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Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Cars Held For Weeks at Local Repair Shop
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Cindy St. Clair
Photographed by Todd Dinsmore, Brian Morris, Mike Sadowski
Edited by Aaron Colburn

(KUTV) Bob Beck would rather not drive his 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air. He says it’s a show car, and would rather keep it in good condition. But the problem is, his Ford truck, which he does drive every day, is at Tanner Transmissions in Sunset.

This is the second time Bob’s taken it to Tanner Transmissions. Last spring, he paid Tanner $3,500 to fix his truck. “The tranny was gone,” Bob says, “it wouldn’t drive in forward gears.” But he says right after he got his truck back, there were still problems. Tanner Transmissions had given Bob a warranty on their work, so he returned the truck to the shop to fix the problem. But it has sat in their lot for five weeks, and Bob says he can’t get a straight answer on when he will get it back.

Megan Vance of Taylorsville has had similar frustrations with Tanner Transmissions. She had her Saturn repaired at the Taylorsville shop last spring. She paid $3,800 for a repair, but it was still broken when she got it back. Megan, like Bob, had a warranty with Tanner Transmissions. “It was broke down at my friend’s house,” Megan says, “so I just got it towed back to (Tanner Transmissions.)” But after four months, her car is still in the shop, and she says whenever she calls, there’s always an excuse. “That’s the most common thing, is they need to get a new part,” she says, “and then the last few times, other than today, is oh, they’re just finishing it up, give them a few hours and I’ll get it back.”

After Megan and Bob say they couldn’t get a response, we contacted the President of Tanner Transmissions, Blaine Tanner. He says irregular problems in both Bob’s truck and Megan’s car are to blame for the delays, because they had to locate hard-to-find parts in other states. Blaine says these incidents are isolated, and not the norm for Tanner Transmissions.

But in our investigation, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection has been receiving complaints about Tanner Transmissions since 2005. Last year, the company was slapped with a $2,500 citation by the division for “deceptive” sales practices. The company was also placed on the Buyer Beware List, which is issued by Consumer Protection.

“"We do millions of dollars of business,” says Blaine Tanner, “millions and millions of dollars of business. We’ve been in business for 35 years, and for us to have complaints, yeah, we have complaints.” Blaine also says despite complaints, they try to make things right for their customers, saying “we understand mistakes happen and my purpose is to make it right.”

About three days after I spoke with Blaine Tanner, Bob finally got his truck back. Tanner Transmissions says it took replacing the transmission case, for which they did not charge Bob extra.

It took about another month after our involvement for Megan to get her car back, but after months of waiting, she’s glad to drive her own car again. Tanner Transmissions says they ultimately took a loss on Megan’s car, putting in a new transmission and extending her warranty by a year to cover any more problems.

When you take your car in for mechanical work, it should take no more than 30 days for the repairs, unless the customer gives the OK to the company to take longer to fix it.

If you have a problem you can’t solve, maybe I can. You can call me at 801-839-1250, or send me an email at Gephardt@kutv.tv.

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)Cars Held For Weeks at Local Repair Shop

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