In Short, I dropped my car off after being diagnose by *****, the owner, and another technician with right ball joint repair to get rid of popping noise when making turns. *****, the owner suggested spark plugs, and fuel injection cleaning to increase performance. Needless to say, I received a call that my engine was broken, and needed a new engine. ***** stated that he did ball joint and spark plugs repair, and the engine was loudly tapping. Strangest thing! I traveled two days prior to Ellenton with a few friends, and to New Tampa, and my engine rode smoothly. I delivered my car to ROBCO Tuesday morning March 5th and was later called and told that my engine is broken. In conclusion, I paid for the expensive repairs, and retrieve my car; only to travel a block down the road and hear the same popping noise under the car. I returned to report issue, was given vague and random possibilities after I was assured that the ball joint was the issue. Present at the time was me and another professional auto body person, *********************************** that drove my car to his shop for a front fender paint job. He too expressed his concern for the excuses given. The next day I returned to professionally express my concern. I was yelled at and be-littled as I mention that I am a single mother with limited funds. ***** stated that it is not his problem and contd. to speaking loudly. Finally, his wife intervene attempting to set the record straight only to add fuel to the existing fire.
Product_Or_Service: Car Parts & Services
Place on record this issue in an effort to protect other consumers, if possible, a fine imposed, and a refund.I missed time from work, mileage, stress, inconvenienced not only me but others professionals, and humiliation.
Business' Initial Response
With reference to the above mention subject matter, set forth hereunder are the events as follows:
3-3-13 (Sunday) - Ms. ****** called and asked if she could stop by the repair shop because she was hearing noises coming from the front of the vehicle. She asked if we could diagnose her car today, since it was not a regular work day, ****** mentioned that we are closed today for business, but she pleaded and ****** told her to come in. ****** and a another mechanic put the car on the lift and simulated driving conditions; Ms. ****** was sitting in the customer area, when ****** called her out to listen to the noise the mechanics were hearing. The noise was a loud popping sound coming from the left side of the vehicle which was pointed out to the customer while she was standing there. To pinpoint the location of this particular noise, the mechanic used a stetscope and diagnosed it to be the front left lower ball joint. The mechanic upon inspection of the front left lower ball joint noticed that the boots were busted and the grease had all seeped out, and immediately showed the customer. Also, visual inspection disclosed the rack and pinion was leaking and showed this to the customer as well. In addition, the mechanic noted the car was idling erratically. ****** asked the customer when was the last time a tune up was done on the car and she could not recall. The mechanic recommended as a starting point to change the spark plugs and possibly do a fuel injection cleaning. Before leaving, Ms. ****** requested a quote to replace the front left lower ball joint, spark plugs and fuel injection cleaning and made an appointment for Tuesday, March 5, 2013, because she had the time off.
3-4-13 (Monday) - Ms. ****** stopped by the shop on Monday morning because while driving she observed that her check engine light came on. She asked if we could scan the vehicle. We did and observed the following codes ***** (Idle Air Control RPM Lower than Expected) and ***** (Random Misfire Detected). The mechanic discussed the codes with the customer and mention again to her that changing the spark plugs would be a good starting point. The mechanic erased the codes from the car and the customer left. The customer was not charged a diagnostic fee. A few hours later the mechanic called the customer with a quote relating to the front left lower ball joint, spark plugs and fuel injection cleaning. The customer approved the repairs and confirmed her appointment for Tuesday, March 5, 2013.
3-5-13 (Tuesday) - Ms. ****** dropped the car off. The mechanic proceeded to replace the front left lower ball joint and spark plugs. After replacing the front left lower ball joint and spark plugs, the mechanic started the car and heard the engine making a loud knocking sound. The customer was contacted immediately to ascertain whether she was aware of this noise. She mentioned that in the morning the car would make a knocking sound in the engine but after driving it for awhile it would go away. She also mentioned that she took the car to several shops and they said ''it is an old car and that is normal''. Ms. ****** also said she took the car to the Honda dealer several times and in one instance, left the car with dealer for an entire week for the same knocking sound and was told by dealer they could not find the noise. She went on to say in the presence of two mechanics and a managing member that she would file a complaint with the dealer because they failed to diagnose or fix her problem. Based on the combined experience of the staff, we knew this particular knocking noise in the engine to be indicative of a more serious problem. The mechanic advised the customer to do a compression test at no additional charge. She approved and the mechanic proceeded to do the test which disclosed that cylinder #1 was at 90 psi, when it should be approximately at 135psi and the remaining cylinders were at 135psi. The mechanic explained to the customer that the car is losing compression which possibly is due to a bent valve or damage to the lower motor (pistons, rods), etc. The mechanic informed Ms. ****** of the results of the compression test. Ms. ****** asked if she could drive the car. The mechanic said yes it can be driven, however, it is unsafe because the damage in the engine as determined by the compression test could cause further damage to the car. She asked what were her options and the mechanic suggested inspecting the head and the lower end of the motor. With Ms. ****** approval, the head was removed. Upon visual inspection of the head it seemed to be okay, however, on the lower motor, the number one cylinder wristpin was damaged causing the piston to slam into the cylinder which bent the connecting rod. (Pictures attached Exhibit 1). ****** called Ms. ****** and informed her of the situation and advised her to stop by to show her the results of the diagnosis and have her visually see what was going on with the vehicle, she said to ****** ''I trust you as the mechanic" and never showed up. At this point, ****** and Ms. ****** discussed the most cost effective approach, which was to replace the engine. She agreed to replace the engine and requested a quote. A few minutes later, Ms. ****** called back to ask if ****** wanted to buy the car for $3,500 and ****** declined the offer. Ms. ****** also mentioned that she is a single parent and did not have a lot of money, if we could work with her on the labor. ****** agreed and told her since she wanted to replace the engine; he would not charge her any labor for the time spent removing the head. She was very happy and thankful.
3-6-12 (Wednesday)- We called Ms. ****** back with 4 quotes, as follows: (1) We contacted the dealer for a quote on the engine and was told by the Honda sales representative the engine came as separate components, which would be approximately about $9,000 for parts only, (2) Remanufactured Engine with warranty on parts and labor for one year, (3) Used engine with approximately 103k miles with warranty on parts and labor for one year and (4) Used engine with approximately 84k miles with sixty days warranty on parts only. Ms. ****** agreed to the 4th choice noted above-a used engine with approx. 84k miles and 60 days warranty on parts only. On March 6, 2013, verbally via telephone, Ms. ****** approved the purchase of a used engine. It is our shop policy for significant repair work; we require a deposit for at least the full cost of the part. Ms. ****** said she didn't have all the money and approved depositing $500 with her Discover Credit Card. We agreed in good faith she will pay her repair bill in full. it is our shop policy, that when we accept non face to face credit card transactions, in this case over the phone, we enter the information directly to the credit card terminal and do not keep this information on file. This was disclosed to Ms. ******.
X-XX-XX (Monday)-Upon completion of the repairs, Ms. ****** came to pick up the car, and she paid the remaining part of her bill using her MasterCard. In addition, when reviewing her bill she said ''why is there so much information on my bill''. To clarify, the information on her bill contained excerpts of our verbal discussions with her during the course of the repair work. We found this to be unusual. (Copy of bill can be provided, if necessary) Additionally, Ms. ****** was hesitant about signing the repair bill, which we explained we require as a matter of policy and by law. She proceeded to write on the repair bill, something to the effect, ''force to sign to rev card base on law''. Furthermore, Ms. ****** asked why we did not change the speedometer to reflect the 84k miles, since the car's mileage was over 100k miles. ****** explained to her it was illegal to change the speedometer. She went on to state she could have sold the car for more money if would have changed the speedometer. We said we could not. She was given a copy of the repair bill along with credit card receipts. Later that day, Ms. ****** returned to say she was hearing noises and the mechanic said he could take a look at the car now, however, she refused. Ms. ****** said she had an appointment for body work to the car and it would take two days. ****** said bring it back as soon as you can. She said Thursday (March 14, 2013) morning the body shop would drop the car off.
X-XX-XX (Tuesday)-Ms. ****** returned to have her sister's car (2000 Nissan Maxima) inspected for oil leaks. ****** visually inspected and observed that the valve cover gasket was leaking. He proceeded to pull the dipstick and noticed that car was 1.5 quart short of oil. He replaced the fluid at no charge. Ms. ****** requested a written quote on the valve cover and was given one for her sister (********). We confirmed her appointment for Thursday and she left. We received a phone call on Thursday morning from Ms. ****** stating she would bring the car in on her own time and Saturday works for her. We said okay.
X-XX-XX (Saturday)- There was a fax from merchant services for ''request for documentation" and upon reviewing our documentation noted it related to the deposit Ms. ****** ******** ****** made with her Discover card when she agreed to purchase the used engine on March 6, 2013. We could not get in touch with merchant services to discuss this situation and did not contact the customer, as we were not aware of the circumstances surrounding this request. Ms. ****** coincidentally did not show up for her appointment on Saturday nor contacted us.
X-XX-XX (Monday)- We followed up with merchant services, and the representative said this related to the customer questioning the transaction. We faxed over the requested documentation on March 16, 2013, along with a detailed explanation to demonstrate both parties had a meeting of minds relating to the transaction in question. We were told to allow 3 business days for processing and should call back on X-XX-XX to follow-up. We received a fax confirmation from merchant services on March 21, 2013 acknowledging receipt of the requested documentation. (Supporting Documents can be provided, if necessary)
Upon receipt of this letter from the Better Business Bureau reference case #XXXXXXX (****** ******) on March 20, 2013, we have listed the facts as documented in our records and servies for itself as a response to compliant against the company. Furthermore, we would like to state when doing diagnosis it our policy to call, inform and advise our customers to stop by the shop, to explain and show what is going on with any particular vehicle. Ms. ****** in her filed complaint, stated the right ball joint was making the popping noise. However, during the initial diagnosis, Ms. ****** was shown the noise heard by the mechanics, which was coming from the front left lower ball joint, which she agreed to replace. Furthermore, to address her concern about the popping noises after the repair work, we had agreed to take another look at the car for which she never showed up for the appointment, hence, we were not given the opportunity to address her concerns. Cars are mechanically man made machines which you can never determine with absolute certainty when problems will occur or any given part will fail. As a customer, it is your responsibity to properly maintain your vehicle. As a repair shop it our responsibility to gather as much information as possible on the car from the customer and to do our due diligence when testing, inspecting and diagnosing with the appropriate tools, computers and knowledge that requires us to resolve mechanical problems. Unfortunately, in this situation when we heard the knocking noise in the engine and upon following the correct course of action based on our experience it indicated the replacement of the engine as the most cost efficient approach. This was fully discussed with the customer via multiple phone conversations and was approved at every stage of the repairs. We cannot be held responsible for Ms. ****** being a single parent with limited funds, however, we have worked with her on the labor price for the repair work, such as not charging any labor for the pulling the head. Based on Ms. ****** desired resolution, from the foregoing as documented above, it is very clear that Ms. ****** gave approval for all the repairs and consequently is responsible to pay the repair bill in full. It should be noted presently Ms. ****** has stopped the payment in the amount of five hundred dollars for the down payment of the motor. As a company, we have shown Ms. ****** the utmost respect, professional courtesy, disclosure and understanding for her financial situation by not charging her for the additional work done. In addition, we have worked many hours in overtime to ensure the engine repair would be done in a timely manner.
Please note previously Ms. ****** brought her car to the shop after several attempts at different repair shops, which she claimed failed to properly diagnose the vehicle. According to Ms. ****** she was having difficulty starting the car. After conducting our own diagnosis, we determined that the vehicle needed a new starter. Ms. ****** requested a quote. On September 19, 2012, she approved the replacement of the starter which corrected the vehicle's starting problem. Ms. ****** was very satisfied and praised our professionalism.
In order to protect the integrity of the company against situations like this, as a matter of policy we document in detail all dealings with the customer and evidence to support our conclusions. We would like to resolve this situation as soon as possible. For additional information, we can be reached at (727) XXX-XXXX.
Robco Transmission & Auto Repair
Consumer's Final Response
see attached docs.