I had been employed for a few years by Firestone as a Store Manager in Southern N.J...until the day came that I had a disagreement with d**k Clark, who is the District Manager for the Philadelphia region. (This disagreement was partially due to the fact that my "add-on" sales were not high enough to satisfy either him, or the Zone office. I thought that maybe it would benefit everyone to let them know the ENTIRE program that Firestone and most other tire and auto service centers use to extract that hard earned cash from your pockets!!
First off, they (Firestone) run ads offering an oil change for $4.95 to $12.95, depending on the ad. That price is valid with a completed Autopass credit card application only (A.P.R. 22.9%). Then, as they write the order they offer - or more or less tell you that you are getting - a free "courtesy check". What the courtesy check is, is a quick check of all of the fast, high margin items that they can see without taking the wheels off your car. If a store does not perform courtesy checks on at least 95% of the vehicles coming into the shop, the manager gets reprimanded by the district Manager. Anyways, the first thing that they usually come across is either a radiator flush, transmission flush, or a serpentine belt. Keep in mind that most all of the newer vehicles on the road today are using extended life coolant that is good for 10 years/100000 miles, and Transmission fluid changes are also usually not recommended for 60,000 miles or more. Next, the friendly salesperson will explain to you that your car NEEDS to have the SCHEDULED MAiNTENANCE done at the specified intervals to keep the warranty in effect on your new car. Fine. Dandy. Now, they will print you THEIR maintenance schedule. COMPARE that to the one that your dealer will give you.. interesting.. isnt it? Firestone ONLY uses the SEVERE service schedule, instead of the regular one that 90% of all drivers would fall under (there is a normal schedule, and a severe schedule, depending on driving habits).
These scheduled maintenance packages that they sell have INCREDIBLE profits for both the manager and the company. a 60,000 mile package that might sell for $250-275 ONLY COSTS APPROX. $40 plus $20 labor !!! Firestone also buys their parts that they keep in inventory in their stores based on the lowest bid that they can get. THEREFORE THEIR PARTS MAY NOT BE OF THE BEST QUALITY THAT IS AVAILABLE!
Tires.. Next issue.. besides the fact that they have had recent problems in this area, they will pressure you to buy the tire protection plan (not worth it, they will usually fix flats for free anyways if you buy the tires there), in which it is almost impossible for you to get 100% credit on any tire that you might destroy, or might not be repairable, plus you still have to pay another $10-12 to have the tire balanced, etc.. LIFETIME ALIGNMENTS.. actually not a bad deal, if you use the policy, AND IF THE STORE ACTUALLY RECHECKS IT FOR YOU WHEN YOU BRING IT IN FOR A FREE ALIGNMENT UNDER THE PLAN. Alignments are 100% profit, but the mechanics have to get paid to do the work when the car comes back in for a free alignment... sooo either they will try and sell you parts that may not be really needed, or they will lie to tell you and tell you that the slignment is in spec.
PAY PLAN: Managers can earn up to 15% of the store's profits under the bonus plan. Now, think of a bigger store that does a high volume, such as Langhorne, Pa at the Oxford Valley Mall. There had been months that the store had made over $45,000. Nice bonus for the manager for selling all of those scheduled maintenance packages.. trans flushes.. and OVERPRICED brake jobs and tune ups. NOT DONE YET THOUGH.... The Service manager can easily earn up to $2000 a month in bonus based on how much money the shop makes from mechanical work, as well as the salespeople that are on a bonus program too. THE MORE ADDITIONAL POSSIBLY UNNEEDED HIGH PROFIT SERVICES THAT YOU CAN SELL, THE MORE MONEY YOU CAN MAKE, AND THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO MOVE UP IN THE COMPANY AS WELL!!!!! Click here to read other Rip-off Reports on Firestone