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Reply: Ripped off

     I am gonna assume you are talking about Shields Motor Company in State 
     College, right?
     Well, I had a similar rip off with those bastards that turned into a 
     long drawn out battle.  I'll avoid the details, but basically they did 
     the following: lied to me about what needed to be fixed on my car when 
     it didn't, and didn't even fix properly what needed to be fixed.
     I paid the bill with a check, just so I get my car back (Always get 
     your car back first, and then work from there.), and then stopped 
     payment on the check.  
     I then wrote a letter to the president of Shields (which went 
     unanswered), called Audi of America, and called the state consumer 
     protection bureau.  This state consumer protection bureau and Audi 
     itself have no authority over them, but they do keep records, so I 
     would advise that you do explore both of these routes.  I figure if 
     Audi gets enough complaints against one dealer, they could pull their 
     franchise.  At the least, they won't be winning any customer 
     satisfaction award from Audi any time soon!!
     Anyway, Shields refused to deal through the consumer protection 
     bureau, and instead they sued me in small claims court for the amount 
     of the check.  I thought I came armed with all the right evidence, 
     like statements from other mechanics, and I even brought to court the 
     parts that they said were bad, but weren't.  The problem is, because I 
     am not a mechanic by profession, even though I did know what I was 
     saying, I didn't carry much weight with the judge.   Shields showed up 
     with their mechanic, a lawyer, and everything, and I was seriously 
     outgunned.  The mechanic's statements I brought in, which were not 
     notarized, were argued (successfully) to be inadmissible by Shields's 
     Lawyer.  A decision was made for Shields.
     I then went to appeal it, and got a lawyer (I should have done that 
     from the start) and he filed the appeal.  For whatever reason, Shields 
     did not file an "intent to defend," so a judgment was made in my favor 
     by default.  Had it gone to court again, I was gonna go there with my 
     lawyer, pay some mechanic to take a day off of work and come up and 
     testify, and then I think I would have had them by the balls.  Now 
     I'll never know. 
     I still in effect "lost" big time from all the head aches, lost time, 
     lawyer fees, and stuff, even though I did ultimately "win" against 
     Shields.  I guess what it comes down to is, we, as the customer, are 
     at their mercy.  Audi can't do anything, and the state can't do 
     anything, if they dig their heels in as Shields did.  If you really 
     want to go after them, you have to sue them, and be prepared to pay 
     your mechanic to go to court and testify as to his "professional 
     opinion" as to what they did wrong.  It still then comes down to two 
     "professionals" with conflicting story and the judge has to make a 
     call as to whom he found more credible.  So you still take a chance.  
     My advice to you would be to just eat the repairs yourself, and chalk 
     it up to a bad experience.  
     However, nothing can stop us from spreading the word about bad 
     This is one guy's story when dealing with Shields Motor Company.
     Chris Bender