GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA -- In January 2009, my 2003 VW Beetle had transmission problems and required repairs.
I contacted several companies in the US that had wrecked or rebuilt transmission that would work in my car. The quotes were anywhere from $2900 to $3200 plus labor to install (this also ranged from $300-500). I also contacted AAMCO Transmission in Gainesville, FL for a quote on rebuilding the original transmission. They told me over the phone that the quote would be $2700 for a rebuilt transmission for my car. He did say that this was for “soft parts” only. I told him this could not turn into a $5000 repair job. He stated that the most it would cost over the quote would be $489 and that was only if they had to replace the torque converter. He promised me it would not go any higher. All of this conversation was injected with honey, sweetheart, we would never do that to you…
After AAMCO started the work on my car, I didn’t hear back from them for over 5 days. I called on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2009 and asked how things were going with my car. They said, “Oh, bad news”. Now the quote for the repairs was for over $4700. I told them I could not pay that. He told me it was too late-the work had already been done and there was no going back. I asked what options I had at that time and he said “None”.
AAMCO stated that I had authorized the work on my car based on the fact that I gave my father’s first name (John). My father’s name was Charles.
I received a certified letter on April 9, 2009 from AAMCO with their intentions to auction my car on May 7, 2009 for $4182.30. They were also charging me $50 a day storage since whenever they decided to start charging me even more money so that I would be unable to get my car back. I consulted a lawyer and after hearing my story, he told me to file a civil suit in small claims court and tell the judge exactly what you told me. He said that since they refused to provide me with a written quote and the quote was changed after the work began, that they could not legally take my car. I called the manager AAMCO and I asked him to please do not auction my car. I told him the case had been reopened by Consumer Services and that I had filed for an emergency hearing at the Clerk of Courts. I had also called Consumer Services that day and he said to call AAMCO and try to work out a deal with them. He said he had no power to stop the auction. When I spoke with AAMCO at AAMCO, he told me he didn’t care what Consumer Services said, he would do as he pleased. He also stated that I file all the civil suits I wanted, he would sell the car if he wanted to. I also asked him could I please have my personal belonging from the car. He said no I could not. Everything in the car belonged to him now. I said are you telling me I can’t have my personal belonging and he then backtracked and said that the car was in another location and when and if it were auctioned, I would maybe get my personal effects.
On May 25, 2009, my daughter and I were driving around looking for a used car for her. She is in school at the University of West Florida and her car recently had a timing belt break which in turn ruined the engine. The car was old (Honda 1989 CRX) so we sold it for scrap and we were out looking for another older car. We drove by AAMCO on Main Street and I told Jessica “There’s the place that stole my car” as we drove by. She said “I see it. It’s parked in the back.” I couldn’t believe it was there since I was told it was elsewhere. We drove over to the car and found a note left by Detective Quirk. The note stated that the vehicle was unlawfuly entered. A witness observed the suspect and called 911. Officers located and arrested the suspect but were unable to contact me.
I was so upset. AAMCO had left my car unlocked-both doors. The car is keyless entry only. The back window was partially down and the back floorboard carpets were standing in about 2 inches of water. My vehicle registration and insurance card were laying on the passenger seat. The glove box was destroyed and would not open. I’m not sure what all was taken since it has been so long since I have seen my car. I made a decision at that time to take my car back. I called a friend and he came and towed the car to his garage. He has since looked at the car. The transmission and all the mountings for the transmission are missing.
I was contacted (May 26) by the Gainesville police in reference to both the break in on Sunday and they also informed me that AAMCO had reported the car as stolen. I told them it was not stolen. She said that AAMCO stated they held title to my car. I said they do not hold title to my car, I hold the title to my car. Then she corrected herself and stated that AAMCO had filed for title to my car. It is my understanding of the law that AAMCO is attempting to obtain title to my car by illegal means. Also, I would not disclose the location of my car to the Gainesville police because I feared that AAMCO would try to steal it. The police stated that this was a civil matter and they would not pursue it.
I paid $30,000.00 for my 2003 Turbo Charged, fully loaded VW Beetle Convertible. For 5 years, I paid payments of $575 each month. I finally paid the car off on January 9, 2009 when I received my first paycheck in 6 months. I got several quotes, selected the Lowest, and expected the repair shop to be honest in dealing with me. They have been everything but honest with me. Everything AAMCO has told me thus far has been a lie. I also find it very dishonest to refuse to provide me with a written quote despite how many times I asked. Yes, I finally got the quotes on Feb. 10, 2009, but by then it was too late, according to AAMCO. The work had been done.