Pep Boys Bilks Customer Over Tire Warranty Replacement

UPDATE: Pep Boys Apologizes

Pep Boys seems to be scamming Arnie on the tires he bought from them and trying to cheat him out of his road hazard warranty after he got a nail in them. So he’s sending off an executive email carpet bomb, reprinted inside. Road hazard, indeed.

To: William_Leonard@pepboys.com, Harry_Yanowitz@pepboys.com, John_Mitchell@pepboys.com, Jeffrey_Rachor@pepboys.com, Michael_Odell@pepboys.com, Mark_Bacon@pepboys.com, Scott_Webb@pepboys.com, Tony_Fee@pepboys.com, Joseph_Cirelli@pepboys.com
cc tips@consumerist.com, info@fwbbb.org
date: Sep 29, 2007 5:50 PM
subject: Pep Boys Store Issue

Dear Pep Boys

In May of 2007 I came to realize that the tires on my 2004 Scion XB were quite worn and in need of replacing the full set. I price shopped many other tire outlets and found that Pep Boys not only offered the lowest price but also had a current promotion that would provide a rebate on one full tire. I also found that they were open on Sunday while most tire outlets were not and that was of great convenience to me. So I called the store, verified that the tires I wanted were in stock and headed into the store to purchase the tire set. This was the Bedford Texas store on Harwood Rd.

When I reached the store I was instantly unimpressed with the associate behind the counter whom I later found out to be the Service Center Manager. Jeff Whitman was his name and when I approached he was on the telephone. I patiently waited while he finished the call. He then took a moment to take a bite of a hamburger and greeted me with his mouth full of food. He took 3 phone calls while he was assisting me which I felt was highly unprofessional seeing as how, I was a customer who had taken the step further to come into the store and make a purchase. We agreed on the tires I would purchase and the price and I signed the work order. I was going to be leaving the car and I left my cell phone number with him to call when the work was complete. I also told him I was on a strict budget and if there was any cost above the price I signed for I must have a phone call from him before he did anything.

I received no phone call about the car, ever. Not even to tell me it was ready. I decided to come back to check on it about the time they were closing and it was ready. Jeff informed me upon my return that I needed an alignment so they went ahead and preformed it and I now owe them for the alignment as well as the tires. I told him I did not want the alignment and did not authorize it and he refused to take it off, but did offer a discount on the price of the tires. I agreed to this and he took the discount on the tires. However, later when I went to get my rebate, I was then shorted on my rebate because he took the discount on my tire price and I was only eligible for the price he adjusted them to.

I let this entire situation slide and never complained further to Jeff Whitman despite my general unhappiness with the entire experience. Then on September 29 th, 2007 I returned to the Bedford, Texas store with a nail in the tire. I had purchased a road hazard warranty with the tires. The new service manager Mr. Fernandez was there to assist me. I asked several questions when I brought the car in and none of which could he seem to answer for me directly. He said things like, ” I am not sure, we will have to see, maybe we can” all evidence to his seeming lack of confidence in what he was telling me. I left the car and when I returned he told me that the nail was in the side wall and the tire could not be repaired. I said fine, I assumed that I was covered by my road hazard warranty seeing as how I had only driven approximately 5,000 miles on the new tires. Mr. Fernandez informed me that I was only covered by a pro-rated amount on the tire because I had only 6/32 of tread left on the tire and that I had already used 80% of the tire’s life. I purchased the tires with 50,495 miles on the car and the mileage upon return with the nail in it was 54, 986.This was a 60,000 mile tire how could 5,000 miles have been 80% of the tire life? Again he never answered any question I asked directly or confidently. He told me he would enter it as 8/32 of tread to make it a lower price for me. I paid for the tire and drove 2 businesses down to a competing tire outlet and had the tread on the other 3 tires measured. They measured my tread at 12/32 on all 3 other tires. That is quite a large difference from what Mr. Fernandez measured (26/32).

So now I am coming to you, looking for satisfaction in this situation. I feel like I have been quite taken advantage of by the Bedford Texas Pep Boys automotive. I would like to have a refund of the alignment and the road hazard warranty. I feel like I was mislead on both of these purchases. I will post this letter as it reads to “the consumerist” ( http://www.consumerist.com) as well as the Tarrant County BBB also and if this is handled in an appropriate manner from this point forward I will sing your praises for handling the compliant professionally.

I thank you for considering my complaint and I hope that you can restore my confidence in Pep Boys.

Amie Trainor
Fort Worth, Texas

Arnie hit all the main Pep Boys dudes in his blast. His letter is clear and lucid, though about half a page too long. Brevity, it’s not just the soul of wit, it’s also how you get busy people to read your letters. Hopefully this will get him some traction, even if Pep Boys’ tires aren’t.

RELATED: How To Launch An Executive Email Carpet Bomb
(Photo: klynslis)

Comments

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  1. consumerist11211 says:

    Also a great idea to file a complaint with the state’s attorney general (for the corporate office as well as the location you went to) as well a complaint to the BBB. If the email carpet bomb doesnt work typically an inquiry from the AG will.

    Good luck!

  2. SaveMeJeebus says:

    In the interest of attacking this consumer, he is lumping the alignment in only because he is pissed. Four months have passed and would constitute acceptability of the charge and service. Tough crap for that one, he let them slide and the only real issue is the warranty. He should have measured with the independents first and then gone to PepBoys to see how they would answer to it, or ask the manager to show you the measurement. He accepted their first offer and paid, then felt some buyer’s remorse and wanted to feel vindicated. Good luck on this one dude–not much of a case here.

  3. BrendanEff says:

    Brevity is not the sole of wit. It is the soul of wit.

  4. GenXCub says:

    Yeah, there needs to be that knack of getting your point across without being tl;dr. Leave out the “dude was eatin hamburger” part, and stick to the facts of the sale, which should have been pertinent enough to have a valid complaint.

  5. GearheadGeek says:

    Someone is surprised the PepBoys is a ripoff? P. T. Barnum was right.

  6. mark duffy says:

    Manny, Moe, and/or Jack would have never treated you this way.

  7. Buran says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: Actually, isn’t it illegal to charge someone for something they were specifically told not to do? I would have refused to pay for that part and demanded my keys back and if they had not given me my keys and car they would be facing auto theft charges.

  8. Geekybiker says:

    He should have never paid for the alignment in the first place, and if the tires are warrantied to last 60k miles the road hazard should have been pro-rated based on miles driven vs 60k miles. Sadly he caved too easy and getting things set right after you’re been screwed is hard than getting it done in the first place.

  9. Froggmann says:

    I sinply do not patronize Pep Boys due to their non-service. I have employees lock the doors on me 5 minutes before closing, had to replace PB batteries once every month, month and a half or so, many parts I have purchased have been duds or the wrong part, and typically the guys (and gals) behind the parts counter have zero automotive experiance.

  10. Esquire99 says:

    The letter is way to long and contains too many extraneous facts. Someone needs to learn how to write succinctly.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Amie is almost certainly female. (That’s an M.) Use of a car and/or computer does not automatically make one a male.

    Also, wit is not footwear.

  12. Trick says:

    So a slacker eating a burger and not acting all that interested in the customers business is *STILL* reason to shop at Pep Boys?

    Seems to me the buyer didn’t beware. If the sales person shows little interest or professionalism *DURING* the sale, how are they going to act after they get your money???

    Buyer Beware. The signs were on the door when the customer went in. He should have left and went to another place…

  13. stopNgoBeau says:

    Just a quick check… the letter was written by Amie, thats A M I E, not Arnie. I’m thinking this is a chick, not a guy. Using certain fonts, m does look like r and n. I copied it over to word and blew it up to make sure.

  14. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @Buran: It is illegal–if pursued. He took the appeasement deal the manager offered and that cleared PepBoys of any wrongdoing. If he raised a stink about it, I’ll bet that he would not have been charged for the alignment. This guy basically looked “PepBoys” in the eye and blinked. Of course, they got over on him because he didn’t stick up for himself at the appropriate time.

  15. DeeJayQueue says:

    @Buran: You can’t press charges on a mechanic for theft in this situation. By leaving your car with them and agreeing on service they have the ability to place a Mechanic’s Lein on the car. This is where they hold the car for its collateral value until you pay for the repairs. If you never agreed to the repairs it’s one thing and you could probably win in court over it, but you’re not getting your keys back except by force, and the cops aren’t going to help you. It’s not theft.

    What you do in a case like this is to come back with your spare key, or give them the valet key, and if they try to charge you for services you didn’t want but they did anyway you just use your spare key, get in your car and drive away. Deal with the paperwork later but take the car with you so they don’t charge you for storage and whatnot, and then you don’t have to do anything but argue for your key instead of your key AND your car.

    Pep Boys is probably the worst place possible to go for anything other than fuzzy steering wheel covers, LED bric-a-brac, or naked trucker babe mudflaps. They do have good prices on tires, but there’s the rub. You get screwed on extras, have your tires installed by monkeys who will most often do it wrong or mess something else up, and then they don’t honor their own warranties. I hate to say it being such an avid consumerist reader, but WalMart has comparable prices and I’d trust their service over PepBoys.

  16. INHUMANITY says:

    Arnie,

    It’s unfortunate, but what Pep-Boys are telling you is the truth.

    I’ve purchased tires from Wal-Mart, Pep Boys, America’s Tire Co., etc.

    Their warranty clearly states that damage to the side-wall or as tire stores like to call it “run flat” are not covered by their warranties/certificates.

    I can’t comment on the read issues, but side-wall damage is an instant no to repairs. America’s Tire Co. has replaced tires for me with damage in the side-walls via the certificate I purchased, but the cost was pro-rated.

    Still pretty fair I think.

  17. InThrees says:

    I have nothing other than to point out that the letter as reprinted here is signed “Amie” – A m i e.

    If ‘he’ is really a ‘she’ then color me astounded that some shady garage took advantage of a woman, or felt like they could.

  18. Esquire99 says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Yes, but Buran likes to jump to conclusions and threaten people with arrest and prosecution, although he rarely has any idea what he’s talking about, let alone any knowledge of things like liens.

  19. kenblakely says:

    Hmmm…
    1)Willing to put up with a rude salesperson
    2)Agrees to pay for a service he never asked for
    3)Agrees to forego the rebate he was entitled to
    4)Apparently is unfamiliar with the warranty on the tires
    5)Lets a salesperson railroad him on the warranty

    This consumer is a doofus, and is prolly getting what he deserves.

  20. kenblakely says:

    @INHUMANITY: Not if it’s a roadhazard warranty. Roadhazard warranties cover….um….roadhazards.

  21. coffee177 says:

    Dont forget, These are the same people that fired the managers that were called to iraq for duty. I have never bothered to give them my business. I would recommend “Discount Tire” as they have always done me good.

    I drive alot of miles in my line of work. Im a hardware engineer in Indiana. I have to travel the entire upper part of the state. I always get the best tire that I can for my vehicals because they last longer and provide a better ride.

    The actual milage that the poster reported is actually 4491 miles. My tires have about 10000 miles on them so far and show very little wear.

  22. Catra says:

    Pep Boys are nothing but scam artists. Color me not surprised.

  23. Gev says:

    @GearheadGeek: I thought pretty much everyone knew that Pep Boys was famous for charging the customer for unauthorized work and other shady dealings.

    Apparently I was wrong.

  24. Yourhero88 says:

    @kenblakely: I understand your points, but a lot of consumers crumble under the weight of bureaucracy, and the fact that they need what the retailer is selling (not to mention being put on the spot to either pay or get nothing).

    Sometimes it takes acceptance initially, to go discover how one has been wronged, as in Amie going to other places to check the tires actual life.

  25. MrEvil says:

    I 2nd discount tire. They’ll just about bend over backwards for you if you’ve purchased a set from them. The only complaint I have about discount is the long wait to get your tires fixed. Last time I needed a tire fixed I called Discount and they said it was over 2 hours before they could fix my flat.

    As far as car batteries go, I’m sold on my local Batteries plus. First place I’ve EVER purchased a car battery where they actually tested the battery before I left the store with it. They’re cheaper than wal-mart too.

  26. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @bradg33:

    Your attack on another commenter is not adding anything to this discussion.

  27. nursetim says:

    I also go to Discount Tire, and have never had a problem. I do agree about the part about long waits, but I see that as a good thing, since it means they likely are paying attention to what they are doing instead of acting like they are a pit crew in NASCAR and throwing tires on the car and getting you out as quick as possible.

  28. sibertater says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that “Arnie’s” name is “Amie?” That is all.

  29. mag700 says:

    I have had two bad expierences my self with Pep Boys already. I thought the first time was just a fluke on not putting oil into my car after an oil change, so I let that one go. They did it a second time just recently to me and that was the last straw. Not only did they forget to put oil in my car but now it is running terrible all of a sudden (puttering and hesitating when pushing the gas pedal). I find it kind of odd that now all of a sudden my car is acting up when it never had a major issue before. I have decided not to do business with Pep Boys servicing and will be bringing my car to local mechanic about 15 minutes away. At least he is much more reliable and very up front and honest. Pep Boys servicing gets two thumbs down from me.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like this customer just does not understand the automotive tire business. This is how it works and I am sure that the customer, in some way, gave the service writer permission to do the alignment if needed.
    She should try to understand how things work before writing e-mail blasts. This is can be very damaging to the employee who is just trying to make a living like the rest of us.