October 3, 2011, I took my 1989 Acura Integra into the Meineke car care center on 5500 Van Buren Avenue at approximately 9:30 am to take advantage of an advertised sale on oil changes for $8.88. The shop was very busy, I was finally seen at 11:30 am. The attendant pulled my car into the auto bay, where he stood in the well and proceeded to change my oil. The manager informed me that my car was BADLY leaking oil from the valve cover gasket. I told him that I regularly check my oil levels and it is always full. He said I am "lucky" and the valve cover gasket needs to be changed--for a total of $60.00. "A very good deal." I was aware that there was no oil leak, but the valve cover gasket probably needed changed anyway, so while I was there, I permitted the repair.
They also fixed the mechanical arm on the headlight for free. Thank you!.
I purchased the car from private party in August 2011, not running. When a retired mechanic neighbor got it running, it had a massive overheating problem. The retired mechanic fixed the overheating problem and has since performed many repairs on the vehicle. It has run perfectly, without overheating for about two months. I was preparing the car to pass smog at the Meinake location.
Around 1:00 pm, the car was now ready to roll. I paid the $60.00 from a Chase Visa ATM card. I took the car home and put it into the garage.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 I was going to the freeway at Madison at 10:30 am driving to an appointment in Irvine at 12:00 pm. As I turned the corner at Arlington avenue and Madison Avenue, the car sputtered and stalled in the middle of the right hand lane, in pouring rain IN TRAFFIC!!!! The car behind me, perceiving my acceleration was decreasing rapidly, skidded to a stop, bumping my car. No damage, other than exchanging paint on the bumpers. However, now I couldn't get to a very important business meeting that could cost my company and partners millions if not billions. I called the tow truck and put my hood up. There was old valve cover screws on my battery, the distributor cap was loose, and G-d knows what all else. The distributor cap was removed to replace the valve cover gasket. No one else worked on the vehicle since Meineke and that moment. I called Meineke and told them of the incident. They said to bring the car back. Due to my experience with Meinake on Oct 3, I couldn't wait four hours for them to repair the car I had to get out to Irvine. I called a tow truck, and had the car towed home. My mechanic friend said that Meineke left several bolts loose, including the distributor cap causing the malfunction.
What kind of scam is this place running?
1) CHEAP specials for oil changes, smog testing, etc. as a hook (actually, that is marketing).
2) Talk the customer into more extensive, unnecessary repairs.
3) Leaving things "loose" to cause more mechanical problems so the cars have to be brought
back for further repairs?
Isn't this ILLEGAL? Or is it at the least UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICE?