I am writing this inform all people in the country not to use Automobile Inspections, LLC to complete a vehicle inspection for a classic or any car at all for that matter!
I recently hired them to complete an inspection on a 1966 Chevelle SS Convertible prior to me purchasing it. The car was located in Groveport Ohio and I reside in Atlanta Georgia. After researching inspection companies on the internet I decided to hire them.
After receiving their detaled report, I made the decision to purchase the car. After receiving the car and comparing it to the report I was needless to say very dissatisfied. I contacted the manager their to discuss the issues found and he never made a resolution with me. I therefore decided to file a complaint with the Better Business Burea (BBB). After we went back and forth the BBB decided to close the case because neither one of us would come to an agreement. I have posted the exact BBB review here for you all to read. Please take the time to read and review the issue that I had with them prior to hiring them for any vehicle inspection.
COMPLAINT ACTIVITY REPORT Case # 84077828 Better Business Bureau, Inc.
Consumer Info: Santangelo, Mr. Gregory Business Info: Automobile Inspections, LLC
***** Operations Center (Inspections Div.) 2 Ledgebrook Drive
Conyers, GA 30094 Mansfield Center, CT 06250-1682
Location Involved: (Same as above)
Consumer's Original Complaint :
I hired this company to complete an automobile inspection on a newly fully frame-off restored 1966 Chevelle SS Convertible classic car in Groveport Oh in late October 2010'. I hired them because they were recommended and rated as the best on the internet for out of state car inspections. I am a classic car collector and restoration guy that resides in Atlanta, GA. It was convenient to hire a professional firm to help make my decision on the purchase of the car. They completed a very detailed inspection report with several digital photographs which I was very impressed and pleased with...After receiving the report and speaking over the phone with the manager about the car and inspction report, I decided to move forward and make the purchase on November 3, 2010. (Note - there rpeort was 12 pages long and very thorough. Every item you could imagine was examined and looked at by their inspector in the field...)
To my surprise when I received the car from the shipping company, my wife & I found a list of 12 things wrong or not working on the car that was clearly marked and checked on their detailed report. Thing such as horn not working, dash lights not working, turn signal not working, 1 headlight not working, major major oil leak from oil pan, center console/glove box not operating, etc....Needless to say, we were very dissapointed that we fouynd this many items wrong with the car within 1 hour of looking it over.
I emailed the manager, Mike, and wrote my comments about what we found upon receiving the car. He called me back and stated that he was sorry for the issues and that he would call and email my letter to the actual field inspector in Ohio who completed the inspection. In a few days he called me back and explained that the items I listed were truly all working when he inspected the car and that he checked for any fluid leaks first when he arrived before he took th ecar on a test drive.
i explained to them that this coul dnot be true because I found no wire connections at all for all of the electrical things not working. Meaning no wire was run or attached to the devices not working. There was no way that the inspector saw them working when no wire or voltage was ever even applied to the device. I also explained to them (an Automobile Inspection Company)that it would be a great idea if they would inspect the underneath of the car for leaks after they ran the motor and made the test drive. Usually leaks occur after a car is run and warmed up. I can't believe that they did this backwards??
I know that they cant be held responsible for the purchase of the car etc... And the comapny at least called me back to discuss my issues. But they never took the time to truly resolve them for me. Their response made no common sense to all of the issues I found improper with the car. The issues did not just pop up since the time the inspector left the site!
They never offered any partial money back to me for my hassle and or a discount in the future to try and keep me as a customer. I am very unhappy with their services and would not recommend them to anyone in the future!
Consumer's Desired Resolution:
SOme type of refund would be acceptable to my issues with their inspection report.
11/23/2010 web BBB Case Received by BBB
11/23/2010 cmg BBB Case Reviewed by BBB
11/23/2010 Otto EMAIL Send Acknowledgement to Consumer
11/23/2010 Otto EMAIL Notify Business of Dispute
11/30/2010 cmg BBB RECEIVE BUSINESS RESPONSE :
Thank you for bringing this complaint to our attention. We are naturally sorry to hear that this customer is still unhappy. We did investigate the complaint and spoke with Greg at length about this. We found that the report DID state that "not all of the switches/instruments appeared to work". Furthermore the report stated that "after-market gauges had been added". (Invariably, when duplicate gauges are added the originals are disconnected and therefore do not work). As for the other electrical items mentioned - we checked with our inspector and he said the were working when he inspected the car. We have to ask ourselves what does he have to gain by lying? If they weren't working or he neglected to check them, he'd simply say so. With regards to the oil leak, there were VERY clear photos of the underside of the engine and gearbox as the car was elevated on a lift and at the time the inspection was conducted, there was clearly NO OIL leaking. We can only report what we find at the time of the inspection. Based on this, we to spoke with Mr. **** explained our position and told him that we did not feel a refund was warranted in this case.
Here are a few of the nearly 125 photos we sent to the client, showing the addition of aftermarker gauges and a stereo along with loose wiring inside the car as well as the underside of the engine showing absoloutely no apparent oil leaks at the time of the inspection.
11/30/2010 cmg EMAIL Forward Business Response to Consumer
12/01/2010 WEB BBB RECEIVED CONSUMER RESPONSE/REBUTTAL : (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT ACCEPT the response from the business.)
The response that Automobile Inspections, LLC made here does not justify my clearly stated written complaint about them. The pictures they sent don't justify anything that I am unhappy and questioning them about. I will first respond to their response 1 item at a time and then reiterate everything they missed when reeading my original complaint above.
First of all, the aftermarket gauges that are installed on this car (like many older classic cars) have nothing to do with the electrical issues I have found. There are 3 aftermarket gauges on the car. An oil pressure gauge, engine temperature gauge, & battery voltage gauge. They all work just fine and having nothing to do with the following things that they clearly must have missed on my original complaint and actual field inspection. Also the pictures of the wiring they attached are showing the aftermarket gauges that are wired up and working properly. The other picture of the wiring nest in the glove box is the junction wiring for the aftermarket Vintage Air conditioning system that is installed and working in the car just perfectly. These pictures have nothing to do with my electrrical complaint issues from the inspection. SEE BELOW:
1. Horn for car not working - not even a 12 volt electrical source or wire is run to the horn and/or to button behind steering wheel. So tell me how did the horn ever work for the inspector on inspection day Automobile Inspection, LLC (AILLC)? And why was it checked that it was "OK" and working on the report???
2. Dash Lights that light up the actual dash at night - after getting up and behind the dash we found 2 sockets without bulbs in them and the "turn signal bulb socket" inserted into 1 of the actual dash light areas instead of turn signal area. Hence the reason the dash lights did not come on for me. So tell me how did the dash lights ever work for the inspector on the inspection day Automobile Inspection, LLC (AILLC)? And why was it checked that it was "OK" and working on the report???
3. Right Turn Signal not working - no bulb at all inserted into the socket hence the reason it doesnt work. So tell me how did the right turn signal ever work for the inspector on inspection day Automobile Inspection, LLC (AILLC)? And why was it checked that it was "OK" and working on the report???
4. Passenger Side Headlight not working - we found the actual socket that plugs into the rear of the headlight down and tucked under the frame. The only way to get to it was to take the entire battery hold down bracket off and trey to access the rear of the actual headlight bulb. This harness connector was never re-connected back when the car was restored probably by accident. So tell me how did the passenger side headlamp ever work for the inspector on inspection day Automobile Inspection, LLC (AILLC)? And why was it checked that it was "OK" and working on the report???
You see these things although minor are very unacceptable to me! I don't know if your subcontracted inspector lies or not and if you would gain anything by lying either... But I can tell you 1 thing as a "state licensed electrical engineer" & a "un-restricted master electrician" they never worked on inspection day!! I have clearly justified why above. The Seller would not simply go an sabbotage these simple things before I picked the car up either!
Now regarding the major issue - OIL LEAK that has cost me "an arm & a leg"...As stated on original complaint - AILLC's manager Mike told me that the inspector reviewed, inspected, & took pictures of the underneath of the car first because it was sitting up on the rack at the Sellers shop when he arrived. Tell me what professional inspector would inspect the undercarriage and fluid leaks of a car first without starting and test driving the car??? It makes no common sense to me at all. The car should have been started and test driven first then the under carriage inspected so that the fluids and engine were warmed up. The seller had plenty of time to wipe up and clean any/all issues and keep them from the inspector before he even arrived. So all those clean pictures of the engine and gearbox to me are absolutely VOID most especially since AILLC manager Mike stated his inspector looked over the undercarriage first when he arrived prior to starting & driving the car! No acceptable at all. I had the car running for 7 minutes at my house and brought it into the garage from the transport company at my curb and a 6" oil leak was found under the passenger side of the motor within 10 minutes. The oil pan gasket was split in 2 places on right rear corner of where the block & pan meet. Hence the major oil leak...
I suggest the AILLC immediatley instructs all of their inspctors in the field to make the undercarriage and fluid leak inspection of the car the last thing they do instead of the first like Mike the manager explained to me on the phone.
This makes no sense at all! I had to pay $1,600.00 so far for my reputable mechanic to carefully remove the hood, transmission, driveshaft, etc... to safely remove the engine from the car so it didn't scratch anything on the way out of the very detailed custom painted engine bay area of this restored car.
After having a couple of conversations and explaining all of this as stated above between Mike from AILLC & I on the phone, I can't believe he/the company did not offer me any refund at all! I am so very disatisfied with this company and how they handled the inspection and my complaint via phone and now through the BBB. I will never recommend them to anyone! And I am now requesting a full refund for this poor inspection and lack of customer service!
As you can now see, their responses and justifications don't justify anything but tell me their lack of professionalism and talent inspectinng a car. I mean a laymen or someone with no car mechanic background at all can easily see that these simple electrical things didn't or never worked. Also, a laymen would have enough sense to start and test drive a car first prior to looking underneath of the car for fluid leaks!!! It is absolutley absurd and I am fully disatisfied!
12/02/2010 cmg EMAIL Forward Consumer Rebuttal to Business (pursuant)
12/06/2010 WEB BBB RECEIVED BUSINESS' REBUTTAL RESPONSE : Dear BBB,
Thank you again for forwarding this customers response. We have reviewed the complaint again and spoken with our inspector. He states that the horn was definitely working and he checked the instruments lights which also worked. Clearly there are some electrical issues which can't be explained. In this situation, we proceed as follows; If we give the customer the benefit of the doubt and say the inspector is lying (even though he has no reason to), our next question is; "If the electrical issues had been reported are they significant enough to have caused the buyer to (a) not proceed with the purchase or (b) given him leverage to significantly renegotiate the price". Our feeling is that they wouldn't have prevented the buyer from proceeding with the purchase (especially as he is an electrical engineer) and they wouldn't have given him grounds to renegotiate, at best the seller would have likely just offered to fix them.
As for the oil leak, our position is clear. When we arrived the vehicle was on a lift and raised by the seller so we could photograph and inspect the underside. At that time (as shown clearly in the photos) there was NO oil leaks evident. If the buyer feels that the seller was intentionally deceptive and cleaned the underside of the engine off prior to our arrival, then his complaint should be direct at him. Also, we considered that our test drive was only 3 miles long, so even if the seller had elevated the car again upon our return, it's unlikely that an oil leak of the magnatude described by the buyer would show after such a short time.
We would like to refresh the clients memory as to our terms of service, to which he agreed, which in part read;
2 Our vehicle inspections are prepared from visual and external checks only and are limited to the parts and/or items identified on the inspection report sheet. Vehicle inspections do not involve dismantling or disturbing of any structure, assembly, component or internal mechanism.
3 Items which are listed on the inspection report sheet, but which are not reasonably accessible on the checked vehicle will not be inspected. In such circumstances we will be under no obligation to inspect and/or report on the part/item in question and will mark the relevant section of the report accordingly.
4 Without prejudice to clauses 1 and 2 above, please note that amongst the items we do not check are:
(a) Oil or fuel consumption.
(b) Source of oil leaks
(c) Brake lining material.
(d) Brake fluid for contamination. (Brake fluid will deteriorate over a period of time and we advise that it be replaced as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer).
(e) Operation of cassette, compact disc players or other in car entertainment apart from a radio.
(f) Quality of sound or radio reception, alarm systems and non-standard accessories.
(g) Cylinder compression
(h) Vehicle electrics and electronics by the use of specific diagnostic equipment.
(i) The accuracy of in-car computer systems (for example, but in no way restricted to, computers used for route finding, fuel efficiency or otherwise).
(j) Exhaust emissions, using gas-analyzing equipment.
(k) Air conditioning function and efficiency by the use of specific diagnostic equipment.
(l) Originality of specific components or equipment save taking photographs of same, and noting engine and chassis numbers when clearly visible.
4.1 Our inspection can only describe and/or identify defects actually found and/or which are reasonably capable of being found upon external visual consideration of the vehicle at the time of inspection. We cannot be held and are not responsible for any latent defects, which are later discovered. (We cannot advise of defects if we cannot see them, or they are not apparent during inspection of the vehicle concerned). In particular please note that (without limiting the possibility to such vehicles) vehicles over 5 years old, those that have a high mileage or which have been subjected to abnormal use may have latent defects. Whilst such defects may, in appropriate circumstances, give rise to a claim against a vehicle supplier they fall outside the scope of our reports and our reports are provided to, and accepted by, customers on this basis.
5 Road testing is carried out within the immediate area of the vehicle inspection. The term 'Test-Drive' does not necessarily mean that the inspector will actually drive the vehicle himself. If the seller refuses to grant permission, the vehicle is not legal for use on the road or deemed unsafe, the inspector may at his sole discretion elect to observe from the passenger seat or not ride in the vehicle at all. If, due to circumstances outside of our reasonable control, a road test cannot be carried out at the time of inspection, the original fee shall remain fully payable and an additional $100 fee will be payable for any subsequent road test we are asked to undertake. The customer is required to confirm to us that the vehicle requiring an inspection is insured and has a current registration; we will not be obliged to carry out a test drive if the customer is unable to confirm that the vehicle concerned has a valid registration and is insured. The carrying out of a test drive does not mean that we have seen a valid registration certificate.
6 It is the customer's responsibility to, and the customer must, ensure that proper provision is made (including the obtaining of any necessary permission) for our inspection to be carried out on garage premises with a means of elevating the vehicle, or on an off-road site with adequate level hard standing. (We need enough room for our operative to be able to walk round the vehicle and fully open all doors. There must also be enough room for our operative to park his own vehicle close to the inspection site.) If, due to circumstances outside of our reasonable control, the subject vehicle cannot be safely elevated at the time of inspection, the underside may not be inspected at all and the original fee shall remain fully payable. Furthermore an additional $100 fee will be payable for any subsequent visits we are asked to undertake in order to complete this aspect of the inspection process.
We are naturally sorry that this customer is not happy, however we feel that our service was performed per the pre-agreed terms of service and do not believe a refund is warranted in this case.
12/06/2010 cmg EMAIL Send Business' Rebuttal to Consumer
12/07/2010 WEB BBB CONSUMER REJECTS BUSINESS' OFFER : (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
It is very apparent that Automobile Inspection , LLC will not take any responsibility at all or even criticism on their inspection servioes completed on the car I hired them for...
They can reiterate, copy, and paste all of the terms & service that we both agreed to (that I clearly stated I knew and agreed to) as much as they want to make their response long as can be read above... However, it still does not excuse them to justify and answer the simple things I listed that were wrong with the car from the start.
They are incorrect about the negotiation between me & the seller. Although the electrical things are minor, it still would have given me grounds to renegotiate something. More importantly with the oil leak that has continued to cost me major money to repair. Why cant AILLC see that some negotiation is better than none? That's why I hired the inspection company. To get a professional opinion and to be able to negotiate with the Seller...
As far as the oil leak goes, it is major and shows nothing but incompetence on the inspection company's behalf. They still take no resposnibilty about the improper method of checking the underside of the car. Whether or not the Seller wiped anything clean prior to their arrival is irrevelant for my complaint between AILLC and I. That is a separte issue...My issue is that the inspection of the underside of the car, in my opinion, was done backwards by AILLC. I totally disagree with their comment about the underside inspection. If the seller had elevated the car again upon their return from the 3 mile test drive, it's very likely that the oil leak would of shown! How I know is that I didnt even have the car running for 5-7 miinutes from the curb to the garage and that was plenty enough time to show the oil leak of the magnitude described.
We can go on and on back and forth and it is very clear that AILLC will not take even a little responsibilty and admit to their improper and incompetent inspection service on my car. I have made it very clear of the common sense mistakes made and how unhappy I am with their service. I don't care how minor they feel some of the issues (electrical etc..) are. the inspection was not accurate! They were one of the most expensive inspection companies out there on the web!
I have owned and operated a business myself for over 10 years...And if a complaint of this nature was elevated and brought to my attention like this, I would most definitely take care of my customers and value my reputation for future companies regardless if I felt I was 100% right or wrong. I would defend myself as eveyone did here, but at the same time I would at least admit to some degree of the valid complaint of how some of the things on this inspection where simply not done correctly. I would make a resolution offer of some kind to make things proper with the unhappy customer. For some reason, AILLC can't even do that for me as the customer. It is very sad and unfortunate. Remember that the #1 Customer Service rule in every business is "Customer Satisfaction is #1" Always take care of your customers!!!It is a great marketing tool and future business income source.
Maybe they have so many customers that losing one regardless of the situation will not matter...??Believe me that this too is in the standard business practices handbook. This will come around one day to hurt a business...
I am still open for some type of settlement. Please advise if they are willing to make things somewhat right and fair regardless of the "terms and serrvice" clauses they listed. We all have terms and services clauses as a business...but taking care of our customers should always be on top and #1!
12/07/2010 cmg BBB Bureau Judged Case DISPUTED
12/07/2010 Otto EMAIL Inform Consumer - Case CLOSED DISPUTED
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