I took my car to Monro Muffler for an inspection on Jan. 19,2013 at Dewey Ave., Rochester, NY. I know my car was in excellent condition because I have it carefully examined regularly by an excellent mechanic, including battery tested. I drove my car there with no problems whatsoever. My car was very reliable I bought it in 2008 with low mileage and had experienced no problems. It has an excellent review also for the make and model.
I drove in at 10:00 AM and I was told at 10:30 that the inspection was complete and passed. But they wanted to change two detail lights. I said OK. Then they left and didn't return for an entire half hour. Everyone knows it doesn't take half and hour to change a couple light bulbs. When they returned, they kept probing me to see if I had had any previous problems. Of course, I hadn't; so then they finally told me that they couldn't start my car. (They didn't tell me, but they had only changed one of the two bulbs in that entire half hour - very suspicious, since they were the ones who requested to change the bulbs in the first place.) They decided they should charge the battery to see if that would start it.
In the mean time, the elderly lady ahead of me who was also getting an inspection done told me that her son had just bought her car from a dealer, and that she was having it inspected. The guy came in from the garage and told her that she had the wrong oil in her car. How you can tell that by just a NYS inspection is beyond me. I know it is not part of the inspection. They talked her into letting them change her oil by telling her that if anything happens to her car the warranty might be annulled because she has the wrong oil. Despicable!
They went ahead and charged my battery, and immediately it started demonstrating trouble with the remote start, trouble I had never had before. They came out and asked me if I had a remote start. I told them yes, but that I never used it because I don't need it. (I keep my car in my garage, and when I drive to work, it is parked so far out in the parking lot that it is worthless to use the remote - It only takes me 7-8 minutes to drive home.) He wanted to use my remote to see if he could start the car with it. I told him that the battery was dull on the remote and I hadn't replaced it because I don't use it; so you need to stand close to use it.
His idea didn't work; so he came in and made a call to a specialist as I listened. He was told that charging the battery caused the remote start to malfunction and he could "try" to reprogram it, and they told him how. (He wasn't experienced at this.) He spent approximately 1 and 1/4 hours tinkering with the remote and other stuff on my car before he came in and told me they "did everything they know to do, but it still won't start."
He asked if they could have it towed to a specialist at their expense. I agreed. I prepared to pay for the inspection, but they said they would settle up after this issue was resolved. They gave me no paper work, not even the NYS receipt for the inspection. I was assured repeatedly, that the inspection was complete, and legal. I heard nothing for a couple of days. Monro had left them no information about my car. I finally called, and that is how I found out that they didn't even know why my car was brought there. Because of all the lack of communication, I ended up being without a car from Jan. 19th through the 31st.
The specialists told me that apparently my battery was fried. Who knows why? It was suggested that they either hooked up the analyzer incorrectly and drained my battery or left doors open too long. I thought perhaps something happened to cause a short as they changed the one light bulb since they stopped mid-way and never did the second. I was not allowed in the garage; so I can't know.
However the specialist proceeded to tell me that the remote start malfunctioned because they charged the battery and that in turn, the remote start damaged the ECM. (The manager of a different Monro Muffler branch told me there is about one chance in a thousand that the ECM would malfunction in my car without a cause. So all three of these things all happened in Monro Muffler's garage "after" they had inspected and passed it.
I questioned 4 mechanics including the one Monro sent the car to. Two were specialists with my type of car. All said the same thing. Charging the battery caused the remote start to malfunction, and that in turn, caused the ECM to malfunction. I also did my own research which proved the same and said that it is rare for the ECM to die like that. So supposing this is so extemely rare, now we have to couple that with the fact that after a passed inspection, all 3, my battery, my remote start, and my ECM failed all at once in Monro Muffler's garage. Pretty far fetched!
That is not the end of the story! I had called the manager of headquarters, but the receptionist gave me customer service instead. I told him that I did not want customer service, but wanted the manager. I was told that I could not talk to him. Nothing got resolved through customer service; so eventually I found out where the manager was located and went there.
He was extremely rude, and even at one point called me a liar because I told him that the customer service told me that I couldn't connect them to the damage to my car and therefore they couldn't pay anything for the work. It cost me $1350.00. He said "You're lying! He couldn't possibly have said that! He gets paid 5 hun..." He stopped right there with shock on his face. I think he was letting the cat out of the bag. (He was paid to get rid of me.) I told him I had the message on my phone, and I thought he would choke.
I threatened to take him to court if he were not willing to go at least half with me. Then he exclaimed "You mean you're not going to give my insurance company a chance to investigate?" This was the first time they even mentioned that possibility. I asked how long that would take. He said 72 hrs. I said I'd give them 72 hrs. The insurance company did a shoddy check and then said they wouldn't do anything for me because I can't "prove" Monro did this.
I set a court date for small claims and they were served notice. Before the court date, I was trying to get as much as I could to show that my car had been to Monro, what they had done etc. The specialists said that they keep everything they receive on a car in a file and copied it all for me. The only thing from Monro was a plain piece of paper that was hand written "Monro, Shane, a phone#, model and year, and my name". I went to a different branch for obvious reasons (court approaching, and they hadn't given me paper work in the first place).
That manager went all out trying to get my receipt for NYS inspection from the Dewey garage. I listened to the phone conversation. He looked at the sticker on my car and wrote down the inspection number. Then I heard him telling the Dewey garage, "You have to have the receipt! She has a sticker in the window! If there is a sticker, there has to be a receipt! If you did the inspection there has to be a receipt. If you didn't do the inspection, you can't put the sticker on!"
This went on for some time. Then he tried Fact Find, the DMV, and the police. And guess what! Nothing. He could get one receipt, and that was dated Mar. 23. I was told that that is the date my account was closed because there was no activity. This of course was "after" they had been summonsed to court; so how they claimed "no activity" I'll never know!
In court, I was met by the mamger of the Dewey garage, the district manager, and their lawyer. While under oath, they lied about why I didn't use my remote start, say that I didn't use it because it didn't work right. They lied and said the reason the part was on back order was because so many of these parts were going bad. I know this not to be true because of what I was told by the specialists. It wasn't because so many were being ordered, it was because of the rate in which they were being manufactured.
The district manager said that I couldn't get my NYS receipt because I went to a different branch for it, also a lie since I know from the conversation that they didn't have it, and if they did, they could have faxed it like they did the Mar. 23rd receipt. Also, he said he would mail it o me as soon as we left court. (If he could mail it, certainly the Dewey garage could have - if they had it) I got the court decision today. Court was 6 days ago. They had to process the info before giving their decision. I have yet to receive the NYS receipt from the district manager. I presume it is because there isn't one.
I lost this case, because of all the lies and cover ups, but I am certainly glad that I pursued it because these guys need to be exposed for how crooked they are all the way down to the corporate manager. I personally know of hundreds of people now who will tell others about my experience now plus all the people in the court room last week. Monro has lost far more in customers than they could have ever lost in being fair and honest.