Giammalvo Files
Mark Giammalvo

Mark Giammalvo specializes in driveability diagnostics at his family business, Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service, Inc. in New Bedford, MA.   

Mark, who has been with the business for over 20 years, is an ASE  Master Technician and Parts Specialist. He also holds the ASE L1 certification, and has an associates degree in business management.
Mark is also a writer for Motor Age Magazine and is the past secretary of the Alliance of Automotive Service Professionals, (AASP).
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A Year In Review

(Printed in the Journal of The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, AASP) 

(I wish to again thank all the customers that have expressed appreciation  for my recent articles.  It has proven to be a conduit for me to voice and share my personal thoughts on automotive and other issues).
 As I sit fireside writing on this cold January night, I trust that you are also warm in the comfort of your own home. As this new year begins I can't help but reflect on the year past. It seems that there have been a great many changes in both the automotive industry and others. It has been a year for the largest automotive tire recall this country has ever known. I wonder who really was to blame. After spending two billion dollars, (yes I said billion), trying to redesign the Oldsmobile line, GM has decided to drop the Olds division entirely. I suppose they'll call it a write-off. They must have some good accountants. The transmission fluid saga of this industry continues to grow. It started about fifteen years ago when all we had to carry was Mercon Fluid for Fords and Dextron Fluid for all other car brands. Then GM developed Dextron 2, then they developed Dextron 3. Then a blend fluid called Dextron/Mercon was developed so we purchased that. Then about three years ago came a special fluid for late model Chrysler transmissions. Chrysler claims that their transmissions are designed in such a way that other fluid types will cause internal failure. As a result, we had to stock that type. Just recently we had to purchase a special transmission fluid for the 99 and newer Fords called Mercon 5. Now Ford is claiming that using anything but Mercon 5 will cause trouble in their 99 and newer models. When will it end? Pretty soon we'll have transmission fluid coming out of our ears. Perhaps we could add onto the building to accommodate the storage required for all this nonsense. I'd like to meet the engineer that designed some of these transmissions. I'll bet he has quite a deal going with the oil companies. He ought to be retiring real soon. There have been other newsworthy events. (Lets just say I don't want to hear the word "recount" in the near future). 

My savings and checking account have yet again been purchased by a second bank in two years. The account numbers are again all different. Well, I suppose it doesn't matter, I haven't had enough time to memorize the last number change. It was nice of them to send a free package of checks with the new numbers. The thirty checks ought to last a month or two. Could they have spared any?  Figures I had just bought some more of the old ones. Now I'll have to buy them again. I'd swear they always change the account numbers right after I order more checks. 

The new fee schedule was a real eye opener. Overdraft protection from savings has gone from $3.00 to $5.00 per incident. A duplicate statement is now $7.00. (You know, all that work to push print on the keyboard, fold the statement and apply postage). Give me a break! Gee, we don't charge if a customer wants a duplicate statement. Perhaps we are missing some revenue there. Perhaps its just nice to still do some things for free. I think the latter. Then there is the "Escheat Fee" which is $50.00. Sounds expensive, but I don't know what it means, so I guess it must be O.K. Besides, I don't think I'll be needing one of those in the near future anyway. Last, but not least, and new for this bank, is a $2.00 "Telephone Agent Fee." My bank representative says that it is a fee for calling and speaking to someone about a routine transaction that could have been resolved by using their automated computer system. (Talk about nerve). In other words, they want you to use the automated computer system that says: "press one for balance, press two for transfers.." You know, those computer menus that we all hate. People still don't like them so I guess the bank figures that charging two bucks for bothering their employees will motivate customers to use the automated system instead. I suppose they will charge me for making the call to inquire about it. I'll look for it on my next statement. Boy, if I charged for every customer that wanted to speak to me I'd be retired on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. (I wonder if I could charge them $2.00 for every time they call me during  dinner to tell me about their great mortgage and credit card rates.) Tell me your not sick of those calls. 

Now postage has gone up again. I'll have to dig deep for that extra penny. At least that increase was a little easier to stomach. Welcome to the 21st century! Alas, fear not, at Giammalvo's you can still have a duplicate statement or invoice. You can still call us as many times as you want and talk to us as long as you want, all for free. I hope you and your family have a safe, happy and prosperous new year. 



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