COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO --
The following letter is for informational purposes. If you do read it in it’s entirety, and feel like preventing other consumers from being a victim of consumer abuse, I ask that you please do share it.
Having been a steady, believing, and trusting customer of Aspen Auto Clinic since 01/16/2008 I was amazed at what transpired, for me at this shops location of 4401 Mark Dabling, in Colorado Springs, Colorado today. Please continue reading, and understand that I have worked in the customer service field since 1983, and I am posting this information so other potential customers will be aware of my situation at this auto repair facility, and not be overly charged when they seek out auto repair assistance here like I was.
My situation began on Monday, 08/27/12, when I was in Pueblo, Colorado, and my clutch failed in my vehicle. Having used, and trusted, Aspen Auto Clinic in the past I took it upon my self to immediately call the towing service they use; Knob Hill Towing, and let them know I was stuck out of town, and needed my vehicle towed back to Colorado Springs, Colorado. They quoted me a rate of $200.00 dollars, which I accepted at the time (more on this later).
My vehicle was picked up, and delivered to Aspen Auto Clinic located at 4401 Mark Dabling Blvd in Colorado Springs, Colorado. On Tuesday (08/28/12) I called, and spoke to, employee Brian Tore-nicknamed “Old Brian” per se-advising him of the problem with my vehicle, and he said he would call me back with a quote. This same day I was contacted back by Brian with a quote of $1600.00, for the replacement of a clutch on my vehicle, and the attempted sale of a timing chain replacement also. I asked him if this was the same timing chain that his company had replaced for me years back, and he stuttered and stammered, for a second – apparently realizing his mistake. I was absolutely shocked at the estimate, but having trusted Aspen Auto Clinic in the past I decided I would let them do the work under duress, so I could return to my employment immediately, and make a living, and have my vehicle for daily use.
It was immediately after this that I called the Phil Long Ford dealership for a quote, and was amazed that a dealership would quote me a fee of $1,100.00 dollars. Dealerships have a reputation of being highly overpriced compared to local automotive repair centers. This quote being $500.00 dollars lower than Aspen Autos quote to me twenty minutes earlier. It was at this time twenty minutes later that I called Brian [snip] back, and asked him if my vehicle was being worked on yet. He stated that yes it was being worked on, and I advised him that I had spoken to a dealer and the price I was quoted was an easy $500.00 dollars lower than his quote. After I mentioned this to Brian he said he would “work with me” on the price. What this did mean at the time I did not know, nor did Brian ever explain it to me.
I decided to take it upon myself to call four more auto repair facilities in Colorado Springs, and educate my self on their price quotes at this time, for the same repair on my vehicle. I was continuously astonished at the information I was receiving. I received quotes to do the same exact type of work that Aspen Auto was doing, and ranging in difference from $760.00 to $1,027.98 on my vehicle. All quotes, from these businesses with their shop names, the person spoken to, and their phone numbers are listed below at the end of this documentation, for the record.
On 08/29/12 at approximately 3:30 pm I was contacted via telephone by an employee of Aspen Auto that was not Brian Tore, and advised that he was calling me because Brian was in a meeting, and unavailable. Imagine that. This gentleman was advising me that my vehicle was finished being repaired, and now available, for pickup. I advised this gentleman I would need to find a way to the shop, and he offered his facilities shuttle service to me, and I accepted a ride to Aspen Auto Repair, from their shuttle driver. The same shuttle driver that decided to introduce me to his flatulence as we pulled up, and arrived at the Aspen Auto shop. That’s just even worse customer service by your employees Greg.
Upon arrival at Aspen Auto Repair I presented the gentleman behind the counter-whose name I never did receive, but I can identify-with a copy of the enclosed vehicle repair quotes, and told him I could not believe their shop was wanting to charge me $1600.00, for a repair that I could easily have had done for half that price at another local automotive repair shop (#3 on the below enclosed list). This gentleman had very little to say at all when I gave him the list, and he also tried to pickup my copy of the list, from the counter top, and I advised him this one was my copy to review with him. He immediately went into the back area of the reception lobby to call somebody. This gentleman later told me that this “somebody” was his contact at a dealership shop that he did comparison pricing with. I was never advised which shop, or whom, he spoke to in reference to that quote. Since I never did see this counter technician on the phone during this call, was he possibly speaking to nobody? It was at this time I continued to express my disgust with Aspen Auto Repairs pricing to fix my vehicle with him. This gentleman then reviewed my bill and said that I was only charged $121.00 dollars, and some pennies for my tow to the shop, not the $200.00 dollars I was originally quoted. He said he would also have to discuss this with employee Brian [snip] since it was quoted incorrectly. This gentleman also advised me that the tow was going to be $161.00, and some change, after my vehicle arrived at the shop. Apparently Aspen Auto adds a percentage-approximately $40.00 this time-for it’s customers that have their vehicles towed to their shop. At this time the man behind the counter said he would set the bill, for all of my auto repair work, at $1,344.50 dollars total, and that Aspen Auto gives a 3/36 warranty with it’s work. All other shops only provide a 12/12 warranty. I never did receive a copy of my paperwork/receipt, for the work done on my vehicle, from this man, and it was never offered either at this time, nor was any warranty information ever explained to me the whole time I was present. The only receipt I ever did receive was for part of my payment made on an American Express card that a relative was nice enough to assist me with, for a partial payment towards the repairs. I myself paid for the balance of the payment in cash in the amount of $1000.00 dollars at the counter. This money was counted out, and given to this gentleman, with two other Aspen Auto employees present. Myself, if necessary can identify these employees.
Having no choice, but to pay for these repairs, and go to work, I did so with great disgust. I also decided that I would not want any other customer that may come to this auto repair facility to be treated like I was with outlandish unrealistic pricing, or the deception I was treated to either, so I am moving forward with this complaint to the Better Business Bureau in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on my own, and their behalf.
Better Business Bureau complaint #37027291 was filed by myself, and responded to, by Aspen Auto employee Nick[snip] (vice president of operations). [snip] did not oblige my complaint at all. In the complaint I specified for the owner of Aspen Auto Clinic, Greg [snip], to contact me, and discuss this matter personally since he does have my telephone number. I desire for the owner to provide me with a detailed explanation of why I was deceived by his customer service staff, why I was never provided with a warranty, or receipt paperwork, at the time my payment was made. I also advised Nick that I expected to have at least one third of my money that was paid for this repair refunded back to me since I have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that I was vastly overcharged a minimum of $400.00 to $600.00 more than other local certified automotive shops would charge. This can be proven clearly by the five included telephone estimates included below. Mr. ((personal info not permitted)) only recourse was an offer to send me my receipts by certified mail, and not have the owner Greg [snip] contact me. I felt it was in my best consumer interest to NOT accept Mr.[snip] response presented to me through the Better Business Bureau’s response format. I refused, and once again advised him I would only speak with the owner. As of this day I still have seen no paperwork in reference to my vehicle repairs, and never been contacted by the owner.
I also advised Mr. [snip] in my response that I will strongly emphasize the expansion of this customer service complaint by forwarding this entire complaint to all people I know, so they can forward it to every person they know, and prevent any other further monetary losses in their automotive repair needs.
Pricing estimates, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, automotive repair shops done 08/28/12, for a 1994 Ford Ranger clutch replacement with all necessary parts, and flywheel machining:
1 $1,100.00 per Chris at Phil Long Ford in Colorado Springs (1-888-548-8432)
2 $1,027.98 per Bowers Transmission & Automotive with Ford OEM parts.
3 $760.00 per Neil at Springs Auto & Truck service center (719 382-0363)
4 $850.00-$900.00 per Jim at Colorado Transmissions (719-623-5106)
$825.00 per Dale at Craig Automotive repair service (719-596-1516)