Jiffy Lube Scamming Customers Nationwide

Surprise! Jiffy Lube scamming customers for cars that have never been repaired isn’t just isolated to the L.A. area. It’s happening nationwide.

One woman in Charlotte, North Carolina delivered her car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change, only to forget to hand them the keys. 40 minutes later, they told her her oil change was done.

Another woman from Calamuth Falls, Oregon had her transmission fluid changed by Jiffy Lube. A few months later, another mechanic noted her transmission fluid was black, and told her it had never actually been changed.

The report goes on to show that Jiffy Lube employees nationwide are pushed to do a minimum of $60 worth of repairs a car, or lose their job. Air filters, fuel filters and tire rotations are the things Jiffy Lube likes to charge for the most, then never actually bother doing.

According to Louis Scaffoni, president of Jiffy Lube, they’re taking measures to prevent fraud, like an independent team of auditors and mystery shoppers. Hey! When we finally get that “Mystery Shopper” t-shirt printed, it might very well be the only way for you to guarantee yourself a fair shake at Jiffy Lube.

Debriefing: Jiffy Lube Investigation Video [NBC]

Debriefing: Jiffy Lube Investigation Text [NBC] (Thanks, Ben!)

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  1. ChazB says:

    I doubt you’d find this phenomenon restricted to Jiffy Lube. For years the car repair industry as a whole has been plagued with numerous reports of unethical mechanics charging for work that doesn’t get done or doesn’t need to be done. These reports span the entire range of shops from the one guy neighborhood operation to the dealerships and chain shops themselves.

    The fact that one company has a policy that basically encourages employees to cheat their customers is only one part of the problem. The other is that most customers wouldn’t know a fuel line from a brake line. Anytime you have a technology where a select few know more than the majority of users (computers), you will have problems with people getting scammed.

    What we should learn from this is stuff that we, as good consumers, should already know.

    1) Do your homework and get referrals.
    2) Get a quote from at least three sources before you commit to any work.
    3) You get what you pay for.

  2. Sephira says:

    my mother-in-law did me a favor (sorta) once and took my car into Jiffy Lube for an oil change. they said they’d done the oil change, but came back and told her that they’d broken the dip stick at the handle. it’s basically stuck in there and won’t come out. they said that the people at the car manufacturer, Ford, would be able to take care of it. she didn’t know any better and took their word for it. Ford said they weren’t touching it – they didn’t do it, and the car’s warranty was out years ago, so take it back to Jiffy Lube. she took the car home and told me what had happened… three months later when it was time for another oil change.

    so i take the car to Jiffy Lube, with my reciept, where a mechanic meets me outside. i tell him what had happened. if he could please take care of it since he was the one who did the service, i would be appreciative. i also needed some other service, but i need to make sure this dipstick stuff got sorted out. i got met with a firm no. a “fuck no” in fact.

    i was a little shocked at first, but then i walked into the lobby, mechanic behind me, and started cursing Jiffy Lube left and right. they were particularly busy too, and some customers requested their keys and left. the manager threatened to call the cops, i made an even bigger scene and told that m’f’er to get a goddamned pair of needle nose pliers and get the dip stick out. i wasn’t even going to ask for them to replace the dip stick.

    for the record, i tried to get it out, but couldn’t. the bit of plastic left at the tip of the handle had melted and pretty much cemented over.

    so the manager gets some tools and twenty minutes later, the busted dipstick is out and i’m being told never to return here again.

    no problem. took my car up the road to another mechanic (a friend) only to have him tell me that it looked as if they’d never changed the oil in the first place. way to go, Jiffy Lube.

  3. EarhornJones says:

    I recently tried to get the oil in my ’02 VW Beetle changed at a Jiffy Lube near my office. I was stopped at the entrance and told that my car required “special oil” and that VW has put out a service bulletin about it. This sounded odd to me so I asked for clarification. The “mechanic” demanded my owner’s manual, which I handed over, flipped through it for SEVERAL minutes, and then said “Yep. This is one of ‘em that takes ‘special oil’.” I asked how much the magic oil would cost, and was told it would be “at least $75″. I left, and took the car to my usual place and asked about this. They pointed out that the car required 5w30, confirmed this in the manual, and pulled the receipts for previous oil changes out of my glove box, which confirmed that they had always used 5w30, which cost no more than the more “standard” 10w30.

    Total cost: $31.99

    Jiffy Lube can’t even come up with a believable scam.

  4. FLConsumerist says:

    Here in Tampa, I have heard of similar stories with Jiffy-Lube & Sears charging for work not performed AND charging for “repairs” which aren’t needed.

    BUT, this phenomenon is not limited to just auto repair. It happens in just about any “repair” business, whether it be automotive, air conditioning, or even medicine.

    I’ve encountered DOCTORS who were doing similar shady things. One was a dentist who claimed I needed a ton of work done on my teeth. It didn’t seem right in my mind, so I called up my old dentist and asked her opinion. Glad I did — I only needed 1 crown & 1 filling replaced, not the extensive work that the “new” dentist proposed. Likewise, I’ve had medical doctors pushing various drugs, insisting that they’re vital to my health. Similar thing, called up my old Dr and she couldn’t think of any reason why I should be on any of those.

    Sad, but true… Consumer beware!

  5. pdxmark2 says:

    It should be Klamath Falls, Oregon. In the interest of accuracy, natch.

  6. I stopped using Jiffy Lube in 1989. Find a local mechanic and make friends with them. Oil Changes will be competitive. Maybe not as fast, but still.

  7. timmus says:

    Holy cow. Are the other oil chains any better?

  8. Demingite says:

    I hope Jiffy Lube learns that sales quotas ($60 “budget” per customer) are a lousy and extremely harmful way to try to make money. Sales quotas promote deceipt at all levels. They promote fraud. They promote customer dissatisfaction. They foul your reputation (something very important, even if you can’t quantify it with a specific dollar figure).

    The alternative: Make money by serving customers well and charging prices that give you a fair margin. “Serving customers well” means only providing customers what is truly useful to them. Never, ever, ever cheat a customer in any way. Customers will benefit –> they will be happy –> they will come back; and they will tell their friends.

    W. Edwards Deming said “the most important figures for management are unknown and unknowable.”

    Can you put a dollar figure on the cost of a customer not being to able to trust you? And how golden is it — for your profits — when you’ve earned a customer’s trust?

    I will definitely boycott Jiffy Lube and will encourage others to do the same. Their policies/culture is outrageous.

  9. ktpupp says:

    Glad I change my own oil….

  10. closeupman says:

    I’m a mystery shopper and just had an oil change done there as part of their program. They did try push other recommended services on me that would’ve amounted to over $200 (I came in for an oil change that was only $20) lol!

    The guy offered me a discount if I did it all today, but I refused.

    You can see all the work from inside(they have see thru windows) and a monitor that rotates among different cameras showing the workers.

    They’re quick and efficient. You may want to (I didn’t since I was doing a shop and didn’t know if I could) request your old filter back as proof. Also you could try ‘marking’ your filter so you can check later to see if they did really change it.

  11. Chris says:

    Mechanics screwing customers? Can’t be!

  12. ToddZ says:

    They have “see-thru windows”? Radical.

    I like my local Pennzoil place where you remain in the car and can see, hear & feel them actually working on things. I’ve never been inappropriately upsold there, either.

    Just one anecdote.

  13. Transuranic says:

    Louis Scaffoni… more like scam-phony! Hyuk!

  14. HerOilChange says:

    Hello Ladies: please share your oil change stories. How is your experience? Do you feel intimidated by all the mechanics? Do you usually sit and wait for your car or do you drop it off? Do you ofetn times feel like you’re getting scammed? Do you feel like you’re treated different than men?