It’s all here in the letter, also see my post about Tires Plus Total Car Care and AAA Auto Club South. I have some lovely pictures of what they did. They do not want to take any responsibility for this at all. When if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Beware in Orlando Florida AAA Auto Club South does NOT CARE AT ALL!!!! Now my letter to them….. June 24, 2003 Heather Braden AAA Auto Club South 1211 First Ave North St. Petersburg Fl. 33733 1 800 388-6725 ext.2043 Dear Ms. Braden, As I explained to you at the end of our phone conversation on June 20th 2003, I am writing you this letter so that there is a record of my experience with the company you work for, AAA Auto Club South On Tuesday June 17th at approximately 8:00 p.m. my family and I were getting ready to leave the Royal Pacific Resort 6300 Hollywood Way in Orlando Florida, when we discovered that our van was not working properly. It would start and move but it shook considerably. Due to the fact we had about a 250-mile journey ahead of us, we knew that it was not drivable. So, I immediately called the AAA for a service call. About 40 minutes later a tow truck came and I asked the driver whose name was Herb to only take my van to the closest authorized AAA certified repair facility. (I expected at the time since I was in Orlando Florida and due to the volume of visitors to the area in addition to the highly publicized endorsement from both Universal Studios and Walt Disney World of AAA this would not be a problem) He stated that he did not know where there was one and that he could take it to a Pontiac Dealer, and I would probably pay more money for the repairs, not knowing whether or not they would be AAA certified, or I could take my van to his friend that was an ex-marine and that he would take care of me. Well I asked him if the repair facility, L&M Automotive Inc. (He gave me a flyer from their business), was an AAA certified repair shop. He said no, but they were trying to be. I said to him that I was not interested and that if he could not tow me to one that was certified by AAA, then I would have to wait until the morning and try again. It was after 9:00 p.m. and I believed that all the repair shops were probably closed at that time. I decided that it would be much wiser to wait until the repair shops were open the next day, to get one that was AAA certified. I went back to the hotel and for the next hour or so the staff at the hotel tried to find my family a hotel room for the night, since the properties at Universal Studios Orlando were totally booked. My family and I did not have a place to stay. I did ask AAA if they could help me get a room, but the operator gave me another number to call, I did call it but I was on hold for a while. The staff at the hotel did find me a room, and told me to book it as soon as possible to ensure that I had a place to stay for the night. Orlando was very busy and most of the hotels that I called on my own were booked for the night. Thankfully the staff at The Royal Pacific Resort came through for me, and found me a room at the Best Western Plaza International 8738 International Drive Orlando Florida. I left my van at the Royal Pacific Resort and my family and I took a cab to the Best Western Plaza International, and stayed there for the night. June 18th 2003 At 8:00 a.m. I took a $10.00 shuttle that was supposed to be free, back to the Royal Pacific Resort and called AAA for a tow truck again. In this phone call I made it very, very clear that I had already called for a tow the night before and sent away a tow truck that would not, or could not, take me to a AAA certified repair facility. I told the operator that I would only accept an AAA certified repair facility. I waited to the next day because I thought I would have more success in the day then at night, even though AAA offers 24-hour service. I made it very specific, so specific that she noted in whatever way your company notes statements from members, that the driver of the tow truck was to only take me to an AAA certified repair facility. When the driver arrived he asked me what the problem was and I told him that the van shook when I started it and all the coolant was gone. I knew that the coolant system was definitely one of the problems since there was obviously no coolant in the reservoir. He told me that AAA no longer would let the tow driver even look at the vehicle and that he would tow it. I asked him if he was towing me to an AAA certified repair facility because I had requested it on the phone to the operator and that I did not want to go anywhere else. He was on his cell phone talking to a Kevin which I now believed was the manager of the repair shop to which he towed me. I asked him again the same question and he said yes! I said, Good, because I knew that AAA would guarantee the work and since I was from out of town, I didnt want to be taken advantage of and this is why I was so specific in my request to be towed to a AAA certified facility. He towed my van to Tires Plus Total Car Care at 4801 S. Kirkman Road in Orlando and I went inside while he took my van off of the tow truck and gave my keys to the person Kevin, at Tires Plus Total Car Care. I walked inside and went up to the counter. The very first words out of my mouth were, Are you an AAA approved repair facility? The person behind the counter said yes! He even stated that Tires Plus also would guarantee the work. Once I was assured that I was at an approved repair shop I let them look at the van. It was 9:00 a.m. I waited at Tires Plus until about 10:00 a.m. and asked them if they knew what was wrong with the van. They did not know so I proceeded to rent a car from Hertz because the operator at AAA said that I would get a special rate since I had broken down and gave me a special confirmation number (CDP1137066) I called the local Hertz and they picked me up at Tires Plus and I rented a car. I returned to my family at the Best Western Plaza International and checked out at Noon. I did not want to pay for an additional day, and I wanted to be able to drive home that night, safely. I did not know what was wrong with the van and I would have to return to my home in Dania Beach Florida, whether the van would be ready that day or not. It was apparent that my husband would not make it to work at noon on June 18th. But would have to work on June 19th or risk loosing his job. At this point based on the information I had, I decided that I would return to my home in the rent-a-car if the van was not ready, and drop it off at the Fort Lauderdale airport 10:30 a.m. on June 19th. (This is stated in my contract with Hertz that I had this option or to return it to the location that I rented it from), and my sister would drive me back up to Orlando to pick up the van when it was ready. I drove my family back to Tires Plus and asked them if they knew what was wrong with the van. It was 1:00 p.m. and they still did not know. My family and I went across to Friendlys restaurant next door and had something to eat. We returned to Tires Plus about an hour later and asked them if they knew what was wrong. Kevin stated that it was the water pump and something was wrong with piston number 5 but they couldnt figure it out. I then called my mechanic that I always use in south Florida and spoke with him concerning what was said. I had the water pump replaced on April 19 2002 (I have a receipt of the work) and asked him if it could be that. My mechanic said it sounded possible since the water pump was an over a year old and was a rebuilt. My family and I waited for about an hour and finally Kevin came to me and explained that they now knew what the problem was. Fuel injector number five wasnt working and would have to be replaced. I explained to him that I had just replaced that exact one and number 6 a little over a year ago, and that it was very strange that it would break. I then called my mechanic and he said that it was very strange as well. He told me to defiantly get my parts back so that he could look at them and see if this was indeed the case. When Kevin first came to me with the estimate I told him that I wanted my parts back so my mechanic could look at them. I even saw him highlight it in bright yellow on the repair order. He then explained that fuel injector five and six (strange that number 6 was now broken as well), would have to be replaced. So, I told them to go ahead with the work, but be sure to give me my parts. He came back a little while later and told me that he forgot to add the charge of $80.00 for the diagnostic, and added that to my already growing bill. He recommended some more work, about $300 worth. I asked him if I could drive it home without this additional repair work. He assured me that I didnt need it done to make the 250-mile drive home. What choice did I have, they knew and I knew that I was 250-miles away from home. That I had no place to stay for the night. I had a seven-year-old daughter that I was concerned about and I wanted to drive home, SAFELY. They knew I was going to return home that night, one way or the other. They knew I could afford the repairs because my husband I and were both calling our credit cards to check on available balances and used all the credit we had, two credit cards and a bank card, to pay a balance of $867.63 All I kept thinking was that AAA had sent me here and that they were certified. I asked them again in front of my husband, and the man behind the counter said yes. I did find it odd that they came back to me later and said they were having trouble finding parts and they were going to go with GM (Delco I assume), parts for the fuel injectors. Rather then other parts that would save me some money. I called my mechanic and he said since the parts he put in were GM Delco and since the 2 fuel injectors they wanted to replace were also the same two he replaced on January 28th 2002 (I still have the receipts of all the work done) to be sure I got the parts because I would have no other way to prove they were replaced. It was now about 3:30 p.m. and My husband, 7 year old daughter and I decided to ride around Orlando and see the sights on International drive, and to confirm the route to the Hertz car rental if we had to drop off the car, if the van was ready before 6 p.m. Since the location I rented from closed at 6:00 p.m. we would have to drop the car off at Orlando Airport after 6:00 p.m. or drive both cars to Dania beach. An expensive option, though we were considering it, in light of our growing apprehension concerning the integrity of the repair shop at this point. We returned to Tires Plus around 4:45 p.m. I asked the person at the counter if the van would be ready and safe, (as if I should stress this point with certified mechanics?), to drive home today. I explained to him I needed to know before 5:30 p.m. because we were considering our options and didnt want to drive to the airport to return the rent-a-car. He told me he would find out and at 5:45 he said that yes, the van would be done that day, before they closed at 7:00 p.m. I did make a point of asking him if the van would be safe to drive. He said yes! My family and I were very happy and I left my husband at Tires Plus Total Car Care to stay with the van and I went back to the Hertz I rented from to return the car. The Hertz driver drove me back to Tires Plus and I got there a little before 6:30 p.m. When I arrived all the bays were closed, all of the mechanics including Kevin, the person that I had dealt with all day were gone. The only person there was the person to whom I paid the bill and I assume that he was James Punderson from my receipt, I had spoken with him through the day as well. I have a business card from the location and it has Kevin Beckwith, store manager printed on it. This store manager, that kept me in limbo for 9 hours that day, that made $867.63 from me, didnt wait long enough for me to get back from Hertz. At this point I felt that my greatest fears were becoming reality. I paid for my bill and got my keys, the van was parked out front. I asked the cashier for my parts and he looked at me. At first he just looked at me and said nothing. He then gave me a response something to the effect of I dont know! At this point I said, Well, AAA would guarantee the work so Ill be all right. He responded that Tires Plus Total car Care would guarantee the work as well. Here I was, the store was closing early at 6:30 p.m. and the manager was gone. All the lights were turned off and the bays I assumed were locked up. The only person there was the guy behind the counter that didnt know I had just returned my rent a car and did not have a room for the night. I only hoped that I would get home safe at this point. Why I had just spent over $850.00. So I took my bill and left. I put gas in the van across the street and headed down the Florida Turnpike toward our home in Dania Beach. At approximately 10:30 p.m. as we approached our Turnpike exit at Griffin road, the vans temperature gage started to go up. We watched it carefully, it was running hot, but fortunately we had made it home. June 19th 2003 At 10:30 a.m. we drove the van to our regular mechanic to see why it was running hot. By the time the van made it to Romeos Auto Repair on Dixie Highway coolant was shooting all over the engine. When my mechanic looked under the hood he was shocked. He pointed out that the oil cap was not even screwed on and that the engine cover underneath the cap wasnt even set in right. He also pointed out that the breather hose to the throttle body was not connected either. At this point I was furious. How could mechanics let me drive 250-miles in the rain in a vehicle in this condition? Well, at least I was protected by AAA, or so I thought. I called AAA for a tow truck to take me to the nearest Tires Plus Total Car Care. The closest location was at 201 North Federal Highway. When I arrived there I told Floyd and Charlie the two mechanics who I dealt with there about the van and that there was something wrong with it. I didnt know what was wrong. I didnt even let my mechanic touch it I just had it towed back to them. I waited to find out what the problem was with the van. In the meantime I contacted AAA and asked the person I spoke with about AAA guaranteeing the work and she told me that ……… Tires Plus Total Car Care was NOT A CERTIFIED AAA REPAIR FACILITY. At this point I could not believe what had happened to me. I had AAA the best roadside assistance out there. Why they had been in business for over 100 years. I had a Plus membership, the best. Universal Studios Florida endorsed AAA; I received discounts all over the park. I was protected from something like this. I specifically requested a AAA certified repair facility from the operator. I sent the first tow truck driver away because he would not take me to a AAA certified repair facility. I asked the second driver if he was taking me to a AAA certified repair facility. I asked the person at Tires Plus Total Car Care if they were AAA certified. I drove 223 miles in a vehicle that the oil cap was not even on ………….. I had AAA I WAS PROTECTED! Right? Wrong! I was not protected! I dont remember now whom I spoke with next I was so upset. I spoke with a Katrina at extension 0047 at some point, and Heather, according to my notes. I did speak with an Orlando office. I was told that it is the members responsibility to ensure that they were taken to a AAA certified repair facility. She explained that there was a book that listed all the certified repair facilities in the area. I explained that I did not have access to this book at the time I called, and that I requested a certified repair facility from the AAA operator. Her response was that I must have been lied to and that they will say anything to get your business I did not go to a AAA certified repair facility so it was my responsibility to correct this problem. She then gave me some phone numbers, a service manager RBS towing and I believe, the Better Business Bureau. In the meantime the mechanic Charlie at the Tires Plus Total Car Care in Fort Lauderdale told me something to the effect that the problem was the water pump and they didnt do a very good job referring to the work done in Orlando at the Tires Plus. I told him to please fix it so that I could have the van back. I had talked to AAA about renting a car from Hertz and I had a reservation number of CDP1137066 but decided to wait with the van. I spoke with Floyd one of the mechanics and asked him if I could have the parts. He at first said yes then he told me that he could not give me the defective water pump, because they needed it to get a credit in that store. I said I could understand that, but then I wanted to talk to the main office. By this time my cell phone had died and I asked to use their phone to call the corporate office. Floyd told me to wait, and that they would fix my van. I wasnt going to yank the phone across the counter like I wanted too, and rant and rave to someone at the corporate office, so I very calmly sat and waited. The van was running at about 5:30 p.m. and it was too late to go back to my mechanic that day. I continued to drive it that evening. June 20th 2003 I drove the van to my mechanic after dropping my husband at work and could not get an appointment that day. He did look under the hood at my request to see whether it was okay to drive through the weekend. Well, the oil cover was replaced properly, but the breather hose to the throttle body was still not connected, I asked him to look further and he noticed that a bolt was missing that holds on the ignition module and coil packs. He said it was drivable and I have an appointment on Monday June 23 2003 to have it looked over completely. I do not have the funds for him too completely open up the engine at see if the fuel injectors really were replaced. Coincidently they are the same fuel injectors I replace on January 28th 2002 and I have the receipt. I DID NOT GET MY PARTS THAT I REQUESTED FROM TIRES PLUS, THAT I REQUESTED TWICE! AAA told me that I was on my own and I just could not believe that this was true. This is why I contacted you by phone and why I have spent the better part of my day typing this letter to you. I feel that AAA let me down. I want to know why I have AAA? I would have been better off opening the yellow pages, picking out a towing company blindfolded, a repair shop blindfolded and hope I didnt get screwed. Instead I purchased an AAA Plus membership and had the false sense of security that I would be taken care of. That something like what just happened to me couldnt happen. And if it did, AAA would stand behind me. I told you over the phone that even though I had spoken with you and told you my story, that I would follow with a letter and I would include more information since at the time we was the first opportunity I had to call from my own home, and that I was very, very upset. I am sending you this letter as a record of my entire experience in the hope that whatever department handles the Orlando area and what happens in that area, is aware of my nightmare experience. And that hopefully no one else will be subjected to an experience like this. I just dont understand how this could happen in Orlando Florida. This is a big tourist destination; AAA is promoted extensively by the major theme parks. I happened to stay in a hotel in Universal Florida, one of those major theme parks. Why didnt anyone know of an AAA certified repair facility? I was not in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Was the fact that I stayed at a $200 a night hotel make me an easy target? Did I do something wrong? How could I of tried harder? Why didnt anyone at AAA help me? Why did the tow truck driver lie to me? Why did Tires Plus Total Car Care lie to me? Why didnt I get my parts? Why is my van in the shape it is in? Why, Why, Why?………………………………… June 24 2003 I came back from my mechanic yesterday and it cost me an additional $120 in labor for him to replace missing bolts and hoses that were not put in on the original coolant job. I am enclosing a picture of a creation they made and used on my van instead of a $6.00 part. Why did they use this creation and were so concerned about GM Delco parts for my fuel injectors? These guys are nothing but crooks. Your people sent me to them and they could of killed my family by letting us drive our van in the condition it was in. I am going to pursue this till the very end. I am shocked at how your company and Tires Plus has now abandoned me and no one I repeat NO ONE has even contacted me at all! From either company. I guess in addition to packing my AAA card I should of packed the Vaseline. I will be waiting for your reply. Sincerely, Mrs. Tracy Tracy 33004, FloridaU.S.A. Click here to read other Ripoff Scamss on Tires Plus
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