Report: #6873

Complaint Review: PEP BOYS - Pepboys - Mesa Arizona

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Seattle Washington
  • PEP BOYS - Pepboys
    7715 E. Main St. & 1233 S. Country Club Rd.
    Mesa, Arizona

Pep Boys Automotive Service $3,467.43 Rip-off: They Destroyed my Car and Wasted my Time Mesa Arizona *Consumer Suggestion *REBUTTAL *EDitor's Comment

*Consumer Comment: about pepboys

*Consumer Comment: Husband being demoted because he refuses to falsify...

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Putting it all together

*Consumer Comment: Anyone notice the car is a 92?

*Consumer Comment: FINALLY!!! Someone who gets it!

*Consumer Suggestion: Retro fit 134a conversion

*Consumer Suggestion: The Big Picture

*Consumer Suggestion: Suggestion for this and/or possible future situations...

*Consumer Comment: They NEVER work properly

*Consumer Suggestion: Retrofit kit...

*Consumer Suggestion: Ac 134a changeover, don't do it, it's a rip off.

*Consumer Suggestion: A/C Repairs

*Consumer Comment: manager or damager

*Consumer Suggestion: if it's so easy do it yourself

*0: Pep Boys Corporate Website Notified by E-mail

*0: Before I'd 'convert' a system to R-134a, I'd personally use one of the R-12 substitutes intended for this purpose

*UPDATE Employee: ASE or a*s Auto Tech

*Consumer Comment: Fix the Air Conditioning, and get on with your life.

*Consumer Comment: ASE is like the BBB

*0: EDitor's Comment ...Brian, What are you hiding?

*0: EDitor's opnion

*0: PepBoys Still has not contacted me.

*0: Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

*0: Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

*0: Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

*0: Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise


*Consumer Comment: got your refund? fix your car!!!

*0: EDitor's Comment: ..jr, .. you should know

*0: Pep Boys Blew me off! Here are my revised expenses.

*Consumer Suggestion: Hopefully helpful


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On May 10, 2001, I brought my 1992 Ford Taurus in for air conditioning service. J. Barnes, the service salesman, told me that it would be more economical for me to convert my A/C system from R12 to R134. I told J. Barnes at that time that my current system was fine it just needed its yearly service. J. Barnes assured me that the conversion was routine. It sounded reasonable since they guaranteed their work. I told them to take their time to get it done right and I would be able to leave my car until May 14, 2001, leaving four days to do the work. (Service Order 0738 1117809)

When I returned, I discovered my car had no A/C after paying the bill of $1,134.38. I asked to see the service manager, who gave me an attitude, telling me that I would have to wait to be seen as they had customers to take care of. I calmly but firmly asked him what he thought I was and if he realized how long they had my car.

I asked to speak to the store manager, FRANCIS PIRO, who directed the service manager to have my car looked at right away. (It's a shame the service manager couldn't figure that out for himself, but he appeared disoriented, and my first thought was, "His faculties must be impaired some way.")

To make a long, painful story short, I had to visit Pep Boys 8 times for additional service (ticket Numbers 0738 1118048, 0738 1119407, 0738 1121527) and make 27 phone calls. Several calls were just to try to get the status of parts orders that they were supposed to call me on when they came in.

When I called Mr. Piro to find out why they weren't calling me and what was taking so long the personnel lied and said they tried to call me several times. I have caller ID and no calls came in from that store. That was not the extent of the unresponsiveness. I also made 5 calls to the Pep Boys corporate 800 number. Only one was returned but no message was left responsive to my concerns.

I was never able to get my car fixed, and when I took my car in for the 8th visit, Mr. Stokes, the A/C technician told me that the 1992 Ford Taurus does not handle the extreme high pressure required for the R134 system. I reported this to FRANCIS PIRO and he told me he would prefer just giving me my money back.

I accepted the money, but that is not sufficient. They need to replace my R12 system. I have gotten a quote of $1,400 to do that. Additionally, I never had A/C for more than three days since May 10, 2001. I had to rent a car on 4 occasions totalling $687.23. I believe that I should be compensated for my trouble and inconvenience for their incompetence and the restitution of my vehicle.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/29/2001 12:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

about pepboys

AUTHOR: joey - (United States of America)

it sounds to me that you went to the wrong pepboy and it also sounds like your 1992 ford it just a big turd on wheels
and last of all you sound like a real crybaby pep boy is a good place and i will not stop going there because one moron had a problem with one store .
sound like this moron is a problem maker.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Husband being demoted because he refuses to falsify...

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

Sadly enough yours is not so unique a case. My husband is currently being demoted, because he refuses to charge customers for outrageous repairs they don't need. Of course they (supervisors) don't call it for what it is... they say his "numbers/sales" are not up to standard... a standard which has been has been GROSSLY inflated by the Service Manager and Writers alike by outright lying about repairs that need to be made (i.e. a simple leak from a water hose written up as radiator replacement needed). A LARGE percentage of the customers end up paying at least double or triple what they should be paying.

My husband has more than 20 years experience as a auto mechanic, so he KNOWS what repairs are truly needed and which should be recommended as preventative maintenance. Most of the service people he has worked with at Pep Boys has very little knowledge in this area. If the store is lucky, they will have ONE well experienced technician. All repairs are made by techs who need to read books, or repair using the trial and error method - which by the way - also explains a lot of those "unexpected" problems...

The pressure is on from upper management to jack up those numbers no matter what! Because he refuses to cheat people he has been labeled as difficult. He has been transferred between THREE different locations and they are all the same. As I said: they have recently demoted him and cut his pay (without the benefit of a warning or so much as a SINGLE performance review to justify their actions). He was already looking to leave - but now he will have to really step up his job hunting effort.

What ever happend to those great sting operations conducted by the local news channels??? THAT is what needs to be done with this company!
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Putting it all together

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

Let's address the comments of William and Robert, directly above, regarding the 134A retrofit kits one can buy at a Wal Mart or other auto supply store. Should this owner have used one? No. First, he had a working system, according to what he said. Second, these kits CAN and DO cause problems.

Some folks can get away with using a conversion kit on their car as described, at least for a little while. Most cannot. Why? Because the needed 134A desiccant, a chemical compound in either the receiver dryer or accumulator (depending on the system) is not the same type of desiccant used in the original R12 system. If the desiccant and the canister that holds it (it's a sealed unit) have been replaced, you are a step ahead. The old R12 desiccant can react with 134A and its oil and escape its container and cause major problems down the road in a 134A system, no pun intended.

Now that the desiccant has been replaced, all the shop has to do is to pull a deep vacuum and hold it for 30 minutes. The vacuum does two good things: if the vacuum cannot be held, it shows that there is air leaking into the system, just the way that refrigerant can leak out. That means you need to repair the leak. Ford spring connectors on the AC are notorious, as are old R12 hoses. Taurus evaporators hold up relatively well, particularly when you compared their durability with the evaporators used for several years on the Chrysler minivans. Still, I have replaced at least a dozen evaps on the Taurus. The second thing the vacuum does is to get any moisture in the system to boil at room temperature, so it can be drawn out of the system by the vacuum pump.

So, if the desiccant was replaced, and the correct oil was originally loaded into the system, then a 134A charge of 80% of the original R12 weight introduced into a non-leaking system should be sufficient.

[Now, trying to use that checklist can be a problem, because even if you get a technician to vacuum down the system, the disconnecting of the vacuum gauges and the connection of the little charging hose that comes with the kit (once you finally get home) could cause a significant loss of vacuum and introduction of air and moisture into the system.]

Once again, the condenser temp is critical, and a second fan may be needed.

For Robert: there is nothing at all wrong with charging any AC system from a handheld can. Most systems hold multiples of can capacities, and where that is not the case, the remaining 134A from the last partial container can be drawn into a recycling machine. No fancy charging machines or scales are necessary, just a few cans and the ability to add and guess within a few ounces of can weight. I've done it a hundred times, at least. Fancy machines don't make the technician, they just make the technician's job easier.

Also, do NOT use FR 12 or anything else that says it is a drop-in replacement for R12. They are FLAMMABLE. Look on the can. HC means hydrocarbon. Most likely a hydrocarbon of propane or similar gas. It's not worth the risk.

William's checklist could conceivably work, as long as that qualified technician changes that desiccant and assures you that the oil type and its amount are correct for the system. Even then, you have old R12 oil in the system in most circumstances, and that's risky. It does not always sit at the low point, benignly. Better to check for leaks that you might not want to repair (like the evaporator that dictates removing the dashboard to change it) drain the oil, replace the desiccant and hoses, and evacuate and recharge.

Now back to the beginning: if the system was working well to begin with, that means the fan was working correctly and there most likely was no leak, so the system could conceivably be recharged and made to work. But, as Marc pointed out, it may not be worthwhile on a 92 Taurus.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Anyone notice the car is a 92?

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

Please don't take this as sarcasm. A 92 taurus sells for $25-$150 at most any auto auction. Many times they won't even sell and end up as scrap. I'ts simply not worth what you're putting into it unless you're going to drive it forever.
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#5 Consumer Comment

FINALLY!!! Someone who gets it!

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

"1. have the system checked for leaks.
2. have a qualified and lisenced ac tech vacuum the system.
3. go to wal-mart automotive and purchase a 134a retrofit kit for less than $50.00
4. read the instructions.
5. perform the steps.
6. enjoy!
I have done this to my own car and have had no problems. Some cars may have some problems but ask befor you do it. A little common sense is required."

1-This should be a "no-brainer", yet nobody wants to accept the fact that a system with nothing in it LEAKS. Fix the leaks. This is not FREE.

2-Preaching to the choir. If the mechanic does not have a license to perform A/C repairs/service, LEAVE. Ask him/her to show you the license. If they won't(can't), LEAVE. If they have a hand held can to charge your system up, LEAVE. That person is not qualified to even look at your car. This is also NOT FREE.

3-This is fine for people who just like to tinker. In reality, most shops use both R134a, and a product called FR12. The FR12 is about the same cost as R134a, and cools exactly like R12. For the cost of a retro-kit, you can use the FR12 and be cold. It's noncorrosive, and you use 10% less than if you used R12.

4-Huh?! Read the instructions?! Whatever for. Those things are for people who don't know what they're doing. NOBODY ever reads instructions ;)

I wish I had you for a customer. Whoever does, is happy.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Retro fit 134a conversion

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

1. have the system checked for leaks.
2. have a qualified and lisenced ac tech vacuum the system.
3. go to wal-mart automotive and purchase a 134a retrofit kit for less than $50.00
4. read the instructions.
5. perform the steps.
6. enjoy!
I have done this to my own car and have had no problems. Some cars may have some problems but ask befor you do it. A little common sense is required.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

The Big Picture

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

Wow. The internet is an amazing thing. I suppose that we are just expected to believe that every consumer has made a completely truthful and faithful statement of every fact and dynamic. I further suppose that people and companies can be slandered publicly while airing a grievance.

While it is possible that a complainant can be 100% truthful and accurate, that aspect is usually limited by the high level of passion as the storey is told. So, let me add another expert opinion (I have written for a major automotive publication, have held four ASE Master certificates, and I hold the Mobile Air Conditioning Society certification) and I spent 11 years as a technician before leaving the industry to go and fly private jets.

First, right from the very beginning, this smells funny. Why would any person with a working AC system agree to have that system replaced or repaired? No one I know. As citizens, we are all expected to watch out for ourselves, as the Latin adage Caveat Emptor suggests. If you are expecting any individual, ASE certified or not, to make your decisions for you, you have a serious logical restructuring to undertake. There is a senator from New York who would love to have you vote for her.

The yearly checkup for an AC system that is working is to inspect the components and make sure they are clean and serviceable. Some systems require the introduction of a bacteriostat to stop odors from the evaporator. The evaporator is the part that gets cold, and helps to remove heat from the passenger compartment. It also gets wet, and that's where the odors come into play.

Let's say for the sake of the argument that the system had not been working up to par, and that the cost of future R-12 purchases made a retrofit an attractive option. Remember, R-12 is no longer manufactured, and direct replacements are anything but, and often contain HC's (that's hydrocarbons) that are flammable.

Much of what the engineer said is true, in that an R-12 system is indeed designed differently from a contemporary 134A system. It does not, however, mean that a retrofit cannot be accomplished. In September of 2001, when the above post was made, the cost of R-12 was still very high. Many such retrofits have been accomplished all over America and around the world. They work. Not as well as the original R-12 setup works, but we have this paranoia about the ozone layer. They also work on the car in question. More on the ozone layer later.

The best functioning retrofits that are typically done include a replacement of the hoses (the 134A molecule is smaller and so hose permeability is a problem that did not exist with the old R-12) and the replacement of both the refrigerant oil that had been used with the R-12 and the canister that holds the desiccant (either the receiver-dryer or the accumulator, depending on the system design). A reduced charge of refrigerant is used because of the higher pressures the engineer discussed.

If your car has been retrofitted with 134A parts and refrigerant, the biggest factor in your satisfaction will be keeping the condenser cool. Often, this means adding another electric fan to move more air over the condenser, reducing both its temperature and its high-side pressure. That's essential to an optimum result with many cars. While some cars may have a more satisfactory result than others, I can't think of any R-12 car that cannot be converted to 134A, when that is deemed necessary.

Let's look at some other aspects of the various comments of the post.

First, ASE certification is not just a matter of taking a test. There is a work experience requirement (mentioned above) and the test is sufficiently comprehensive to provide a good challenge to the applicant. I have written sample tests and study materials for the ASE tests for an independent company. Do we want only auto engineers to be able to pass the test? No. We want good, qualified technicians to pass.

Second, we are technicians now instead of mechanics because of the added disciplines we must access and master, such as the increasing use of computer controls and electronic components for ABS, climate control, active suspensions, accessories, and the increasingly complex systems that hybrid cars present to the service professional.

About old parts: yes, you can ask for your old parts, but you must do so in a timely manner. If you don't, you will likely be shown examples of similar parts from other brands of vehicles to help explain what work was done. If you wait too long, you are out of luck for parts. Some parts, like an AC compressor, have a core value, and that part will not be handed over unless you pay the core charge. In fact, they day you show up to complain the old AC compressor might be halfway to Cleveland. No, I don't know if they actually send the compressors to Cleveland, but you get the idea.

Finally, I'd have no expectation of responsibility by the parent company other than the refund that was received after attempts were made to satisfy the customer. Some customers are just so irate that they won't let you make good, even if you've done everything right. Sometimes, additional oversight and advice is needed.

If you, as the customer, decide to agree to a procedure that leaves you unhappy, you will very likely receive a refund after all is said and done and nothing more. Why? Because, the procedure was elective in nature. Remember, none of us here on the internet were able to have a look at the type or nature of the work that was performed, the parts replaced, or the weight of the refrigerant charge introduced. None of us can check the temperature of the ducts of the car in question. We can't tell if you were not happy with the degree of cooling, or even if there was any cooling at all. We didn't hear the conversations, and cannot judge for ourselves who was rude, and no judge or jury can do this, either.

I can make this observation: had I been the service manager, I too would have expected you to wait your turn in line before I was ready to deal with your problem. Other customers there before you have the service manager's ear, and that's just the way it is. I have stayed late and come in on days off to solve a customer complaint problem, and hundreds of others do the same thing, every day.

I also know this: after having received a refund, I'll give you dollars to donuts that the parts that were installed (and were never subsequently removed, so they are still there) are able to be made functional by an evacuation and recharge with 134A, and the system can be made to perform to a level that is commensurate with other retrofits on similar vehicles. A technician does this by ensuring that the charge is correct for the system, usually about 80% of an R-12 charge for the same car, that the desiccant is of the correct type, the oil is the recommended PAG or Esther oil for the conversion, and that you ensure there is sufficient air moving over the condenser during operation.

Sometimes, a pressure switch must be added or a relay must be installed to drive an additional fan. We are assuming that the compressor and clutch are working properly, and that systems that use a thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) have that part functioning as intended. The CCOT system uses an orifice tube to meter liquid refrigerant into the evaporator instead of a TXV. It's a given that any problems must be addressed to make the system function normally.

I'd suggest that you admit to yourself that you never should have agreed to replace a working system, and that your system IS repairable using the money you received back from the company. An expensive learning experience, yes. However, you can be made whole merely by using the money you received and going to any number of shops that do AC work. I'd even recommend another Pep Boys. I spent several years in two Pep Boys shops as a leading Master Technician, and I have seen the company return money to disgruntled customers even when it makes no sense to do so. Perhaps this is one of those times. I don't have enough information to tell. I know that I would be absurd for me to place a value on my time when seeking an improved outcome with any company, so I think someone has been giving you some backyard lawyering advice. Instead, get the car fixed and relax. It's going to be another hot summer.

If we all do a little thinking about what we want to have done, and only agree to a repair procedure when the repair has been discussed either to our satisfaction or to some other person whose insights we trust, then we can avoid emotion-laden misunderstandings and inconveniences. That way, none of us will need glass navels.

None of the above can be construed as instruction in repair or repair advice. See a qualified professional for all anticpated work beyond your demonstrated ability.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Suggestion for this and/or possible future situations...

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

The car owner had a functioning device or vehicle prior to the "work" done on it by the PepBoys franchise. In addition, it is charged that persons at the franchise also acquired the car owner's property (being the original A/C unit), and withheld said unit without the car owner's permission.

While it may possibly be too late in this instance, I would suggest foregoing civil action, and charge the franchise, and possibly corporate HQ, criminally in this matter. If the reports are accurate, they have at a minimum stolen the original A/C unit, and possibly are also liable for other related criminal acts (by tampering with evidence to that effect).

I'd advise people in a similar situation to consider these words as well. Civil lawsuits are only one of the options before you. If anyone feels they have been criminally mistreated, they may seek criminal charges. It may be more difficult to prove, but it could be worthwile.
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#9 Consumer Comment

They NEVER work properly

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

Unless you have the shop remove the compressor and empty the oil in it, replace the reciever/drier/accumulator, and flush the system completely out, you will NEVER remove the oil.

Without completely removing the original oil, your system WILL self destruct. It may not be next week, or even next year, but it WILL happen prematurely compared to the normal life expectancy.

Retrofitting an R-12 system to anything other than FR-12 is a waste of money. FR-12 is the ONLY refrigerant that will work perfectly with an R-12 system. FR-12 costs slightly more than R-134a, so it's actually cheaper to use than PROPERLY retrofittng to R-134a.
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#10 Consumer Suggestion

Retrofit kit...

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

Lemme see here... $1200 dollars for a retrofit? You could probably get a NEW system for that price... I bought a retrofit kit at my local auto parts store(not PB) for a whopping grand total of $45.. Go to an A/C repair shop, have them recover the refrigerant from your existing system and pull a vacuum, then esu the retrofit kit. True, R-12 systems are not compatible with 134A, but if you pull a total vacuum on the R-12 system and replace the oil charge with the PAG, it will work fine... slap on a retrofit notice, and you're good to go... well, at least in my Thunderbird. PB is OBVIOUSLY trying to rip yopu off here. regardless of the MINOR differences in efficiency between a retrofit system and a factory R-134 system, unless you're driving in the desert(whoops, Arizona.. uh, s**t. never mind), it will work fine.. Screw Pep Boys! Oh, and I am not certified as a technician for MVAC(EPA Section 609), but I AM certified under EPA Section 608 (HVAC)... get the kit and sue for the bill, I say!
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

Ac 134a changeover, don't do it, it's a rip off.

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

I am an automotive engineer, and let me tell you. Do not take advice on this from some ASE mechanic who read a book and took a test. The simple truth is that a R12 system was designed for R12, not 134a. 134a works at higher pressure, thereby creating a proportional amount of extra heat. The 134a condenser is designed to remove 30% more heat then the R12 condenser,the expansion valve is calibrated differently, and the hoses and o-rings are of a different construction. Not to mention they use different and incompatible oils. Even if you flush it and change the oil and o-rings, you still have the the heat factor. An A/C system, contrary to popular belief, removes heat from the incoming air. This heat then needs somewhere to go, it is removed by the condenser. All the extra heat must be removed by the condenser in order for the gas to be returned to a liquid state, go through the orifice tube, rapidly expand, and remove more heat. If the heat is not completely removed, a liquid/gas mixture goes through the orifice tube, and a warming cycle begins. This is why it never seems as cold as it did with the R12.

The bottom line is, keep the R12 and forgo the rip off conversion. The R12 may be $80 a pound, but $160 in R12 outweighs the $1200 to $1300 "conversion" these people are offering that will never work right. Also these people "service" equipment, they do not design it. So the majority of them have absolutely no idea how it works. Repairing existing equipment with original parts is easy, but modifying equipment requires that all the variables be taken into account, then proportionately changed to meet each others needs, so that the desired effect may be achieved.
SAE (society of automotive engineers)
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

A/C Repairs

AUTHOR: Brian - ()

As an ASE auto technician i know for a fact that the 1992 Ford Taurus is in fact capable of being retrofitted. As far as the person who had the bright idea to keep it an r-12 system, that is not even a question. Converting it to r-134a is the best thing to do and is much less. I do not know what Pep Boys was going to replace, but that shouldnt have any affect on the retrofit. If a system is repaired correctly, it shouldnt matter what freon is put in the system.

An air conditioning system is not fine if you are taking it in for service, otherwise you wouldn't need it serviced. It either works or it doesn't. If the system is low on freon, it has a leak, and if there is a leak it needs to be repaired in order to insure proper operation of the system down the road.

When Pep Boys did finally give you your money back, you should have taken it to another facility to have the repairs done correctly.
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#13 Consumer Comment

manager or damager

AUTHOR: Brian - ()

Jim obvously cannot read either. The report says, if you read, that the vehicle was fine and just needed its yearly service. It seems Jim must know why people bring in their car for a/c work.

And for your information, I do not work for PEP BOYS nor would i want to. I do not have to read all the crap on here to know they cant fix a car.

What a dumb a*s, I am not corporate either. If you could read it says i am an ASE technician, not a corporate lackey of Pep Boys, or a lackey of Pep Boys like Jim is.

And yes Jim, i know what a TSB is and i am quite competent to figure out how to repair a vehicle corrctly.
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#14 Consumer Suggestion

if it's so easy do it yourself

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

To the pepboy's manager as long as you consider mechanics idiots thats all your going to get the calliber of mechanics is dirrectly impacted by the way you treat your people you can pay them great but if you treat them like s**t the only ones that are going to stay are the ones to stupid to go any where else and make a living plus you are obviously an a*s and I can easily see how it would be hard for you to belive anything that a mechanic could do is hard your like the assholes that come in here and will pay over $70 an hour for me to check out your car the b***h because anyone could do what I do I just say to you and them if it's so d**n easy doit yourself.

Yes the ASE tests have become a joke the only reason I pointed out that I had them was to let you know that I was in the buisness let's face it any yahoo can get on here and voice there opinion that doesn't mean they are right so kiss my @$$ moron all I said was that you can retrofit any car and that brian desn't work for or want to work for the @$$holes at pepboy's

as for the editors comments on why brian didn't reply to the questions from the jerk from pepboy's how can he answer questions about pepboy's if he doesn't work there. To anyone else that may read this and have a problem to tough for pepboy's like anything possibly related to cars just bring it in to ******* and we will be glad to fix all your automotive needs.

P.S. Bring it on!!!!!!!!
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#15 0

Pep Boys Corporate Website Notified by E-mail

AUTHOR: - ()

I e-mailed the complaint with the link to this website 9/29/01 @ 1:55 p.m. They electronic message response was that they would respond within 24 hours. We'll see.

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#16 0

Before I'd 'convert' a system to R-134a, I'd personally use one of the R-12 substitutes intended for this purpose

AUTHOR: - ()

They filed the following rebuttal to the above Rip-Off Report:

Their email:

Their name: Adolph

Their relationship to the company: Consumer Suggestion


Converting an older R-12 automotive system to R-134a is a lenghty topic in itself. The R-12 systems used a mineral-based lubrucant which was carried in suspension in the dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12, DuPont trade name "Freon") to provide lubrication for the compressor. R-134a has different

temperature charactics and WLL NOT carry mineral oil to lubricate the compressor. For this reason, new synthetic oils must be used with R-134a.

The two main types are "Pag" and "Ester" oils; niether one compatable with the R-12 miineral oil or EACH OTHER! These new oils, in addition to being incompatable with some seals and other components of an R-12 system, are totally unforgiving of any mineral oil being left in the system.

Converting an R-12 system to R-134a is a crap shoot at best.

It's difficult to imagine an establishment such as "Pep Boys" being sufficiently educated and experienced to conduct such a conversion. (or for that matter probably half of the services they attempt to provide)

Before I'd 'convert' a system to R-134a, I'd personally use one of the R-12 substitutes intended for this purpose. Some are good, some are not so good, some are illegal. But the good ones represent much less of a chance of serious problems than an R-134a conversion.
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#17 UPDATE Employee

ASE or a*s Auto Tech

AUTHOR: Jim - ()

As a fairly highly regarded manager at Pep Boys, I can tell you that I probably know this guy Brian. He is either an employee or someone that corporate put up to this. Probably from one of our Columbus stores.

I am so sick and tired of the back-handed behavior of Pep Boys corporate. Most of the mechanics or "auto techs," as they prefer to be called can barely read and are so dumb I doubt can remember what a technical bulletin is, much less what's in it. They are our greatest liability.

I honestly believe that Brian actually believes that there is no problem with the retrofit. This is a clear example of the level of incompetence I have to deal with... and corporate makes me cover for them. That's why I'm about to quit, but not before I expose their skeletons.

Brian, tell us about the requirement to flush the system as part of the retrofit. Tell us about what "Black Death" syndrome is. Pep Boys does not follow these procedures. A "tech" should know this but they do not.

Brian, do you know what a TSB is? Ever read one (or have one read to you)? Have you ever read the TSB's for 1992 Ford Taurus V6-182 3.0L DOHC SHO? One of the two engines for the Taurus that is problematic. Several TSB's clearly point to these conversion problems.

This customer brings up a problem I have to deal with all the time (and I really feel for what Mr. Piro had to deal with)... is that the customer brought his vehicle in several times for adjustment. Pep Boys' "techs" are so incompetent that this happens all too often. And we are FORCED to lie to cover up for the incompetence.

Another thing that Brian said that makes me think that he is a corporate lackey, is:

"An air conditioning system is not fine if you are taking it in for service, otherwise you wouldn't need it serviced."

...this comment about not needing to bring an A/C system in for a check unless there is no air is completely opposite to the theory of preventative maintenance. O-rings could need changing... there are also other preventative things to do to make the system last longer. But Pep Boys is not really in the service business, but in the business of repair. The concepts are very different. Much of the repair charged for is of Pep Boys "creation."
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#18 Consumer Comment

Fix the Air Conditioning, and get on with your life.

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

To the owner of the vehicle, get your A/C fixed and add this experience to your lessons learned in life. Pep Boys is not the place to take your vehicle for repairs. They have refunded your money, and I doubt they will do anything else.

To the "highly regarded" Pep Boys manager. Who, besides yourself, holds you in "high regard"? I would say that no one at Pep Boys Corporate will if they read your comments. I doubt that any of your Techs do because they probably already know what a jerk you are. Since I've used words that contain more that one syllable here, perhaps you should get one of your Techs to read this to you.

To Brandon. You are correct when you state that passing the ASE tests do not make one a competent Tech. However, you are incorrect in your statement that MOST Techs are incompetent.

To the Editor. I work with Brian and Steve, and I am also a ASE Certified Tech. I am not writing this to defend them or myself. They are very good Techs, and that needs no defense. Sure, the owner of this vehicle got ripped off, but I did not see any breakdown of what work was done, so I can't comment on what exactly caused the A/C to fail.

I do know that the Taurus A/C system can be successfully retrofitted to use R-134a if done correctly. I have done it without any problems or complaints from the vehicle owner. I suspect that there were other problems present in the system, or Pep Boys totally screwed it up. Without seeing what was done, or not done, no one commenting in this forum can say for sure.

In regard to your question about "Black Death", Steve explained to you what it was. Maybe you missed it. I agree that this is not just a Pep Boys issue. I'm sure that you would agree that the consumer has to involve himself, or herself, in the repair process beyond just asking to have the A/C "serviced" or some other repair performed. We cannot work on a vehicle unless the customer approves it. Questions need to be asked and answered so they can make an informed decision. We explain what problems we find, and what is needed to repair it. The manager of our shop shows the customer the problem, and if they are not knowledgeable about vehicles, he takes the time to explain how it should work using

diagrams and pictures. I doubt that Jim could say that.

Finally, if we should make a mistake, or an installed part fails, we replace it at no cost to the customer or refund their money if they so desire. There are competent Techs and shops out there, but as long as there are shops like Pep Boys and managers like Jim, we all suffer.
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#19 Consumer Comment

ASE is like the BBB

AUTHOR: Brandon - ()

Just to let EVERYONE know, ASE is just saying that a mechanic, or technician as they like to be called now (as if it makes a difference in their competence), has passed several written tests.

There are actually eight tests that the average mechanic would take, which are in the areas of: engine repair, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and transaxles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance. This is all straight from the ASE web site

All that is required of a person in order to take the tests and become ASE certified is that you must have a background in automotive repair for at least two years. Well, passing a written test is easy. I can go to med school and pass the tests, but can I be a brain surgeon? NO! It's the same with most mechanics/techs, they can pass the written tests but are too incompetent to put it to use on an actual vehicle.

So, next time you go to an automotive reapir shop don't ask if their techs are ASE certified, ask them what kind of a return rate they have on their repairs.
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#20 0

EDitor's Comment ...Brian, What are you hiding?

AUTHOR: - ()


You are amazing. It appears you were blinded by rage or are so dumb YOU can't read. Jim is exposing Pep Boys policies and asking you some pointed questions. Why didn't you answer them? What are you hiding - your ignorance? Instead you go off on your defensive tangent.

We all would like to know about "Black Death" Syndrome. (I am asking both Brian & Jim.) What does the TSB say on the 1992 Ford Taurus? Brian, Jim set you up and your lack of response only reflects your lack of expertise.

One point raised that I would like to raise is the validity of the ASE certification. What does that really mean? The mechanics that worked on this poor victim's car were ASE also and couldn't get it right the several times they had it. That is precisely why they gave up.

What I see as the problem is that "Service Sales" got involved and as this victim stated, sold him this conversion without warning the victim about the potential problems. I attended the picket and I thought I had heard everything until I heard the double talk and blaming.

The location picketed said that they would never deal with the customer this way, but one of the service sales personnel was there who specifically was named in a Rip-off Report. Based on responses to this problem and the responses I have received from Pep Boys generally, we can not recommend Pep Boys.
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#21 0

EDitor's opnion

AUTHOR: - ()


Why do you care? You seem to know Brian, VERY well and defend him where he is indefensible.

If you are a mechanic and cannot see that questions about retrofits are not necessarily connected with PepBoys, but are general questions about the business, I will be sure not to take my business to your company.

My questions still remain unanswered. Please tell us about "Black Death." I have not gotten an answer from Jim or Brian. I am serious about these questions raised by Jim who is admittedly not a mechanic, and I think that the public, and this victim, deserves to know if mechanics are botching their work because they are not up on the technology. This ain't just a PepBoys thing, brother. The questions Jim raised deserve to be answered and so far, no takers.
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#22 0

PepBoys Still has not contacted me.

AUTHOR: - ()

I have now spent more time trying to contact PepBoys and they refuse to talk to me. Great Customer Service. My expenses are now $3,467.43. If I have to picket and fax them my expenses will continue to increase.
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#23 0

Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

AUTHOR: - ()

As of this date, 9/30/01 @ 7:20 p.m. MST Pep Boys Corporate has not contacted me. But given their track record, I really didn't expect them to follow through. Very true to fashion.
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#24 0

Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

AUTHOR: - ()

As of this date, 9/30/01 @ 7:20 p.m. MST Pep Boys Corporate has not contacted me. But given their track record, I really didn't expect them to follow through. Very true to fashion.
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#25 0

Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

AUTHOR: - ()

As of this date, 9/30/01 @ 7:20 p.m. MST Pep Boys Corporate has not contacted me. But given their track record, I really didn't expect them to follow through. Very true to fashion.
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#26 0

Pep Boys Corporate Breaks their Promise

AUTHOR: - ()

As of this date, 9/30/01 @ 7:20 p.m. MST Pep Boys Corporate has not contacted me. But given their track record, I really didn't expect them to follow through. Very true to fashion.
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#27 0

AUTHOR: - ()

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#28 Consumer Comment

got your refund? fix your car!!!

AUTHOR: jr - ()

if you took your vehicle in pepboys and had the

a/c system inspected and they recomended to

change over the a/c system to 134a, you should

of told them that you wanted to stay with the

r12 freon and/or system. i do not beleive that

they twisted your arm to do the conversion. now

if they gave you a refund for the repairs, you

should of turned around and had someone else

repair you car immediately instead of waiting

around with no a/c!!! i beleive that a person

could drive around with no a/c for a little while,

at least some of us, stop crying and get your

car fixed with the refund they gave you!!
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#29 0

EDitor's Comment: ..jr, .. you should know

AUTHOR: - ()


The victim did get their vehicle fixed, and she had to pay to undo the PepBoy's mess! After paying PepBoys she had to wait till she had enough money. You should know, we have copies of allthe repair bill.

Recently, their own employee, the new PepBoy's manager told Rip-off Report Consumer Advocates that "they" PepBoys should have known that that particular model car does not convert.

ED Magedson

We are not lawyers.

We are not a collection agency.

We are Consumer Advocates.

...the victims' advocate

WE are Civil and Human Rights Activists

We are a Nationwide Consumer Reporting News Agency consumers, for consumers
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#30 0

Pep Boys Blew me off! Here are my revised expenses.

AUTHOR: - ()

Here it is over one and a half months later and still no response from Pep Boys Corporate. Here is what I have lost:

I had a working air conditioning system before they did their "conversion." I would be able to prove it if they had saved the old system as instructed. When confronted, they tried to pass off a different system from a Chrysler. Eventhough they refunded my money for the job they never completed (I never had a working A/C system after the conversion), they still need to pay to have another system that works put in.

Pep Boys refuses to return my calls, letters, e-mails and have been notified of this report on this website.

I have now expended 9.5 hours in trying to contact them with no response. My time is valued at $62 per hour, or $589.00, totaling $2,676.23.
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#31 Consumer Suggestion

Hopefully helpful

AUTHOR: Steve - ()

I am not trying to hide anything so let me start by saying I personaly know Brian I have worked with him for about 8 years now at two different shops (niether of which was pepboys) as a mechanic I would like to say all brian was doing in his first letter was trying to let you know that an A/C retrofit is a safe proven alternative to r12 the pressure differance is slight and with the use of ester oil and replacing of the accumulator there should be no problems I have checked for tsb's and found none relating to a problem with retrofit except that ford recomends using there retrofit kit.

The problem here is the existance of other problems prior to the retrofit or mistakes made during the repair process. As for black death that is when the system fills with a black sludge due to the compressor internal failure causing aluminum particles to mix with the oil in the system requiring the system to be flushed this is due to not enough ester oil or the wrong kind of oil being added to the system.

It is funny though it seems that all the rebutals are arguing with each other but the theme stays the same TECH ERROR by the way if you have read or even know about this web site you should know to stay the hell away from pep boy's and just brakes!!
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#32 0

AUTHOR: - ()

How can this be with all the complaints on the Internet on this company. I have been abused, disrespected and ignored. They took my working AC system and promised me a working conversion. They refunded me for the crappy job on the conversion, but I still don't have my AC working.

They destroyed my car and now ignore me... and get the Better Business Bureau to look the other way. Gee, I wonder how they get them to do that? I can't figure out who is more corrupt.
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