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AAA Car Care Centers – The Double Standard

Brian England, Tue, May 21, 2013

“AAA Car Care Center, AAA owned and operated”  — so the advertisement in the Baltimore Sun says.  Upon reading this ad, one might think the shop was AAA certified. Right?  

What does it take to earn the right to bear the AAA logo?  Well in some cases, it’s simply a matter of ownership.  

For years, AAA set a standard requiring auto repair shops to be in business for at least five years before they could be certified by AAA Mid-Atlantic. Well, that was before they decided to go into the auto repair business.  Now they have set a different standard for their own shops.  The new AAA Car Care Centers in Frederick,Towson, Annapolis, and elsewhere in Maryland may be AAA owned and operated, but they are NOT AAA certified repair shops.

AAA has one standard for themselves and another for everyone else.  Demonstrating years of high quality service experience is no longer a requirement to post a AAA sign on your building….that is, as long as you are AAA owned and operated.  

Do you think those ads in the Baltimore Sun might make people think the shops flying the AAA banner are AAA certified?  This rings of false advertising, or at best it’s disingenuous.  By applying this double standard AAA is deliberately misleading their members.

Importantly, they don’t stop there.  On top of this, they continue to mediate issues with their own shops?  If there is an issue between a customer and the AAA owned shop, it’s mediated by AAA, and they certainly aren’t an “independent” third party.

Finally, the AAA Car Care Center proclaims “Auto Repair You Can Trust”.  Well would you trust an auto shop who is misleading the public?

AAA has been supported by auto shops all over the country and now they are going into direct competition with these shops.  

As an independent business owner for thirty years, I understand that integrity in business is a tremendous asset.  When you start with a platform based on double standards and conflicts of interest, it just doesn’t bode well for establishing trust, certainly not in my book.

 

 

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.