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Pep Boys Brake Service

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"Bait-and-Switch" Boys
Posted by BetterIdeas on 06/06/2006
IRVING, TEXAS -- On 5/19/06 I accompanied a friend to Pep Boys in Irving, TX to get his brake pads replaced at the advertised price of $69.99 per axle. When he asked about it, the clerk said something like, "Oh, you don't want to get the $69.99 brake job! We don't take the time to smooth the pads on those. After a few days, your brakes will start squealing. If you bring it back, we won't be able to fix it. You need to get the $149 brake job." When I asked if we could still get the $69.99 brake job, the manager came over and started another sales pitch, something like, "Well, we can do it for you, but you won't be happy with it, etc." When I asked him why his company even advertised the $69.99 brake service if the quality was so bad, he said I would have to ask the corporate headquarters about that. When I told him politely that I disagreed with this type of sales tactic, that it seemed like "bait-and-switch" to me, he became angry and said quite loudly that since we didn't seem to trust them, we should go find another shop to do our repairs. So we did.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, in "Guides Against Bait Advertising," this behavior is illegal:

"Sec. 238.3 Discouragement of purchase of advertised merchandise.

No act or practice should be engaged in by an advertiser to discourage the purchase of the advertised merchandise as part of a bait scheme to sell other merchandise. Among acts or practices which will be considered in determining if an advertisement is a bona fide offer are:

(a) The refusal to show, demonstrate, or sell the product offered in accordance with the terms of the offer,

(b) The disparagement by acts or words of the advertised product or the disparagement of the guarantee, credit terms, availability of service, repairs or parts, or in any other respect, in connection with it,"

Also, before the brakes discussion, they had tried to sell my friend a $95 "tune up", where they would do nothing more than check fluid levels and replace 6 spark plugs. This also seemed like a scheme to make money off consumers who are ignorant about car repairs.

This was my first experience with Pep Boys and will be my last. Companies who violate laws and business ethics like this should prosecuted and put out of business.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-06:
Very good post - Well sourced and relevant. Bravo!
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-06:
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-06:
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-06:
I could not find anything wrong with this location but may you'd want to express your concern to the BBB (they are members)
Your a smart consumer, some would fall for those selling tactics. Do your homework, I'm sure you'll find a reputable auto repair shop, they're out there.
Posted by Doc J on 2006-06-07:
Very nice post. Thanks!
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-07:
again: good post, Interesting and good to know. Thank You
Posted by Slimjim on 2006-06-07:
Many times posters here cry bait and switch when it's not. Not in this case. That's classic bait and switch tactics for sure and yes illegal.
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-06-07:
Thanks "Ironsides"
Posted by Doc J on 2006-06-07:
My thoughts too, slim. BTW: "Bait and Switch" would be a great trade name for a fishing shop that caters to sadomasochists.
Posted by PBY on 2006-11-22:
You neglected to mention what type type of vehicle you were requesting brake service on. Some vehicles take different types of pads, ie: ceramic pads, semi-metallic pads or organic pads. ALL different price ranges.

If you were to read the print in the ad, I'd bet it would say "most cars". Not ALL cars. If you wanted the cheapest brake job possible with the cheapest pads and the least warranty for $69, they should do it for the advertised price. I bet it would say rotor resurfacing not included. Am I correct? Keep in mind my brother, you get what you pay for!!

If you've had any experience in retail, you can by a home stereo system at Walmart for $69.99 or you can by a home stereo system at Bestbuy for $299.99. Quality is the difference.

It is not bait and switch, different cars require different pads just as different cars require different tire sizes. Cheap brake jobs are just that, cheap pads on unturned rotors will be noisy and will not last as long as quality pads.
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Rip Off Artists
Posted by Curbie on 08/08/2007
E. PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- I started my business with them by stating I've been taught to ask, whatever gets replaced on my vehicle, I want in a box when I pick up the car. I needed brakes. Long story short. 3 Days later, and $685. They said 2 of my calipers were frozen. I needed an air cleaner because ' it looked like something was living in it' and an oil change. They didn't have the old air cleaner for me, so I made them, after much complaining remove the air-cleaner from the bill. So I got it for free. But thats only $25 so its a very small win for the informed consumer. 2 Of the pads didn't really need to be changed. The seized calipers are probably due to the fact that the pads showed a big gouge on one side from where they used a single screwdriver to spread apart the caliper, instead of a caliper spreading tool. This probably caused the alleged caliper seize. I've done my own brakes numerous times in the past, I'm no pro, but I know if you don't apply even pressure to both sides of the pad while spreading it, it can cause damage. Anyway, they also lost my remote locker/unlocker which was initially with the key. ( They did eventually find it, but still !!! ) They have a charge ( sku#4120 ) for, and I quote: costs and profits to the motor vehicle repair facility for miscellaneous shop supplies ( and fluids).

I know that when dealerships charge you $6 for a can of brake cleaner, ( for example) they use 3-5 squirts and put the can back on the shelf and charge the next person the same, and the next person. Using the same can. So I've been taught to get the remainder of the said cans or bottles. This is your lawful right. Pep-boys gets around this by the computer automatically figuring in a percentage. This also includes, according to them. Compressed air, hydraulic lift, rags. Wear & tear on their equipment, grease etc. This is such a total scam its preposterous. And I am in the process of writing to their ceo and complaining. Their is no shortage of complete horror stories about pep boys. And no surprise they are not part of the b.B.B. Save your time, and aggravation and go elsewhere for your service. Talk to people and find a local mechanic thats trustworthy. It May cost a few dollars more from time to time, but its worth it. I know, my dad used to be one of those trusty mechanics who didn't make a whole lot of money, but never had an unhappy customer.

And to top it off, they still charged me for a bottle of brake fluid. Brake jobs require brake fluid, it should be part of the price. But alas, pep boys loves money, anyway they can get it. Always ask for your old parts and remaining fluid/spray beforehand. Good luck.
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Posted by firengine103 on 2007-08-08:
I agree with everything you say. If you need a new air freshener, go to PEP Boys, otherwise... Also, all shops, dealer, independent and chain are charging that extra percentage for shop supplies. Burns my butt!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-08:
PEP Boys are the true bottom feeders of the auto repair business. Plus their repairs are sub par as a rule.
Posted by MRM on 2007-08-08:
Pep Boys are only good for buying car parts, not for repairs.
Posted by runaway on 2007-08-08:
Agree with the others about Pep Boys. Please keep in mind, however, that many parts have core charges if they do not keep the old parts (so they can be recycled or rebuilt), and this can add up.
Also, checking/replacing most air filters only takes a few minutes and can be accomplished by most people for a huge savings.
Posted by Starlord on 2007-08-10:
True, runaway, but they are still required to at least allow you to examine the old parts. Just to have them disapper sets up the kind of scam a shop in Indianapolis pulled on my mom one time. She took out 57 Ford ranchwagon in for shocks. They pulled the shocks off, took them in the back room, washed them with that SafetyKleen stuff, and hit them with a shot of black spray paint, and put them back on the car. We got a new set of shocks and got the mechanic fired, maybe. Now, I wonder if it wasn't a bit of street theater and that that was the normal procedure for parts sold to little old ladies.
Posted by runaway on 2007-08-10:
Completely agree, starlord, but the OP said they wanted them in a box when they picked up the vehicle; sounded like they wanted the parts to show others, if necessary. Not a bad idea, but could put the consumer on the hook for large core charges (think about water pumps, starters, etc.). Just wanted people to know about the possibility before they started chewing some mechanic out over those "excessive" core charges and thinking they were being ripped off.
Posted by miller6521 on 2007-11-27:
well you should know that new brakes come with 4 new pads in the box. sounds like one caliper locked up and they recomended the other, the reason is to avoid a come back and unhappy customer. if you put just one caliper on you run the chance that it may pull when you break, not always but it does happen. but then again people are never happy unless they get something done for free, i guess us techs should just work for free and never retire
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-11-28:
He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
-Benjamin Franklin
Posted by Uniform Burrito on 2008-11-23:
Well put, Miller! Do people get ripped off by repair shops? Yes. But everyone seems so quick to assume that they are going to get ripped off. I ran a Pep Boys service center for three year and never, ever would think of doing any of the craziness that you read about. However, I am going to fix your vehicle the right way. You don't just replace two brake pads, my personal opinion is that you shouldn't replace calipers individually, either. And if fixing cars the right way is too much for some people, they should do it themselves or go visit Joe the local mechanic at the corner Shell Station.
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Absolutely Excellent
Posted by Lisakel_27 on 07/30/2013
Shayna walked me back to the brake bulbs and pointed the correct one out she was very helpful and very courteous. I really appreciated my visit.
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Empty Promises and Life Time Warranties
Posted by Mdiana_02 on 07/22/2013
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Last year my brakes needed to be replaced so we went to pep boys where we bought the front brakes for my 2001 chev cavalier we were told they ha life warranty so we uses my dad's pep boys reward card and used his phone number for the warranty information. But when we went back on july 3rd this year we were told they were not under warranty even though the did have a small deep scratches they said worn out brakes are not under warranty. When they tried to look up the information using my dads number ken kept saying he was not in the system. My dad specks Spanish but doses under sands and can speak some English my dad was telling the representative we had bought several other car parts and have always gives his phone number for warranty. Ken my dad then found his rewards card and his name came up right away!!!!!! Ken who was also at the front said here we go again and said he was going to get a Spanish associate from the tire department, to better explain the warranty policy. The representative that was looking at my dad's information told us that sine they brakes were not installed but them that they wouldn't be able to warranty them because there was no telling what had happened to the brakes. I then replayed they had never said that when the brakes were bought. We then spoke with the Spanish speaking tire associate who said there we deep tiny scratches that they would be under warranty but that they did not have them I stock. So he called another location and said they would have then Friday morning by 9am. Since I had a car with no brakes I missed work on Friday and we (my dad and I ) we to pep boys to pick up the bakes we were told again that the brakes were not under warranty after going back and forth we were back at square one again. Why didn't they us to inform us that they were going back on their word and not honoring our warranty instead of making us drive there only to argue? We went to auto zone where we bought some brakes for $40 and were told they would have life time warranty and that we should get them changed out before they get really worn out or get cracks since it could be dangerous. Not only did pep boys not keep their word and promises but they cost me money - having to call off - and time! Some one should teach them some real customer service! My dad then called pep boy corp to file a compliant only to be told that they would return his call with in 48hrs, only to get a call a week later from the same person we spoke with at the local phx location! The manager just said he was going to speak with the associate. How dose that help the fact that I lost a full days of work, money and time?

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Posted by BigAl on 2013-07-22:
Sorry you had so much trouble with PepBoys but you did not miss work because of them. You missed work because you did not make any other provisions to get to work. If you can get to PepBoys you can get to work.
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Brakes Fixed but Was Ripped Off Totally
Posted by Ohiojoe3 on 04/24/2013
MANSFIELD, OHIO -- I took my 1997 Buick Century to the Mansfield, Ohio location due to brake light being on. Once they checked it out they ended up replacing the pads and two of the rotors and bled the system. My total bill for the service was 221.00. When I got in the car to leave, I noticed the brake light was still on and went back to service desk to check on it. They told me since I didn't tell them to reset the light it would be 75.00 service charge to do so. When I tried to explain I came into their shop due to light and only a complete moron would think I would have to tell them to reset it, they informed me, it would be 75 dollars on light stays on. It stays on..A TOTAL AND COMPLETE RIP OFF
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Posted by trmn8r on 2013-04-24:
You might try Auto Zone or one of those places - they read codes for free and should be able to reset it if that is all that is needed.

I don't know if a "brake" warning light will auto reset after a certain number of miles/time. I'm also wondering if there is a chance there is another issue (hydraulics). I'd start with one of the auto parts places that does code reading. Good luck.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2013-04-24:
I would advise all car owners to invest in their own code readers, you can also reset the check engine light as well. You get your money back with just one or two uses. Here is a review I did on the one I have.

There's many brands and types to choose from and the prices are very reasonable.

Many thanks again to our loving and ever so helpful, PirateWithParrot for recommending this to me. *Hats Off*
Posted by BigAl on 2013-04-25:
You may want to disconnect your battery and wait a minute or two and reconnect it. Many times this will solve the problem.
Posted by nikalseyn on 2013-04-25:
If you don't have a local mechanic to go to---and you appear not to have one---you could try taking the car to a Buick dealership and explain what happened. If the light goes on when the pads are worn, then they might just reset it for free as a courtesy. Or, perhaps the light is on for another reason, much more serious. Also, make sure the handbreak is not on. This does cause the break light to appear. In any event, going to Pep Boys for anything is not on my recommended list of things to do, ever. But, bottom line, you had better find out why the light is on.
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Unreliable, Cannot Trust Their Inspections, They Are in the Business of Ripping Off Consumers
Posted by Elijahismymundo on 02/16/2013
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- First of I will start by admitting the only reason Pep Boys has repeatedly disappointment my family and myself is because we were stupid enough to get pulled back in with their coupons and discounts. We have had almost every repair done to our three cars at this particular location (Oak Park, IL)and it has really cost lots of what I know believe were unnecessary repairs! After the last two incidents we are vowing to NEVER give them another hard earned dollar! We took our daughters car in for what we thought was needing new tires due to an alignment issue. After their inspection, we needed four new tires, struts and the alignment for a total of $900.00 not having the cash on hand, decided to find a tire shop to get the new tires were new we needed as well as a second opinion.

To our pleasant surprise, my daughters car only needed the two tires her car did NOT need struts or the alignment! The second and last straw for Pep Boys in the eyes of our family is I am on my way out to runs earns as most of us do on Sat. & Suns and my oil light turns on and we just had an oil change no more than 2 months ago, so after my husbands takes a look at it Pep Boys did not tighten the oil filter and I have been driving with no oil God only knows....my light just turned on today so hopefully I did not blow my engine! :(

Pep Boys your a perfect candidate for the BBB.
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Posted by clutzycook on 2013-02-17:
Ok, stop falling for their coupons and specials. Find a local mechanic that you can trust (you're a stone's throw from Chicago, there are plenty there), get referrals from friends and/or family. Ditto for a place that does oil changes.
Posted by trmn8r on 2013-02-17:
My brother and I delighted, as boys, seeing the characters Manny, Moe and Jack posed above an old location in South Jersey. I was not in a Pep Boys until 35 years later, so I didn't know what they were about.

What I found was a low budget auto parts store, with unknowledgable staff. I would never consider taking my car there for repair. I'd place it in the same class as WalMart's auto service in terms of knowledge, skill and reliability. It simply isn't worth taking your car to a place like this, between the unneeded repairs and risk they will do something stupid that wrecks your engine, etc.

I would forget about the BBB, and leave MM&J in the rearview mirror.
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Not Doing All the Work You're Paying For
Posted by Idontwanttobecontacted on 12/08/2012
QUAKERTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA -- I was sold the Bronze brake service and alignment. The brake service included pad replacement along with rotor resurfacing. The cost was $129.99 of which $29.99 were parts. In their description of the service it includes machining of the brake rotors. This was not done so I paid $100 for them just to install pads. I later I was told by a mechanic working there that rotors are never resurfaced as their machine is not working properly. So anyone buying this service is getting ripped off. I also purchased an alignment and after driving away the steering wheel was still not centered. I wrote my mileage down before going in and the mileage was the same when I picked it up. You would think the car would have been road tested after getting brakes replaced and an alignment. I will never go back.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-12-09:
Pep Boys is not a place to have anything done on a car, except maybe if you are in a really bad emergency.

If you were told that the rotors were not touched, did you complain and demand a refund? It is very easy to confirm by inspecting them that they have not been turned.

When an alignment is done, you should be given a sheet that shows the measurements before and after. If it was as bad as you hint, I would first return and demand it be redone. If that fails, find a reputable shop and have it done, then go back and demand a refund.
Posted by At Your Service on 2012-12-09:
I have heard many concerns over PepBoys. There was a time when they were investigated, if I remember right, for fraud. I've never forgot that and would have a tendency to never have them service one of my vehicles.
Posted by ok4now on 2012-12-09:
PepBoys is similar to Olive Garden. They have mostly kids working there and screw up a lot. Why take the chance? Go to a reputable mechanic/restaurant and get what you paid for.
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Service With A Smile
Posted by Shvlhd on 11/20/2012
The Pep Boys on Charlotte pike in Nashville is one of the best places that's ever worked on my truck. The service manager Kevin was polite and professional. He got my parts in and fixed my truck in a very short time. His staff was very professional. I would recommend this Pep Boys (0149) store Nbr to any one.

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Rip Off At Best
Posted by Abibilari301 on 10/28/2012
LANGLEY PARK, MARYLAND -- I wanted my brake pad checked which was what I was told I need for the winter but when they told me I need a rotor and another pad I never thought it will be double charged. I live about a block away and my wife warned me that the store is a rip off. I went there anyway but 3 hours later and my bill came out to be $325.65 For brake pads and oil change. I was given 3 separate wrong keys to my car and just went to pick up my car which was just sitting idly on their ramp without being challenged or asked any question. Anyone could have picked up my car just like that and just make away with it. Please be aware the economy is tough but these guys will never get my dollar again or anyone I know it is pitiful.

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Bait and Switch
Posted by ChhayLimVa on 09/28/2012
ANNANDALE, VIRGINIA -- First Time at PEP BOYs Service

I called PEP Boys to get an estimate for my rear brake pads and rotors replacement. They quoted my at $192. When I got a call from them, they told me that my front rotors were missing. I told them this is my first brakes replacement since I brought my new 2009 Honda Accord. How can this happen for all this times. They told me maybe it came from car manufacture like this which I never heard of. When I asked them further, they told me that my front rotors have black dots on them. So apparently they can not make me to replace the front rotors and brake pads. However, they told me that my rear brake pads and rotors replacement is now $215.89. When I went to pick up my car, the price was increasing to $237.95. I guess when they can not make you pay for more repair. They jack up the price. This shop is very dishonest. I would not recommend to anyone to go to this PEP BOYS SHOP.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-09-28:
The front brakes do the majority of the stopping power because of weight distribution, so if they were not working (rotors missing), you would not be able to stop your car in a reasonable amount of distance.

Pep Boys is a horrible place to get a vehicle repaired, and not that great for buying parts either. I'm not surprised that they messed you around.
Posted by Slimjim on 2012-09-28:
LOL, I think the OP made a quote mistake on that one point. I can't imagine Pep Boys would say the rotors were "missing". That's basically saying that the car has no front brakes installed at all. not bad brakes, like non existing components. Not to mention, the rotor is also part of the wheel hub, and I'm guessing the OP did have front wheels on the car when he went there. If they actually said that to me, either the place is run by morons or they are trying to make me into one.
Posted by CowboyFan on 2012-09-28:
Pep Boys is a parts store to me, not a great mechanic place. The other thing is that a brake job always has more parts then quoted, often legitimately. A lot of those part in the perfect world we would replace, new rotors, but in the real world the rotors are good enough for a couple more years. Also, there are a lot of "shop fees" and other type charges added to the quote.

That's why I replace my own pads. Usually very simple.
Posted by leet60 on 2012-09-29:
It appears the OP got an "estimate" by telephone for the initial repair charge. In VA if a "written" estimate had been provided the repair facility could not charge more than 10% above the written estimate, without prior approval. I am curios if the OP ever got a written estimate.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-09-29:
Cowboyfan - I do my own brake work as well, but I would venture to say the of majority people don't want to get involved for various reasons (tools, experience/skill) and would rather have a perceived "expert" do it. A straighforward pad replacement is usually easy, but not always. You have to be able to assess rotor wear and minimum thickness, etc. It is a bunch of simple steps to us but not to the unitiated and non-mechanically minded.

I would have a trusted mechanic do brake work if I didn't do it myself, not some cheapo place. I am very easy on my brakes, and usually have them done only once in 100,000+ miles. One car I went 130,000 miles and still had 50% left.
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