My air conditioner was not functioning properly in my vehicle. It cooled but required me to keep purchasing freon about once every three weeks. Additionally, whenever the freon was almost out, I could smell some sort of chemical when I turned on the AC. The heat was getting too much, so I decided to try and get the AC repaired. I did not know where to begin so my dad suggested AAA website. I have the roadside assistance and he has the automobile insurance. I knew of other mechanics, but I agreed that this was probably the better source of information. I went to the AAA website and found a service provider less than two miles from my house.
July 19, 2019, I went to Advanced Auto Tech at 5304 Allum Road in Houston. I noticed your logo on their sign. They also had an advertisement on the marquis stating that they performed free AC checks. It made me feel hopeful as if I were in the right place to take care of my vehicle. A woman entered my information and the issue I was having with my air conditioning. Tony took my keys and I waited. A short time later Tony came back with my keys and attempted to charge me around $60. I reminded him that he had a sign that stated my diagnosis was free. He replied that it was but that the freon costs money and he had to put freon in my vehicle to find the leak. I did not have the money and explained to him that he was not forthcoming with that information from the beginning. He said he thought someone else in the office told me. He then added it to my estimate which came out to $875.23. I found this to be a little dishonest, but I brushed it aside and blamed it on my own lack of knowledge.
When I got the funds together for the repairs, I called to get an appointment. I left my vehicle with them on August 15, 2019 before the close of business, with their permission. The next day, August 16, 2019, approximately 12:19, they called to inform me that my vehicle was ready. I left work and went to Advance Auto Tech to pick up my vehicle. I presented my AAA card which took $50 off my bill. I paid by visa bank card, $825. My AC was blowing cold and strong. I noticed a faint odor coming from the AC but dismissed it as residual that would dissipate within a day or so of using the AC.
On August 20, 2019, I called to notify Advanced Auto Tech that I could still smell the chemical coming through the vents. The person who answered the phone said that they would let management know. I expected someone to contact me, but no one did. I called again on August 29, 2019 and Tony (I believe he is the manager or owner) answered the phone. I explained to him that the smell that was in my vehicle before he repaired the AC was still there. He asked was the AC still cooling. I told him that it was still cooling but I noticed that it was not as cool as when I left his shop after the repairs. I also let him know that the smell was the same as when the AC was malfunctioning. He told me to bring it back in and he would check.
I took my vehicle back to Advanced Auto Tech. After a few minutes, Tony brought back my keys. He told me that some of the freon had leaked out and they topped it off. I asked why. He gave some vague answers and said if it continued to bring it back again. The issue did continue. I returned to Advanced Auto Tech September 20, 2019. This time when I reminded Tony about the smell coming from the vent along with the diminished cooling, he told me that freon did not have a smell. At this point I just told him okay and reiterated that something is seeping through my vent when my air is not working properly.
I waited in the lobby while one of the technicians evaluated my vehicle. Tony sat in the office seemingly working on other things. In a very short time, the technician returned my keys to me smiling. I thanked him but continued to sit it the waiting area for Tony to give me information about my vehicle. After about 10 minutes, I decided to see if he was just waiting on me to leave. I asked him was I done. He said yes. I replied, “No. You have not told me what is wrong with my airconditioning.” He started to briefly ramble and tell me that his technician said I had some other issues earlier but there were no notes made. He then stopped what he was doing and went to his computer. He kept saying that I was not going to like it, but he could give me an estimate. He then, without giving me any printout, told me that what he needed to fix was going to cost an additional $1100. I expressed that this was not acceptable. If I had another issue with my air conditioning, this should have been added to the original diagnosis. He, again, brought up the issue of the odor. I reminded him that I gave him that information from the beginning and today was the first time he told me that it could not have been freon. Then he said he had physically seen green oil coming from the condenser around the hoses and pointed to where he saw it. I promptly let him know that I put motor oil in my vehicle often and would have notice such a leak. (Side note: I have been to more transparent mechanics who would have gladly shown me this type of easily seen proof before taking out a part that seemed to look and function well.) He then tried to convince me that it was so miniscule and light that I would have missed it. Finally, he offered to order some sort of stop leak for the bigger $1100 issue that would be less expensive. I left his shop feeling like I had been taken advantage of. Furthermore, the freon leaked out in one day this time! It seemed as if whatever they did to fix the problem, made it worse.
With everything that had taken place, I lost trust in the ability of Advance Auto Tech to repair my vehicle. Had I met Tony and Advanced Auto Tech on my own, I honestly would have been done with them after the first questionable visit. However, because they were AAA approved, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Now that they had shown themselves to be untrustworthy, I decided to contact AAA. The first person I spoke to, was a woman whose name I did not get, who seemed to have empathy for my situation. She took my complaint by phone and let me know that someone would be contacting me about my issue.
On September 24, 2019, Fred Johnson contacted me by phone. I told him my situation. He immediately told me that usually on a vehicle as old as mine that experienced technicians replace the whole system which could run about $3200. Mr. Johnson began speaking on their behalf and told me it sounded like they were trying to save me money. I expressed to Mr. Johnson that spending $825 and still riding in the heat was not saving me. I should have been given options. Obviously, their diagnosis was off if they replaced parts and I still have the same issue or worse. Mr. Johnson claimed that he would contact Advanced Auto Tech and get back to me. Several days passed and I did not hear from Mr. Johnson from AAA or Tony from Advanced Auto Tech.
On October 2, 2019, I contacted Mr. Johnson to follow up on my complaint. Mr. Johnson informed me that he would call Tony that day and get back to me the following day. Mr. Johnson called me October 3, 2019 as promised. However, no one seemed to agree that what happened to me warranted a refund. He said Tony would not give me a refund because he put parts on my vehicle but would work with me. With everything that has occurred, I have no reason to trust this shop with my vehicle. Mr. Johnson claimed that Tony was supposed to call me the same day and speak to me. I did not receive a call from Tony until I called Mr. Johnson twice and left a message the second time. Tony Called October 7, 2019. He still maintains that he did nothing wrong. He said he could not give me a refund and could not put my parts back on because he did not have them. I appealed to him once more October 8, 2019 to which he said he could do the job at cost, $800, but this time he added that it may not fix the issue.
I would like to have my hard-earned money returned to my bank account. I would like to choose from the many trusted mechanics that will probably never land on AAA website but have both extensive knowledge and above all, integrity. I want women (and men) of little knowledge and meager earnings to have the ability to go to a mechanic that can be trusted. Advanced Auto Tech is not such a place. I would advise them that they may not be able to find this on AAA website. I would suggest that AAA separate themselves from businesses who are thriving by taking advantage of people while hanging on AAA’s trusted reputation and the reputation that their business may have earned earlier on, but no longer deserve. I am hoping that someone can help me resolve this satisfactorily. I realize that there are avenues that I can use but I was trying to resolve this informally.
I wish you would have said something, so I could have explained to you that we had a mouse die right on the other side of the wall office wall, in the shop area. I surely can't wait for the smell to subside as well. The dogs are bathed weekly, they also are all potty trained. I am most certain it was not the animals we have rescued off the streets. Thanks for your feed back, but next time, a little communication wouldn't hurt. Thanks for your business and have a nice day. Lisa