I live in Albuquerque, but I was fifty miles away in Santa Fe for a class project. While driving in the dark on unknown streets, I managed to hit a curb at about thirty miles per hour. This happened after seven o'clock on a Saturday night, so absolutely no car mechanics are open.
I call a towing company. He comes right away and says it will be fifty dollars to tow it to the Pep Boys down the road, two hundred to tow it down to Albuquerque. So far, it doesn't seem that bad, other than the fact that my wheel makes a grinding noise when I drive (going at most five mph) and it's set way back so it rubs against the actual car. I opt for the fifty dollars option, figuring it'll be easier in the long run. BIG MISTAKE.
I get my dad to drive me back to Albuquerque that night, but I brilliantly forgot to leave my ignition key at Pep Boys. My fault. However, the next morning I call them at nine o'clock, when they open, and tell them that I have the key and will take it to them later.
Thirty minutes later, I get a call from Pep Boys asking where the ignition key is. This, I believe, was the first sign.
I drive back to Santa Fe later that day and drop off the key. The worker at the counter tells me he'll call me by four thirty that evening.
By five thirty, knowing that I'd have to be at work in an hour, I call them up. The worker (same guy who we saw when we dropped the key off, as I made note of his nametag), says that they did the first diagnostic of my car, and that it'd probably be $200 to $400. He said he'd call back with a more in depth estimate later--when I told him I had work, he said he'd call and leave a message.
He actually called me back after work. He said it'd be $400, if he had to go through the dealers. The part they needed, he said, costs $200 through the dealers but about $50 used, and that it would be easy to find a used part because Focuses are so common and all he'd have to do is make a few calls. I made the mistake of assuming that his giving me that piece of information meant that he was actually going to try to find a used part for me. Still, I had been expecting a $600 bill, so I gave him the go-ahead with a sigh of relief.
No call came on Monday, nor Tuesday--but I didn't worry about that because Tuesday was New Year's Eve. Thus I waited till Thursday to call. When he picked up (same guy!), I asked when the Ford Focus would be ready.
He said, "Oh," started stuttering a bit, and told me he'd have to check on the progress and he'd call me later. I got the distinct impression that they had forgotten that my car was even there.
He never called me back. When I called him back, he said they were going to fix the control arm, and that the total bill would be $424. Meaning he hadn't gotten the used part. Still, less than six hundred dollars, right?
The next day, I wake up to a call from Pep Boys. They found another part that was damaged (probably since they actually looked at my car this time to fix it), and that the new bill was seven hundred dollars. I told him to wait, called up my dad and asked if that was okay, he said it was cheaper than filing a claim with insurance, so I called back and okayed it.
Two days later, I wake up to a call from Pep Boys. They found another part that was damaged. This time, it was the rim for the tire, and according to the guy (different guy, this time), they couldn't get it. Overall, from them, it'd be $800 even, but I would have to go get the part myself and bring it to them. He told me I could only get the part through the Hyundae dealer, and there was no way I could get it used, because Focuses take aluminum rims and the used ones were all steel and wouldn't fit.
I had to remind him that I owned a Focus, and that Focuses are Fords, and that going through the Hyundae dealer might not be such a good idea. He said, through the dealer, the part would be $200, and so overall, out of my pocket, it would be $1000 bill. Just their part in it, minus all the stuff I would have to do myself, though, would only be $800.
He ended the call by throwing out Pep Boys' tag line, "We'll take care of you."
At this point, I called my dad to tell him what happened. Here's where he took over. I didn't hear much about it for the next week.
Basically, he called up Pep Boys and yelled at them about this. He had to talk to their manager, and when their manager was pulling the same stuff (not calling him back, raising the price, etc.), he went all the way to corporate. Of course, somewhere in the midst of this, on Saturday night, two weeks after the accident, I get a call from Pep Boys asking me when I'm going to pick up the car, which is ready. Which it wasn't at the time they called me.
In the end, we got a steel rim (you know, that steel rim that Mister Second Guy said we couldn't use) and a $700 bill because corporate intervened. If my dad hadn't gone through corporate, it would have been $1200 altogether (Remember the original $400 estimate? I do. Fondly). All of this because I hit a curb.
My dad said that it was when the manager said he'd call back and never did that he finally called corporate.
All in all, it took two weeks and $700 to get my car back. Plus I was terrified for a long time, because after that service I was worried that my tire might fall off or something equally horrifying (nothing happened, luckily). And the steel rim that the worker said wouldn't work has never caused a problem.
This was my first ever car accident, and I've been driving for about five years. Well, I learned my lesson--never get into a car accident, and if you do, pay the extra money to take it to YOUR trusted mechanic. Don't take it to Pep Boys, no matter what you do.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on PepBoys