Aamco Transmission of Renton / extremely poor service/ rip off
Our vehicle, a 1994 BMW 740iL has been in the Renton, WA AAMCO Repair shop since Wednesday, April 29th. We brought it in due to the Trans Program light coming on and it going into Limp mode. It drove into the shop just fine, no light, no limp mode, just needing to know why it did this.
When we spoke with the service manager, Rick at Renton AAMCO, he said this is common and we see it all the time. We asked if they have experience working on BMW’s and he indicated that they had.
That afternoon, because of the diagnostic codes Rick at Renton AAMCO got from the computer, he called us to authorize a charge of $1100 (approx) to remove the transmission to further inspect it and diagnose. He indicated that it could be a worse case scenario requiring a transmission rebuild of approximately $2400. After cringing over the thought of $2400, we authorized the $1100 and hoped for the best!
Two days later, on Friday, May 1st Rick at Renton AAMCO contacted us with the news that they need to get into the Valve Body and that we need a total rebuild – at a revised new cost of Approx $3700. They will need to order the parts from BMW and it would take 3 days.
This is where the dilemma really starts. Because, your car is torn apart in the shop. What choice are you left with but to keep moving forward… How do you know that is really what is required and this is the best option? Beyond the hope and trust being laid out – is the HUGE cost.
Rick said that some electrical devises internally were fried. Before approving the next steps, we asked the usual questions… isn’t there any other option? How about sourcing parts elsewhere? Buying another rebuilt already? He said he would see what he could do to save us some money, but you will just love this car again when we are through with it. – Loving the car was never a question that he needed to address. Based on this, they are ordering the parts. We asked that they provide us all the old parts that are being replaced. This said, the car should be completed and ready for pick up on the Wednesday, May 6th.
May 6th, no call received from AAMCO. May 7th, no call received from AAMCO.
Friday morning, May 8th, I called Rick at Renton AAMCO, for the status. He said, “Oh sorry I was going to call but I was just slammed, they are working on it now. It should be ready by the end of the day today, or at the latest tomorrow. I will call you.”
Friday afternoon – COB, no call. Saturday, May 9th, again NO CALL FROM AAMCO!!
Monday, May 11th, in the afternoon, I called Rick at the Renton AAMCO once again! What is up with my car??? His dumbfounded reply was all I needed to realize that I can no longer trust the hands that are working on my car!!!
He said, “Oh sorry I didn’t call. I was out of the office on Friday”, I said, I talked to you on Friday and you said the car would be done on Friday or Saturday, He said, “was that Friday, Oh I was out on Saturday – Sorry, (sidebar comment – DUH!!) I always return my calls at 4:00 p.m. and I have been slammed and got sidetracked.”
He put me on hold, checked with the technician and indicated that they were working on the car and realized that they didn’t receive a bearing in the order from BMW. They had to order it on Saturday and it will be here today. He then said that he will call me once it arrives so that I will know it is here and all is OK.
He did not call me back that afternoon as he indicated that he would.
He did not call me the next day. I had to call him Tuesday afternoon, May 12th for the status. Again, he said “they are working on it now and it will be done by tomorrow – noon. OK
Finally, after the increased costs, after not having my vehicle, depending on rides from others, losing our upcoming vacation because we can’t afford it after the huge increase in repairs costs over the initial estimate that pulled us into the Renton AAMCO shop to begin with, we will get our car back – Finally.
Wednesday, May 13th our car should be done by noon! Yeah right. We received a telephone message on our home number (not our cell numbers that all our other communication has been done on); indicating that he was calling about the status of our car and to provide us an update, not that is was done and ready for pick up!
Thursday, May 14th 8:45 a.m. - I called Rick at Renton AAMCO again. What now? He said that the Transmission was back in the car and they were resetting the codes. It will be done by noon today. I asked, will you call me??? Yes.
Thursday, May 14th 4:55 p.m. – I called Rick at Renton AAMCO again. Rick was not available. We spoke to Rock. He said they were test driving the car today and they want to do a “cold start check” tomorrow before the tech releases it. Rock will personally call us in the morning. And, we asked again, to have all the old parts saved for us. Rock said – Sure no problem. And I’ll even throw in a couple of extra??? Ha Ha Ha.
I asked if Rick is just out of the office today, will he be in tomorrow or what? He said they had to make a move and that is why the general manager is in today. I asked then to speak to the GM, he said I was talking to him. I then indicated that I am over the top frustrated with this entire situation. The lack of communication and the type of condescending statements used by Rick at Renton AAMCO makes me wonder how they could be in business. Rock said in reply, that they don’t usually tell their customers such things, but this is why they had to make a change and we are not the only customer having complaints. Again, I reiterated my high level of frustration and indicated to him that I had several pages of notes documenting our communications, or lack thereof, and that it is time to contact the corporate office. Rock, said that he would personally see what he could do to discourage us from doing so, and that when we come in tomorrow to pick up our car, we would talk about it in person.
Friday, May 15th Rock, the GM at Renton AAMCO called mid morning stating that they are having shifting issues when test driving and will call again later after they get that worked out. We asked if they have to pull the Transmission again, Rock said it might just be a coding issue.
Rock called again at 5:55 to let us know that they were having communication issues between the computer and the shift solenoid?? The electronics are telling it to shift, but it is not responding. It shifts fine manually. The Tech will be in again tomorrow to work on it more and they will let us know what is next.
Saturday, May 16th 12:45 p.m. I called Rock for the newest status. Rock was on the phone – I spoke with a tech. He said that yesterday they refreshed the ECM, but the transmission was not responding. Maybe it is a wire pinched or something that they may have caused. All is fine when you are driving but then the Trans program light pops on and it goes into limp mode.
**This is exactly what it was doing when we brought it into the shop to begin with!!!
I asked then, does that mean that the computer is what was wrong all along, and that you rebuilt the transmission without it needing to be rebuilt??? He said no, “that all the items shown on the inspection sheet when it came in have been fixed”. The only thing we came in for was the Trans Program light coming on and it going into limp mode and it appears that that is not fixed.
The tech said that they have ordered a “Bomb Tool” that provides readings on the screen for each unit. It should tell them exactly wire by wire, where the problem resides. The tool is coming in on Monday (May 18th) and they can tell me then what is next.
I asked to hold so I could speak with Rock. I asked Rock the same thing I asked the tech – did you rebuild the transmission when it wasn’t the problem to begin with? Rock said the ECM can fail the TCM. The Transmission can be broke by the ECM. Diagnostics show a broken transmission. The transmission would not have been rebuilt if it did not need to be rebuilt. “We are not getting a $5000 markup on this car…why would we ruin our own working reputation and have my crew working for free. We are way too far into this to be making any money on it”.
Rock said “What we have are electronics talking to mechanical units and being dealt with by humans. We have to work through it to get to what is really wrong. We want to get it back to you as quickly as possible. We don’t work this hard to come back around to get to a big oops. It had a broken transmission and it has a second issue.”
I said that we would like to dispute the charges that have been placed on our credit card. You are using our money for work that has obviously not been completed and that we have nothing to show for. AAMCO ran our card on April 30th for the initial diagnostics approval and May 1st for an unconfirmed work estimate, with a grand total for both of $4160.42
Rock said that if it would make me feel better that he would credit our card until we have completion, but that the credit wouldn’t even go through until Monday anyhow, and they hope to have the car completed by then. That he just asked us to wait it out until Monday and see what ever information this new tool provides. If they can’t get us our car in a condition that is completed and warranty-able that he would credit our account on Monday – I give you my word.
I reminded Rock of the distrust that has developed over the course of this “lack of repair” and that his word is not good enough at this point. Since the 6th of the month, we have been constantly told that our car would be completed and will be “done tomorrow by noon” followed up by never receiving a call to tell us one way or the other. We just keep being put off. I can not be put off any longer. I am so frustrated and worse yet I feel my hands are tied. Do they even know what they are doing?
I said yes – we will wait until Monday. So here we are… continually still waiting!
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