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      12-27-2013, 02:14 PM   #1
Pertplus
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Potential ACG Automotive Customers: My Warning to You

As some of you know, since late 2010 I have taken my current/former cars (2010 C63 AMG, 2012 CLS63 AMG, 2013 M3 and 2013 M5) to ACG Automotive (formerly Automotive Connoisseur Group) to have various modifications done. I have spent a lot of money with them. And for the most part, there were no problems with modifications I ordered through and had installed by ACG. As a whole, ACG is a company made up of honest, pleasant and well-intentioned individuals. But in those 3 years of doing business with ACG, there has been one consistent issue that, with the latest one I unearthed today, has brought me to a point where my patience has fully deteriorated and now I feel it is incumbent on me to write a post to warn individuals who are considering ACG to install modifications on their car. All of these mistakes/errors/problems were previously brought to the attention of ACG, and to their credit they handled it for the most part. This post is not about calling anyone a crook or liar, because that isn’t what ACG is. But what I have found is another thing ACG isn’t: meticulous. And this isn’t about me wanting everything to be perfect…this is about carefully installing products and making sure that when the newly modified car returns to the customer, there are no problems due to carelessness or oversight. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect, but when one problem follows another which follows another, it becomes inexcusable – despite a litany of apologies and credits/refunds/make-goods.

The history of issues:
- 2011: HRE wheels mounted and balanced on my C63 after my newly painted calipers arrived. The lugs on one of my rear wheels wasn’t tightened, as I was driving down the freeway to my house on the 805/163 South …I noticed major vibration. As I drove back up to ACG to see what the problem was, I started to see lugs fly off my car. (ACG credited me for my calipers)

- 2011: While I was waiting for my calipers to be painted, my car was at ACG overnight. The HRE wheels were stood up overnight, and by the morning one of them had fallen on their face. (ACG had the wheels refinished)

- 2012: I got a quote to have silver piping throughout my C63’s upholstery and door panels. I agreed to the quote and paid for the install and labor. I was in Alabama taking a deposition while the installation process was occurring. I then get a call that the seats had been re-done but that the company ACG brought my car to for the upholstery couldn’t do the door panels (even though I my quote included the door panels); and that if I wanted the door panels to be done they would have to take it to another shop and it would probably cost about $2000 extra. I was told that the reason they did the seats first is because they wanted to get the car back to me ASAP and didn’t realize until after that the upholstery shop could not do the doors as originally planned. I decided not to have the door panels re-done and expressed my frustration that I didn’t want my car completed fast, but rather completed correctly.

- 2012: ACG installs HRE P43SCs on my CLS63. They did not test drive the car before giving it back to me. When I get it back, on my drive downtown to my house, it is clear the car is rubbing on the front. The shop had already closed, but because I just gone out to dinner with them and the techs, I gave the techs $100 each as a Xmas present if they would take the car back that night and readjust the suspension; which they did. Nonetheless, I was told by ACG that they gave me the car back originally without testing it because they knew I was waiting a while for them to go pick up the wheels and install them, they didn’t want me to wait any longer. Again, I repeated the now repetitive mantra that I always want my car back with modifications installed correctly (and tested) instead of quickly.

- 2012: ACG installs a Brabus exhaust for my CLS63. They return the car to me. One of the sides of the exhaust is clearly uneven. I was told that it might have just been the angle I was looking at them from. I then sent the picture to Brabus and right away they said that one side was higher than it should have been. My stereo installer noticed it too. I brought the car back to have ACG realign the exhaust.

- 2013: I order a second set of HREs for my CLS63. I was quoted a price and gave ACG a 50% deposit. A week goes by and I eventually get a call that the pricing structure for HRE retailers had changed and the price of my wheels were now going to go up by over $1000. Now, the pricing structure change occurred about a month prior – but apparently the entire shop was not aware until the day after I placed the order. But that means there was still a week that went by that the entire shop knew the price of my wheels went up over $1000 but no one told me. I told ACG to cancel my order and since then I have never ordered another new set of wheels from them.

- 2013: I went up to LA to have my stock wheels removed from my F10 M5 and install my HRE Flow forms. At this point the only shop that has taken the wheels off my car since I leased it was ACG to install my H&R Springs. Before we even had the Flow Forms installed, both I and my wheel shop noticed a giant scratch on my front driver’s side caliper. Now, if that scratch was on my caliper before ACG installed my springs and they noticed it, I know they would have notified me about it so I would be sure not to assign blame to them. And how do I know it wasn’t my new wheel shop that did it? Because ACG took the stock wheel locks out of my car and placed it into a bag filled with my stock components. So after driving up to LA to have the stock wheels removed, I realized that I did not have the stock wheel locks in the car; and had to drive all the way back to San Diego to find them in the bag of stock components ACG had put in my trunk a couple weeks prior. Why would anyone take a wheel lock key from inside a car and put it in a bag with other components for the customer to possibly take it out of the car? Thus, while I cannot say with 100% certainty that ACG scratched my caliper…prior experience overwhelmingly leads me to that conclusion.

- 2013: I noticed the ride quality of my M5 had started to suffer. So I ordered KWV3s and had them installed by MRF Engineering in Lake Forrest. He noticed that there was fluid leaking all over my rear H&R springs (that had about 4k miles on them and never ones did I hit anything hard enough to bend any of my wheels, let alone dislodge "seals" from my springs/struts) and that the seal over the strut had broken. He also noticed that the prior installer – ACG – left a rag/microfiber in my car’s shock tower. When I talked to ACG about it and asked the process they followed in installing the H&R’s, I was told that their techs used prior experience on other cars (they had done two other F10 M5s prior to mine) and a “DIY” post from the Bimmerpost forum as a partial guide. This was disturbing to say the least.


- Today: I have the rear diffuser of my E92 M3 removed. Not only are there pieces broken and mutilated from when ACG originally installed it and then tried to have it fit better on my rear bumper…but now there is a scratch that will not come off and cannot be properly touched up (I have already been in contact with my body shop). Can I live with the scratch? Yes? Should I have to? I think it’s pretty clear what the answer is.

Now some of you may say, if ACG had these mess-ups, why would you keep going back? Well, because ACG always apologized and offered to (and sometimes did) resolve them, the answer is I just kept chalking these mishaps to the old “well nobody’s perfect” maxim. Also, as I wrote previously, ACG has always been honest and this is not about being overcharged, waiting on refunds, etc. This is about a shop that – at least in my extensive experience – has not taken extensive care with all of their customers’ cars. I don’t write on behalf of anyone but myself, but after spending probably close to $100k with them over the past 3 years, I feel like my experiences cannot be attributed to fluke accidents or Murphy’s Law.
Some of you may ask, well if they apologized and offered to resolve or did resolve these issues, why write this post? The answer is simple. Would you go to a doctor simply because he/she seemed cool and are the type of person you would go have a beer with? Would you hire an attorney because they were big sports fans like you or liked the same music? I would hope the answer would be “no” to all of these questions. Well, despite my personal affinity for the people at ACG, that does not mean the quality of their work/customer service is excellent. Nobody is perfect, but I felt it was time that as someone who extensively mods my own cars, to alert others that are thinking of doing the same and potentially bring their car(s) to ACG.
I stand behind everything I write here and provided the details of my past experiences so as to demonstrate that I am not some disgruntled customer who is being unreasonable. What I am is a car enthusiast that doesn’t want to see fellow enthusiasts experience the negative issues/problems I did when taking my cars to ACG.

Some of the recent pics from my M3/M5 "experiences":











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      12-27-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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First off sorry to hear of all these problems. As a forum member the passion, enthusiasm and time commitment you devote to your vehicles is obvious to all. Some of my prior vehicles were heavily modded and I experienced similar problems and frustrations ranging from nagging details like crooked exhaust tips to suspension failure at highway speed. These episodes killed all the joy I derived from my "hobby" so I understand your frustration completely. So far I have resisted the urge to MMM (mod my M) except for a dealer installed MPE and small cosmetic changes. I bought an exhaust fom ACG few years back no complaints or problems. Believe me there will be a line of shops vying for your business and things will get sorted out. Too bad for all concerned here, no winners just hard feelings and disappointment. Best of luck, hang in there.
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Last edited by Semi-Poor; 12-27-2013 at 10:06 PM.
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      12-27-2013, 10:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Semi-Poor
First off sorry to hear of all these problems. As a forum member the passion, enthusiasm and time commitment you devote to your vehicles is obvious to all. Some of my prior vehicles were heavily modded and I experienced similar problems and frustrations ranging from nagging details like crooked exhaust tips to suspension failure at highway speed. These episodes killed all the joy I derived from my "hobby" so I understand your frustration completely. So far I have resisted the urge to MMM (mod my M) except for a dealer installed MPE and small cosmetic changes. I bought an exhaust fom ACG few years back no complaints or problems. Believe me there will be a line of shops vying for your business and things will get sorted out. Too bad for all concerned here, no winners just hard feelings and disappointment. Best of luck, hang in there.
Thanks brotha!
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      12-28-2013, 02:40 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear that. There are plenty of good shops in San Diego. I usually go to HG Motorsport and SD Motorsport. Both shops are in sorrento valley and they do good work
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      12-28-2013, 03:49 AM   #5
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Damn that sucks man. Whenever I see people rave about a shop I'm always skeptical at first because you don't want to jump the gun too quickly. When that person says shop x is the best and they have an expensive car to begin with and on top of it they add the top of the line modifications, I start to wonder would the shop treat all their customers in the same way? The answer should be yes because you want to create customers for life, not just for one installation of a product. If someone like you doesn't get consistent service then we know that the shop can't live up to certain standards. If you have the time to make the trip to mrf I would always go there for any work needed. I've heard Malek is meticulous and really knows his stuff, which sounds like it's exactly what you would like in terms of service.
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      12-28-2013, 05:06 AM   #6
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Initial customer service
Attention to detail/quality of service
After purchase treatment/follow up

If you fail at any of those, there are a lot of other places I can take my money that will not. I work hard making sure all those aspects are covered with my customer base, so should those that get my money. I think when you got to the upholstery issue you should have begun shopping elsewhere. ESPECIALLY when they didnt tell you or failed to mention or were just plain ole' hiding the scratches... That is deceptive. You know, fool me once...

BTW, I LOVE YOUR CAR!!!
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      12-28-2013, 10:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottoblotto
Initial customer service
Attention to detail/quality of service
After purchase treatment/follow up

If you fail at any of those, there are a lot of other places I can take my money that will not. I work hard making sure all those aspects are covered with my customer base, so should those that get my money. I think when you got to the upholstery issue you should have begun shopping elsewhere. ESPECIALLY when they didnt tell you or failed to mention or were just plain ole' hiding the scratches... That is deceptive. You know, fool me once...

BTW, I LOVE YOUR CAR!!!
Thanks brotha for the mind words!
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      12-28-2013, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd598
Damn that sucks man. Whenever I see people rave about a shop I'm always skeptical at first because you don't want to jump the gun too quickly. When that person says shop x is the best and they have an expensive car to begin with and on top of it they add the top of the line modifications, I start to wonder would the shop treat all their customers in the same way? The answer should be yes because you want to create customers for life, not just for one installation of a product. If someone like you doesn't get consistent service then we know that the shop can't live up to certain standards. If you have the time to make the trip to mrf I would always go there for any work needed. I've heard Malek is meticulous and really knows his stuff, which sounds like it's exactly what you would like in terms of service.
Yeah Malek is second to none! Going to see him this morning.
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      12-28-2013, 02:31 PM   #9
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They f'ed up my car too a few times but that was a few years ago. They did come through and make things right every time...but I agree with you their quality of work and attention to detail is poor.
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      12-28-2013, 04:09 PM   #10
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Yeah Malek is second to none! Going to see him this morning.
Awesome hope it all works out for you
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      12-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rjd598
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pertplus View Post
Yeah Malek is second to none! Going to see him this morning.
Awesome hope it all works out for you
It has in spades!! The ESS Supercharger he installed is a beast!
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      12-28-2013, 05:04 PM   #12
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It has in spades!! The ESS Supercharger he installed is a beast!
oh i bet! hopefully i'll see your beasts rolling around sd some time
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      12-29-2013, 01:22 AM   #13
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This is actually the number 1 reason why I don't drop a chunk of change on my M. My '11 just had aesthetic mods and my '13 is stock so far...if you can't truly 100% trust a shop just don't send the car there, as is my case.

Hopefully in spring I can send my car to iND and have them do their magic, and hopefully the border has no issues with a supercharger being installed .

Thank you for the warning for all the fellow American enthusiasts on here and enjoy your car. ESS <3
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      12-29-2013, 10:20 AM   #14
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This is actually the number 1 reason why I don't drop a chunk of change on my M. My '11 just had aesthetic mods and my '13 is stock so far...if you can't truly 100% trust a shop just don't send the car there, as is my case.

Hopefully in spring I can send my car to iND and have them do their magic, and hopefully the border has no issues with a supercharger being installed .

Thank you for the warning for all the fellow American enthusiasts on here and enjoy your car. ESS &lt;3
I'm glad my "learning experience" can serve as a warning to fellow enthusiasts!
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      01-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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thanks for the feedback. I think things like this are VERY valuable.

Every shop ive been to has had issues, some worse than others. But the attention to detail is something that cannot be ignored.

It seems like you have found a good option in Malek's shop, hopefully that will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety knowing that things will be done right
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      01-01-2014, 11:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyPowers
thanks for the feedback. I think things like this are VERY valuable.

Every shop ive been to has had issues, some worse than others. But the attention to detail is something that cannot be ignored.

It seems like you have found a good option in Malek's shop, hopefully that will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety knowing that things will be done right
You couldn't be more correct!!
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      01-01-2014, 07:45 PM   #17
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Sorry to hear. This sounds pretty typical of all the shops I have used. That's why I install everything myself. I have not found someone else I can trust with my car.

The worst seems to be the dealer and I am pretty much forced to use them due to warranty and the free service plan.
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      01-02-2014, 04:49 PM   #18
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You couldn't be more correct!!
+1.

I used to worry everytime I had something done to my previous cars. Everything has been 100% perfect with MRF so I no longer worry. Glad you found MRF it's just too bad it's so far from you.
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      01-02-2014, 05:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pertplus View Post
You couldn't be more correct!!
+1.

I used to worry everytime I had something done to my previous cars. Everything has been 100% perfect with MRF so I no longer worry. Glad you found MRF it's just too bad it's so far from you.
It's actually not that bad of a drive when there's no traffic....so weekends.
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      01-02-2014, 07:19 PM   #20
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Shame they lost so much business basically just for being careless. You definitely gave them more than enough opportunities to get it together, most people would have given up on them a lot sooner.
Good thing you did not just leave the scene with a bad taste in your mouth but went out and found a new shop that you can trust.
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      01-03-2014, 09:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChallengeM
Shame they lost so much business basically just for being careless. You definitely gave them more than enough opportunities to get it together, most people would have given up on them a lot sooner.
Good thing you did not just leave the scene with a bad taste in your mouth but went out and found a new shop that you can trust.
Thanks brotha!
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      01-07-2014, 09:02 PM   #22
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I would have to agree with you, and now i know i am not the only one. I had them install the BMW performance trunk lip just before the end of the year and they had scratched my trunk in four places. One of the scratches going through the clear coat. I regretfully did not bring it to their attention because I did not want to deal with the issue and just never use them again. Having had similar issues with HG Motorsports it is incredibly frustrating that I can no longer trust the "best shops" in San Diego to work on my car.
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