ST. GEORGE – A follow-up, hidden camera investigation by NBC exposed employees of Jiffy Lube locations in California selling unnecessary services, charging unknowing customers and, in some cases, not even performing the services purchased.
Seven years ago NBC ran a similar investigation which spurred an apology and a promise from Jiffy Lube management that they would make changes to curb the cheating of clients. However, the recent investigation demonstrated that the cheating is still rampant.
Local Jiffy Lube managers declined commenting on the situation reported by NBC, and the response NBC reporters received from management at the Jiffy Lube corporate office stated that these issues are taken seriously, but did not reference any intent to take action regarding this particular investigation.
The repair and maintenance industry can be dicey for people not familiar with cars, but there are ways to avoid falling victim to mechanics willing to scam trusting patrons.
One way is to know your mechanic or get references from people you know to be trustworthy who can vouch for their own experience with the mechanic.
“It’s all about trust,” Guy Simkins, owner of Guy’s Automaster in St. George, said. “Second opinions are worth their weight in gold. If you don’t trust someone, get a second opinion.”
Simkins runs a local mechanic shop, he said part of running an honest shop is not offering commission to his mechanics for selling extra products, as well as educating customers to help them understand what services are being performed on their vehicles.
“There’s going to be plenty of chances to spend money on your car without shops finding stuff that may or may not be wrong.” Simkins said.
When having work done on your vehicle don’t be afraid of looking for second opinions. If a mechanic is overly pushy it can be a red flag that they are trying to pull something over on you. There are some mechanics who will tell you that you came by just in time, and weave a horror story of all the things that could have gone wrong. If you drove your car to the shop, and everything was seemed to be working normal, chances are you won’t have to be spending thousands of dollars just to get back on the road.
Ask if the shop and its mechanics have credentials. Certifications by the Automotive Service Excellence organization or AAA indicate a certain level of knowledge and expertise.
Utah consumer protection law
Utah law provides consumer protection in transactions involving repairs, inspections or other similar services for a supplier. Among other things, express estimates are required to be given in advance, express estimates are required to be given again if further repairs or parts are required in excess of 10 percent over the original estimate, reassembly is required at no cost unless a charge for reassembly was specified in advance. Considered deceptive and unfair by the consumer protection law are false representations that repairs are needed or have been made. And more. For further detail see and print the attached PDF: Utah Consumer Sales Practices – Repairs and Services.
Consumer complaints may be addressed to various agencies, depending upon the issue. The Consumer Protection Utah website can assist in determining which agency is appropriate for a given complaint.
- NBC Investigation
- Utah Consumer Sales Practices – Repairs and Services
- Consumer Protection Utah website
- Utah’s top 10 consumer scams of the past year
- Utah’s property rights ombudsman office launches website; find law, opinions easily on property issues
- Utah joins nationwide campaign to help prevent financial exploitation of seniors
- Consumer safety tips for online holiday shopping; make a list, check sellers twice
- St. George area sting operation nets 12 unlicensed contractors
- Officials warn Utah residents of renting scam
- Officials warn against growing utility scam
- What dangers lurk within that debit card
- Beware of magic tricks when it comes to fraud
UPDATE 11:08 a.m. Utah’s consumer protection website added.
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