• Report: #79835
Complaint Review:

Merchant's Tire And Auto

  • Submitted: Tue, February 10, 2004
  • Updated: Sun, December 05, 2004

  • Reported By:Manassas Virginia
Merchant's Tire And Auto
www.tirekingdom.com Manassas, Virginia U.S.A.

Merchant's Tire And Auto ripoff, false advertising Manassas Virginia

*Consumer Comment: A letter from the employee

*UPDATE Employee: im the employ see hear it from my point of view


*REBUTTAL Individual responds: True Statements on Rediculus Fees

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Merchants - fair or not?

*Consumer Comment: The oil change is not the problem

*Consumer Suggestion: Advertising Can Be Confusing

*Author of original report: Rebuttal to the rebuttal ..Great customer relations, genius.

*Consumer Comment: Your information is completely WRONG!

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Merchant's used to be good, and supplied a $15-23 oil change, depending on coupons or other factors. Not bad. I was a customer for 3 years.

Tire Kingdom bought them out, and their price went to $29.99 for the cheapest oil change. Fair enough, I could have just walked, but I needed an oil change one last time as there was no where else to go at the time.

When I got the bill, it was $36 and change. They had added oil disposal fees, shop fees, and taxes upon that. Imagine, $36 for an oil change when it was $20 a couple weeks before.

The problem here is that the other fees are not advertised, and these are normal operating costs for any business and should not be passed to consumers. Do you pay $1 at McDonalds for new grease for the fries? Do you pay a paper-cut hazard fee to the employees at the IRS? No, and you shouldn't pay disposal and shop fees, especially when the are not advertised.

The moral of the story is Do Not Go to Merchant's Tire and Auto or Tire Kingdom until they charge fairly.

Manassas, Virginia

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/10/2004 05:45 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/merchants-tire-and-auto/manassas-virginia-20109/merchants-tire-and-auto-ripoff-false-advertising-manassas-virginia-79835. 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 Consumer Comment

A letter from the employee

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

First, if you want people to take you seriously, you need to type better. This is a forum where you don't need to abreviate your thoughts. It looked like my 12 year old daughter was typing to one of her friends. Also, puncutation would be nice as well. I had to read that statement 3 or 4 times before I could understand your thoughts.

But I think you're right on one event, the consumer is paying for a service, not just the products. I, for years, used to spend a weekend day to change my own oil, and I did the same services if not more. I of course changed the air filter, checked all fluids, hoses, & spark plugs, vaccumed out & even washed the car.

Going to the local auto parts store to get a filter & 4 to 5 quarts of oil used to cost me about $12. Then take the spent oil to the local garage to dispose of it for me. When I found a shop to change my oil for $19.99 + tax, & used the same oil I did, I was willing to pay the extra $7 for the service. But when they raised their prices to $29.99 for a standard oil change, that was too much. They did just what some other people have done. Added the fees for oil disposal, shop fees, etc.

I understand about the waste disposal fees. Those make sense, but why a shop fee. Merchant's Tire, & other companies like it, can get the oil cheaper per quart than consumers can at retail stores. Same with the filter. So the additional profit they make on the sale should go to the waste disposal fees, & the rest towards profit. Don't tack on an additional fee for service rendered.

Your right, not too many people are willing to lay down on the ground & change their own oil, especially when at this time of year, depending on where you are, it's 40 degrees outside or lower. But with the rising cost of everything now these days (gas), companies like Merchant's Tire/Tire Kingdom needs to sell a service. Make it worth our while to spend the extra $ than it would to do it ourselves or go down to another vendor who does it cheaper. Yes, they may not do use high quality oils, but I for one am not convinced to pay the extra money when I can do it my self cheaper, & do the same job I can get there.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

im the employ see hear it from my point of view

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

no look guys merchants is a good place to get an oil change and the prices well yea u cud get ur own oil change done for alf the price but tell me which one of you guys would get on the ground wit other used grease slave to serve you the consumers and still be able to smile when u wanna check up on your car. if u think ur just payin for oil and a filter well u are but whos gonna pay me to do your oil change you know i dont see u sayin oh wheres the mechanic who did my oil change i wanna thank him or u dont say wheres the mechanic who did my car i wanna tip him. if you really wanna complain opne your own shop do the work your self and see how do you get paid by selling the oil or by selling the service. as a merchants employ i can only say we will give u great quality service at a reasonable price and if u dont agree try doing an oil change your self for a change ull save ur self money but i wont garentee ur car will last longer
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#3 Consumer Comment


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

FOR 30 BUCKS I GOT 5 OIL CHANGES. Call 8007751975 for your booklet. The first guy on this list is a retard.
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#4 REBUTTAL Individual responds

True Statements on Rediculus Fees

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

I agree with the pushing of the fees, I had my fuel pump go, called and asked Tire Kingdom because they were across the street if they repaired. I had already called various parts stores for the price of the part. Tire Kingdom charged me 3X the price for the part, did a fuel system clean for an additional 69.95 and charged the shop fees of 25.00 and 15.00 for check of what I already knew was wrong, Then told me if I tried to remove the car they would charge me all the labor for the job. I was stuck so I had it repaired. I had already asked what the out the door price was. I got to the shop and they had tacked on the extra 75.00 for a total of $404.00 to replace a 50.00 part. I will never use this company again and agree that you should be ware when walking in the door.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Merchants - fair or not?

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

As a former employee (technician) of Merchants, former automotive service manager of a Goodyear franchise, and manager or service manager of a couple of other shops, I can say that charging waste disposal and up to 5% shop fees is standard.

Automotive shops used to get paid for their used oil. That is until the Environmental Protection Agency got involved, federal law was changed, and used engine oil was included in the catagory of "hazardous waste".

Hazardous waste, in automotive terms doesn't just refer to used engine oil. It also applies to coolant (antifreeze), brake fluid, gasoline and basically every fluid or liquid in the vehicle, except the washer fluid, and is considered by the EPA to be hazardous waste, requiring special handling and disposal procedures, by specialized, certified companies.

These companies, Safety Kleen is the major company I'm familiar with, charge the auto shop for picking up and disposing of the used oil.

Should that cost be passed on to the consumer?

Well, who created the hazardous waste, i.e. "hazardous waste generator", that requires these special handling and disposal procedures? The EPA deems the auto repair facility to be the generator, simply because the repair/service shops collect the used oil.

But they didn't create it. The vehicle created it. Therefore, the true hazardous waste generator is the owner, driving their vehicle that requires these fluids to operate properly, and that must be changed periodically.

"EPA fees", "Environmental fees", "Hazardous waste fees", in my opinion, are appropriate.

Shop fees? That's another ball of wax. Shop fees are nothing more than the repair facility charging the consumer for the shop rags, paper towels, light bulbs, hand cleaner, dirty uniforms and every little spritz that came out that can of carb/choke cleaner, or can of brake cleaner spray. It's a consequence and nothing to do with the repair or service of the vehicle.
It's BS. Plain and simple operating costs that are included in the mark up of their product in the first place.

EPA fees? Yes. Shop fees? No.
But 9.5 of every 10 repair/service shops out there are charging both fees. And it's usually a minimum of $2.00, or on the extreme end, 10% with a max of $50.00.

Merchants Tire and Auto is a company that will push the extreme on every issue.
Having worked for Merchants on 3 seperate occasions, I can say that I have never worked or been anywhere that has poorer management, and more complaints, unsatisfied customers, and disgruntled employees than Merchants. There are more hidden/additional charges with this company than I have seen anywhere else and their advertising borders on fraudulent. Don't believe me? Try to get them to give you an "out the door" price over the phone and have that be the price when you leave. Good luck.
Merchants is headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, and is now owned by Tire Kingdom.
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#6 Consumer Comment

The oil change is not the problem

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

I used the $9.99 coupon before and it came up to $13 something. I didn't look at it as much of a rip off because all the oil change places are charging those colletion fees.

That is not the problem I have with Merchant's. The problem with them as another mechanic explained to me is they are not mechanics but work on parts replacement.

I took my car to them when I was changing the oil and the car stuttered so I asked them to check out what could be the problem.

They said they had absolutely no clue what it could be. The problem actually was real simple, I needed new spark plugs and wires...duh?!?

Basically you get what you pay for and Merchant's is not the worst, I mean anybody can change your oil, but they are not the best choice for car care.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

Advertising Can Be Confusing

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

I am not an employee of Merchant's Tire/Tire Kingdom but I have been a long time customer of Merchant's Tire. I believe the original complaint was in regard to the dramatic increase in the price of a simple oil change. Plus, additional fees that were not advertised were added to the cost.

I too was surprised when I first encountered this price increase and questioned the store manager about it. The new price includes a four wheel tire rotation and the Ever-Wear Oil System Cleaner. These have been available as addon costs in the past but were not part of the basic service. There is an unadvertised oil change without these items that goes for a standard $19.99. You can request this "basic" oil change and get the lower price.

The counter mat that advertises the oil change does state that the tire rotation is part of the service as well as the Ever-Wear Oil System Change. The advertisement does NOT state that the price listed is the all inclusive price. My experience has been that most automotive repair businesses (not to include the oil change speciality shops) add the unadvertised shop fee and a hazardous waste disposal fee to the bill. This is not to say that all of them do, but the majority of those that I have had dealings with do. The advertising is not false; just incomplete.

With regard to the coupons, the web site does offer a variety of coupons for different services and one of them is for an oil change. It would be a good idea to print these coupons out and keep them in your car in the event that you unexpectedly require service.

In addition to those specials on the web I usually recieve a coupon book from Merchant's Tire, which includes a discounted oil change, any time I have any service performed. These discounts keep the TOTAL cost of an oil change at Merchant's between $14 and $19. Still not a bad deal really.
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#8 Author of original report

Rebuttal to the rebuttal ..Great customer relations, genius.

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

Rebuttal to the Merchant's Rebuttal.

1) I mention nothing about a $29.99 coupon, in fact I had no coupon at all, I mentioned that I had used coupons in the past. Please read my message again. Your $29.99 price was on a rubber mat on the store counter. I didn't see the coupon because I DIDN'T HAVE a coupon, so I had nothing to LOOK at. No where does it mention on this mat that there are additional fees. This is false advertising.

2)You mention a $9.99 coupon on the Merchant's website good for all year. What does this say about your pricing policy? It says you charge a 300% markup for your normal in-store price for people that don't have a coupon.

3)I clearly state that I live in VA at the end of my complaint, then you say some states have a disposal fee and some do not. Does VA? Maybe you should try LOOKING at my complaint and explaining if I'm paying this fee in VA, you are the expert, right?

4) I will not go to another shop for a $35 oil change when I can go to the local shop down the street for $19.95, which I will do for now on.

5) Who put you in charge when you can't properly read my complaint, and then you accuse one of your better customers of shooting off my mouth. Great customer relations, genius.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Your information is completely WRONG!

AUTHOR: Paul Pickle - (U.S.A.)

First of all, a quick glance at the Merchants Tire website pulls up a coupon for a $9.99 oil change, that does not expire until 12/31/04. Where do you see a $29.99 coupon? I certainly do not see it on their site.

Second of all, it clearly states on the coupon that there is a fee for disposal of oil. It's not even in "small print." It is clearly stated in regular-size print. Didn't see it? Next time try LOOKING.

Thirdly, depending where you live, it is often STATE LAW to collect oil disposal fees. Some places add it into the price, some do not. It is stupid of you to stop going to Merchant's for their $29.99 or whatever oil change, and to start going somewhere else where it costs $34.99 and no disposal fee. It all comes out the same in the end!

If you still have a stash of $29.99 coupons, I suggest you check them to make sure they really are for Merchants, and then visit their website to print out the real coupons, which are for $9.99 oil changes. Also, you may want to check into your state and local laws to find out if it is necessary for shops to charge oil disposal fees, before shooting off your mouth that Merchants is ripping you off!
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