Took my wifes car (1995 Honda Civic) to be inspected on 7/28/08. Put new tires on it last year and everything except the door handle in the car seemed to be in good shape. After taking all day to inspect the car, they called me to say that it failed and began to list the issues.
1) Brake Rotor on left front below spec.
2) Bellows boot torn (steering)
3) Door handle not working properly
4) sticker in window illegal, must remove (huh? just take it off dummies!)
Total "required work" that was needed to pass? Around $600.00.
Then they come with some additional work that they "recommend" to be done and that brings the grand total up to $2300!!!!
Needless to say, I told them to just put a rejection sticker on it and that I would sort the car out elsewhere. I have a trustworthy mechanic in Petersburg so I brought it to him. He managed to do all of the "required" work on the car for under $300. Yes folks, HALF! That's parts and labor.
Then he showed me the brake rotor from the left and the right front. One was supposedly in spec and the other not. He asked me if I could tell the difference between the two. I could not. Well, there was no difference; (i.e. the rotors were still in spec) the liars at Merchants just wanted to collect some money on the half-a$$ brake job they would have done. I asked him to replace both front rotors anyway since his prices were so reasonable.
What irritated me the most was the door handle. The Merchant's of Venice wanted to charge me $137 labor plus the cost of the part from the dealer to fix the door handle. My guy got the part for $48 and fixed the handle in under 2 minutes! When I told him how much labor these a$$holes wanted to charge me for a 2 minute job he couldn't believe it, and called them out as the pack of thieves they are.
So, a couple of days later (8/4/08), I take the car back to these b*stards to re-inspect. Most reputable places will just re-inspect the failed items and then put a sticker back on the car. But desperate to find SOMETHING they could pocket some money on they failed it again, this time for the fact that the rearview mirror had been remounted just below it's original position when apparently it popped of it's original place. Presumably it had to be moved because in the original spot was a mess of hard epoxy and perhaps 2 microns of glass that had separated from the windshield when the mirror came off. Mind you the windshield was in this condition when I bought the car 6 YEARS AGO AND HAS PASSED EVERY TIME!
George, the manager of the 40 thieves of Merchants told me excitedly "you have a hole in your windshield!" Not true. I got majorly irritated at this point and basically called him out on the brakes and told him in no uncertain terms that he was trying to take advantage of me and others. He said "The only way this car will pass is if a State Trooper overrides my inspectors. I told him to go for it and call the trooper out to take a look, confident he was full of sh*t. Sure enough, he called back 3 minutes later to tell me that the trooper he usually deals with (huh? some kind of kickback here?) was out "sick."
Again, red light flashed in my brain and I calmly told him to put another rejection sticker on it and that I would be coming back to get the car. After I got the car I spoke with someone from the local glass shop about the windshield. His comment? "These guys are jerking your chain. You don't need a new windshield, you need to take your car and get it re-inspected somewhere else." He also said laughingly, "they must have some arraingement with another glass shop to kick some business over to them."
When I called my mechanic back in Petersburg to tell him what happened he basically lost it and like EVERY OTHER professional I have talked to about this situation, called them out as the pack of thieves they are. I took the car to another shop, paid another $16, and the car passed with flying colors.
Merchants Tire & Auto, the biggest bunch of liars and crooks on the East Coast!