Larry or Sharon Email – [email protected] Larry is a Riverboat worker. He was working on a boat on the Mississippi and was living in New Roads, LA during the first half of this year. He drives a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder. We have historically maintained good preventive service. In keeping with this policy, Larry had a local transmission service check his transmission and Bello Transmissions serviced it in June of 1998.We chose the company because they were listed as having been in business for a long time and were recommended by another mechanic. Larry was working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and caught up on sleep on his rare off days. As a result of this, his car was logging very little mileage to and from his place of work. In early August a job change required a trip to St. Louis. On this trip, Larry developed mechanical problems and went to a local service provider, Schaeffer Auto Repair. The owner, Mr. Carl Gendece, examined the car and said we needed to have internal service work on the transmission. He recommended a second service provider, The Transmission Factory, who had a reputation for warranty and quality service. Upon examination of the car, John Budd, the owner of The Transmission Factory, said that the transmission was going out. They recommended the necessary replacement and Larry agreed. He arranged for hotel, rental car and left the vehicle in their care for the fully authorized repairs. Larry stopped at the repair shop the next day to check on the progress and was informed by the proprietor that someone had messed up his transmission during previous service. (This transmission had never had anything other than maintenance checks and routine service). The owner proceeded to show Larry that a bolt that was not an original (too long) had been substituted and when it was installed, it’s excessive length, penetrated the chamber holding the fluids. They theorized that when the car was taken on a long trip and got hot, the fluid began to seep out leaving the transmission at unnecessary and unanticipated risk. The Transmission Factory owner provided a statement of the problem he found, took photos of the problem and salvaged the old transmission since the damage is apparent to the naked eye. Larry spoke to the first service provider who reviewed the damage and supported the findings on the reason for the problem. Let me emphasize that Larry had authorized a new transmission. There was no reason for these servicemen to identify this problem except that they were upset by the apparent negligence and felt that we should know. They have offered to provide additional statements or testimony if it is necessary. Each of these service providers were very professional. The car was repaired and we have had no additional problems with it. Larry accepted the job in St. Louis and on his return to New Roads to prepare for this move. On or about August 30th, 1999, Larry went to Bello’s shop and asked for the owner. An employee told him that Bello was out with sick. Larry spoke with the employee, left a copy of the statement from Triple A. He left address and phone number in St. Louis for contact. On September 17th, 1999 We wrote to Bello by certified mail and received no response to the letter, so I called Mr. Bello, explained my call and left messages for him to call me on September 24th and the 28th. No call was returned, so I called again on September 30th at 3:30 P.M. and Mr. Bello answered the phone. I explained the call, the letter, my problem with the car, the date of the work and asked if he was familiar with my issue. He said yes. I asked if he was prepared to respond to our loss. He said No! I won’t do anything. He said the letter had been turned over to his attorney asked for the name of his attorney and he said he would not give me the name. Bello said he wanted to see the receipt to see what he did to the car. I gave him the date and told him we paid $75.37 for the service on the transmission. He said he had no record and did not know what he did. Mr. Bello said three months was too long to come back on him and that we should have come back to him when we started having problems. I told Mr. Bello that while in Louisiana Larry only drove the car back and forth to work. We had no problem until he took it on the trip to St. Louis on August 23rd, 1999. I explained the Schaeffer Auto repair findings and Mr. Bello said he put the same bolts back in the car and that it had over 100,000 miles on it. Mr. Bello said we waited too long and that I could get an Attorney if I liked, but that he would do nothing. Mr. Bello was belligerent and impatient to get off the phone. The conversation ended. A copy of the letter that we sent to Bello ……. Mr. Bello, My 1993 Nissan Pathfinder’s transmission was routinely serviced at your place of business on June 3rd 1999. Your help damaged my transmission by using a bolt that was so long it pierced the O-ring, causing the leak and damage. I provided your employee with documentation on this matter and I have not heard from you. Please provide for reimbursement or provide the name of your insurance company. I want to know your intentions forthwith. Sincerely, Larry __________ There appears to be no attorney that we can find in the 50 mile radius of New Roads, LA that wants to handle an approximate $5000.00 claim. There are no governmental agencies that are available to handle the complaint or hold these merchants accountable. An attorney’s office that I spoke with informed me that they get hundreds of these calls and they know of no one who will handle them. We were able to afford the economics of the situation. However, I am concerned for those citizens who have limited resources and this kind of rip off would devastate theri famiy. If there is a way, We would like to pursue Bello on the basis of human decency and in pursuit of justice. Thank you for your consideration of this complaint. I do have documentation to back up the statements made and we still have the damaged transmission.
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