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|Way To Go, AAMCO!|
|Written by Dave Hilton|
Just about everywhere you turn there are stories about companies who rip off consumers, have horrible customer service or just don't care. I was afraid I was going to have a similar story to tell when the air conditioning in my Tahoe stopped working last week.
On the way to work Tuesday morning, I noticed the air was not as cold as normal. It was only in the 70's outside, so it wasn't too bad. But driving home from work that afternoon was miserable! Since I replaced the a/c compressor in my truck last summer, I knew this was not a good sign. I was pretty sure I remembered the guy from AAMCO saying the new compressor they installed for me had a one year warranty on it.
So, when I got home, I logged into my bank account to see when I had the work done last summer. My heart sank when I saw the date - 7/9/11. The receipt I later found confirmed it.
“Well, FRAK ME”, I said out loud. My one year warranty expired on Monday! I noticed the problem on Tuesday and wouldn't be able to get my truck into them until Wednesday. That means I'd miss the warranty deadline by 2 days. Really?!
The a/c repair was just one of the things I had AAMCO do last summer. I spent well over $1200 to keep my Tahoe going (still trying to reach my 300k mileage goal). I started to go over all the possible scenarios in my head, like I always do.
First, the best possible outcome. Or the “unicorns and rainbows” option as I like to call it. In this scenario, the guys at AAMCO would happily fix the problem- free of charge- and even fix some of the other issues with the truck because they love listening to me on the radio every morning. Great possibility, right? SPOILER ALERT: that didn't happen (and it never does, unfortunately).
Second, the worst possible outcome. Or the “doomsday” option as I call it. In this scenario, AAMCO would hold me to the exact day, time and second of the one year warranty. They would refuse to fix my truck unless I paid them double because they hate listening to my show and their radio is broken and they can't change the station. I'd then have to try some Jedi mind tricks on them. If that didn't work, I'd complain to the manager, the franchise owner, the corporate office and, at some point, would be forced to sue them. Oh yeah, my overactive imagination also added in that they'd kick me in the nuts and laugh as I wriggled on the ground in pain. SPOILER ALERT: that didn't happen, either (good thing- I don't like getting kicked in the nuts or being forced to sue people).
What actually happened was, like it almost always does, somewhere in the middle.
I called them, explained the situation and made my appointment for the next afternoon. When I got there, they were very cordial and had me take a seat in the waiting area. They hooked the truck up to a machine and figured out it was, thankfully, not the compressor. It was some kind of broken pressure switch that caused all the freon to leak out and the compressor to stop running.
They replaced the switch, recharged the freon and got it working again in just a couple of hours. Actually, the only reason it took so long was because the parts store delivered the wrong part to them two different times! They probably could have had it fixed in about 45 minutes otherwise.
The manager kept apologizing for the part delivery mishap since it made me wait longer, but as I told him- I'm impressed they can even keep up with all of the different parts of all of the different cars in the first place. He also mentioned that if it had been a problem with the compressor, he would have still honored my warranty.
Even though I didn't ask for it- he did not charge me for the labor. He said he did it because he appreciated my continued business. I have to say- that was the best $75 (or whatever the charge would have been) investment he ever made. Because after this experience at my local AAMCO, he's going to continue to get my business, for as long as I own my Tahoe!
So, for $105 (the cost of the new pressure switch and freon) I once again have a truck with a nice, cold a/c! That's well below what I was expecting to pay to fix it. And I received better customer service from them than I could have imagined. They have gained a loyal customer.
I don't know if your local AAMCO service center treats their customers the same, but I'd still recommend you give them a chance.
Way to go, AAMCO!
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