All Business, Good & Bad

Sometimes, an awful consumer experience. Let's call them out. Okay, mostly. But sometimes awards. Yes? All the accounts are truthful. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike. Email me with your stories and I'll include them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

AC Automotive

I drive a PT Cruiser. 2002. Manual. It's pretty sweet. However, recently it started overheating. It wasn't all the time: forced air cooled it on the highway and above-35mph roads here in Winston. But it started getting bad; I couldn't stop at a drive through bank or fast food place and slowed traffic was driving me off the road. It got to the point where I couldn't fake it anymore. It had to be fixed.

Well, several months ago, I ran out of gas (for the first time ever) taking my daughter to school. After walking almost a quarter miledown the road (even though there was nary a gas station within three or four miles), a man stopped, said he had a shop up the road, and would help us. A C Automotive. And help us he did: drove us to the shop, his driver drove us back with a gallon of gas, and when that wasn't enough (parked on a slope), he went to the nearest station to fill up his gas can. He filled us up and we were on our way.

Very deceptive. Okay, just niceties overshadowed by the subsequent experience.

Naturally, I thought of them when looking to have my fan assembly replaced. Problem was, they wanted over $500 for the assembly from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, I haven't yet begun to crap money, so I asked about aftermarket parts. "They don't make any aftermarket parts for what you're looking for," he said. Funny, because being the online searchmaster I am, I found several.

Then it got better as I turned it over to my wife who has much better bargaining abilities. The gentleman had said that there were no aftermarket parts for the vehicle, but changed his position with proof. But oddly. He said he only dealt with certain aftermarket manufacturers and those didn't have anything available anywhere in the area.

Dude, strike two. We found the part, using one of his "reputed" aftermarket names and were able to have it in our hands in 24 hours.

Lie on lie.

So Mrs. Shambles went back to pick up the car (not even dealing with any additional charge beyond the diagnostic) and said we were doing it ourselves. Do you know what the bastard owner did when she said that? He laughed at her. I almost hit the roof when I heard that.

But you know what? It took some time and it took a jack, but we replaced the assembly ourselves.

And A C Automotive? You're out the money, but gain the negative exposure of ...well, anyone who reads this blog.


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  • At 10:05 AM, Blogger jrock said…

    I too had a similar experience with AC Automotive. My wife called one morning to say that her Corvette started to run hot as she reached her work place. I suggested that she take it across the street to AC Automotive for them to take a look. I received a call later that day saying that it needed a radiator, water pump and thermostat at a cost of $1500.00. I asked the service manager how did he know that it needed a radiator if the water pump was not working since the only way to know was if it was removed from the car a bench tested. He became quickly confused and started making comments that made no mechanical sense. When I told him that I was the NC Field Supervisor for Geico Insurance Company he really started to stutter and put the owner on the line. The owner indicated that after extensive testing it was actually the radiator that was bad but the water pump should be replaced as it would fail within the next 3 months. He could never give me a good answer when I asked him how could he foresee such a future breakdown. Upon my request he faxed me his quote. After a quick search in my companys data base I saw that the aftermarket parts he was quoting were $250.00 more than the OEM parts from Chevrolet. I quickly had another shop pick up my auto and within a hour they called to say my car was ready. They said there was a plastic grocery bag stuck to the front of the radiator that was restricting airflow thus causing the overheating. So I guess AC Automotives "extensive testing" was performed in the dark. Oh, and the soon to fail water pump? Well after 2 years and 30,000 miles, water pump, radiator and thermostat are all still doing their job. Too bad the same can not be said about AC Automotive. I guess the AC stands for actual crooks.


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