My mom decided to bring her car into Sears Automotive at Boca Raton Town Center Mall. Normally, she brings her car over to Sils Transmission in West Palm Beach since they have done a great job in repairing her car but lately shes been having a problem with her turning signals flashing and she didnt want to be patient and wait for Sils shop to find the replacement switch for her turning signals. They were trying to avoid grabbing the parts from the dealership since they could possibly be found a lot cheaper from someone else. My mom figured since she used to bring her car to sears for normal maintenance, that she would try leaving it with them to repair the issue with her turning signal switch. Once she dropped off her car with them, they immediately ask her to come inside to view some damage in her car.
They show her that two hoses are busted and tell her she needs them replaced. (These are hoses that were just replaced a couple weeks before hand, but regardless she decided to let them put new ones in.) They also tell her she needs an alignment, and that her thermostat was bad (which she also just had replaced two weeks prior). She decides to go ahead and fix whatever they say she needs just as long as she gets her car back in working order.
Once shes ready to pick up her car, I called her and decided I would go with her to make sure they did everything properly on her car. They ended up charging her around $600 for the work they did and she asked if her car was completely finished, to which they agreed yes, the car was ready. She just handed them her card and paid without complaining about the price and we went on our way. She let me drive in case Id notice anything that she wouldnt normally and the first thing I notice is that the car is pulling to the right. This obviously meant the alignment wasnt done properly. She tells me to immediately turn around because they charged her $75 for the alignment. I put my turning signal on to turn and thats when we notice the signals werent fixed either. I knew everything was downhill from here.
We headed back to Sears Automotive in Boca Raton and they ask us what the problem is. We explained to them that the turning signals still werent working and that the alignment needed to be checked once again. A technician entered the car with me to take it for a ride and immediately started feeding me excuses on why the alignment wasnt done properly. He first stated that her tires were bald so the alignment wouldnt be perfect.
Then after driving the car for a bit he kept trying to tell me that it was pulling because we werent on even road, then he found a flat piece of road and same thing. Then he stated the ball joints on the XTERRA were bad and needed to be replaced. Regardless, he took it back in to re-align the car. I asked him how come he didnt tell my mom that the alignment wouldnt be perfect because of those issues? She would have never agreed to pay for an alignment if they told her they wouldnt be able to get it 100% because of her tires being bald, her ball joints being bad, and the road not always being flat. Then I asked why the turning signals werent working and he began to fiddle with the switch. They then told us it was an electrical issue and that they would have to contact the dealership in order to have them fix the issue. This is complete bulls**t because if they would have told my mom that in the first place, she would have never left the car with them.
I then began looking over all the paper work and noticed they charged my mom for 5 hours of Labor when they only really worked at most, 2 hrs on her car. After they finished fixing the alignment for the second time and went for another test drive, it was still a bit off. They said wed have to speak with a manager but he was gone for the day and wed have to come back tomorrow. I asked why they charged $85 coolant when the most expensive coolant you can possibly find on store shelves are about $17 at most.
They said, Sorry sir, thats sears prices, not my fault, we dont make the prices. They also charged $125 per hose they changed out on top of the cost of the hose itself which one was about $35 and another was around $55. I asked about the thermostat and they told me it was all rusty from someone possibly putting water in the radiator. The thermostat was changed out two weeks prior, even with the filthiest water in the world, a thermostat would not rust and break within two weeks. I asked to see it and they told me they would get it for me but it had been disposed of and they never went and got it.
After all of this mess, we decided to leave and just contact corporate and then try to do a charge back. It was not fair and I feel they took advantage of my mom. Theres no way she would have gotten any other work done to her car had they notified her that they would not be able to fix her turning signals. Also, had they warned her about the ball joints and her tires being bald, she may have even agreed to have them fix that as well so that her alignment was done properly. They also mentioned her tire balancing was free of charge, but they never balanced the tires.
The next day, My mom spoke with the manager at the Sears Automotive in Boca Raton and he was completely rude to her. Even after explaining this whole mess to him, he said all he could do was give her the money back for her alignment which they agreed they couldnt do properly. I cant grasp how changing two hoses, a thermostat and an alignment would come out to over $600. Its a complete rip off and they definitely took advantage of her being a woman and not knowing anything about cars. I mean cmon, $85 for coolant? WTF?
I spoke with corporate and they called me back the next day. They mentioned that no one was responding to them at the Sears Automotive Center in Boca Raton and that it usually takes up to 48hrs for these cases. Its been a week now and Ive already called Corporate again 3 more times to find out what theyre going to do for us and even left them voice mails with my number, case number, and name and they have yet to get back to me.
I hope everyone can take something from this and realize to be super careful when dealing with places like this. I know everyone has heard many horror stories about auto technicians taking advantage of their customers. Ive seen it first-hand many times and have even seen guys who will purposefully ruin something in your vehicle so you have to come back. Just be careful and always try to have someone a bit more knowledgeable with you so you dont have this happen to you. Also, if possible, always keep an eye on your car when theyre looking it over.