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Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof

California accuses 22 Midas shops in 'massive' bait and switch scheme


xrac

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  • 2 weeks later...

Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof

It's not good for any of us. But, you must admit this type of marketing does not help us either. How many times have you priced a brake job at a fair and honest price only to have the customer question your price because they saw a ridiculously low price? The consumer does always know what things truly cost and many times fooled by this form of advertising.

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  • 6 months later...

I noticed on the sign in the picture for the story something I don't think I had ever seen before. The sign says 69.99 PER AXLE. I wonder how many people realize that is each tire not just both front or both rear brakes.

 

I hope the public differentiates this situation from the rest of the honest, hard working independents. This form of marketing from mass merchandisers needs to stop. I hear of these things all the time.

 

I have a tire shop around the corner from me that advertises $59.95 brake jobs. When my customer mentions this to me I simply tell them that I REPAIR $59.95 brake jobs.

 

Let’s hope this is a lesson for national chains. It seems that their business model and code of ethics are not the same as ours.

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This type of headline is never good news for any of us:

 

California accuses 22 Midas shops in 'massive' bait and switch scheme

 

Personal finance news, advice, calculators - WalletPop

UNBELIEVABLE ! ! ! 22 shops ... all playing the same scam??? What's wrong with this picture... this sounds like upper management stuff... I'll bet it was some sort of policy that was made into standard practice and now it's caught up with them. Seems like the idea of "over selling" may have been a great idea at the board meeting, but not such a great idea in the repair shop... There again.... it's that same old saying I keep hashing out ... when common sense leaves.... STUPID... takes it's place.

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Well, the followup story says the same guy owned them all that would explain the 22 stores.

that's what I meant by upper management.... some goof ball thought he could get away with it... and all he really was .... was a crook.

22 stores... this guy had a few bucks to start with.... why in the world did he think he needed to rip people off...???

My bad, I'm not that rich... so I guess I'll never understand... LOL

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This goes beyond overselling...this is stealing. Plus, it make us all look bad, that's my fear.

Joe, this is another issue we talked about before... advertising..... the more money you can put out for "false" leaders, the more the unsuspecting general public gobble it up as true facts. To bad there isn't anything in place to insure that only true factual advertising can be produced. Good luck with that.... I guess my point is... some how some way the industry needs to police itself and let the general public know that it ain't "US" but some crack pot with cash to burn and who then turns it around and burns them...

 

Pisses me OFF... to hear about these type of bait and switch con artist tactics. Hell, I ain't perfect, but I don't mislead customers with false repairs or lies.... that's just wrong.! ! Mistakes happen and that should taken in to consideration.... but, as all of us know, when a mistake happens in the shop the customer automatically puts you-me-and the whole industry in that same catagorey as this guy from Midas.... sucks... hate it... makes me want to quit every time I think about it.

 

You know, every voice counts.... maybe this website is the start .... maybe we really can make a difference for the future techs, shops, and the industry as a whole.

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I love the term “False Leaders”, because that’s exactly what that form of advertising is…False. I am in total agreement that this bait and switch hurts the industry. The public cannot see the difference and in many cases the conusmer ends up questioning the honest shops that are upfront with their charges.

This has been a lifelong battle for me and I know for all shop owners out there.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

This type of headline is never good news for any of us:

 

California accuses 22 Midas shops in 'massive' bait and switch scheme

 

Personal finance news, advice, calculators - WalletPop

 

OK guys, I have to admit that this story not only alarms me, it makes me more than a little PO'd. This is liable to get a little long winded but please bear with me while I explain.

The bait and switch portion I understand and I totally agree with BAR. Moreover my upbringing tells me that practices such as these are not only illegal, they are wrong? Legally, morally and ethically wrong..............period. The part that alarms me is that, even though these stores were found guilty of actions that go against everything I know and everything I am, the bait and switch was not the only issue here. There were many references to unnecessary rotor refinishing, brake adjusting and brake cleaning. All of which I sell on a very regular basis. What constitutes necessary? If it is not written in the OE manual as a normal service procedure, does this mean they are unnecessary? I am sure I am not the only one who sometimes see OE engineers as misinformed brainiacs who, on their best day, would likely struggle to accomplish the tasks of an entry level automotive technician. We all know the importance of a brake fluid flush. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it is prone to draw moisture at the same time copper ions wear from the brake lines and further contaminate the fluid. Replacing the fluid removes the infected fluid and restores fluid with the proper boiling point and helps to protect other brake components from damage. Look at your factory maintenance schedules. Not many require brake fluid flushes. The full article as presented by link on the Brake & Front End website cited instances of brake adjustments being performed on "automatically adjusting" brake systems, we all know how well those work! Brake cleaning? According to the authority's in California the worn material from brake shoes in and enclosed environment must magically disappear on its own. If it does not disappear could it not effect brake balance, efficiency and therefore motorist safety? Do you see where I am going here? Are any of us a official inspection or a undercover sting operation away from a situation that could spell reputation disaster?

Now before you ask,"who peed in this guys post toasties" or wonder if I may be the brother in law of Mr Glad, let me tell you my story.

On a Monday morning in Jan of 2009 I opened for business as normal at 8:00 in the morning. At 8:05 three gentlemen strolled through my door who looked like outside salesmen from any number of companies who have called on many of you through the years. I thought to myself, I must be pretty important to command the whole team, until the badges came out. The Environmental Protection Agency credentials sent a cold chill up my spine that I will never forget. These inspectors were visiting me, all the way from West Virginia on alleged violations of the clean air act. I was ready to fully cooperate. After grilling me for 7 hours, copying every one of my invoices for the prior 6 months (even rolled in their own copy machine) and inspecting my shop, warehouse, personal and employees vehicles, they left at 4:00 pm with the parting words, we will get back to you. Now, keep in mind they could not or would not tell me what they were looking for, why I was targeted or who made the allegations against my company. 2 weeks after the visit one inspector called and asked for a complete list of all the part numbers of catalytic converters I sell. I faxed that information requested and the wait continued. I spent the next few months wondering where we go from here? What do they think? Are they working up a case against me? Have they found nothing and just decided to drop it? Is there a period of time like a statute of limitations that has expired? The longer this continued the less I slept and the angrier I became. These people were questioning my integrity. For years I had hoped that some of my competitors would be caught for illegal activities and brought to justice. Now I was being accused of something, although I was unsure then then even what that something was. Finally, the last week of Sept 2009 The registered letter arrived. At least I would know the charges against me and prepare a defense. I opened the letter and found charges of 27 violations of the clean air act and the corresponding fine of 37K! However as a first time offender I was eligible for a expedited settlement of 14K if I paid in 30 days (kinda seems like extortion to me). What were the violations? 27 counts of selling used catalytic converters.

Now is where things get really interesting. I call the big wig listed on the registered letter and after allowing him to conference call another agent and a supervisor the 4 of us try to decipher this little fiasco. I ask for the numbers of the invoices that show the violations. "I don't have that information" was the reply. "Then how am I to defend myself if I don't know what led you to this conclusion"? This is when the supervisor chimed in and informed me that the invoices in question had 3 part numbers of converters that she was not familiar with and " I am the aftermarket converter expert here" she said and "if those numbers do not exist then they must be concocted to hide non compliant units" WOW, that makes no sense at all was my response. I asked what I had to do to assure those numbers were in fact fully compliant part numbers and EPA certified units? The first agent said "fax me a letter from the manufacturer stating that they are EPA compliant and invoices from your supplier showing your purchases of those same numbers and quantities during the 6 months included in the investigation and we will consider the evidence.

I called Carsound \ Magnaflow and asked for the information the EPA requested which was faxed to me the next morning. i then faxed that letter along with my supplier invoices showing the purchase of those 27 units in a 7 month period to the EPA on a Thursday morning and waited again until Wed of the next week. The caller ID showed US Gov and a out of town area code. Finally a response, and the conversation went like this. "Well Mr Hogan, it seems there has been a mistake on the part of our contracted inspectors. The information you provided clears up this matter and we now consider the investigation closed.

I hope my story makes each and every one of you think about your processes and procedures. I certainly hope that cleaning and adjusting the rear brake shoes on a customers vehicle does not bring "the man" after me again. Mine was a little different scenario that that of the Midas shops but look how the experience turned my life upside down for 10 months. Many sleepless nights that I hope to never experience again.

Thanks for suffering through this lengthy post. Good luck and a prosperous 2010 to you all.

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OK guys, I have to admit that this story not only alarms me, it makes me more than a little PO'd. This is liable to get a little long winded but please bear with me while I explain.

The bait and switch portion I understand and I totally agree with BAR. Moreover my upbringing tells me that practices such as these are not only illegal, they are wrong? Legally, morally and ethically wrong..............period. The part that alarms me is that, even though these stores were found guilty of actions that go against everything I know and everything I am, the bait and switch was not the only issue here. There were many references to unnecessary rotor refinishing, brake adjusting and brake cleaning. All of which I sell on a very regular basis. What constitutes necessary? If it is not written in the OE manual as a normal service procedure, does this mean they are unnecessary? I am sure I am not the only one who sometimes see OE engineers as misinformed brainiacs who, on their best day, would likely struggle to accomplish the tasks of an entry level automotive technician. We all know the importance of a brake fluid flush. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it is prone to draw moisture at the same time copper ions wear from the brake lines and further contaminate the fluid. Replacing the fluid removes the infected fluid and restores fluid with the proper boiling point and helps to protect other brake components from damage. Look at your factory maintenance schedules. Not many require brake fluid flushes. The full article as presented by link on the Brake & Front End website cited instances of brake adjustments being performed on "automatically adjusting" brake systems, we all know how well those work! Brake cleaning? According to the authority's in California the worn material from brake shoes in and enclosed environment must magically disappear on its own. If it does not disappear could it not effect brake balance, efficiency and therefore motorist safety? Do you see where I am going here? Are any of us a official inspection or a undercover sting operation away from a situation that could spell reputation disaster?

Now before you ask,"who peed in this guys post toasties" or wonder if I may be the brother in law of Mr Glad, let me tell you my story.

On a Monday morning in Jan of 2009 I opened for business as normal at 8:00 in the morning. At 8:05 three gentlemen strolled through my door who looked like outside salesmen from any number of companies who have called on many of you through the years. I thought to myself, I must be pretty important to command the whole team, until the badges came out. The Environmental Protection Agency credentials sent a cold chill up my spine that I will never forget. These inspectors were visiting me, all the way from West Virginia on alleged violations of the clean air act. I was ready to fully cooperate. After grilling me for 7 hours, copying every one of my invoices for the prior 6 months (even rolled in their own copy machine) and inspecting my shop, warehouse, personal and employees vehicles, they left at 4:00 pm with the parting words, we will get back to you. Now, keep in mind they could not or would not tell me what they were looking for, why I was targeted or who made the allegations against my company. 2 weeks after the visit one inspector called and asked for a complete list of all the part numbers of catalytic converters I sell. I faxed that information requested and the wait continued. I spent the next few months wondering where we go from here? What do they think? Are they working up a case against me? Have they found nothing and just decided to drop it? Is there a period of time like a statute of limitations that has expired? The longer this continued the less I slept and the angrier I became. These people were questioning my integrity. For years I had hoped that some of my competitors would be caught for illegal activities and brought to justice. Now I was being accused of something, although I was unsure then then even what that something was. Finally, the last week of Sept 2009 The registered letter arrived. At least I would know the charges against me and prepare a defense. I opened the letter and found charges of 27 violations of the clean air act and the corresponding fine of 37K! However as a first time offender I was eligible for a expedited settlement of 14K if I paid in 30 days (kinda seems like extortion to me). What were the violations? 27 counts of selling used catalytic converters.

Now is where things get really interesting. I call the big wig listed on the registered letter and after allowing him to conference call another agent and a supervisor the 4 of us try to decipher this little fiasco. I ask for the numbers of the invoices that show the violations. "I don't have that information" was the reply. "Then how am I to defend myself if I don't know what led you to this conclusion"? This is when the supervisor chimed in and informed me that the invoices in question had 3 part numbers of converters that she was not familiar with and " I am the aftermarket converter expert here" she said and "if those numbers do not exist then they must be concocted to hide non compliant units" WOW, that makes no sense at all was my response. I asked what I had to do to assure those numbers were in fact fully compliant part numbers and EPA certified units? The first agent said "fax me a letter from the manufacturer stating that they are EPA compliant and invoices from your supplier showing your purchases of those same numbers and quantities during the 6 months included in the investigation and we will consider the evidence.

I called Carsound \ Magnaflow and asked for the information the EPA requested which was faxed to me the next morning. i then faxed that letter along with my supplier invoices showing the purchase of those 27 units in a 7 month period to the EPA on a Thursday morning and waited again until Wed of the next week. The caller ID showed US Gov and a out of town area code. Finally a response, and the conversation went like this. "Well Mr Hogan, it seems there has been a mistake on the part of our contracted inspectors. The information you provided clears up this matter and we now consider the investigation closed.

I hope my story makes each and every one of you think about your processes and procedures. I certainly hope that cleaning and adjusting the rear brake shoes on a customers vehicle does not bring "the man" after me again. Mine was a little different scenario that that of the Midas shops but look how the experience turned my life upside down for 10 months. Many sleepless nights that I hope to never experience again.

Thanks for suffering through this lengthy post. Good luck and a prosperous 2010 to you all.

 

 

I'm glad to hear you cleared your name and reputation with the paperwork trail. Good job there. But, you left one unanswered question... this one bothers me... WHO CALLED YOU IN??? I don't have a problem with the EPA, but I always run into problems with irate customers. Most of my general repairs are electrical in nature (Auto electric specialist) and I've seen people get bent because of the lack of understanding of how the systems work or over the cost of the repairs.

But, I am always looking over my shoulder for that "crack'd pot" customer that has set his vengance on myself or my company....

So.... did ya find out who it was... or have you started to look over your shoulder too....

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I'm glad to hear you cleared your name and reputation with the paperwork trail. Good job there. But, you left one unanswered question... this one bothers me... WHO CALLED YOU IN??? I don't have a problem with the EPA, but I always run into problems with irate customers. Most of my general repairs are electrical in nature (Auto electric specialist) and I've seen people get bent because of the lack of understanding of how the systems work or over the cost of the repairs.

But, I am always looking over my shoulder for that "crack'd pot" customer that has set his vengance on myself or my company....

So.... did ya find out who it was... or have you started to look over your shoulder too....

 

I too want to know what information they obtained to fine you.

 

You handled it right and I am glad you were cleared, but are we easy targets for BS like this?

 

Getting back to the Midas story; unfortunately, our industry has no standards and not enough of us present ourselves in a professional manner. The public reads an article about how oil changes are ok every 10,000 miles, written by a free-lance writer for House and Garden Magazine and he becomes the expert!!!!

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Wow that is a scary story. What do you think prompted this scenario? What if you were like me and just bought a load of inventory from a shop that closed. There is no paperwork on those converters.

 

 

 

We were never told for sure but when I originally asked the 3 investigators, one of them said "the EPA has people who surf the web looking for violators"

I have a website where I sell performance exhaust components for GM Supercharged V6 cars. All 27 violations were catalytic converters part numbers we sell on our site. That why we think the website was target but it makes no sense due to the fact that I am not the largest player in this market . Nor do I get the exposure this competitor does. However if he were to alert the EPA he would be self reporting because he sells off road pipes which I don't.

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  • 2 months later...

Here is another automotive group in trouble over fraudulent practices.

 

NorthJersey.com: Lodi car repair shop paying $250,000 to settle suit

 

 

Unblievable... the first thing that strikes me is that the unsupecting customer would even think they needed such things as "pwr steering flush" and the second is that the business would try it.

 

All of this sounds... again (broken record) of a bait and switch. Have you ever noticed the TV ads for ... lets say... eye glasses...?? "Buy one get one free... or the $29.95 special" When you get there you find out it's one shelf of eye wear.. but only half of that shelf, and only the ones that are on the left side of that half shelf...... "But, since you're here... let me show you the latest styles... oh, they are only $399.00"

 

Call me old fashion, call me frugal... but one thing that pisses me off more than anything else... is the old "reduced price on an item to get you in the door deal..." Always thought that was a crude way of getting them in the door... but... IT DOES WORK... that to me is the unbelievable part... So, I guess, if ya wanna sell power steering flushes, and some "dumb A hole" wants to pay for it... well, let the world keep turning... no wonder I'm so dizzy... BTW... I'll avoid shopping where they offer such crude methods of advertising.... just to let you know.

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Gonzo, the issue in this case was they were offering and selling services they did not have the equipment to perform not that they were offering those services like P.S. flushes. As far as the effectiveness or need for P.S. flushes I would differ with you. Now I grew up in the country. There was a stoplight in my home county and you had to drill for electricity. biggrin.gif Nobody ever did a P.S. flush and honestly I have never done a P.S. flush on any of my own vehicles. However, I have seen as you have P.S. systems with very nasty P.S. fluid and that cannot be good for P.S. pumps or steering racks. In addition on multiple occassions we have cured both noisy and stiff power steering system by doing a flush and adding additive. Thus, we in good faith offer P.S. flushes but we don't push them hard. We believe that P.S. flushes are worth doing although not critcial as a maintenance item. We often offer a flush as a first step to attempt to cure P.S. noise rather than pump replacement and we also offer P.S. flushes when the fluid is dirty.

 

 

I guess it didn't "write" down like I meant it to be. Not that I'm against PS flushes... no I'm not... I meant it as a lost leader.

These guys that do the farm out type work is nothing new to me. Several years ago I had this guy drive by my shop... hit his brakes hard, come running into my shop and tells me "that's my truck, what are you doing with it"

That's when I found out it was farmed out to me from another shop... and they didn't tell the customer... and he found out they were only raising the price to him... and it would have been cheaper to have brought it straight to my shop instead.

 

Sorry for the confusion... Gonzo.... sometimes... I'm just dizzy... (then there was yesterday... spent the day at the dentist...yuk, root canal... thank god for meds...LOL)

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Wrong air filter causes breakdown, $494 repair bill:

 

Jiffy Lube slow on reimbursement - Chicago Tribune

 

I am not sticking up for Jiffy Lube, however, I don't understand the connection. Putting in the wrong cabin filter is one thing. I have seen techs from other shops stuff the wrong size cabin filter in place and even caused water leaks on some vehicles. But, what happened to this car? Maybe I missed something in the article???????

 

Oh, by the way....did you get who the hero was?? They took the car to the "Saturn Dealer".

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They are saying a dirty sensor caused by the air filter was the problem but you don't know if that was really the case or the excuse the dealer used perhaps to give Jiffy Lube a black eye. We removed an air filter that was too small from a car last week and it was installed by a quick lube. We once used a universal oxygen sensor on a Jeep. A few months later the wiring splice was damaged and shorted causing damage to the ECM. We would up replacing the ECM for free.

 

I also think the dealer used this situation to their advantage and to discredit Jiffy Lube. Another case where the writier does not get enough information to write a fair and balanced story.

 

Your situation with the O2 sensor is totally different, those thing happen.

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I also think the dealer used this situation to their advantage and to discredit Jiffy Lube. Another case where the writier does not get enough information to write a fair and balanced story.

 

Your situation with the O2 sensor is totally different, those thing happen.

 

 

I believe you have a point Joe, about the Dealer making the other guy look bad. I've been doing this for a long time and that situation is so so so typical. Everybody is trying to gain the trust of the consumer and usually at the defacing of another competitor. I'm not sticking up for Jiffy Lube... I'm sticking up for me... the independent market... there is either not enough info or the writer hasn't got all his facts straight. Anytime there is a dispute between two shops... I think an 3rd one should step in as the arbitrator... not some writer or the owner... niether of which are professionals.

 

It ends up back to my usual bitch.... EDUCATE THE CUSTOMER BUT DON'T FORGET TO EDUCATE THE TECH...!

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I believe you have a point Joe, about the Dealer making the other guy look bad. I've been doing this for a long time and that situation is so so so typical. Everybody is trying to gain the trust of the consumer and usually at the defacing of another competitor. I'm not sticking up for Jiffy Lube... I'm sticking up for me... the independent market... there is either not enough info or the writer hasn't got all his facts straight. Anytime there is a dispute between two shops... I think an 3rd one should step in as the arbitrator... not some writer or the owner... niether of which are professionals.

 

It ends up back to my usual bitch.... EDUCATE THE CUSTOMER BUT DON'T FORGET TO EDUCATE THE TECH...!

 

The more I think about this case, the more I realize that there are missing pieces to the puzzle. Why did Jiffy Lube just agree to pay??? Was it to minimize any bad press? And, it's clear that the writer did not do his due diligence and fact finding to get at the root of the real problem.

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