Austin, Texas
Not resolved
10 comments

AAMCO San Marcos scammed me the same way AAMCO trains their franchises to scam people all over the country. I have read this complaint all over the internet since it happened to me.

Took my car in to have a diagnostic run. They told me I needed to have the transmission rebuilt. I agreed, verbally, for them to begin work. After I got home (one hour after leaving their office) I read some really bad reviews of them online (that they had told others they needed to have their transmissions rebuilt only to up the price in excess of $2500). I called them to have them stop the repair. There was no answer and no voice mail. So I drove all the way back to San Marcos and put a note on the door (they had closed) saying not to start on my car and that I would not be doing the repair with them. I looked in the garage and my car was in the same place and in the same condition I had left it in.

Called first thing Monday morning and was told that they got my note but that I would have to pay $700 to get my car back because I had entered into an "agreement" with them that I would be paying all labor costs even if no work was done. I had signed nothing, but they asked for the last 4 digits of my SSN, which I stupidly gave them. They, AAMCO, train their franchise people to do this, you can find consumer complaints of this all over. They either ask for a birthdate or the last 4 digits of an SSN and then claim that this amounts to the customer entering into a "contract" with them.

When I argued, the manager I spoke to told me three different stories. 1) the car wasn't worked on, but they had removed some bolts that lock down the transmission (it hadn't even been removed) and the $700 was to put those bolts back on 2) they had taken out the transmission (which proved to be a lie) and 3) AAMCO charges a reassembly fee on each vehicle they work on for which the customer refuses a repair. Again, look on the internet. There are hundreds of complaints from AAMCO customers that say the same thing.

My sister and I drove over and they said that they would not show us the car and what work had and hadn't been done and they would not give us an itemized list of what had or hadn't been done. They also said their computer system was down and they couldn't look anything up. The manager wanted me to go pull $700 (later it became $600, maybe he was taking $100 off the top for himself) in cash and give it to him to get my keys back.

After we sat there for almost two hours, the manager let the mechanic pull our car down to eye level on the hydraulic lift. There was no evidence anything had been done to the car except the transmission pan was removed, something that was done during the "free" diagnostic. Again, this is a ploy AAMCO franchises use to lock people in to repairs. I protested and took pictures of this with my camera phone. I asked the mechanic who the manager said had worked on my car and he looked at his manager and said, "Don't get me involved in this."

Well, all of a sudden, the manager says we can have our car for $312. We refused to pay the $312, and we said we were going to call the police. The manager tries to put on a intimidating show and says that he's going to call the police. So my sister and I just sat there waiting for the police to arrive.

From what I can tell, he called the owner of the shop and told him what was going on. He got off the phone and said we'd have to pay the $312. But no police came, until we called them later.

We finally agreed to pay them in order to get the car back. Being New Years Eve, they would be closed the following day and we would not get the car back until then. The manager told us to go get cash and they would put the car "back together" and call us when it was done. After he called, we went over with cash in hand to pay the ransom for our car. I put the money on his desk and he looked up at me with his yokel grin and said, "You didn't give me exact change." And he laughed. So my sister and I had to go get exact change (he couldn't break a twenty) and come back and present it to him. Then he says I have to sign authorization forms (like you do at professional auto repair shops before they do a repair) saying that I agreed to the hourly rate they fudged to make the total $312. I signed but wrote on the form "did not agree to amount." He refused to give me my keys.

We walked out of the office and went home to call the police.

The police referred us to the Constable's Office who referred us to the County Judge. I also called the owner directly to ask for my car back and he began screaming hysterically at me that he was going to call over to the shop and have them remove my transmission and complete all the repairs and charge me the total amount estimated for the repair if I did not pay the $312 today and pick up the car. I tried to explain to him that we had gone by to do just that but he was completely out of control.

In the end, we went back to get the car. We called the San Marcos police on the way over and asked that an officer be sent to meet us at AAMCO. The police office was extremely helpful. We did pay the $312 but we actually feel lucky after reading the many reports of how AAMCO routinely screws customers out of these $600 reassembly fees. And even more, as it appears once they get your car up on the hydraulic lift the price of the repair magically gets higher and higher.

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Anonymous
#240911

Same thing happened multiple times at this owner's New Braunfels store. He has been sued multiple times over it.

His tactic is to hold a car hostage and bully the owner. How he was allowed to do this to so many people for so long is beyond. It took him getting arrested for arson and insurance fraud to stop him.

They should add extortion to the charges. Who knows how much money he's swindled from people over the years.

Anonymous
#209173

AAMCO is a rip off company that charges the same labor to tear down and put back together your vehicle. Charges go up after they have the unit torn down all kinds of supprises.

Managemetn will not call back.

Some one needs to start a class action blog on these guys. Clutch repair went from 323 and $400 on parts to $1228.

Anonymous
#206086

i am sure i know who you are, you were starting just

before i left, if you were there towards the end,i am still in the transmission business, and thankfully work for decent honest people now.and havent heard if todd was convicted, the trial was scheduled for not too long ago. i wish ill on no man, however woulod like to see justice done on behalf of all who were screwed by this sociopath.

Anonymous
#203370

As I was a manager for his "wonderful" organization, I saw first hand what was happeningg. I quit as soon as I could...4 months, and due to the sour taste left in my mouth, got out of auto repair sales all together.

I saw firsthand as well whatwas happening. And while I'm sure I worked with this employee who was posting, one could also state that I got repeatedly in trouble for "underselling" work.

But yes...karma is a ***. Honesty is always the best policy.

Anonymous
#84020

something i forgot to mention in my previous post, i was not the tech in san marcos at the time this incident occured, and the manager was named allan not chris (my mistake), and allan was also charged in the arson as a co-conspirator. when i left AAMCO todd screwed me out of $500 + in wages, the reason i left is because i started catching on to what he was doing to his customers and i had a crisis of conscience.

i refuse to be a part of fraudulent conduct, or allow it to continue unchecked. he has been investigated by every agency you can imagine, including AAMCO (corporate) itself, and he was also being sued by AAMCO at the time of the fires.

Anonymous
#78851

Thank you for posting this, NOT A HAPPY CAMPER! It was indeed Todd Cox who screamed at me on the phone. This blows my mind.

I ended up taking the car to Ben White Automotive in south Austin, which I highly recommend, and they fixed the transmission for $350. They were terrific. I have not had a problem with the transmission since, and I'm posting this comment in October 2009.

Thanks for giving that update. I'm glad he's no longer screwing anyone else out of money.

Anonymous
#78797

i know the people involved here, i think the manager was named Chris, and the owner is named Todd Cox, and Todd will scream at a customer, seen it happen several times in person, as a former tech for AAMCO san marcos, and AAMCO New Braunfels, and AAMCO perrin beitel (San Antonio), Todd owned all 3 of these shops, and thats pretty much how he operates, and if it makes ya feel any better, he is awaiting trial on several charges(arson, fraud organizedd crime), he burned down that shop(san marcos) and perrin beitel Shop for the insurance money and got caught, looking at life, so write him a letter in hays county jail and ask him how it feels to get screwed harder, he is now penniless, isn't karma a bltch?

Anonymous
#2091

Somehow....i dont think this is "all" of the story.

There are three sides to every story, yours,theirs and the truth.

Anonymous
#1489

In addition, I own an AAMCO and corporate does not train its owners to scam people. I run a very, very honest business and take great price in that fact. Do not blame the whole for the few

Anonymous
#1488

1) AAMCO did used to train owners and managers to get last 4 of SS, DOB, mothers maiden name, etc as verbal authorization. It is now Fathers or mothers first name, pets name or high school attended, just something that will verify you did give authorization.

2) There is a 'reassembly' charge if you do not have your transmission repaired, generally if the transmission has been pulled out and/or it has been torn down as well. This ranges from $500-800 generally, and is included in the total price for the transmission.

3) It is pretty much impossible to give a complete price on the repair of a transmission until it has been pulled out and inspected, since there are a lot of parts inside that may or may not be damaged. The exception is if the repair shop goes with a high price up front.

I would recommend you contact AAMCO customer relations if you have an issue. (610) 668-2900 I think it is.

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