Doug Reule-Precision Tune Auto Care — unethical automotive repair
Things were looking up, or so I thought. A new shop renter was moving in to the vacant building next door to the convenience store where I work. I should have been suspicious the first time I asked him to work on my Blazer I use for snow removal because he accepted cash for payment and put it in his pocket without even printing me a receipt for the service, mumbling something about not having to pay royalties to his franchise.
With the spring approaching I felt I had made enough money plowing snow that I was in the market to buy a pickup. I asked my neighbor for an estimate on a clutch for a 92' Chevrolet pickup I was interested in buying. Doug Reule (the owner-operator of Precision Tune Auto Care at 4352 13th Ave S Fargo, ND) advised that I not buy the pickup I had my eyes on. He recommended he had a Chevrolet for sale that was a year newer, in better shape and cost less. I pondered on the subject for a week or so, and now looking back I made one of the worst mistakes of my life. I trusted my new neighbor's word. I bought the 1993 Chevrolet 1/2 ton 4x4 from him, paying with cash.
A day later I was back at his shop asking him about a clunk in the front end and an extremely low oil pressure reading on the dash. He explained to me it was bad front end shocks and a bad oil pressure sending unit. I paid him to do the work; the clunk was fixed, but within two blocks of leaving his shop my dash read low oil pressure again. I turned around and drove back. Now Doug told me that I needed a new dash; the gauge was not reading the new oil pressure sensor correctly. I was unwilling to pay the price he asked. I wanted to know for certain that was the problem after already spending money on a sensor that obviously was not the issue. I tested the oil pressure myself with a manual gauge. Intermittent low reading of less than 5 psi-it was not the gauge cluster in the dash. Back to the shop I went again, this time Doug saying the only other option was the oil pump. That sounded like a reasonable cause but, being strapped for cash, I paid with a credit card to have it installed. I put my Chevy Lumina up for sale to help cover the costs, thinking I would now have my pickup in tip top shape.
Driving the pickup, new oil pump and all, I made it to the north side of Fargo (5.2 miles from the shop) when my check gauges light came on and the engine started knocking. Guess what? No oil pressure! At that point I felt I was running out of options, short of spending thousands on an engine rebuild or replacing it completely. I decided I would drive it, with the knock and low pressure reading, until the engine stopped working altogether and worry about it then.
A week later I used the pickup to pull my little 16' Forester (Gross Weight of 1940 lbs with a full tank of fuel) boat to the lake. A mile and a half from leaving the lake the transmission failed and I was forced to drive home with only first gear. I was waiting for Doug to open his shop the next morning. I asked him to buy the pickup back from me, since obviously the vehicle was not as mechanically sound as he proclaimed when he wanted to sell it. He refused. I was stuck with a pickup with a burnt transmission and an engine that kept losing oil pressure and knocking. Doug's advice was that I replace both the engine and the transmission at the same time. I very reluctantly agreed, and again paid him in advance with my credit card only receiving a receipt from the credit card processing machine. He put my pickup in his back bay that did not get used much, and had his mechanics do the work in their slow times. The repairs took an unreasonable amount of time in my opinion, as I sold my car and was forced to drive my motor home around. It took over two weeks to get my pickup back. I felt relieved that I was finally done with the major repairs. I would have the transportation I needed to get around.
I drove approximately 1400 miles during the following month and then on July 17, 2009 the transmission failed again. I called Doug from the side of the road. He claimed he was not responsible, that he had done enough work on it already. He told me on the phone that I was either driving to fast or pulling to heavy of a load. My response was that the "heavy load" I pulled was my little 16' boat and that I would still be pulling it with my Lumina if I had not sold it to pay for the oil pump I did not need.
With Doug unwilling to even look at the vehicle without being paid in advance, I bought a car dolly (since I couldn't drive it I'd drag it) and started parking my disabled pickup on the street in front of his shop. Trying to draw attention to my dilemma, I raised the hood in the air and placed signs in the window asking people to honk if they believed in ethics. That only lasted about two weeks and the city of Fargo came by and hammered no parking signs into the boulevard on our street. I also took the matter up with my credit card company and disputed all of the repair charges.
I am not somebody that will take this kind of treatment lying down. This has been the worst customer service, from anyone that sells and services automobiles that I had ever endured in my life. I feel that having neighbors that run a business in that way are no good for our community; The neighborhood would be better off with a different shop owner in that building, or it being vacant again. My pickup now sits in a parking lot-unable to be driven. I have used my motor home as my only transportation for the remainder of the summer. Needless to say, at this point I am convinced he will never touch an automobile of mine again. The solace I get is when I still hear people honk as they drive by his shop. I appreciate any help I can get. My highest hope is that I can warn the public of his unethical business practices and save anybody I can from going through the scam he runs...unscrupulous.