Jiffy Lube's Underhanded Charges

Jiffy Lube charged Carlo for an oil change. They even warned his car suffered from a transmission fluid leak and an excessive oil leak. Only one problem: They hadn’t looked at the car.

When I came back, they told me that my car was ready and even pointed out that my car had a transmission fluid leak and excessive oil leak. They even said that they replaced my filters and window wipers. I agreed to the charges and paid for it. After five minutes, the cashier comes back and tells me that my car hasn’t been serviced, yet.

Carlo’s car was a chameleon. They thought the car was green, even though Carlo told them it was “bluish-green.” Well, that explains everything. Carlo had been a Jiffy Lube customer for six years. Now, he will service his car elsewhere.

Carlo’s email, after the jump…

I went to a local Jiffy Lube today to get my oil changed. They told me it would take about 2 hours. Since it was next to the mall, I decided to shop around and come back. When I came back, they told me that my car was ready and even pointed out that my car had a transmission fluid leak and excessive oil leak. They even said that they replaced my filters and window wipers. I agreed to the charges and paid for it. After five minutes, the cashier comes back and tells me that my car hasn’t been serviced, yet.

“No offense to you, but this really looks sketchy. You already told me that my car had a transmission leak and oil leak, yet your mechanics still haven’t checked it. Please give me a refund. I’ll take my business somewhere else,” I said to the cashier.

While walking out, one of the mechanics told me that they had a hard time looking for my car because I had said it was blue and to them it looked more like green. I originally told them that the car looks bluish-green. They did not even had the face to apologize to me for the “bogus” charges that they were going to give me without inspecting my car. The sad fact is that I’ve been a customer their since 6 years ago. I took the same car without any problems.

I just want consumers to be aware of this practice and that Jiffy Lube should be investigated for some shady practices.

This Jiffy Lube is located in the Westfield Brandon Shopping Center next to Sears in Brandon, FL.

Real slick, Jiffy Lube. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
(Photo: aka Kath)


Edit Your Comment

  1. erockO says:

    The story is a little confusing. Did they service someone else’s car?

  2. strandist says:

    He’s not the only one to get had by Jiffy Lube. I’ve had two run-ins myself. The first involved getting an oil change and being charged 2 more quarts of oil than my car can take (6 quarts instead of 4). The second ended up being their standard “You need to get a flush of every major fluid system in your car” shortly after I had them all flushed at the dealer. I attributed both of them to them trying to pull one over on unsuspecting college students (the location was close to campus and offered a student discount), but I’ll never go to another Jiffy Lube again.

  3. robrob says:

    not to nitpick, but it might not be cool to post a picture of an unrelated mechanic at an unrelated company under the big screaming “SHADY MECHANIC” headline. for all we know, this guy is an awesome guy with a stellar customer service record, and now he’s the posterboy for underhanded charges.

  4. Kornkob says:

    Especially when flicker has so many pics of actual jiffy lube mechanincs that could have been used (and some pretty creepy looking pics too)

  5. XopherMV says:
  6. Kornkob says:

    @erockO: Here’s a summary:

    -Guy drops car off at JL and goes shopping
    -Guy gets call saying his car is all done
    -guy pays for car
    -Cashier runs out of store and tells guy that it turns out they hadn’t gotten to his car yet after all.
    -mechanics give guy a half assed explanation for the ‘mistake’

    On another note– seems odd that they had to go find the guy’s car. My experience with quick lube joints is that you pull up to the doors, they let you in (or send a guy out) and ‘take your order’. *shrug*

  7. Rajio says:

    I agree – the use of images is often misleading in this site.

  8. Amazing that this still happens given the nationwide and Internetswide coverage over the last year of how Jiffy Lube doesn’t do the work they say they do–and how it’s institutionalized.

    As for the photo, you couldn’t find a screen cap of David Puddy?

  9. Carey Alexander says:

    New picture, by popular request.

  10. robrob says:

    that youtube video is amazing.
    if i could pick a new career, investigative reporter is WAY up there as an alternative.

  11. gardencat says:

    Doesn’t the word “jiffy” mean in a second or a minute? …and you were told it would take about two hours!

    You are lucky that the cashier bothered to tell you that your car was not serviced yet and it was probably a good thing that they never touched your car.

  12. Bourque77 says:

    And this is why I do a lot of stuff to my own car. I dont trust thoes idiots or the ones at wal-mart or wherever else you want to name (even a dealership) to touch my car.

  13. muddgirl says:

    Let me just say that I’ve had nothing but professional and quick service from my local Jiffy Lube. They never try to push me into buying anything I don’t need – they even told me that I didn’t need to get a new air filter, although I would have bought it if they had reccommended it!

    It sounds to me like they accidentally billed this guy for someone else’s car, not that they were trying to bill him for work that hadn’t been done, period.

  14. umonster says:

    If it really was a scam, why would the cashier come back to tell him that his car wasn’t serviced? This _is_ a confusing story.

  15. ChewySquirrel says:

    This was ALMOST a scam- if he had driven off before anyone realized it, they would have probably just shrugged their shoulders, but as it turns out they realized their mistake and no harm was done, except for this guy losing 2 hours of time.

  16. acambras says:

    I don’t know about this particular story, but my past bad experiences with Jiffy Lube will keep me from ever using them again.

  17. royal72 says:

    jiffy lube is pretty famous for robbing people (here in so-cal at least). i went there to get an oil change and was promptly told i needed an engine flush and air filter. now i’m no mechanic and can’t verify the flush, but (after hearing about jl scamming people) i had checked my air filter before hand and it was fine. even better than that, the air filter that was shown to me (nice and filthy) wasn’t even the same one i just checked before i got there.

    i asked how my filter could be so dirty, considering that it wasn’t even the one from my car, the guy got a stupid look on his face and said, “hang on”. he came back and said sorry, it was from a different customers car and his mechanic had told him the wrong one. i looked at him and just said i’d pass on the flush and that a) i’m never coming back and b) i’ll pass the word along that jl actively lies and steals from their customers. to which i got lots of apologies and a voucher for a free oil change. no thanks.

  18. lookzgood2me says:

    Not sure if it’s the oil changing biz in general, but I never gone into Jiffy Lube and had them just change the oil and filter. It’s always been, “oh, you need this, we can change that, I noticed this was worn too.”

  19. jwissick says:

    Jiffy lube failed to service a car and they charge the customer for work not done? Where’s the news in this? This is Jiffy Lube’s SOP. How do you know a Jiffy lube tech is lying? His lips are moving.

  20. formergr says:

    Yeah, I got the “flush needed” spiel when I went to a Jiffy Lube once. I don’t know too much about cars, so the guy showing me the cloudy transmission fluid on a little dipstick would normally have convinced me, but he did it in such a…almost rehearsed way that it pinged my bullshit meter and said I’d think about it for next time.

    Two weeks later I had the car at the mechanic’s for an unrelated issue and asked them about it, and they said I certainly did not need it done. Pretty cool of them to not talk me into something that would have earned them extra dough. Now I have them change my oil, and unlike Jiffy Lube (who I think charged me like $39), they only charge me around $20, sometime less if there’s a special (I’m in Chicago to provide a relative price point).

  21. Trick says:

    The one and only time I used Jiffy Lube, I ended up with a new radiator.

    I took my then car (’91 Honda Civic, 140,000 miles) in for a oil change in August of 1999. The service monkey opened the hood, did a visual inspection then pulled the car in for a oil change.

    Everything seemed to go OK, nobody tried to up sell anything and the car was ready in about 25 minutes. They pulled the car around and then I paid.

    Instead of pulling forward I backed up to exit to another street and noticed a puddle of coolant on the ground. One of the service guys leaned on the radiator and cracked the filler head and cool was bleeding fast.

    I pointed it out to one of the workers the broken filler and then another really stupid looking service monkey came over and said the car came in that way!

    I pointed out how I inspected the car before it was service with on of the workers and if it had been leaking like it was before, someone would have said something…

    I called for a manager and told the really stupid looking service monkey to get lost. The manager tried to get out of it and I kept on saying his workers did this. When I said I am not moving the car (it was blocking the service bay) until I speak with a district manager, he changed his tune, said that though it wasn’t their fault they will replace the replace the radiator as a good faith customer service…

    I watched the whole radiator replacement from start to finish and even offered to do it myself (I am a backyard mechanic and never did a complete radiator replacement but could probably do no worse than this place) but they said no for insurance reasons. So after about three hours a new radiator was installed and I was on my way.

    Upon reflection I now know why they parked the car the way they did. I am sure they were hoping I would pull forward and not see the coolant puddle. The stupid looking grease monkey must have crapped his pants when I backed-up and notice the coolant spill!

    I will never use Jiffy Lube again, that is for sure!

  22. Kornkob says:

    Hell– your radiator must have been in really crappy condition if ‘leaning’ on filler head broke it.

    Seems to me they did do you a favor by replacing it.

    Incidentally, it take some time to build up pressure in a radiator. A crack in the top of the radiator isn’t likely to show any visible leaking in the 15 second ‘pressure test’ that an oil change place does.

    And while we’re at it— let’s just stop calling the grease monkeys they’ve got working at Jiffy lube ‘mechanics’. Calling them mechanics is like calling a day laborer a carpenter or a Micky D’s burger flipper a ‘chef’.

    These guys are trained on a process that takes all of 20 minutes to touch on all the variations of and a total of a couple hours to fully train. They are not mechanics, they have no depth or breadth of knowledge that even remotely makes them skilled workers.

    Unlike mechanics, these guys don’t have a lot of options. They can’t take their extensive body of knowledge and skills down the road if their boss is a scummy cock ring. They’re guys who have gotten a job that isn’t physically demanding, doesn’t take a significant amount of schooling or intelligence and pays reasonably well. When a mechanic is scamming people he’s and ass because someone with skills and training has options.

    The one thing an oil change place and a mechanic’s outfit have in common is that, chain or not, the tone is set by the unit manager (and presumably the district manager– if the districts are small enough for individual district office attention). If the unit manager is a pole gobbler who doesn’t care if he rips people off then his mechanics will be ripping people off. If the manager is a stand up guy his mechanics will toe the line too.

  23. clbarrientos says:

    The only way you get accurate service at jiffy lube is if you tell them EXACTLY what you want…if something is really wrong, they will go out of their way to tell you.

  24. mibi says:

    Jiffy lube and other quick change places dont make money on oil changes, its their loss leader. The real money is in extra “problems” with your car.

    I always change my own oil, its easy, but last winter when it was too cold to get under my truck i took it to jiffylube. They changed the oil and screwed the oil plug on so tight with their pneumatic drill that it had to be sawn off. Thanks jiffy lube!

    Oh and a friend of mine got her oil changed at jiffy lube before a cross coutry road trip. The only problem, they forgot to fill it back up with oil. that trip didnt last long.

  25. jwissick says:

    @clbarrientos: Actualy they will really go out of their way to tell you things are wrong when they are really just fine.

    I have had Jiffy Scube grease monkeys tell me that my air filter needed to be replaced when I replaced it only 3 weeks prior to going to them… They will try to sell you stuff you don’t need all the time. I know. I used to be an ASE certified mechanic before I went to the computer world.

    Most new cars have extended life coolant that will last close to 100k miles. Jiffy Lube will try to talk you into changing it every 30k… just like regular coolant.

    Jiffy Lube “techs” will lie to you any chance they get.

  26. hop says:

    so far i’e been ok with JL ,but they seem to have a big turnover of people…..different staff on my every visit…..so i do try and watch ’em kinda close…..

  27. Bob says:

    Why do people still go to Jiffy Lube?

  28. That story is definitely a reason not to use Jiffy Lube, but it pales in comparison to the Meineke in Brunswick, ME that I went to in college. I pulled in, made the appointment for my car, and then turned around to see a college friend sitting in the waiting room. I asked him what was wrong. He replied that he had just gotten the oil changed on his Tahoe and the mechanic hadn’t replaced a particular part. (I don’t know which part because I know nothing about changing my own oil, sadly; I should learn, shouldn’t I?) Anyway, my friend pulled out of the Meineke, got a few tenths of a mile down the road…and his car completely shit the bed. Ouch. He needed to replace lots and lots of stuff, and, although Meineke paid for it, that still sucks big time.

  29. KatieKate93 says:

    I remember my last ever visit to Jiffy Lube. My car had about 7,500 miles on it, and they recommended a new air filter. I just about died laughing right there in the shop. Never again.

  30. glitterpig says:

    My jiffy lube always says that I need new brake lights. I always say I’ll replace them myself. When I get home, there are never any lights out.

    I should probably put that in the past tense; I got tired of my parking-meter change getting stolen out of my ashtray every time I went, so I don’t use JL any more. But we’ve got the kind where you can watch them do the work, so I’m certain they did actually change the oil, which is all I ever wanted them to do. Meh.

  31. CaptainCrash says:

    I hate Jiffy Lube. My fiancee went there for an oil-change, and came out with over $200 in charges. Air filter, oil filter (which I had replaced a month earlier), rear tailight out (my ass), etc. I went in to the store about half an hour later, admittedly angry, and asked to see the old parts. They told me to f*** off and to go look in the dumpster. Yes, they actually said both.

    I hate Jiffy Lube, no one should ever go there, ever. I wrote to their corporate, and they just pushed it off on the individual franchiser.

    Yeah, I’m still bitter.

  32. CaptainCrash says:

    I said oil filter, which they did change like I told them to. I meant they also charged her for a new fuel filter (which I had just replaced a month earlier). Now, this is a Pontiac. Changing a fuel filter on a Pontiac ain’t no small thing (Fords just clip in, GMs require all sorts of unscrewing and crap), and they say they did it in ten minutes.

  33. gorckat says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Jiffy Lube.

    Then again, I stay close at hand and observe the service through the waiting room window.

  34. Jon Parker says:

    I had them recommend a new air filter after I had changed it ten minutes before driving into their shop.

    Never again.

  35. Terminixsux says:

    Jiffy Lube, Meineke, your local dealership, as a rule I try to avoid any of these places. They all seem set to rip you off from the moment they see you walk in the door. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to perform maintenance or service myself anymore,so I found a local owner-operated repair center.I know the mechanics by name, and they know me and my car. I never feel ripped off,and they never try to sellme anything I don’t need. When a repair is expensive, they even seem somewhat abashed about telling me.

  36. The story is definitely confusing. Would it have been better if Jiffy Lube didn’t tell him that they didn’t service his car and yet required him to pay up? At least they indirectly admitted to making a mistake.

  37. Yozzie says:

    This is great. The “mechanics” were servicing the cars based on their colour?

    How about instead of: “Well, this must be the right car, it’s blue.” “Nah man, that car’s green…” they actually looked for, you know, the car’s make and model?

    Screw JL – I had them do my annual inspection last year, got dinged for “new wipers,” and then they left the headlights on while it sat outside, switched off, for an hour after the inspection got done and I could pick it up again. Bingo – dead battery!

  38. Mad_Science says:

    I worked as a grease monkey/tire mounter at a Goodyear chain for a while

    1) You never service a car based on description or color, you always go by the plate. There’s way too many blue/green/white honda civics out there

    2) If you don’t know crap about your car (as many of you have admitted), then please don’t freak out when someone points out to you that it needs to be maintained with parts that cost money.

    Everyone assumes that if “they’re trying to sell you some part that costs $400,” that you’re being scammed. News flash: your car does contain $400 parts that need replacing.

    You should either accept this cost as a tax on your personal failure to understand a piece or equipment critical to your daily function, or you should take some time and learn how to keep an eye on your car and do some maintenance on your own.

    3) That said, jiffy lube are still a bunch of under-trained losers who make money showing people the same dirty air filter over and over. They’re basically the Best Buy of the automotive world.

    (Like best buy) I go there sometimes for coupon/sale rates because it can be cheaper than doing it yourself. I tell them I just want the oil and nothing else. Any “oh…but this is really important…” crap the 17y/o behind the counter gives me is answered with the “say another word and I’ll gut you like a fish” look.

    I also double-check their work when I get home.

  39. SuperJdynamite says:

    My two cents:

    1) Relatively frequent oil changes are an unfortunate part of car ownership. This is the ONLY thing you should let Jiffy Lube do. You’d probably be better off letting a local garage recommended by a friend do the work.

    2) Your car’s owner’s manual contains a maintenance schedule. It probably suggests that you change things like coolant and transmission oil at much longer intervals than the Jiffy Lube guy would suggest. You should listen to the owner’s manual.

    3) You can tell if you need a new air filter by removing it from the filter housing and holding it up to sunlight. If you can’t see light through the filter, you need a new one.

    3) On most cars changing air filters is pretty easy. You can buy a Fram filter at WalMart or Target for about $10. They will have a reference manual that tells you which one you need.

    4) A good investment is a Chilton’s or Haynes repair manual for your make and model year of car. It’s full of information on how to do basic maintenance on your car such as changing air filters and oil. It even covers how to change brake pads, if you’re feeling saucy.

  40. Drinker says:

    Huh? Sounds like JL might not be the most organized place around, but they at least tried to correct their mistake. Sounds like “Carlo” is pissed becasue he/they had a miscommunication about car color…maybe it serves him right for having such an odd color car to begin with–“bluish-green”? WTF??? (joke).

    I’m usually pretty slow to defend these kind of chain service shops, but this story is either pretty weak or needs a better explanation.

  41. mrbill says:

    I never had a problem with the Jiffy Lube(s) on Burnet Road in Austin when I lived there. I did get a free oil change once when they couldn’t unscrew the oil filter on my 2001 Kia Sportage.

    They had 3-4 guys working on it at one point, and they were completely unable to unscrew it. Finally they just came to me and said “Hey, we can’t change the filter, so no charge you for the oil change”.

  42. jesirose says:

    I feel for Carlo – I took my car to Mobil today to get the oil changed. I got a call from them a few hours later saying they may or may not have put some of the parts back in. Sure enough when I got back there they added several things to my engine and told me I was okay now, and I have no idea what the hell happened.


  43. TString says:

    I have my own unique Jiffy Lube experience. I had my car inspected at Jiffy Lube. I don’t trust them for any work, but I figured even Jiffy Lube’s burger flippers could give me the sticker test. A few days later I brought it in to a real mechanic to deal with the problems I thought I was having with the transmission, since the automatic was unnecessarily straining and shifting at odd times.

    It turns out my catalytic converter was shot, and the backpressure was screwing up my acceleration and causing the odd shifts. So what’s wrong with that? Well a catalytic converter is what makes your emissions anything resembling street legal. Without one, I was spewing horrible stuff into the atmosphere. There is no way anything resembling an inspection could have occurred at the Jiffy Lube. There is no task so simple a Jiffy Lube employee couldn’t screw it up. I doubt they’re qualified to work at a full-service gas station.

  44. newjcb03 says:

    This might be the dumbest story I have ever heard. Obviously, they mistook his car for someone else’s. Cashier made an honest mistake. If they had been dishonest or trying to scam, they would have not said a word to him as he left. Carlos, calm down. It does suck that in 2 hours they hadn’t worked on your car, so you should get free service. Stop whining and get a free oil change.

  45. volsung says:

    A friend of mine had some maintenance done on her truck at a real car mechanic, which included replacing the air filter. Mostly standard stuff, really, but they didn’t change the oil since she just wanted the major stuff done.

    A few days later, she went to Jiffy Lube to have the oil changed. She had heard the standard upsell speech a dozen times before, but this time it went too far. The guy came in and told her the air filter needed to be changed. She replied, “Oh really? I had it replaced a few days ago.”

    Without missing a beat, the Jiffy Lube tech replied, “Well, you can’t ever change these things too often.”

  46. bobpaul says:

    He didn’t get had! This is stupid. Jiffy Lube was backed up and they serviced the wrong car, telling him what was wrong with the other car. Then the cashier came back and said “Oops, our bad, we haven’t even looked at it yet” and he freaked out. It’s not like they gave him his car back without having serviced it.

    Next time, give them your LICENSE PLATE NUMBER, dumbass.

  47. mullenite says:

    The only problem I ever had with Jiffy Lube was when they tried to tell me my girlfriends FWD Eclipse had a small crack in the rear diff. I laughed in their faces and said “you’re joking right?” Since then they have never done anything more than I told them to. One time I saw them passing a wrench through the engine bay and walked out in to the bay and told the guy if anything was loose on the car it wouldn’t be coming back. The car was done a few minutes later and just fine. I also always check my oil in the parking lot before driving away.

  48. techylah says:

    I have you beat. 12 years ago at a JiffyLube competitor, they ASKED me if I wanted my transmission fluid changed. I said just the oil and drove away 20 minutes later. They had in fact DRAINED the transmission fluid and NOT put any new fluid in! 10 minutes later my transmission seized. 4 weeks later I got my car back after they paid $2500 for repair, 4 weeks of rental car, and gave me 4 free oil change coupons! Yes, after many months I did use the coupons, watching them VERY closely.

  49. emojens says:

    I went to a Jiffy Lube last year in Utah, and they told me my battery was completely dead, and they would give me discount if I bought one from them right then. I said no, thinking I’d go till it died, and here I am still driving on the same “dead” battery more than a year later.

  50. hcharger says:

    Jiffy Lube is very similiar to Mr Lube in Canada and I went there once to get my oil changed because I was in too much of a hurry to do it myself. I’m not sure where they get most of their employees from, but I’m equally sure at least half do not have any mechanical ability or skills.
    Most could not even find the oil filler cap on the valve cover and most had no idea of the quanity of oil to admit. The final straw came when I asked for a chasis lubrication and they never jack up the car to do the lower ball joints.
    I asked the manager why the vehicle was not raised and he replied, “that’s the way we do it here.” Its not right, but that’s the way they do it. No thanks, I will do my own oil changes from now on. When I got back home, I found out they never changed my oil filter, yet they chaged me for one, hmmm!

  51. Tonguetied says:

    Yeah, I had a manual transmission. Sure didn’t stop them from coming in and telling me I needed my transmission fluid replaced…

  52. Havok154 says:

    I’m pretty sure that all jiffy lubes are privately owned, meaning that one might be really unreputable and another might be perfectly fine. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  53. unwritten07 says:

    I’ve taken my car to the same JL several times. One time when I walked in I asked for the automatic transmission fluid exchange and filter replacement.

    I was talked out of it after I described the problem. I was told that it sounded like the tranny might need to be rebuilt, they would not be able to guarantee that these services would solve the problem, and that I should have the dealer look at it. They could have taken me for $100-$200 (can’t remember the exact amount).

    At the time, I was impressed by this honesty. Now, thanks to Consumerist, my faith in humanity is shot.

    I wonder if the T-Tech was a prop and the only thing that stopped them was the possibility that a ‘real’ mechanic might soon get a look at my ‘new’ transmission fluid.

    All along I thought I was keeping an eye on these guys. I don’t sit in the lovely picnic area or shop nearby. I’m standing in the shop window or the bay door standing 3 ft from my front bumper with my arms crossed while they are working.

    They all huddle around the hood nearly shoulder to shoulder passing parts to each other so quickly that I could just as easily be watching a game of shells.

    Maybe I have been…

  54. JTEAMCSA says:

    I have worked for Jiffy Lube for 2 years. I am a Customer Service Advisor and there are some things people should know. First there is a huge difference between a franchise and a corporate Jiffy Lube, I work for a corporate Jiffy Lube and we have so many rules and regulation on what to say to a customer. We will actually get fired for telling a customer they need this changed and that replaced. We actually give them the service recomended by the dealer and what milage it is recomended for, we then let them know the price and ask them if they think it is needed. Every thing we show them is entirely up the customer. the second thing is that franchises have no rules the people that own them get to make up their store rules all they are, are mistakes with a Jiffy Lube logos. I feel that all Jiffy Lubes should be made into corporate stores. I think that by doing this all these complaints would stop. My store has never lost a customer, we do every car on an average of 12 minutes, we also make sure everything is done properly and before the vehicle leaves the store we do a quality inspection. sure sometimes we forget to put the little stickers in the windows or missed some crumbs on the floor when we vaccummed but hey we must fast and thorough and I guarantee that not all Jiffy Lubes are the same, so dont just stop going Jiffy Lube find one around you that can do things the right way, the fast way, the JIFFY LUBE way!!!

  55. infearandfaith says:

    It doesn’t just go for Jiffy Lube, almost all car maintenance/repair shops will try to “add-on” an additional service. It’s business. The best thing to do is try to understand how your car works and know what to look out for. I had to learn the hard way after getting ripped off at Big O Tires. They recommended I replace my brake discs and pads on my 94 civic (I was 16 at the time) which I did reluctantly at about $1300. 6 months down the line when I had to repair a flat they recommended I replaced them again. I took it to a family friend at Brake Masters to have them check it out and they said they still looked new. Needless to say I never went back.