Tips on Automotive Repair Complaint Resolution

by ‎10-27-2009 01:18 PM - edited ‎10-27-2009 01:23 PM (4,520 Views)

We'd like to think it will never happen, but inevitably it does. People get their feelings hurt, folks say things they shouldn't say and, on occasion, threats of getting attorneys involved fly across the counter. Is this an episode of People's Court? No, just some poor communication between an automotive repair facility and a consumer!


In my 20 years of dealing with AAA members' vehicle concerns with respect to automotive repair facilities, 90 percent of the complaints that come across my desk are communication based. Many of those cases could have been resolved had the repair shop taken the time to effectively explain the repair or procedure. In other cases, the shop over-promised and under-delivered.


While there are a variety of reasons why retailers and consumers sometimes disagree, there is a good way to deal with the complaint...and a bad way. Here are a couple of suggestions to resolve a concern:

  • Start with the manager/owner of the repair shop. If it was an employee that performed in error, chances are that management is unaware. I'll bet they will take every reasonable action to correct it.
  • If that proves unsuccessful, get a second opinion from another repair facility on your vehicle—not the situation! Circle back to the first facility's owner/manager and let him/her know your findings.
  • If that proves unsuccessful, get a third party arbitrative mechanism involved. For AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities, AAA has an arbitration agreement that is contractually binding. For other general repair facilities, you can check with the Better Business Bureau or state agencies such as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • If your vehicle is still under factory warranty, there is a formal mediation process that must be followed before filing for Lemon Law. That information is given along with the owner's manual upon new car delivery.


Some methods I do NOT recommend starting with to solve a complaint:

  • Calling the media
  • Putting a stop payment on a check or canceling the credit card charge


In almost all cases, restoring the communication and dealing with the situation versus the personalities has been the key in successful vehicle repair complaint resolution.  


by Fox on ‎10-29-2009 01:40 PM

What is wrong with the tire or steering mechanisms, when you have decent tread on your tires. Except, the wire or steel is starting to show around the other rim of the tire? I can see the little things sticking out. I need to know the possibilities, so that I can at least appear to know something when I go to get whatever is needed.

by on ‎10-29-2009 08:40 PM

More than likely it is caused by the front end being out of alignment, specifically the camber or toe adjustments. Before the alignment is done, I suggest having all steering and suspension components checked for wear. If there are no worn components, I suggest replacing the tires then having the alignment done. If there are any worn steering or suspension components, they will have to be replaced before the tires and alignment should be done.  

by cwaters on ‎01-19-2010 10:44 AM

As a woman with no knowledge of auto repair, I'm never sure who to trust and wonder if I might be taken advantage of.  Is it better to go to a dealership for repairs and do they charge more money?  My vehicle is a 98 Honda Civic with 87,000 miles on it but I'm hoping to drive it past 100,000 miles and I know with a car this age that I will l have more issues to deal with.

by on ‎01-19-2010 09:28 PM

I can argue the benefits and challenges with either an independent repair facility or a dealership. It's all about where you feel comfortable. I often say that you need to be as comfortable with your place of repair as you do your medical doctor. I would look at things like the quality of the communication, does the facility take a general interest in your well being and that of your vehicle? Do they offer courtesy transportation, do they offer a discount? Do they talk to you like a person or talk down to you? What about warranty?


While dealership are generally most knowledgeable about their product, there are some very good, knowledgeable and progressive independent facilities out there. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities have passed our rigorous requirements for customer service, technician training, man power, insurance, cleanliness, etc. and provide a minimum 12 month/12,000 mile warranty on most repairs and they're backed by AAA. Our Approved Auto Repair network is made up of a combination of new car dealers as well as independent repair facilities so chances are good we have the best of both worlds for you. Go to the automotive section of to find the AAA shop near you.      

by sjbeckett on ‎10-23-2012 03:20 PM

Last week I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with Auto Pro in Tampa at the recommendation of AAA . My truck experienced a problem while I was driving . It was the fuel pump . What should have been a 2 hr. job,turned into a 7 day wait . By the time they were done a $520 job turned into a $977 repair bill . I will never again use Auto Pro , and hope no one else goes through this ordeal with them either . I will be hesitant to use AAA recommendations in the future .

by shivnator on ‎07-30-2015 06:22 PM
I took my car to Dougs Automotive in Miami based on the comments that I saw on this website, and the fact that this place is recommended approved repair facility by AAA. I took my Honda Civic to fix my rear shock absorbers only. I was then told that the car needed a brake flush, new serpentine belt, valve cover gasket and a cabin filter. I agreed and authorized to fix the above problems. I went to the shop and found that the charges were approximately 875. I went ahead and paid it still thinking that it is expensive but atleast I have got good quality service at a higher cost. I then started researching and found that I could have done the exact work for less than 500 at comparable shops and infact even the Honda Dealer gave me a quote that was lower for three of the five above items including the brake flush, valve cover gasket and the cabin filter. In addition I then requested via email on June 15 to see if a mistake had occurred in charges and was told that I will get a response soon but did not. I again emailed on July 18 to seek clarification and was told that I will get a response in a day and did not. Since I did not get a response twice to my emails, i feel disrespected and cheated since I am not getting a response. This is the reason I have taken my time to post a long review with facts.I am utterly disappointed and feel cheated since 875 is a lot of money.
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