The AAMCO class action lawsuit filed by attorney Jonathan Fortman on behalf of AAMCO franchise owners is featured on the final installment of the yearlong ABC News4 I-Team investigation into AAMCO Transmissions business practices.
These people are losing everything. A lot of them have lost houses. They’ve gone through bankruptcy… To put someone in that position and then turn around make these demands when they’re going broke, that they need to pay all these additional fees is absolute extortion.
AAMCO Franchisee Tim Montileone stated:
You’re punished if you ask for help…What I have found in my two years is that AAMCO is more interested in how they can profit off the franchisees than they are in helping the franchises make a profit… They were more interested in flipping those franchises rather than supporting the franchisee.
ABC News investigation also details the plight of AAMCO franchisee Tim Furlong:
After retiring from a 30-year career, Tom Furlong spent hundreds of thousands of his own money to open up an AAMCO franchise shop in Elkton, Md. He had no experience in auto repair. But he said AAMCO wanted him to invest, promising to provide all the training and support he would need to succeed.
“’We’ll be with you every step of the way.’ And that to this day haunts me,” Furlong told the News4 I-Team.
Furlong said training consisted mainly of memorizing a telephone script to use with customers. It’s the same line-by-line dialogue first obtained by the News4 I-Team in August from other shop owners who said its main goal was to separate customers from their cars and convince them to let AAMCO work on their transmission. “I never wasted five weeks of my time more than I did in that training,” said Furlong…
But Furlong said the script didn’t work. Two years later he said he was forced to close after he struggled to pay AAMCO’s 7.5 percent royalties and a weekly $845 advertising fee. According to Furlong, “Support is next to nothing.”
Instead of helping him turn things around, Furlong said, AAMCO threatened him with legal action if he closed. But he said the company offered to take control of the business and “resell his franchise to another investor.” In all, Furlong said, “I would say I lost probably $520,000.”
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