ms. *** was required to pay for services that made no appreciable improvement of her car performance.
Furthermore Advanced Auto Center was negligent when it failed to report to ****** *** from the start that there was an even more urgent and expensive repair or replacement to be made for the transmission and control unit as verified later by ****************, where her car was towed. Advanced Auto Center focused solely on the computer replacement.
Advanced Auto Center was negligent when it failed to clearly explain to Ms. *** the totality of her car problems, including the need to repair or replace the transmission and control unit so that she could make an informed decision. Instead Advanced Auto Center pushed Ms. *** to make a decision based on a partial diagnosis. How else can it be explained that Ms. *** went along with the initial repairs when it was discovered later by **************** that the transmission also needed to be replaced or repaired.
Advanced Auto Center was negligent when it hid behind a subterfuge of codes and acronyms to explain to Ms. *** car problems. When I went to Advanced Auto Center to speak with **** *****, she pointed to the technician data sheet twelve pages in all used to determine how to make the repairs. Where was the information related to Ms. ***'s car? On the last page of the twelve page data sheet. The data sheet was covered with technical language, codes and acronyms that can confuse a customer into agreeing to make repairs that they may not fully understand. Thus Advanced Auto Center shows a lack of sensitivity, empathy, and concern for the safety of their customers. **************** on the other hand stated the problems clearly in no uncertain terms.
After 3 days in the shop, Advanced Auto Center still had not clearly state the true nature of the car problems to Ms. ***, relying instead on making relatively easier but costly repairs. When Ms. *** talked to me over the phone regarding her car problems, the subject of the transmission did not even come up. Advanced Auto Center did not analyze the totality of the car problems. It chose to focus on other problems. Advanced Auto Center neglected to report the severity of her transmission problems and thus did not give Ms. *** the complete and comprehensive understanding of her problems and total costs involved in order to make an informed decision.
On August 12, 2013 after three days in the care of Advanced Auto Center **** ***** called Ms. *** at work to discuss her car. **** *****, who handles calls and makes car appointments and knows the intimate details of cars being serviced, informed ****** that her car was repaired but neglected to inform her that the car was inoperable. After work ****** attempted to drive her car off their premises. The car stuttered and stopped moving. Even in that event, **** did not give a clue to ****** as to the true nature (transmission) of her problems. Instead **** gave the similar spiel she had given ****** several days earlier that the computer needed to be replaced.
On July 22, 2013 my attempt to resolve this problem with the ***** ******, the owner and operator of Advanced Auto Center, was met with distain and dispatch. He told me that they had made the repairs to the car that ****** had agreed. The repairs that were made did not improve the car's performance. Originally Ms. *** was able to drive her car into Advanced Auto Center. Now her car could not be driven on its own power. **** ***** did not report that problem to Ms. *** when she called her at her workplace. Mr. Scott did not care about that, only that they made the repairs as agreed by ******. When I informed Mr. ***** that **************** diagnosed ******'s car and told her that her transmission and control unit needed to be replaced, he had a surprised look on his face as he stood straight up as if he had not been informed about this himself. As a manager I know you cannot know every detail about everything. Apparently **** ***** did not make it clear in her report. Thus Mr. ******'s surprised look. Advanced Auto Center did not even know about the extent of the repairs needed on ******'s car. Why didn't Advanced Auto make the same diagnosis as ****************? Had Ms. *** been made aware that the transmission needed to be replaced from the start, she would have informed me and we would have not agreed to make any repairs knowing the true condition of her car and the total costs of all repairs. However Advanced Auto Center did not give us this opportunity to make an informed decision based on a comprehensive diagnosis. Unfortunately Advanced Auto was not forthright in reporting all of the car's problems to Ms. ***.
To sum up, Advanced Auto Center in a critical situation failed to diagnose the transmission problem from the start in clear, layman terms in its initial evaluation and was therefore negligent in failing to provide complete information to Ms. *** as to the true nature of the car's problems that the transmission repairs was the most serious concern. Instead Advanced Auto Center got Ms. *** to agree to other repairs that were not central to the car's performance and longevity.
Advanced Auto Center must repay ****** *** the total of $2,581.16 she was required to spend to make repairs, which neither improved the car performance nor resolved the even more serious problem of the transmission, which Advanced Auto Center failed to report clearly to Ms. ***.
We feel that this settlement is appropriate and just.
****** ***/****** ***
Business' Final Response
The consumer misrepresented herself from the moment she entered the shop, as to what she was bringing her vehicle in for. We did a diagnosis and responded accordingly by acquiring the authorization for repairs verbally and in writing via email. Because we wanted to be sure she understood what she was authorizing for repairs. We did not change any fluids or do any electric work. We gave her back her parts that were removed as required. The BAR is not involved in this case, and won't be. They won't find any violations, as we have done nothing wrong. We have done all repairs as they were diagnosed and authorized. We are sorry she is in need of a new transmission.
See attached statement from my Service Manager, **** *****, as she had 100% of the communication
contact with, ****** ***, regarding her vehicle.
My name is **** *****. I am an ASE Certified Service Consultant. I am the Service Adviser/Manager for
Advanced Auto Center that worked with ****** ***, and this is my response to her Complaint with the
Better Business Bureau.
On July 91h, ****** *** did drop her 2003 Toyota Rav 4 with XXXXX miles off for inspection at our
facility. Her complaint was to check the suspension (as indicated in her complaint to the Better Business Bureau) for a noise like going over bumps when driving, at times feels rough too.
The first part of the diagnosis process is to verify the customers concern and complaint. Upon
inspection by an ASE Certified Master Technician, and a brief test drive, several concerns were noted.
The primary cause of her noise complaint was the deterioration of the suspension struts and strut
mounts. The recommendation was made to replace.
During the inspection, the technician noted that the motor mounts and transmission mounts were
deteriorated and the front mount bound and twisted to the point that the engine was moving
approximately 6 inches. The recommendation was made to replace the mounts as the severity of the
engine movement would likely stretch engine wiring harnesses, and sensor wiring which can create
bigger electrical problems. The engine movement could cause a rough running type of feeling which is consistent with the initial complaint as described by ****** at the time that the vehicle was signed in for inspection.
During the brief test drive, the technician advised that in addition to the suspension and mount issues, that were found during the inspection in the service bay that the vehicle was not functioning as designed, No check engine light was illuminated; therefore the recommendation was made to perform a Drivability Diagnosis.
I would like to note at this time, that at the time that the vehicle was signed in, nor at any point in any discussion that I had with ******, was it ever mentioned that the check engine light had been on 3 days prior.I found this out during a conversation that ****** had on her cell phone in our office (in my presence) with her husband after she had initially test drove her vehicle, and was displeased that it was driving poorly, regardless of her failure to approve the recommendation for computer (also known asECM, ECU, Engine Control Module) replacement. This recommendation was made based on the results of the drivability diagnostic that was performed after confirmation that the repairs performed on the suspension had resolved her initial complaint and concern. This will be outlined again as I am recreating a timeline, however her failure to provide this information should be noted here.
I spent over a half hour on the phone with ****** explaining the problems that the technician had
found. Upon obtaining her approval, I emailed the estimate to her for the suspension, mounts, and
drivability diagnosis. I advised ****** that I would not order parts until she reviewed and replied with an approval, in which she did. It is my personal policy to have either a signed approval or electronic approval (e-mail) in any case that there may be either confusion, or a language barrier.
At that time, ****** was adamant that I give her a specific time that she could pick up her vehicle as she was in a rental. I advised her that after the suspension work and mounts were replaced, to verify that her primary concern was addressed, that the drivability diagnostic would be performed, and we were unsure what the vehicle would need and if parts would be available should she choose to move forward with any additional recommendations.
The drivability diagnostic determined that the computer would need to be replaced. ft is a dealer only part, 3 days away, and may require programming at the factory level. The computer was recommended based on the stored code (no check engine light on at the time) P0755, and the symptom of the transmission bucking and slamming into gear which meets the criteria of a Toyota Technical Service bulletin (TSB) advising to replace the computer . Additionally the technician entered vehicle specific information into identafix (a technician reference database for troublesome issues, what other tech's have tried to do, and what the confirmed FIX was). There were multiple incidents that noted the vehicle specific problems and in most cases the Fix was to replace the computer. I attached copies of this information and attached it to her invoice.
When I called ****** Friday afternoon to advise her of the problem with the computer, she became very irate. She could not understand that her 10 year old vehicle with 97079 miles could have more than 1 problem. I NEVER said that the vehicle did not start, and the vehicle started every time that we attempted while it was in the shop, and did in fact start on multiple times when she came to the shop Friday afternoon. What I did tell ****** on the phone was that it drove poorly, and I suggested that she tow it home.
After ****** paid for repairs that were authorized, I gave her keys to her car and was working with other clients at the desk. In the presence of 4 shop mechanics, ****** did in fact start and attempt to drive her car. It drove poorly as I advised. She stormed into the office with no regard for the other clients that were in front of me and started screaming that f broke her car and I needed to fix it now.
I explained to her in the simplest terms possible for over an hour and 1/2 that the reason the way the car drove, was due to the computer control of the transmission which is a common problem on this vehicle as identified in the TSB (Technical Service Bulletin released from Toyota) that she was provided a copy of.
She claims that the vehicle has never had a problem, however while she was on the phone in our office with her husband ****** that was out of town, she acknowledged that the check engine light had been on a few days ago, but not when she brought it to the shop.
That statement, alone, acknowledges that there in fact WAS a computer controlled problem (as well as
suspension and engine/ transmission mount problems prior to the vehicle coming into our facility.
1 have been an ASE certified Service Consultant for going on 16 years, and I as well am a woman. The gender or nationality of my clients make no bearing on how they are treated, they are all treated fairly and equal. I find it offensive that ****** would make the statement that that we are attempting to extort her. I find it sad that she has become so jaded by past life experiences that she needs to emphasize that she is a woman from a foreign country.
It is unfortunate that there were multiple problems with the vehicle. It Is unfortunate that ****** does not understand that a check engine light is an indication of a computer controlled problem, and that she did not disclose this information to the repair shop that was working on her vehicle, however it would not change the outcome.We were able to identify and repair the client's primary concern, as well as diagnose a computer controlled problem that was in fact pre existing that we were not authorized to