WJBF New Channel 6 Investigates: Auto Repair Shop Rip-offs - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

WJBF New Channel 6 Investigates: Auto Repair Shop Rip-offs

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Augusta, GA -

Allen Middleton says his 1993 Honda Accord has been in the family since it was driven off the lot. He says there haven't been any major problems with it, that is, until he brought it to a quick lube service center.

"I'm not sure if it was a noise or if it was all the attention, but there was a commotion and everybody in the shop ran and looked under my car," Middleton said.

He says a few minutes later, the service manager gave him the bad news.

"They got the wrong radiator or the radiator malfunctioned or something and they had to take it out and redo the job," Middleton said.

The repair cost him more than 300 dollars, but it wasn't till later that night that he realized his car was still broken.

"We got to Gordon Highway and the car started steaming real hard and we ended up stuck on the side of the road for about 45 minutes. I tried to start it up again and it redlined again," Middleton said.

He blames the new problems on the faulty radiator, however, he says the auto shop wouldn't admit the problem was their fault. That's why he brought his car to GeorgiaLina Automotive in Martinez.

"GeorgiaLina Automotive told me that they found a petroleum like substance in my lines," he said.

Middleton says the staff at GeorgiaLina Automotive told him that when the radiator malfunctioned, it most likely caused other problems. This is something that Erin Clements says she sees all the time.

"I've seen a lot of things. I've seen neglect, I've seen estimates that are just out of this world. I've seen, you know, just not taking time with vehicles," Clements said.

She says the best way to save money on auto repairs is to find a local mechanic that you can build a relationship with -- someone you can trust.

"There are a lot of places that hire people to do oil changes and they really don't have a lot of experience, certifications, they don't know what they are looking at, but they know how to change the oil on a car," she says.

Clements says their estimates are often hundreds of dollars less than franchise auto shops.

And now that Middleton's car is working perfectly again, he is spreading the word about GeorgiaLina Automotive.

"Sometimes it's not worth going to those franchise shops. It's worth knowing your mechanic," Middleton said.

If you have a problem with an auto repair shop, you can file a consumer complaint in Georgia or South Carolina.

http://consumer.georgia.gov/consumer-services/filing-a-complaint
http://www.consumer.sc.gov/consumer/ComplaintInstructions/Pages/default.aspx

If you have a story you want me to look into, you can email me at investigate@wjbf.com

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