EZ Lube Settles Massive Fraud Charges

EZ Lube of California has to install cameras in all its 75 locations and is forbidden from doing anything more than lube and oil and filter changes. It’s part of a $5 million settlement brought by the DA’s office after numerous consumers alleged that repairs and services were billed but never completed and following up on an undercover investigation by KNBC’s Joel Grover. The cameras are there so that customers will have a video record in case of future disputes. The chain also agreed to stop selling unnecessary services, as well as eliminate a policy requiring workers to sell certain amount of “services.” Most importantly, EZ Lube established a restitution fund requiring it to investigate every complaint and pay back anyone who was ripped off. Customers who think they’re owed a refund can call the Orange County district attorney’s hotline at 714-648-3637.

EZ Lube Settlement [KNBC] (Thanks to Jennifer!)

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  1. jwissick says:

    Great. Now target Jiffy Lube.

  2. bonzombiekitty says:

    Not being from California, I thought this article was going to be about something entirely different.

  3. Nighthawke says:

    @jwissick: No, target any dammed fool that decides to defraud their customers.

  4. isadora says:

    I hate Jiffy Lube! I miss living in Michigan where you could throw a ball and hit a decent oil change place.

    I went to Jiffy Lube last summer and some kid worked on my car–I just wanted an oil change–and they came up with all these piece of my car to try to show me how dirty they were. I asked them to please not do that but they did anyway. Sure enough, my car was back there for 40 minutes (!!) even though I was the only one waiting. They took the PC valve or air filter off and couldn’t get one of them back on. Infuriating. Please don’t take my car apart; just do what I asked you to do! Grrrr!

  5. yagisencho says:

    Jiffy Lube has managed to leave the engine air filter hose disconnected on my engine not once, but on two separate occasions. Now I always check under the hood before leaving their lot. Makes me consider handling the carcinogenic duty on my own again. Warranty expires in June…

  6. bdgbill says:

    You can’t sue this kind of “from the top” dishonesty out of a company.

    I’m predicting they will be back to their old tricks before the end of the year.

    Thes places simply can’t survive on 20-30 $23.00 oil changes a day.

  7. JayDeEm says:

    Keeping *your own* maintenance records is key to avoid getting ripped off. I use Jiffy Lube most of the time, and occasionally the dealer for things I don’t trust JL to do. It’s a bit obsessive, but I keep a spreadsheet of everything done to my vehicle including the date, mileage and location of service. Walk in with this sheet along with a knowledge of the service intervals in your manual and they pretty much leave you alone.

    I could do most of the maintenance myself, I just choose to have JL do anything involving fluids because storage and proper disposal is more of a hassle than it’s worth.

  8. DeeJayQueue says:

    @bdgbill: “Thes places simply can’t survive on 20-30 $23.00 oil changes a day.”
    So that gives them a right to shit on their customers?
    When your business model is fatally flawed, you say “Hey my business model is fatally flawed, let me see if I can expand my business by offering more services at a better value and attracting more customers with better advertising.” Not, “Hey this sucks lets see how often we can get away with not actually doing work we contracted for, how little training we can give our employees, how little we can pay them, and how much we can ask for them.” That’s a recipe for failure and anyone knows it.

  9. North of 49 says:

    Ms No49 used to have a boyfriend that worked at Jiffy Lube. Even back in 91,92 it was standard practise for them to “upsell” everything. Then the horror stories about customer problems happened.
    1: the customer that got directed to drive in and fell into the hole in the floor – as in the entire car.
    2: the engine that was sent out without refilling the oil. They were required to pay for a whole new engine.
    3: the engine that they took apart and couldn’t put back together.
    4: the one that caught fire because of their mistakes…

    I could go on.

  10. JeffM says:

    So basically EZ Lube is going out of business?

    Okay, sounds good!

  11. remusrm says:

    well… something similar happen with me with ez lube. my car is stick and they try to make me change my automatic trany fluid, but again did not check to see if its stick. on my previous car they put a the wrong air cabin filter, and also broke the holding bracket, not to mention countless stories about the oil drainage being torn apart.

  12. Zimorodok says:

    My favorite lube-joint story:

    While driving through Buffalo (road trip) the transmission starts acting up on my buddy’s 25-year-old Volvo wagon. We pull into someplace called “Mr Lube” or “King Lube” or some junk to get the fluid flushed. The kids there, who we referred to as the Three Stooges afterwards, start working on it as we watch from behind the window… 10 minutes later, one starts gesticulating madly, the others are shrugging, it’s clear there’s high comedy going on.

    We go into the garage to find out just WTF they did to the car… turns out they poured a whole can of transmission fluid into the OIL tank.

    Much swearing ensued.

    …That was a great trip.

  13. bradite says:

    It pays to know at least a little about how a car works people. Park in the first bay and watch them. That’s the only way for the truly paranoid (me) to be comfortable with these places.

  14. balthisar says:

    I’ve always had good luck at this type of place. But I’ve never been made to leave — I see everything they do (and I suppose the knowledge of what they’re supposed to do is helpful). Most of the work I’d just do myself if fluid disposal wasn’t such a pain in the butt.

  15. gugleme says:

    Whatever the guy at EZ Lube tells you about “manufacturer recommended” service is bull. They told me something about changing the manual transmission oil. I declined the job and called my dealer next day. Dealer had no such service recommendation.
    EZ Lube, Jiffy Lube, whatever “Lube” place, they are strictly oil-change drive-thrus for me…

  16. RazorWilly says:

    Well EZ Lube is not going out of business they just moved over here to Lake Havasu City AZ. The first think they did was try and buy up all the other lube business in town. A lot sold, I can drive by one near my house and it does very little business. Jiffy lube was also caught on camera