Plymouth van warranty saves man thousands

July 9, 2012 7:47:16 PM PDT
Is it worth spending big money to repair an old car? One Bay Area man put a lot of cash into his old van, only to watch it break down even though he had a warranty on it.

It all boils down to that warranty. This consumer got a two-year warranty when he paid for a rebuilt transmission. However, the repair didn't last, and neither did the warranty.

Franklin "Sparky" Snyder would rev his van and it would go nowhere. His Plymouth van raced, sputtered and wouldn't shift into gear.

"It was slipping and sliding. I'd have to pull over and let it sit, turn it off," said Snyder.

It was the third time in a year that he'd had this sort of trouble. However, Snyder figured, no problem, he still had 10 months left on the warranty for his rebuild transmission. So he took it back to the AAMCO dealer in Fremont and asked for a repair.

"He says, 'Mr. Snyder you had a one year warranty, tranny's shot,'" said Snyder.

Oh, but Snyder pointed out he actually had a two-year warranty purchased last year when AAMCO rebuilt his transmission -- a $2,200 job -- so it was still good. Yet, he claims the shop wouldn't cover the repairs.

"He says, 'The best we can do for you at this point is for $750. We'll take it out, see what's wrong and then we'll take it from there.' I says, 'No, you're going to repair it under the warranty,'" said Snyder.

Snyder says his van sat in the shop for four weeks, still no repair. He didn't want to pay big bucks for another transmission.

"I was frustrated I guess you would say, probably upset, because hey, I don't have another $2,500 to put into it," said Snyder. "This lady friend I know she told me to call Channel 7."

So we called AAMCO's corporate headquarters and it contacted a Fremont AAMCO. Turns out that shop just got a new manager and he called Sparky right away.

"And he said, 'We're going to fix your tranny, no charge.' I went by the next morning and the car was up on a lift and the tranny was out," said Snyder.

And soon after, Snyder was driving home and his van was purring like a kitten.

AAMCO's corporate office tells us: "We contacted Fremont AAMCO and told them to honor their warranty obligation. At no time did anyone associated with the Fremont shop ever inform our company that they would not honor their warranty agreement."

The new manager at Fremont AAMCO tells us the company always honors warranties, saying: "As soon as I found out about Mr. Snyder's car, I took care of it. We pulled out the paperwork and got it fixed. He got treated well and got his car back quickly."

Now Snyder has a transmission with no sputters and a bill with no charges.

"So I was elated I mean, really elated," said Snyder.

It's still not clear why the delay in making repairs occurred. However, we'd like to thank AAMCO for speeding up the process and rebuilding that transmission. If you have a car repair issue or any consumer problem, let me know about it.

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