Pep Boys - Crestwood, IL. Complaint - Predatory Auto Repair Abuse
CRESTWOOD, ILLINOIS -- First, some history on my 2000 Chevy S-10 4X4. My truck is in excellent mechanical condition. Maintenance has always been performed by the book, on time, no short cuts, no exceptions.
On my way into work on 12/10/2010, I began hearing a noise on the front drivers side of my truck which I assumed to be a bad wheel bearing. I took it to Pepboys in Crestwood Illinois and talked with the service manager. The service manager initially gave me an estimate of $45.00 to investigate the noise.
The service manager called me a short time later and stated that the noise was from three lug nuts that were where loose on my front wheel and that these were tightened and everything was OK.
The service manager stated "you could use rear brakes". The service manager went on to say "You could use pads, rotors, and bolt kits(?)”. I explained to the auto repair manager that I had rear brakes/rotors replaced 7000 miles ago. The service manager stated that “they look real bad”. Given that I had no interest in doing a brake lob in 5 degree weather and against my gut feeling, I told the service manager to go ahead with the rear brake work.
The service manager called a second time a short time later. He stated that I needed a front lower ball joint, that there was a lot of play in it. Given that I did not feel like doing a break lob AND a ball joint in 5 degree weather again, against my gut feeling, I told the service manager to go ahead with the repair.
The service manager called me a third time a short while later and his opening comment was "how long do you plan on keeping your truck". My first thought was "here we go, I am getting my leg humped by this guy for un-needed work". The service manager stated that his mechanic "chewed up the upper ball joint trying to remove the lower one". At this point, I said "stop what your doing".
I told the service manager that I brought my truck in for a noise in the front end that was resolved by tightening the loose lug nuts and now I have purchased rear brakes and a ball joint that “I could really use” and now you are telling me I need another ball joint.
Already having the feeling that I am being taken complete advantage of, I told the service manager NOT to do any additional work, do NOT call me with more needed work and to return the old break shoes, rotors, and ball joint to me.
I picked up my truck later in the day. The initial estimate of $45.00 swelled to $650.00.
The next morning at work, I asked our truck mechanic (32 years’ experience) to take a look at the parts that were removed from my truck by Pepboys.
The following is what I was told about the parts;
Brake pads when new typically are in the range of 3/8" to 1/2" of pad thickness. My old pads had 3/8" pad surface left.
My rotors were not smooth like glass but showed normal signs of use. New rear rotor thickness is 0.79. My rotors were at 0.77 and could have been lightly turned rather than replaced.
The stud end of the old ball joint was clamped into an 18" vise mounted to a plate steel table. A 36" pipe wrench was applied to the underside of the base adjacent to a steel block. Upward force was applied to the ball joint base. Using this crude set up to measure play, it was established that there was less than. 005" of play and the ball joint did not need to be replaced.
In addition, after checking my receipt, I found three line items for "Extended Warranty" which I never authorized to be put on my credit card.
I went back to the store and saw the service manager waiting on a customer back in the service department. I told one of the store associates that I wanted to speak with the service manager and left my name. 5 minutes later the associate told me that the service manager was not available and that he (the associate) could help me.
I told the associate that I have two questions. First, what is the $35.00 shop fee that was charged to my credit card? The associate said it was a disposal fee for the parts removed, especially the brake pads because they contain asbestos and are hazardous. I explained that all the parts were returned to me and therefore Pepboys disposed of nothing related to my repair and I asked that the $35.00 disposal fee be removed from my credit card. The associate stated that that was a standard fee charged to all customers and the fee could not be removed.
I then asked about the "Extended Warranty" charge of $23.46. The associate told me that the service manager had asked me if I wanted an extended warranty and I agreed to the charge. I asked for documentation to this effect and the associate said "see, here it is right on the receipt - authorized by phone". I explained to the associate that I did not authorize the warranty in fact an extended warranty was never discussed and I wanted the charge credited to my card which he did.
The associate stated in a very authorative voice "if you cancel your warranty and the breaks fail after 90 days, we will owe you nothing. I replied "IF MY BRAKES DO NOT LAST LONGER THAN 1 1/2 TO 2 YEARS, I WILL NEVER SPEND ANOTHER PENNY AT PEPBOYS".
I have submitted the facts above to the CEO of Pepboys. While I intend to pursue this, I thought it fair to allow the CEO a reasonable time period to respond to this predatory, fraudulent behavior first.
Depending on the CEO’s response, and in view of many similar complaints I have seen on the internet, I am considering contacting my states attorney to discuss a class action suit against Pepboys.
Having purchased at Pepboys from time to time over the last 20 years and having been mostly satisfied, as far as I am concerned after this fraud that was perpetrated on me, Pepboys is a predatory auto repair facility, Pepboys is dishonest, and Pepboys has lost all credibility with me.
NOTE: The Pepboys CEO contact information can be found via Google search. Might not hurt to drop him a few lines if you have been defrauded, taken advantage, or otherwise cheated by Pepboys.