Maaco should be out of business: Deceptive, and Fraudulent
My name is [snip] and below is what happened when I took my car in for repair at Maaco, located at 601 South 17th Street in Harrisburg PA.
My original estimate, written during the winter of 2002, included painting the driver side door and door jamb, doing bodywork and painting a patch of area behind the door about the size of my hand or less, and touch up paint on my rear bumper. When I dropped the car off, the paper had become old and wrinkled so the man at the copied it onto another sheet and I again instructed what was to be done.
My significant other, [snip], and I dropped my car off at Maaco, located at 601 South 17th Street in Harrisburg, PA to get my door painted and a small patch of bodywork behind the driver side door. For this, I gave them the paint code that was for my car. It was to be the same paint and quality that was already on my car. I handed them an estimate that was written by Pete back in the first couple months of year 2002. They copied the estimate onto another sheet because it was old and wrinkled. I instructed them again on what needed to be done. I also said that to be added to the list was to install one part inside my car door that I had in my trunk. The part allowed for the power door lock to work because the original part had been cracked. I also told them that there were two parts in the car but that only one was needed and that I had ordered the wrong part initially and I was going to return the unused part. Also, on the original estimate, it included the bodywork to be done behind the driver side door. But, by the time I took it in to Maaco, my boyfriend had performed most of the work behind the driver side door and used some bondo on it. It only needed to be touched up minimally and wet-sanded prior to painting. I also asked them to fix the door because it was not on totally right and was rubbing against the car and said this to the man at the counter while he was re-writing the work order.
Upon picking the car up, I went inside and paid and they then told me where the car was. I went out to the car and one of the staff, Pete, ended up coming out. We were very dissatisfied with the work and had several questions. First at the time was the abundance of paint inside the entire car. He assured us that we could bring it back to get cleaned up because I really needed to have the car at that time. After driving away less than a mile, I returned to the place very angry and trying to hold back my tears. My driver side window was not working properly and my passenger door handle had been snapped off inside. Nobody from the garage told me of the problems they caused. Instead, they relied on my demands for it to be done. The car reeked profusely of paint fumes. I returned and told them of the complaints and they assured everything would be taken care of. I also questioned where my extra car part was. They said that both parts were needed and that it is in the car door. I have not checked that statement to see whether they were telling the truth or not because I would need to take the inside door panel off which I will be going to a garage to have done. So, within the first day of picking my car up, there was paint over my entire dashboard area, a broken door handle, a missing part that, to my knowledge, was not needed and a window that suddenly started not functioning after dropping the car off to them. Nobody from the garage told me that the door handle was broken or about the window or about âneedingâ to install the part that I had mistakingly ordered from a different place nearby my former residence.
They said they needed to order the part and to wait to bring my car in to get cleaned until the passenger side door handle arrived. First, they ordered the wrong part of the door handle. Then, once the part came in, I made my second trip back to Maaco on a Thursday (a man named Lance at Olive Garden covered my shift for me) to get everything taken care of and took off from work to do so. I gave them my work order to review the charges and compare it to what was done. The garage performed no body work on the driver side rear panel. At that point, I was willing to get a partial refund and go elsewhere to have the work done. However, they assured me they could do it right.
They were to remove all overspray throughout the interior and exterior of the car and re-do the patch behind the driver side door that they had only painted over while still charging me to do all of the body work. The only thing extra that I added to the original estimate was to replace a door-lock part and told them of this when originally dropping the car off but they, at this time, said it had not been added to the estimate. There was less bodywork to do and they did not do it until later in this story. So, while dropping the car off the man had not added the labor for installing the one needed doorlock part and I would have paid above the estimate had they explained that to me. However, they failed to do the body work on the car, which was on the estimate. When I picked the car up, they showed it to me in the bay of the garage where it was not lit well and had me pull my car out of the bay and into the street. And, again the work was not done. There still remains overspray all over the dash but not as bad and the body work was not done. And, they did not give me my copy of the work order back. However, they fixed the door handle that they broke and the functioning of the power window.
A few days later, I returned to the garage again and decided to ask them for the stuff they use on the car to remove the overspray. They handed me lacquer thinner and absorbent wipes to use on my dashboard and on the black plastic parts surrounding my dashboard and radio. They also instructed me to wear gloves. However, I never used the lacquer thinner after being instructed to wear gloves and how strong the stuff was for fear that it would ruin my dashboard. The general manager, at a later date, told me that it would have ruined it had I put it on my dashboard.
At this point, I was above and beyond angry and contacted the corporate headquarters via their customer service page on the internet. I explained the entire situation and they contacted the general manager, Wally Carper, at the Maaco I had my car serviced at. Corporate had me contact the general manager and he assured his supervision over my car for everything to get done correctly and told him what the people in his shop had tried to give me to clean my car with. I showed him my car door that was painted and the small area behind it as well as the inside of my car. He was familiar with my situation since he had already spoken to corporate about it. After discussing the situation with him, I decided to give them one final chance to fix my car. I had also told him that a piece of stripping between my door and my window was missing since the time they installed the passenger door handle. We had called Maaco shortly after picking the car up to tell them of the piece of stripping missing and they denied any fault of theirs. We spoke to Pete. After all the problems with this place, I was not about to lose another day of work to get my car fixed for what should have been done on the first trip, and at the most, two trips. Wally contacted his âbuddyâ at Rent-A-Wreck, and reserved a rental car for me on the day my car was to go back to them AGAIN, on 10/22/02. Wally paid cash for the rental and I thought it was rather strange that since, as he stated, he rented cars there so often, he did not have an account there. Looking back on the situation, I think now that Wally got a little kick out of setting me up with a rental car from his âbuddyâ. This is because the rental agency tried to put me into an old beat-up vehicle that smelled raunchy and had 180,000 miles on it. Believe me, Iâd rather have walked than have driven that car. Then, I requested to have another vehicle and offered to pay any difference in rental fees. The man said there was no difference in cost and gave me a Neon, which I agreed to, and Rent-A-Wreck said that it just hadnât been cleaned yet. It looked OK and I was late to work so I took it. When I got in the vehicle, I noticed that the fuse panel was off but thought that they probably just had worked on it. Anyway, later that evening as I tried to drive home from a chiropractor appointment around 7 pm, I quickly realized that the headlights did not work. Thank goodness that my apartment was less than a mile away. I just drove home and told Wally Carper, the general manager, about it the next morning.
When I returned to the local Maaco the next morning, I was again late to work because I had to pick up my car and return the rental. Wally then asked me to look over the car. I did so and stated that there is still paint over the inside of the car. Mr. Carper stated that the areas were textured and could not be cleaned any better. I told him it had better come off. The bodywork behind the door looked OK to me. I asked that they try to clean the car again and pointed out that whatever they were using was taking the finish off my dashboard. I was supposed to have my car but the general manager stated that the part had not come in yet. They were waiting for the stripping. Again, I requested my copy of the work order be returned to me. Mr. Carper said that they had it out and now both copies were lost.
I had to return during my lunch hour and my car was still not cleaned of overspray. However, discoloration of my dashboard was very noticeable at that point. The bodywork behind the driver side door looked fine and they said they had installed the strip that was missing from my previous trip back to them that fits between my passenger side door and window. I was angry but thought that a detailer might be able to remove it. I needed to get back to work since I was on my lunch hour and thought that I would just have to take further action against them or call their corporate offices again. At this point, Wally tried to hand me a bill for approximately $32 to cover the cost of the part. I told him I believed they were again at fault after they just had worked on the same door and replaced the passenger door handle. I refused to pay for the part. He then threw the bill off from the counter in a huff and said that I was trying to get a part for free. Another customer or soon-to-be customer was present as well. I said nothing else and left.
Since then, I contacted the corporate offices again and received a response from Marilyn on November 4, 2002 (the phone number she left me was 610-337-6111) that the general manager, Wally Carper, will not do anything further to remedy my situation. She also instructed me that there was nothing else they could do at this point and that the decision lies with the individual garage.
I have since contacted attorneys and have appointments scheduled for Tuesday November 19, 2002. I also need to have garages spend their time writing up estimates for Maacoâs problems. I already went to one garage that says they cannot put the car back to its original condition and suggested having Maaco purchase my car. Also, even if the garage did do the work, they would not be able to guarantee their work because of what Maaco has already done. I must also go to another garage to get a second estimate as well as shopping for attorneys.
On November 13th, my boyfriend visited the Maaco and was told by the general manager, Wally Carper, that they lost the work order even after he previously stated they had it. However, when I pushed the issues regarding my carâs damages, it suddenly turned out that they âlost itâ. They were supposed to be sending it to me. In addition, the general manager told my boyfriend that he and I were scam artists and that he would ensure that I was put in prison for seven years for insurance fraud if I took any further action. He mentioned that he would call my insurance company as well as the state insurance commission. My boyfriend, Robert Angeli, then asked as to how he would even know who my insurance company is or anything about me if he did not have a copy of the work order. Despite my believing that I did nothing wrong regarding insurance payments, I contacted my agent, briefly told him what happened and asked what Mr. Carper could possibly be talking about. My insurance agent instructed me that I did nothing wrong. The general manager has also changed his tune and has suddenly decided that I wanted my entire car painted with the cheapest job possible. I donât think anyone would believe that I wanted my entire car painted. In addition, if I were to have my entire car painted, I most certainly would not have had it painted white.
In summary, I have been lied to and threatened and my car has been destroyed. My boyfriend and I have received nothing but disrespect from the garage. They painted my entire car without permission and obviously thought that I wouldnât find out about it until itâs too late. Maaco has a total disregard to what they were authorized to do. They were not authorized to paint my car with anything substandard and especially not to paint the ENTIRE vehicle. They kept my receipt and has refused to give me a copy in an attempt to cover up their huge blunder. This has been much more than a mistake in which they got their signals crossed and accidentally painted my car. Even if it were a simple mistake, they have not yet admitted it. Instead, when forced to answer, they lied and said that they did what they were supposed to do. In sum, when I first complained to corporate, Maaco agreed to fix my car and agreed to the problems they caused. They did not dispute that I only had my car door painted. It was not until after I disclosed to them that I knew about my entire car being painted that they changed their tune and said that they were supposed to paint the entire car shoddily.
This can most certainly be considered fraud and the Maaco on 17th street should not be licensed.
On November 17th, I again emailed corporate for written responses to my concerns since they had previously only spoke with me on the telephone. On November 18, 2002, I received a different response from Maacoâs Corporate headquarters stating that they will try to obtain a copy of the work order. Also, they have stated that they forwarded my email to the owner of the shop and that the person I spoke to was only a âshop managerâ. Although, before I was told by corporate customer service that he was the one who made the decision and corporate could do nothing further about it.
I corresponded again with customer relations and was informed that the owner was already aware of the situation and no mention was made of the owner being willing to remedy the situation. They have been lying to me and destroyed my vehicle. Also, they never disclosed to me that they painted the vehicle nor did they provide me with any type of receipt, or work order, that they painted my vehicle. And, without this, they would not even have to guarantee their horrendous job. Quite frankly, as far as I know, it is the law that they provide me with a receipt of service, or detriments in this case, that they have performed. Itâs fraud.
On November 19th, I had a consultation with an attorney. In addition, I received an estimate for $5763.67 and 14 garage days for repair. A standard rental car for this period, including the weekends, has an estimated charge of $623.46 from Enterprise. The estimate I received is from a Brenner body shop located in Harrisburg. I also went to Faulkner Honda Body Works but was told that they would not give me an estimate because they do not perform such large jobs like my car would require. The man from Faulkner Honda then suggested I go to Nickâs Body Shop, also in Harrisburg, who also would not give an estimate because he said he would not feel as if he had the time to repair my car nor did he think that he would even be able to repair it successfully and referred to the paint job from Maaco as a âmessâ.
In addition, I have a copy of an estimate I got from 3-D Auto Body, located in Nicholson PA, that was written on January 29, 2002. The shop still had it on file from January 29, 2002. I may even have the original at my parentâs home. The estimate shows that I wanted my car door painted, not my entire car. This is in addition to the estimate that I received from my insurance company.
It has now been three months since my first visit to Maaco and the paint is peeling and cracking.