|When my truck broke down my husband decided to use this place because they had recently placed flyers on all the homes in our neighborhood. I think the main thing my husband was thinking about was the free tow but of course nothing is free.|
The shop owner "Tom" spent at least an hour with my husband explaining how easily they could fix my truck's hole in the valve cover that was caused by the timing chain losing time. Then when my daughter and I arrived he spent an additional hour with us. One of the main questions I asked that night was "Is it worth fixing a 1998 Explorer?" because who would want to sink a couple thousand dollars on such an old vehicle. I was given a definitive YES from Tom. Tom went on to say "you have a good engine since you were able to drive so many miles with no problem". In my mind maybe that's an indication that the engine is on it's last leg but I'm not the mechanic so I had no choice but to trust Tom. HUGE MISTAKE.
My truck had several other issues and could not even pass smog. Tom provided an invoice of $1300 to fix everything. He swore my truck would be running like a new vehicle. I felt $1300 was too much to spend on the truck but both my husband and Tom assured me this was a fantastic price. After his initial diagnostics Tom stated the only difference to the total would be possibly $50 for additional spark plugs. My family and I left the shop so we could have time to think it over and maybe get other estimates.
The next time we stopped by The Auto Clinic to inform Tom we weren't sure when we could start work on the truck due to finances Tom was "kind-hearted" enough to offer that if we just gave him $400 to start ordering some of the parts he could start working on the truck and even return it to me when they were done so I could make payments to pay off the remainder while still driving my freshly repaired vehicle. Sounds too good to be true right? My husband jumped on this and quickly handed The Auto Clinic our last bit of savings. Tom stated we would have the truck back that afternoon or the next day. That was on a Tuesday. We drove by the shop on Thursday and I noticed my truck still sitting outside behind the garage with nothing being done to it. Tom said later they were still waiting on the parts to come it. What happened to the same day or next day turnaround? Guess that was another made up idea Tom came up with.
Needless to say The Auto Clinic found more problems when they dug deeper. Now the truck has clogged valves and need the engine needs to be sent to a machinist to work on the heads. These new problems will cost another $200-$400 and maybe even more if the whole engine needs to be replaced. What?!?!?! The "GOOD" engine may need to be replaced.
I already expressed I was unwilling and unable to spend more than the already exuberate price we were given on the first day. It is an old truck. My Explorer lived a good life just let him rest in piece. Over the phone we told Tom we were not interested in going further with the repair and were told we owe him an additional $325 in order to have the truck returned to us unfixed of course. When I questioned further what the $725 ($325+$400 we'd already paid) was for Tom replied it would cover parts and labor. I then said "so you put parts on the truck already?' Tom replied "No. There's no use doing that until the engine problems are fixed." I then said "So you will just give me the parts so I can go to another repairperson?" Again I was told no. He said he would return the parts and get his money back for them however I still had to pay for the parts?!?!?!?!?! I obviously did not understand this policy so as I continue to ask questions Tom abruptly said he needed to get off the phone as he was very busy. This is the same man who had TWO HOURS to talk to us when we first brought in the vehicle. Now Tom has changed his story that the $725 is strictly for labor.
I think it is extremely unfair to pay $725 for labor when nothing was done other than a deeper diagnostics or maybe tearing out the engine. I am willing to pay the $400 but what is the extra $325 for? Tom says that it is customary for a shop to charge half of the estimate even if the work is not done. This was not told to me in the beginning of this ordeal. Not to mention $725 is more than 1/2 of $1300.
As of now we are at a standstill. My truck is still being held hostage at The Auto Clinic until I can figure out what to do.
I will advise everyone I know to NOT deal with this company at all. Their claims of being fair are blatant lies!