• Report: #53924

Complaint Review: STS Tire & Auto

  • Submitted: Tue, April 22, 2003
  • Updated: Wed, May 09, 2012

  • Reported By:Washington New Jersey
STS Tire & Auto
400 W. Main Street Bound Brook, New Jersey U.S.A.

STS Tire & Auto Bad Business Practices Possibly PepBoys too Tri-State NJ, PA & NY

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: pepboys just change the commission struture do you have document or copy of this plan you are talking about

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: PEPBOYS COMMISSIONS FOR WRITERS AND ASSISTANT MANAGER

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: STS techs definately rip the public off!

*UPDATE Employee: I agree with every word the inside scoop said

*Consumer Comment: Pep Boys Commissions for service writers and assistant service managers

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: The inside scoop

*Consumer Comment: Not valid

*Consumer Comment: ignorance at it's best

*Consumer Comment: Just because that may be the way they're paid

*Consumer Suggestion: Incentive system, and trying to "sting" the garage.

*Consumer Comment: whats being condemned is that "incentive system"

*Consumer Comment: Unless it was done at Sears and you knwo for a fact they are doing it again.....

*Consumer Comment: I Hvae A Hard Time With This

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Stay away from STS Tire and Auto Centers. Either take my word for it or take the time to read what follows.

Sometime in the early 1990s Sears was caught ripping off auto owners on a national scale.

The California Better Business Bureau set them up in a sting operation. What they did was to disconnect a wire from the voltage regulator on five similar cars, and went around to all of the Sears Auto shops complaining that their battery was not charging. In 90% of these visits, Sears repairmen sold the BBB agents a complete charging system including alternator, regulator and battery, rather than tell them that a wire had mysteriously become disconnected.

The outcome was a huge embarrassment in which the CEO of Sears had to fall to his knees before the nation and beg forgiveness. In the end, it turned out that the mass rip-off was not limited to California, but was nationwide.

The root of the problem had to do with the payroll practices set up for Sears mechanics. Sears mechanics were payed well below the national average for their trade, but were given the opportunity to make sales commission on auto parts. The way it worked was that each month the mechanics had to make $2000 of parts sales in order to cross the threshold in which they would then be making a percentage of any further sales that month.

So naturally, the mechanics went crazy in the beginning of the month to get over the threshold, by hoodwinking people into paying for things they did'nt need. Once over the threshold they went nuts in overselling, to make as much commission as possible before the end of the month.

The CEO of Sears put an end to this practice, and Sears began paying its mechanics a normal salary.

STS TIRE AND AUTO models its pay arrangement after the old Sears method of commissions on a monthly sales basis. As a result everone I know that's gone there has had serious problems. In one case the mechanics refused to release a car unless the owner agreed to have the front brakes done, which were done two months prior. He had to threaten them with a call to the local police.

In March of 1998 I sued STS for selling my wife a battery and essentially stealing her good one, when in fact the alternator had gone bad, which they didn't fix. I wound up having to fix it. To make a long story short, I won a $650 award on a bad faith claim.

STS mechanics are going to rip you off if you go there. An it's really not their fault. They're just trying to put bread on the table at $8.50/hour plus commissions.

From what I understand, Pep-Boys has the same type of pay arrangement, but I may be wrong.

The moral of the story is DON'T GO TO FRANCHISE REPAIR SHOPS. Go to your local independent garage. If they give you an estimate and then charge exactly that amount or less, that's the first sign of their honesty. Most private garages estimate higher than franchise operations because they like to stick to their estimate.

Ronald
Washington, New Jersey
U.S.A.


STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, its paid for!

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on PepBoys

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/22/2003 11:26 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/STS-Tire-Auto/Bound-Brook-New-Jersey-08805/STS-Tire-Auto-Bad-Business-Practices-Possibly-PepBoys-too-Tri-State-NJ-PA-NY-53924. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

pepboys just change the commission struture do you have document or copy of this plan you are talking about

AUTHOR: UTWOZOOM - (United States of America)

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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

PEPBOYS COMMISSIONS FOR WRITERS AND ASSISTANT MANAGER

AUTHOR: UTWOZOOM - (United States of America)

I AM A EX EMPLOYEE OF PEPBOYS, I WANT TO COMMEND YOU ON YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT THIS PAY CUT THAT I KNOW SOMEONE WAS A PART OF.  THE PROBLEM HE IS TRYING TO GET ANY INFORMATION ON THIS OLD PAYMENT PLAN, THAT THEY HAVE NOW CHANGE WITH JUST GIVING THE 2.5 PERCENT INSTEAD OF PAYING ONLY THE 1.5 PERCENT.  IS THERE ANY WAY YOU HAVE THIS PAPER WORK OF WHAT YOU WROTE.  THIS FRIEND OF MINE WANTED TO HAVE THIS AS HE GO TO OTHER JOBS SO HE CAN HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO HIS NEW POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS THAT HE AT ONE TIME WAS MAKING $12.25 DOLLAR A HOUR, AND THE COMPANY TOLD ALL SERVICE ADVISER THAT THE COMPANY WAS TAKING $5.00 AND HOUR AWAY FROM HIM.  HE CAN NOT FIND IN HIS PAPERWORK FROM GETTING HIS EMPLOYEE FILE, THIS DOCUMENT WHERE THE COMPANY DID MAKE THIS CHANGE.  HE IS TIRED OF PUTTING CLOSE TO MINIMUM WAGE AS HIS STARTING SALARY ON APPLICATIONS AS HE SEARCH FOR JOBS. I REALLY NEED THIS DOCUMENT TO HELP HIM. BECAUSE HE WANT TO HAVE THIS TO EXPLAIN TO NEW EMPLOYERS IN CASE THEY CALL TO BACK UP THAT HE MADE $12.25 A HOUR.  BECAUSE THE CRAPPY PEPBOYS COMPANY NEVER PUT ANY OF THIS INFORMATION IN HIS EMPLOYEE FILE, AND HE NO LONGER WORKS THERE SINCE 2010.  PEPBOYS DON T FEEL OBLIGATED TO GIVE HIM THIS INFORMATION.  PLEASE CALL AT 313 729 PAID TO MAKE ARRANGEMENT TO GIVE ME THE PROOF OF WHAT I DO REMEMBER IS TRUE OF WHAT YOU WROTE IN THIS ARTICLE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  HE IS WORKING WITH A JOB NETWORK RECRUITER HAT REALLY WANT TO CHANGE UP HIS RESUME TO MAKE IT LOOK STRONGER BY USING THE $12.25 A HOUR, AND THE RECRUITER SAID SHE CAN T PUT THIS IN HIS FILE UNTIL SHE HAS PROOF THAT THIS WAS DONE AT PEPBOYS WITH THE $5.00 REDUCE IN PAY.  PLEASE HELP.  I WILL PAY YOU TO MAIL THIS OR EMAIL THIS DOCUMENT IF YOU STILL HAVE THIS FROM PEPBOYS, OR IF YOU KNOW ANY WAY HOW TO GET THIS. MY NAME IS GEEQUE, PLEASE EMAIL ME (((ROR redacted))) OR CALL (((ROR redacted))).  YOU CAN BE A GREAT HELP TO MY BEST FRIEND.

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

STS techs definately rip the public off!

AUTHOR: Roadkill - (USA)

But... It's not their fault. It's the fault of store management and upper management. STS underpays their techs, plain and simple, and then they promise them the world with their 'commission program', but when the profitable jobs come into the shop, management just gives these jobs to the techs who are not on the commission program. The techs who ARE on the commission program are left with the unsavory choince of... ripping people off.

The district managers are all pitted against one another. This makes them push the store managers, who in turn push the techs. Management doesn't want to know what you are doing... If you get caught, they will try to help you out, if you are pulling in the 'numbers'; if you aren't, you get left out to 'flop in the wind'. If your numbers fall behind, you get reprimanded. This reprimand goes all the way up the food chain, from tech, to store manager, to district manager. 

STS is starting to shy away from actually 'fixing' cars. They are moving towards just doing tires, alignments, and fluid maintenance. Those are the things that you can train a monkey to do. They don't want to pay their top techs top dollar, they want to hire kids out of school and pay them nothing to do tires, alignmenets, and fluid changes. With the new alignment machines, you don't even have to know anything about cars; the machine tells you exactly what to do!  

I saw one guy get bounced around from shop to shop because he wasn't pulling in the numbers. Do you know what his problem was? He had integrity. He couldn't sell people oil flushes (which are useless!), or any other of the fluid services. He couldn't sell rotors and calipers on every brake job. He couldn't sell belts, tires, or cabin air filters on every oil change. He had integrity. He cared for his customers. That landed him onto the unemployment line when the big mass exodus happened in the fall of '09. Companies used the economy as an excuse to get rid of what they thought was the 'dead wood'. STS was on the crest of that trend. 

Find yourself a local guy. Someone that you can trust. Stay away from the STSs of the world, the Pep Boys, the Sears, the Midases, the Goodyears, the Firestones. Sometimes the local guy can rip you off too. Hey, it's not a perfect world! But... the odds are better that you are being ripped off by the ones that I mentioned above! I worked at STS... for a long time. I got out, and I'm doing much better now!

Do your homework, ask around, check out this site, reasearch! You'll find the good guys, they're out there! Peace!     
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#4 UPDATE Employee

I agree with every word the inside scoop said

AUTHOR: jrod - (United States of America)

Low pay,unnecessary services,If you don,t sell over priced unnecessary parts you will only make your base pay which is crap. That is why techs do that. And if you don,t do that you are thought of as a non-producer.Then are told to sell flushes. oh and struts well customers are told at the drop of a hat they are needed big$$$$$$$.oh and another thing technicians who are not on top of there game make out because when they are diagnosing problems they just throw parts at it til they find problem then the customer gets to pay for all the unnecessary parts trying to find the problem and the tech gets paid commission for those parts.And the managers love that because there numbers look good it,s all about the numbers not the customers. Bottom line is it,s a mess. I can go on for ever.That ESOP Plan is all on paper they tell you it,s part of your pay, your retirement fund.But if you leave before your vested they get to keep that part of your pay. Good for them bad for you.In the same breathe they refuse a raise and then tell you if you want a raise sell more.It,s all about them and there numbers meetings about numbers,meetings about contests,meetings about it,s never enough.But ask for a quarter and you here nothing but excuses and rubbish.Man I can write a book about this stuff.I,ll leave it at that.Done for now.     
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#5 Consumer Comment

Pep Boys Commissions for service writers and assistant service managers

AUTHOR: Aldadnjson - (U.S.A.)

I work for Pep Boys and starting Nov. 30, 2008, my hourly rate was cut by $5.00/hr. with a commission pay set up to make up for the $200.00 weekly pay cut. To earn back the $200.00, one has to sell about $11,000 of installed parts, labor charges, and tires. Commission rate is 2.5% for installed parts and labor, tires except the cheapest tires (Cornell 1000) is 2% and commission rate for the Cornell 1000 tires is 1%. There is a modifying factor which can reduce the rate, Pep Boys has a customer survey which can reduce the rate. On all receipts there is a web address where customers can go to do a survey. If the customer rates the service or store transaction a 9 or 10, it is positive for the service writer, 8 or 7 is neutral and a 6 or lower is a negative for the service writer and they rate the responses by taking all the 9 & 10 ratings then subtracts any 6 or lower rating the divides the result by total responses to get a rate and if rate is over 50, no reduction to commission rate but is the rating is below 50, commission rate goes to 1.5% for parts and labor dollars, 1% for tires except Cornell 1000, and Cornell 1000 rate goes to .5%. A good thing is the difference is banked and if the NSP (Net Service Promoter) go up over the 50 rate by the end of the quarter, the banked commissions are paid at end of the quarter.
Talking to other service writers at other pep boys stores, everyone has had a pay cut of $75 to $150 weekly since the commission went into effect with a few exceptions, busy stores like Marlton and Pleasantville stores have had an increase for workers. Every other store has had pay cuts for service writers and assistant service managers.
The NSP also included mystery shopper calls made by an outside company to rate how the phone calls are answered by service people and store people.
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#6 UPDATE EX-employee responds

The inside scoop

AUTHOR: Blex - (U.S.A.)

As an automotive tech that worked there for couple years I am happy not to be there anymore. Got hired at $10 hour with empty promises of an increase. Never happend even after working there for 2 years. There ESOP ( employee ownership ) program only benefits people that make $45k or higher because its based on a % of your anual salary and you have to put in 6 years to be able to keep that. The only perks of working there was the classes they had at there career center witch I attended many time because I was told it would help me get a raise, so I attended them even if I knew the material. They hire techs fresh out of school starting at $8 because they are so eager to work again with empty promises. They expect there mechanics to do level A tech work with a level C salary. Oh and yes I am ASE certified tech. For those thinking about applying at STS do your research really good and ask alot of questions at the interview. In my opinion working for FireStone or Midas was a more pleasant experience and the pay is way better. For the customer that is planing on taking your car there, be careful with all the flushes they are going to try to sell you. Most times the tech would not recomend them but the service writer will. Happend to me many time when I saw the car did not need it or the fluids would past the tests and the service writer would still try to sell it because the company holds many competitions between every store and the winners would get some kind of incentive. I laugh every time I read STS its a TRUST thing. Do not TRUST this company!! One thing is the tech recomending work because they looked at the car, another is a service writer trying to sell a Run Right with out even checking the car out. Remember the mechanic gets blame for everything not the service writer. So we look like the thieves and we get a bad rep. Im sorry to say but my honor is everything to me and thats why im happy not to be employed there. Im not saying all of them are like this but in the few stores I had worked in, they were the same.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Not valid

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

If you pulled the spark plug out of the vehicle and it was covered in oil chances are you need valve cover gaskets. Usually pulling the plug out and seeing antifreeze under the plug is one of the signs of a bad head gasket, oil is usually related to a bad valve cover gasket.
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#8 Consumer Comment

ignorance at it's best

AUTHOR: Ginger - (U.S.A.)

Pep Boys are a true rip off. I found out the hard way and fortunatly they only got me for a few dollars.

STS is another story. When I brought my Buick Skylark to STS for a complete turn up, belts, battery. It cost $695.00. But the car still didn't work right. My husband pulled out a spark plug to find the hole full of oil. It was obvious this car had a blown head gasket. I called STS yelling. They said it was a new guy and yes the car should not have had the work done. My money, all of it was refunded. That was 12 years ago. I trust nobody but the STS in my town. They are honest and trustworthy. Just what I need in a mechanic.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Just because that may be the way they're paid

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

does not warrant any of this as a rip off. Again, you can't claim "rip off" because it was a misdiagnosis-nor can one make a claim without ALL the important information.

As Danny said, if it was a rip off-and based on the incentive pay theory-why didn't the tech just replace EVERYTHING in the charging system? The potential of a whole 2% would have yeilded him what-a whole couple dollars maybe? And at this couple dollars per job, how many jobs do you think he can actually do in a week to make the lack of money that is being claimed?

Anyone who is worth anything does not stay at jobs like these. And if they do, they are not on the incentive plan but receiveing a real salary commensurate to their abilities or else they would leave to make real money. So, this leaves slackers, not-so-good techs, or parts replacers which then brings us back to the poor diagnostics angle.

The only thing that was learned about the Midas example was to not use that location. Doesn't mean that they all are like that.
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#10 Consumer Suggestion

Incentive system, and trying to "sting" the garage.

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

I don't like the incentive system either. It is a recipie for dishonesty. In a perfect world, perhaps it would be useful as it would encourage the mechanic to make a quick inspection of unrelated parts of the car and recommend other NECESSARY work. It would make more profit for the shop but also a more reliable car for the owner.

No one is that honest though.

Speaking of dishonesty, these "sting" operations by the media are a quite dishonest way to stir up things on a slow news day.

Much like a doctor, the "customer"'s report of the history and symptoms of the problem are important for the mechanic to diagnose the problem. Unless the "customer" says otherwise, the mechanic is going to be working on the assumption that the car was driven normally until it quit working, not that someone tampered with it.

When the "patient" is lying, you can't completely blame the "doctor" for a wrong diagnosis.

A car with a seperate voltage regulator, where the wires can be disconnected one at a time, would've been antique even in the early '90s. It is quite possible the people at STS were not very familiar with that type of system.
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#11 Consumer Comment

whats being condemned is that "incentive system"

AUTHOR: Pablo - (U.S.A.)

I agree that having a incentive type of pay scale is there to induce the mechanic to oversell or flat out ripoff the customer. Otherwise what is it there for? The customer comes in with a issue, the mechanic resolves the specified item and the customer pays and goes his way.

Those incentive scales are there to corrupt the mechanics since these shops won't offer any basic pay or per repair pay where the mechanic can simply make a living doing what is needed without having to continue to jack up the bill with phony repairs and scare stories. All national franchoses are like that.

I've had a ex midas muffler guy tell me that they were told every person who walks in the store should be a 600.00 job. And, yes, they have that incentive plan to push the mechanics into being crooks.
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#12 Consumer Comment

Unless it was done at Sears and you knwo for a fact they are doing it again.....

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

then you accusations are baseless. Also, your lack of make, model, year, mileage, condition of the vehicle, and timeline leave this report to be suspect. For all we know, the battery was replaced last year and you just had to replace the alternator this year thus making the report frivolous. All you have alleged is that you sued them and allegedly won.

Dan's analysis is pretty spot on. And if you knew what was wrong-as you allege to have fix it yourself anyway, why didn't you tell them to just replace the alternator? "when in fact the alternator had gone bad, which they didn't fix. I wound up having to fix it."

STS used to work (as of around 1980/81) on 1% sales/1% doing the job commission. They'd have to rip off ALOT of people to make any money at that rate.

While there may be some questionable diagnostics, it's not necessarily a rip off. You just got an inexperienced tech on your job. There is a huge difference.
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#13 Consumer Comment

I Hvae A Hard Time With This

AUTHOR: Danny - (U.S.A.)

HI,

Im not sure what your motives are but i would like to point out a few comments you made that are clearly ficton.

You said:
STS TIRE AND AUTO models its pay arrangement after the old Sears method of commissions on a monthly sales basis. As a result everone I know that's gone there has had serious problems

I have worked as a technician for over 30 years and almost all shops have a pay plan that has some sort of commission attached, even the 3 independent small shops i worked for. also i find it truly hard to believe ALL your friends have had problems unless you only have 1 friend.

You said:
STS mechanics are going to rip you off if you go there. An it's really not their fault. They're just trying to put bread on the table at $8.50/hour plus commissions.

That paragraph speaks for it self.
firstly to condem all mechanics within a company is just plain wrong sounds to me like you either work or own an independent repair shop or your an x sts employee with issues

You also began your post with a problem sears had and applied it to STS which has no such issues or lawsuits (none that i can find online anyway)

Now lets get to your problem shall we.

First off an alternator has whats called brushes, like all things containing brushes that ride on an armature (fan motors, fuel pumps, starters and so on) intermitant failures are very common as dirty or worn brushes can have enough contact now to test fine but lose contach 15-20 mins from now.

if i tested your car and found the alternator working and the battery 4 years old or older i would have replaced the battery as well, what STS probaly did was NOT replace an alternator that tested ok at the time but instead replaced a battery that was 4 years old or close to it (industry standard for expected battery life)

Avg cost of a battery installed in most areas is between 80 and 100 bucks while avg cost of an alternator installed is between 250 to 400 bucks.
if the technician was so money hungry because if his incentive program why didnt he choose to sell you an alternator. probly because it tested ok is my guess.

Dan ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician L1
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