• Report: #1131674

Complaint Review: Meineke Car Care

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  • Submitted: Tue, March 18, 2014
  • Updated: Fri, April 04, 2014

  • Reported By: snowburdie — Lady Lake Florida
Meineke Car Care
2629 Weston Rd. Weston, Florida USA

Meineke Car Care Center "Fixed" problems that were unecessary, then falsely stated they had fixed the problem that really was necessary Weston Florida

*Author of original report: Disreputable practices - judge for yourself

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Mr. Ruehle is fully aware he was not scammed

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I was recently a victim of the Meineke Car Care Center in Weston, Florida.  With a great deal of reluctance, because of  the detrimental national reputation many people perceive the company to have,  I overrode my instincts and took my Silverado truck there thinking they would repair the serious problem it was developing.  I left several hours later with not only the problem remaining, but $481 poorer. 

The story:  Heading down the Florida Turnpike with my wife, daughter and 2 young grandchildren late on a Saturday for a vacation weekend, I developed what I thought was a large bubble on one of my tires.  The truck bounced horribly.  Surprisingly, I couldn't find anything on a visual inspection.   The following morning, Sunday, we were bouncing  towards our everglades park destination when I spotted the Meineke shop. 

The shop did an assessment and the manager, Pete Wyman, told me I needed  front shocks.  I thought that was a little strange because the truck only has 71,000 (all highway)  miles on it.   He also said that a lower rear brake caliper bolt was missing and the upper one was loose.   No one said anything about a tire being bad, except that being a Sunday, they couldn't get any.

Now I'm in trouble.  It was Sunday, we're 250 miles from home, 3 adults and 2 small children, a brake bolt missing , a tire bouncing so bad it would knock the glasses off your head, and facing the 250 mile return trip north that evening .

The estimate for repairs was:   $140 for EACH shock plus an hour of labor time @ $98;  2 bolts with labor  @ $23 each;   and a "shop supply " fee of $30 (he said that was to pay for rags and cleaning fluid).  With tax, the total  bill came to $481.

Curiously, Wyman said that the bolts couldn't be had until shortly before the 5:00 pm closing time. 

I told him to go ahead, and we all wasted the day waiting for the repair.  About  4:30 pm Wyman called to say the truck had been repaired and that it had been road tested.   I paid the bill and we left the shop with 10 minutes to spare before closing time.  

Guess what?  The problem had not been fixed.  Obviously the "road test" was a lie.   With no other alternative, I was lucky enough to find a tire dealer nearby that was open until 6:00 pm on Sundays.   My last resort was to act on my first suspicion - that a tire had developed a bad bubble. 

Sure enough.  The tire dealer put a pair of new tires on the rear and the problem was solved. 

The conclusion is that either the Meineke mechanics were totally incompetent (after all, they took the tires off the truck to "discover" the bolt problem but never found the bubble), or more likely, their reputation  for  scamming and dishonesty held true, and they held me up for totally unnecessary repairs.  While the rear tires were off the truck at the tire dealer's,  I saw that the lower caliper bolts ON BOTH WHEELS had been replaced and neither of the top bolts had been tightened, meaning they were never  loose.   The bolts did not need replacing.  As much as I don't like being gouged, I will not accept being a victim of highway robbery.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/18/2014 05:41 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Meineke-Car-Care/Weston-Florida-33331/Meineke-Car-Care-Center-Fixed-problems-that-were-unecessary-then-falsely-stated-they-h-1131674. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 0Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Disreputable practices - judge for yourself

AUTHOR: snowburdie - ()

Yes, I was contacted by the owner of the Weston Meineke shop (the rebuttal writer) as claimed and we did talk for about 45 minutes.  He was very apologetic for the problem I experienced, but mostly he was upset that his shop was the subject of my posting on Ripoff Report.com.  He candidly admitted that my problem had been mishandled from the time I drove into his shop.  He also said that since that time his manager whom I had dealt with, Pete Wyman, had been terminated because his performance there left much to be desired.  

The rest of his interpretation contains several inaccuracies of the facts as they actually happened but that would be understandable since this owner/writer was not in the shop that day and Pete is no longer in his employ.  So let me clear up a few things.

As I stated from the beginning, I had a terrible vibration coming from one of the wheels, making the truck virtually undriveable.  My suspicion was that a tire had gone bad as initially mentioned, but my own inspection could not isolate the problem.  Spotting the Meineke shop, I reluctantly went there with the hope that their "expertise" would identify it and take corrective action.  The time was about 11 am.  I explained to Pete that I had family with me and that it was imperative that I return to the Ocala area that same day -  a 250 mile drive. 

The cause of my problem is now indisputable - the tread on one rear tire had separated and the tire became out-of-round.  Even the shop owner/writer identified the problem as tread separation and admitted to that during our  phone conversation.  My problem had to be obvious to him from the symptoms I gave, since Pete wrote nothing about that on any paperwork, and Pete was no longer employed there for the owner to ask.  So why didn't any of Meineke's expert mechanics see it as obvious, too?  I think the answer is simple:  they are either totally incompetent, or they deliberately ignored it and concentrated on finding some other problems they could "fix".

A respectable repair shop might have simply said,  "You need a new tire and we don't have any, and we can't get any on a Sunday, so I suggest that you find a tire dealer who can help you."     Instead, Meineke stayed within its traditional reputation for recommending several major and costly solutions to fix a burned out tail light bulb.  

I never said I needed two tires at any time because I didn't know absolutely that the problem was tire related.  I  had considered a couple of other possible causes.

Pete's conclusion was that the vibration was due to both front shocks needing  replacing.  We all know now that that wasn't the case.  And there is no "excessive premature tire wear issue" on the front tires.  In fact, the tires are 4 years old and they have negligible wear.  I can supply photos to that fact, should I have to.

I agreed to  have the work done because I was in a desperate situation and had to trust Meineke's judgment.  Of course, Pete knew that.  And that is why I am so outraged.

It's absurd for the owner/writer here to claim that there was any discussion about my returning the following day for a set of tires.   Why would I have even thought about that when it was necessary for us to drive 4-hours home that afternoon?   And it's comically absurd to say that, after I wasted my entire day at Meineke and got gouged $400 for shocks I didn't need, that my plan was to drive several miles to Tire Kingdom and buy tires there.  If I had understood that my only problem was one bad tire, I never would have bothered with Meineke in the first place!  I would have located a legitimate tire dealer and fixed the problem, as I eventually had to do. 

As I said in my original complaint, Meineke made it clear that they would not have the truck ready until almost closing time.  At about 4:30pm, and after wasting our entire day, Meineke finally called and said that my truck had been repaired, and road tested, and that everything was good to go.  That was unquestionably a bold-faced lie!  

About 15 minutes after Meineke had closed and a few very rough miles later, my wife and daughter both got on their cell phones and tried to locate reputable tire dealers.  Fortunately, the Tire Kingdom was both close by and open until 6pm.  And, of course, they had several of the common size tires I needed in stock.  I was rescued at last.

As for the missing caliper bolt, I have no way to prove it, but anyone who has ever worked on brakes -and I have, for many years - knows that the hardware is never left insufficiently torqued. Those bolts don't just  "fall out".   That bolt was missing like I'm the king of England and Meineke is an honest repair shop.  And notice that the owner/writer  says that they replaced THE missing caliper BOLT.  He does not mention that they replaced TWO of them - one on EACH SIDE, which they did.  (I have photos of them, too.) 

Those bolts, with the labor to screw them in, were $25 apiece.   You can buy that one "missing" bolt I needed in any retail `auto parts store for less than $8, so adding the 5 minutes it took to screw it in, it should have come to less than $20.  But OK, I'll give them their inflated price - for one.  But the second, unneeded $25 bolt they installed was downright theft.

Meineke charged me $200 a piece for the shocks (that weren't needed, remember?)  A check on the internet shows that the retail cost of what they installed - AC Delco Heavy Duty shocks - run between $50 & $60 apiece.  Yes, they're entitled to mark them up, but 200%?  And then another $50 each to install them.  $400 for 2 shock absorbers!

And then there was the $30 rag fee they tacked on.   Outrageous!

I posted my complaint on RipoffReport, and similar web sites, not because I ever expected to get monetary satisfaction but to get the satisfaction of knowing that I could warn other unsuspecting victims about the kind of businesses Meineke franchises are.

Here are a couple of other things prospective customers should be aware of.   The invoice for the work that customers sign upon completion states that "you agree not to dispute any charges".   Does anybody know of any other reputable business that has such a disclaimer?  I don't.  For the fact that they do have it implies that gouging is a chronic customer complaint that Meineke wants to ward off up front.  (And in my opinion it is legally useless.)  The invoice also states, "Customer wishes to discard old parts".  Nothing was ever mentioned to me about that  (I probably would have taken the shocks with me just for my own curiosity.)

Near the beginning of the conversation I had with the owner/writer, he said he wanted to make amends and would even refund the entire $481 if necessary.  At the end of our conversation he said that he wanted me to retract the report I posted on this website.  I told him that the website won't allow the removal of any postings but that I would amend it by saying that we had come to a satisfactory agreement.   I also told him that I didn't post this complaint to get money back, but if he had a conscience and wanted to assuage my opinion of the incident, I would leave any refund amount up to him.  He said he would check with his "bookkeeper" and get back to me the next day.  Yeah, right.

I stick with my commentary of the experience and my complaint.  Meineke gouged me by charging way more than a reputable merchant would have, and it scammed me by their "experts "either not being able to diagnose a tire separation  or intentionally ignoring it; and by installing at least one caliper bolt that wasn't necessary.  And also for leaving me and my family in the same predicament we were in when we arrived in the morning and then lying about being good-to-go when they were closing the door at afternoon's end.  

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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Mr. Ruehle is fully aware he was not scammed

AUTHOR: Meineke1311 - ()

Our management contacted Mr. Ruehle after seeing his complaint of service posted on "rip off report". Our Management spent approximately 45 minutes with him on the phone reviewing his complaint made on Friday 03/21/2014. Mr. Ruehle brought his vehicle in on a Sunday for a vibration issue while driving and stated that he believed that he needed at least 2 tires and to inspect the vehicle. The manager Pete informed the customer that we did not have the same tires that the customer requested in stock and would not be able to get the tires that were needed for his vehicle until the next day, on Monday. The customer chose to leave his vehicle anyway and have it inspected by Meineke for maintenance or repair. After inspecting the vehicle, we found that there was a missing caliper bolt in the rear brakes as well as fluid leaking front the shocks, and informed the customer at that time about the missing caliper bolt in the rear brakes and the hydronic fluid leaking from the shocks that needed to be serviced, and we provided Mr. Ruehle with a written estimate, which he agreed to and signed for the service. He further stated that he would come back for the tires that were causing the noise. At the time of the customer picked up the vehicle, we discussed him making an appointment for the follow-up visit to replace the tires that the truck needed, but the customer stated he would let us know when he would return for the tires and left the shop with the vehicle completed service at about 5:00pm (closing time), but we found out later that he decided to go to tire kingdom and get the tires installed because he found that they had the 2 tires in stock that he needed. After the tires were replaced, it completely resolving the vibration issue that he had that he and we knew was the cause the noise. However we cured the brake issue by installing the new caliper bolt and excessive premature tire wear issue by replacing the front the shocks were leaking as requested and authorized by Mr. Ruehle. He is fully aware that he was not scammed in any way, and in fact that he declined our offer to return and review or discount work we performed to accommodate and satisfy him, because he fully knows that he needed the services on his vehicle that we performed and he agreed for us to perform as shown on his invoice and warranty.

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