I used to use the AE1 Program with a 300 f2.8 and got fantastic results; could be the meter is faulty.
Centre weighted will on most occasions average out the exposure and be correct, but you will have to compensate for white or black areas that are quite dominant.
Admittedly I used mine in manual mode 95% of the time and used a hand-held meter, and adoption of the Zone System to assist me.
Have you tried to compare your camera readings with a hand-held?
It is possible you got a lemon, but I'd investigate a little further before I gave up on it.