It began with a customer complaint to St. Louis TV station KMOV: customers accused one local Jiffy Lube franchisee of a disturbing scam on the part of the store’s staff. Customers claimed that mechanics sold services to customers, then didn’t actually perform the repairs that they sold. Worse: one customer claims that employees asked for cash, claiming that the shop computers were down. Of course, they still didn’t perform the repairs. [More]
A Redditor has posted images of his repair estimate he got from Firestone after taking their car in to fix a flat. The Firestone mechanic said they couldn’t just put a plug in, they needed to replace the whole tire. And while they were at it, they said the Redditor should overhaul their electrical system for $1,600 because the blinkers didn’t work, even though they did work. [More]
One of our readers recently complained about a shady dealership mechanic trying to sell him on replacing his whole rear differential on his car for $3,800, when all he really needed was his fluids to get flushed for about $160. [More]
According to the consumer advice editor at Edmunds, if you bought a car in the last seven or eight years, you don’t have to change its oil every 3,000 miles. On these newer models, it’s fine to wait until 7,500 miles or more, although a Pennzoil employee tells the New York Times that you should stick with what your manual advises (which is still probably less frequent than every 3,000 miles). You can also check out this California State list of guidelines for different cars. [More]
Greg tells Consumerist that he was a loyal customer of Firestone Complete Auto Care, and brought his car in for some diagnostic tests to figure out some non-urgent problems. The shop called him to tell him that his car had a fuel filter problem and he would need to take it to the dealer: fine, that happens. When Greg started up his car to leave, it was hard not to notice the loud knocking sound in front. Either he happened to break the front axle when starting the car, or something went horribly awry during his repair. [More]
Cristin says she went to a Los Angeles Jiffy Lube and kept an eye on her vehicle to make sure the mechanics performed the services she paid for. She says Jiffy Lube didn’t check her fluid levels, battery or tire pressure but told her it did. She writes:
The FAA has been investigating American Airlines for a while now over allegations that it wasn’t repairing its planes properly, and yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that the agency may widen its investigation, and even bring charges against individual employees who signed off on substandard repairs.
We’re not entirely sure Consumerist is responsible for Walmart finally getting back to Jeff on his ruined transmission—and frankly, because of the length of time between the incident and his complaint, as well as Walmart’s reputation for silence on consumer complaints like this, we didn’t expect much to happen at all. We were wrong, and we tip our hats to Walmart for making good on a very expensive mistake. Read Jeff’s update below.
Update: Walmart has responded!
Last Friday, we posted about how a Dodge dealership in New York spent nearly a week working on a truck, and charged over $700 for the labor, only to say they couldn’t fix it in the end. It looks like the story has a happy ending: after the truck’s owner sent in a formal complaint and pointed the dealership to our post, the dealership’s owner refunded both the repair fees and the towing fees.
A Dodge dealership in Alexandria Bay, NY, wasted over $700 of Joe’s dad’s money and a week of their time not repairing a 20-year-old truck. Joe says he heard that the dealership recently replaced all of its mechanics—maybe they took a page from Circuit City’s playbook?
Trisha in Oregon bought a great new-to-her car from a used car dealership. Unfortunately, the problem with buying a car “as-is” is that the dealer may not be up-front with you about how the car actually is.
As Hal from Malcolm in the Middle used to say, “just because someone’s smarter than you, that doesn’t make them a genius.” Thus, I can’t tell you whether car shop owners are geniuses, but I do know they have managed to pad their profits by blinding car-ignorant saps like me with science that’s way over our heads, getting us to spring for unnecessary repairs.
Jiffy Lube agreed to pay Alison over $250 after botching routine work that forced her to interrupt her road trip for emergency car repairs. Alison’s mechanic said that Jiffy Lube’s attempted transmission fluid flush could have caused “catastrophic car damage” if left unfixed. Jiffy Lube denied all responsibility until Alison fired off an Executive Email Carpet Bomb to C.E.O. Rick Altizer, who agreed not only to reimburse for the repairs, but refunded the original cost of the transmission fluid flush, and tossed in a few coupons for free oil changes.
Seriously, Jiffy Lube? You haven’t received enough bad coverage about ripping off your customers? Fine, here’s another one: Daniel says they tried to add about $170 in extra “needed” repairs and replacements recently when his girlfriend dropped off her car to get the oil changed. Even after she turned them down, they still slapped an extra $6 “Peak Global Life Time 100%” charge on the bill. We don’t know what that means, but those are all good words, and anything that’s 100 percent has got to be quality. Apparently Jiffy Lube doesn’t know what it means either.
Heartland Automotive Services, Inc., which runs 31 Jiffy Lubes in the Austin area, has to pay a $300,000 fine after admitting to pumping used oil into the city’s sewer system instead of recycling it. Normally shops are paid by the gallon for used oil, but in this case a damaged wall let water seep into the oil collection area and create a toxic mess that couldn’t be sold—so instead of paying to remove it, they pumped it down the drain.
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.