An EZ Lube store in California overcharged Timothy for a new cabin filter when he went to get his oil changed. The mechanic managed to do this by quizzing Timothy on his knowledge of air filters, then using that info to make vague assurances that sounded good but didn’t convey the actual, final price. Timothy admits that he let his guard down, but when he was hit with the final bill, he regained his consumerist footing and began to take steps to remedy the situation—and he succeeded.
love reading the posts and used some of the skills I have learned from them to clear up a recent issue I had with EZ Lube. I will preface this with an acknowledgment that I made a major error of judgment. I know better, however, I fell victim to the dreaded “Air Filter” scam at EZ Lube. I learned long ago not to ever buy an air filter or have one installed by an oil change business, as they are always overpriced and ripoffs.
Unfortunately, I let my guard down when I went on March 26th to EZ Lube #093 in San Diego, CA for a simple oil change. First, I was pushed to get a synthetic mix oil change for $52.99, which I immediately balked at, but was then told that I was a “VIP” and that they would take $8 off. I was doing this on my lunch break, so I said sure, just get it done. I signed the estimate form and went and ran an errand. I came back and waited a few minutes before I was asked to join the service technician for a 14-point inspection. Here, they had my air filter and cabin filter atop the engine, accenting the dust and particles that the filter had acquired over the past 5,000 miles or so. The technician quizzed me on my air filter, which I told him I do myself. He then pressed me on the cabin filter, which I had never installed before. My ignorance in this area proved to be my downfall, as the technician informed me that they can change this in no time and that they charge the same price auto stores do. With that, I agreed and again walked away informing them that I needed to get going soon.
My car was completed and I went to pay for the bill. I was told my total was over $140 and I refused to pay. I told them that this was ridiculous and that I was never told the Cabin filter would cost $70.
The cashier muttered something about a HEPA filter and that these things are expensive. A manager approached and immediately took off $20, and I begrudgingly agreed. I paid with my credit card, since I felt this was shady and wanted to protect my options. I then hopped on my phone and Google’d the cabin filter’s SKU. Guess what? Amazon and others sell this thing for $15-$20 tops. So, I got home and emailed my story to EZ Lube corporate. Within 24 hours, I received a phone call from Todd Mann with Corporate. We discussed what had happened, what documents I signed and what estimates I was provided. He informed my that the $70 cabin filter was likely due to labor and service fees associated with the part. I informed him that I have no issue paying for services which I am not an expert in and cannot do on my own, however I felt that I was taken advantage of and that this was simply a ripoff. He informed me that they would issue a refund on the air filter if there were inconsistencies with the paperwork they provided me, as EZ Lube apparently has requirements for proper documentation of services.
I scanned and emailed my receipt and invoice to Todd, and today was informed that I would receive $50 from EZ Lube due to the inconsistencies in the store’s documents.
Though I feel that I won my little battle here, I think it is fair to say that this scam will continue. Hopefully more people will learn from my mistake and many of the other stories out there on oil change businesses and their practice of scamming with air filters. Thanks for continuing to fight the good fight!