48 Investigates: Watch out for transmission repair rip-offs

48 Investigates: Watch out for transmission repair rip-offs

(WAFF) - We all hate to have work done on our cars, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. One Huntsville woman says the mechanic she took her car to is pure evil and left her stranded.

It's been months since Regina Logan has seen her sport utility vehicle. It's propped up so it won't roll away because what's under the hood is worse.

"I have nothing in there," Logan said, meaning her entire transmission.

She turned her 2008 Cadillac Escalade in to an automotive shop in Huntsville for a rebuild for what she thought was the best price at $2,200. She dropped it off in May and didn't see it again for months.

"I drove it in and I had to tow it out," she said.

During the months in the shop, it was excuse after excuse.

"He was stirring me along telling me 'OK, we're getting a part it's out of town. They are sending me the wrong part. You have a German transmission.' Just all kinds of excuses," she said.

She eventually had to get the police involved and filed a report. She was allowed to pick up the SUV, thinking it was fixed. She said she drove it for a week after thinking it was fixed only to have it shut off.

Logan took it back and said she was met with more excuses on why it didn't work. After a second pickup when her Escalade shut off again, she filed another police report. She said this time she asked for her old transmission back and her money.  She did get her money back but not the transmission.

"I think he sold it," she said.

Now she claims no other shop will even touch the SUV because of the shoddy work done under the hood.

"Everything that worked does not work anymore," she said.

Logan has been paying for rental cars to get to work for months. She says this headache has cost her way more and now plans to take the shop owner to court.

We took our questions to Steve Smith, owner of Spartan Transmission. It's been In business for more than 20 years and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Smith said Logan was given a lowball price.

"Don't go with the cheapest price. There is always a low end and a high end. Go with somebody in the middle. Go with a small independent place and you're probably going to get a lot better deal in the end," Smith said.

Smith said transmission work does not take month. He said if someone were to say it would take three months to fix, that would "be a huge red flag."

"I would say somebody really don't know what they're doing," he said.

And get a quote up front and on paper. Smith said, as an example, if you get a quote for $3,000 and then suddenly start to hear all these prices tacked on, then you shouldn't pay it.

"I quote a minimum and a maximum before I do the work. You know before I start what the price is going to be at the end," Smith said.

He said to remember that transmission work is not cheap and you get what you pay for.

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