Does The Pep Boys 29-Minute Oil Change Guarantee Actually Apply?

Troy is a rational person, which is why he took Pep Boys’ advertisement of a guaranteed 29-minute oil change literally. A sign at his local outlet claims that if your oil change takes more than 29 minutes, you’ll receive a $10 voucher for your next oil change. Except that’s not actually how the program works, and Troy found that there’s apparently always a way to weasel out of giving customers the $10.

Last month I took my truck to my local Pep Boys for an oil change and after leaving I noticed a sign advertising a ’29 minute oil change’.

After I got home I was able to look it up on the website and read about it.

The part I noticed was that they: Guaranteed to be completed in 29 minutes or less or receive a $10 voucher towards your next oil change

Well, looking at my bill I saw that my total time was 1 hour and 10 minutes and I wasn’t offered a $10 off voucher.

So, I called the customer service line and explained my frustration about not being offered a voucher.

The customer service representative explained that it was “from the time that car began it’s service it would be done in 29 minutes”.

I explained that it did not state that on the Pep Boys website and that I felt it unfair.
She took my information and the following day I was contacted by my local store and given a $10 giftcard for the inconvenience.

Flashforward to today, where I decided to use the giftcard toward getting my wife an oil change. I took the car in (to the same Pep Boys) I asked about the 29 minute oil change. The gentleman told me it would be 1 hour and 30 minutes. I decided to wait, get the oil change and then speak to the service manager on duty (who was the same one who gave me the $10 giftcard previously).

After everything was done, I cashed out and then asked for my $10 off voucher from the service manager.

She explained that it did not take over 29 minutes for my car to be worked on. I assured her that it had been 1 hour and 20 minutes and that they did not meet their advertisement of a 29 minute oil change. She explained that I had 2 cars ahead of me and that each of those cars were 30 mintues each and I was the 3rd 30 minutes. I then explained that the Pep Boys website does not make any mention of wait time in their advertising of the special and if that their shop can’t deliver the job in 29 minutes they need to hire more employees.

This comment set her off as she then went into a breakdown of how she has to manage only 100 service hours amongst her employees to get the various jobs performed. I let her know that I sympathize with her and maybe she needs to contact the corporate office and explain that they can’t meet the demand of the 29 minute oil change without additional hours being allocated to her store.

She gave me my $10 voucher reluctantly, but after I left I thought some more and I felt that she was right.

Pep Boys Inc. should not create program to draw in customers and then not support it with the labor to be able to meet the demand.

So, I called their customer service again with the intention this time to speak to someone at a corporate level about this because I feel that what they are doing is an illegal ‘bait & switch’ by not putting any of the clauses I have run into on their website.

This may actually be a correct application of the term “bait and switch.” Pep Boys is advertising a service to get people in the door, without being able to provide it.