Pep Boys / unscrupulous practices
Today is August 25, 2010. And THIS is MY PepBoys horror story.
Having recently purchased a 1997 Infiniti I30, I decided to bring the vehicle to my local PepBoys on Indiantown Road, in Jupiter, Florida for the advertized free brake inspection. After an hour of waiting for the car to find its way into one of the 6 empty bays, (yes, I counted them), I waited another hour for a "mechanic" to pull 4 tires, look at brakes, replace tires, inspect a master cylander and inspect the brake lines.
The mechanic, after inspecting my car, (more like sizing me up for the short con), told the service manager my car required the following repairs. Well to save time and space I can make it short and sweet. The mechanic told his supervisor to advise me that I need what amounted to an entire new front end. As in: both axles, sway bars, rack and pinion linkage, I mean, the whole enchilada. They told me I needed to virtually rebuild my undercarriage in the front end. And the estimated cost was $1, 200.
Luckily, I am a creature of habit. I deal with the same people as often as possible. Same girl or guy at the bank, same cashier in the supermarket, same mechanic at the local oil change place... you get the idea.
Feeling completely despondent and dejected, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was ripped off by one of my fellow americans in a used car deal. But as I do with everything, I thought about it. I had a nagging feeling and this inner desire to "second guess" the "professionals". So, I took the car, despite being left afraid to even drive it, to my oil change guy and asked him if he could as a courtesy, offer me a second opinion and tell me what his evaluation is. I did not tell him where I came from or what I was told. I basically told him that I think I made a bad purchase because I believe I need an entire new front undercarriage.
As it turns out, there is in fact a need for repairs under my front end. However, the "extensive" repairs required on my vehicle is a new axle assembly on my passenger side and I could stand to get a round of bushings just to be thorough about it. The cost to the public for this part at the local Advance Auto Parts? (drum roll please) $69.00 plus tax. What price did PepBoys give me for the same exact part? $ 119.00 plus tax PLUS labor estimated at $210.00 to install it. At the moment, I am not aware of what the bushings will cost me.
My oil change guy sent me to a mechanic he knows and refers many customers to. He told me directly and up front that the mechanic is a little more expensive than a lot of people but he will not put you in an Iron Maiden while he repairs your car using the Hayne's Manual for Sabotage. Having accepted that I am going to pay a little more than I could elsewhere, I wasted no time running over to the recommended mechanic's shop. I explained to him what it is believed to be going on based on what his friend who runs the oil change place had told me. Without leaving his desk or even looking at my car he quoted me a price of $225.00 installed with a 12 month/12, 000 mile parts and labor guarantee/warranty. That's right, parts and labor for free if his work proves substandard..
I have as of this day decided that I will not even drive into a PepBoys parking lot ever again. I have also decided that I will urge friends and family to avoid PepBoys and walk before buying a part from them.
Jim from Jupiter, Fla.
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