• Report: #359680
Complaint Review:

Merchants Tire & Auto

  • Submitted: Tue, August 05, 2008
  • Updated: Sat, September 06, 2008

  • Reported By:Richmond Virginia
Merchants Tire & Auto
1101 Stubridge Dr. Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.

Merchants Tire & Auto Went in for State inspection, Merchant Thieves ask for $600 minimum to pass Richmond Virginia

*Consumer Comment: Thanks

*Consumer Comment: Are you blaming the wrong entity

*Consumer Comment: more things you should know about inspections

*Consumer Comment: things to know about state inspections

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Took my wifes car (1995 Honda Civic) to be inspected on 7/28/08. Put new tires on it last year and everything except the door handle in the car seemed to be in good shape. After taking all day to inspect the car, they called me to say that it failed and began to list the issues.

1) Brake Rotor on left front below spec.
2) Bellows boot torn (steering)
3) Door handle not working properly
4) sticker in window illegal, must remove (huh? just take it off dummies!)

Total "required work" that was needed to pass? Around $600.00.
Then they come with some additional work that they "recommend" to be done and that brings the grand total up to $2300!!!!

Needless to say, I told them to just put a rejection sticker on it and that I would sort the car out elsewhere. I have a trustworthy mechanic in Petersburg so I brought it to him. He managed to do all of the "required" work on the car for under $300. Yes folks, HALF! That's parts and labor.

Then he showed me the brake rotor from the left and the right front. One was supposedly in spec and the other not. He asked me if I could tell the difference between the two. I could not. Well, there was no difference; (i.e. the rotors were still in spec) the liars at Merchants just wanted to collect some money on the half-a$$ brake job they would have done. I asked him to replace both front rotors anyway since his prices were so reasonable.

What irritated me the most was the door handle. The Merchant's of Venice wanted to charge me $137 labor plus the cost of the part from the dealer to fix the door handle. My guy got the part for $48 and fixed the handle in under 2 minutes! When I told him how much labor these a$$holes wanted to charge me for a 2 minute job he couldn't believe it, and called them out as the pack of thieves they are.

So, a couple of days later (8/4/08), I take the car back to these b*stards to re-inspect. Most reputable places will just re-inspect the failed items and then put a sticker back on the car. But desperate to find SOMETHING they could pocket some money on they failed it again, this time for the fact that the rearview mirror had been remounted just below it's original position when apparently it popped of it's original place. Presumably it had to be moved because in the original spot was a mess of hard epoxy and perhaps 2 microns of glass that had separated from the windshield when the mirror came off. Mind you the windshield was in this condition when I bought the car 6 YEARS AGO AND HAS PASSED EVERY TIME!

George, the manager of the 40 thieves of Merchants told me excitedly "you have a hole in your windshield!" Not true. I got majorly irritated at this point and basically called him out on the brakes and told him in no uncertain terms that he was trying to take advantage of me and others. He said "The only way this car will pass is if a State Trooper overrides my inspectors. I told him to go for it and call the trooper out to take a look, confident he was full of sh*t. Sure enough, he called back 3 minutes later to tell me that the trooper he usually deals with (huh? some kind of kickback here?) was out "sick."

Again, red light flashed in my brain and I calmly told him to put another rejection sticker on it and that I would be coming back to get the car. After I got the car I spoke with someone from the local glass shop about the windshield. His comment? "These guys are jerking your chain. You don't need a new windshield, you need to take your car and get it re-inspected somewhere else." He also said laughingly, "they must have some arraingement with another glass shop to kick some business over to them."

When I called my mechanic back in Petersburg to tell him what happened he basically lost it and like EVERY OTHER professional I have talked to about this situation, called them out as the pack of thieves they are. I took the car to another shop, paid another $16, and the car passed with flying colors.

Merchants Tire & Auto, the biggest bunch of liars and crooks on the East Coast!

Richmond, Virginia

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/05/2008 08:43 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/merchants-tire-auto/richmond-virginia-23235/merchants-tire-auto-went-in-for-state-inspection-merchant-thieves-ask-for-600-minimum-359680. 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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#1 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Primo - ()

You covered a lot of the obvious that many do not know like about how they charge for labor based on "the book" but I learned this past week, the State Inspector is not a tech or a mechanic at the shop but a private entity who takes up space at the shop.  So he works on his schedule.  I have been to a few places here where the inspector is VERY over worked, doing one car after another for the entire shift and others where the inspector gets one an hour or less.  Anyway, he and the number of people being inspected that day is the reason for delays.

Why I found most valuable about you rebuttal is that the State Police investigate the Inspections.  This was the information I was looking for when I started my search.  Thank you


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#2 Consumer Comment

Are you blaming the wrong entity

AUTHOR: Primo - ()

 Had an incident with Hogan and Sons in which I failed the VA State Inspection because:

Pads and rotors were low

High and low, pressure hoses to the power steering were bad

Hogan wanted to charge me $1400 for the repairs.

 I took it to another mechanic to find the hoses were not bad just needed to replace clamps on low-pressure hoses.  The brakes were low but had enough to pass.

Found out later on that the VA Inspector did not inspect for the damages but saw moisture around the hoses and the low fluid level in the reservoir.  The low fluid was due to the age of the vehicle 2003 and never needing having the fluid topped off and the moisture, again age, and the condensation and wetness of this January 2015.

NOW, I feel that there might be something with the inspector stating a problem with the vehicle and the mechanic who checked it not finding the true repair need. 

To be fair, the brakes I replaced but they could have lasted another year.  It cost me about $160 to install and that was not far from the price quoted by Hogan but I was not going to have them do when the other mechanic saved me $1000 by changing the clamps.

At this point, I would like to find an email or an address where I can report this state inspector and recommend that they investigate him, first for not causing me to fail when I should have passed and secondly for possible working with one or more mechanics with the shop to charge customers more for unneeded repairs.  Can anyone help me find an address?

Lastly, I would like to thank Charlie at Hogan for recommending I price parts elsewhere to see if I can save buying non-manufacturer parts.  If he did not recommend this, I would not have found the savings.

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#3 Consumer Comment

more things you should know about inspections

AUTHOR: Irritated Inspector - (U.S.A.)

Let's start with your first paragraph.....The reason it takes some time for inspection stations to inspect YOUR car is because YOU are usually not the ONLY car in their shop. Most inspectors are also technecians who must balance repairing and inspecting vehicles at the same time. If a vehicle fails inspection and the owner decides to have the car repaired, that inspector will stop inspecting and focus on that vehicle until completion.

Next, you stated the items "required" for inspection with a comment to remove an illegal sticker from the windshield. Not sure if you realized it or not, but you took your car to them for an INSPECTION. An inspection is just that.....an INSPECTION. State law requires YOUR permission to begin repairing ANY items for an inspection.

You later go on to say that you have a "trusted mechanic". Why didn't you take it to him to get an inspection or go to someone he recommended? Your "trusted mechanic" also seems to have some sort of super high definition eyechrometers as well. If he can hold and look at a brake rotor with normal wear and tell you it is above or below specification, he is not human. The only way you can tell if a brake rotor is above or below specification is to use a measuring device called a micrometer. Brake rotors can fail if they are .001 below the manufacturer's specification. Do you really think his eyes can see that small of a difference?

I dunno what to tell you about the prices they were giving you. It may seem like an unfair amount of labor for some things, but the way most shops calculate labor is from a labor guide. The technician gets paid the time that's in the shop's labor guide no matter how long it takes him. Which means some technicians who can work fast, make more money in less time. Maybe your "trusted mechanic" is very skilled at replacing 95 honda civic door handles in a matter of minutes. If he charged say a half hour to replace it and does it in two minutes, he has just made a half hour in two minutes. That is the goal of technicians-working faster than the clock.

So now you take it back to the shop for a reinspection. Not sure why the mirror was not found on the first inspection, but if you had any problems with a state inspection, you should have called the state police and let them handle it. If you want to view the official virginia state inspection book, it's available online for the public on the state police website. Be warned, you're gonna need a snickers bar to get you through the entire book. Inspectors have a lot of information they must retain about the laws in this book.

I'm not sure if anyone knows this or not, but if you think you are being taken advantage of on a virginia state inspection, CALL THE STATE POLICE! That's why they are in charge of the inspection program. They made it, so they have the final word. If the station or inspector are in the wrong, proper action will be taken by the virginia state police.
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#4 Consumer Comment

things to know about state inspections

AUTHOR: Upset Hottie - (U.S.A.)

I have taken my vehicles to them for years and have never had a problem. The management team there rocks and communicates well and does not blow smoke. As far as the state inspection is concerned my husband use to be a VA state inspector, he said when ever in doubt call the state police safety division and let them get the matter straight . That is why you have the state fees and taxes. You should check this avenues out before slamming someone. Me and my husband will continue to take our vehicles to that location at 1101 sturbridge drive. As far as decals are concerned they have to have permission to remove before doing so.
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