01/31/2002 – At about 10:30 AM, I drove my car to Auto Air Auto Care Of Boca to have the A/C belt replaced and the alternator and power steering belts tensioned. The car, as usual, was running fine, except for some occasional squeal from the belts. I gave them my cell phone number and signed a blank estimate form for belt servicing, expecting, based on conversations with other mechanics, that I would get charged about $65 and certainly less than $100. The estimate form stated no dollar amount for either the parts or labor (this was the first red flag). At about 4:30 PM, the Auto Air business owner informed me that Auto Air had finished servicing the belts, but that the car would no longer run. First he said the car might be out of gas. Then he said maybe the timing belt had broken. Then he said maybe the alternator had developed a short circuit. At 5:00 PM, he closed the shop and promised to come in the next morning at 3:00 AM to diagnose the problem. 02/01/2002 – I returned to Auto Air at about 9:30 AM to check my car’s status. The business owner informed me that he had not yet looked at the car, and that another mechanic would look at the car at 10:30. I informed him that I needed a car for my work starting at 11:00. He referred me to a rental car agency and promised to deduct the cost of the rental car from my bill. I used the rental car at work and received no cell phone or other phone calls from Auto Air. 02/02/2002 – I returned to Auto Air at about 9:30 AM to check my car’s status. The receptionist informed me that the the car was running and handed me a bill for $476.80. I disputed the unexpected size of the bill. A mechanic asserted that the car’s distributor had failed and that to start the car, he had had to replace the car’s distributor. The mechanic offered the choice of either paying the full bill immediately, or of allowing Auto Air to reinstall the old distributor, receiving a partial refund, and having my no-longer-running car towed away from their shop. The mechanic asserted that Auto Air had made very little money on the repairs and the receptionist asserted that only the business owner could negotiate the price of the repairs, and that the business owner would not return to work until 02-04-2002. In shock, I paid the bill and drove the car home. 02/03/2002 – I called several auto parts stores and mechanics and learned that Auto Air had charged me $95 more for the distributor than I could have paid elsewhere. I also noticed that Auto Air had charged me 1.5 hours labor for the belt servicing, twice the labor that other repair shops had quoted. Auto Air also had deducted only $23.67 for the rental car, while I had paid $40.38 for the rental car. 02/04/2002 – I returned to Auto Air at about noon to attempt to re-negotiate the bill. The receptionist asserted that only the business owner could negotiate the price of the repairs, and that the business owner would not return to work for a few weeks. The mechanic offered to reinstall the old distributor and refund my money. I accepted that offer. The mechanic removed the new distributor and reinstalled the old distributor. I noticed that he accomplished that task in less than thirty minutes, even though he had billed me a full hour for the first distributor installation. The receptionist refunded only the parts charge for the distributor, but not the labor charge, and none of the taxes. I told both the receptionist and the mechanic that I wanted all my money back. They refused and the mechanic declared that he was in temporarily in charge of Auto Air and demanded that I leave immediately and tow my disabled car away. 02/05/2002 – I installed a $201.39 distributor in my car myself. On inspecting the old distributor, I noticed that the metal housing was broken and one of the electrical component fastening screws was missing. 02/07/2002 – I reported the foregoing to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and noticed that Auto Air of Boca already had an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB. March/2002 – I received a response through the BBB from Auto Air in which Auto Air asserted falsely that they had received verbal authorization from me to perform the distributor repair. According to Florida state law, once a customer signs an estimate, a business can do extra work with just a verbal authorization. So in court, it would be my word against theirs about the verbal authorization. Beware! If you take your car to Auto Air for even a $1 repair, they could do $1000 worth of work and claim that you verbally authorized the extra work. I got ripped off for a only few hundred dollars and had my previously-well-running car towed from their shop. If you take your car to Auto Air, there is no guarantee that Auto Air will treat you even as well as they treated me. Dan Culver City, CaliforniaU.S.A.
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My husband and I our purchased in the fall of 2019. They enticed us saying that we could get a free vacation to Hawaii and free airfare
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