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Dealer Service Dept Scams?

jv312jv312 Posts: 32
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Took my toyota pickup to the local dealer for an oil change and new exhaust appointment. About 2 hrs later at work, I get a call from Bryan, the service writer. "We don't have your exhaust in stock, but we will have the part tomorrow." I say ok. But Bryan continues to talk. "The technician notices some others things wrong though." Now I am intrigued. "What?", I ask. Well, let me tell you, Bryan rattled off a laundry list of stuff, front and rear brakes, ball joints, timing belt, yada yada yada. You would have thought the truck was a hunk of junk. Funny though, I keep the truck meticulously repaired, but not always by this dealer. My question is who gives the dealer the right to go through your truck when you specifically bring it in for an oil change and new exhaust? Who pays for this or is considered complimentary? This teed me off big time. Any thoughts? Thanks and sorry its so long....


  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    They are scrounging for work and every dealer does this. For maintenance look in the manual, do not replace anything prematurely unless needed Ie: belts depending on the model and year are anywhere from 60,000-100,000 miles. Brakes, well, do they pass inspection, if not you have no choice etc. Ball joints, I would think that you would have noticed a problem with the front end.

    Say thank you, it is complimentary as they are hunting for work, and get a second opinion.

    Why do dyou go there for oil changes in the first place? Even exhaust?
  • malachy72malachy72 Posts: 325
    you your seats needed to be re-upholstered? Return to good judgement and use an honest local shop.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    My local Ford dealership keeps sending me letters stating that my truck should be due for its next service. The last one stated it was due for the 114,000 mile service. WHAT THE....?!?!?! The service manual doesn't even list a 114,000 mile service! It's all a ploy to get you into the shop.

    Another one I had: My wife took her car into a shop to have new tires put on it, I supplied her with a note spelling out specifically what brand, model and size tires to get. That went just fine. However, the shop worried her to death telling her that car needed new brakes. He told her the car probably wouldn't make it through the week before the brakes failed. Well, she called me from the shop all torn up. I told her to tell them the brakes would be taken care of. They hassled her about two more times. Funny thing though, I had replaced the brakes less than a month before. All they saw was a woman in the shop and figured they could take her for a lot of money.

    I don't do business with that shop anymore.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,333
    That work is either needed or it's not. shame on them for trying to sell you work that truck doesn't need, but I would get a second opinion too.

    It's entirely possible that your truck just might be in dire need of at least some of these repairs!
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    Sounds to me like you just got a complete vehicle inspection for free. Most shops will charge $50 or so for that.

    If you're curious and want to learn why they suggested those repairs, make an appointment to see the service writer AND the tech who wrote the estimate. Go over each repair point by point and make them justify their comments. You might just learn something about your truck you didn't know.

    Or you can just blow it off with a, "thanks, but no thanks". No need to get all bent out of shape over it. They have as much "right" to suggested added repairs as you have the "right" to say no. It's a free country, after all.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    that needs to be done every other boat payment.
  • pflaupflau Posts: 4
    thats what I was told the last time I brought my car in for service.. they wanted to sell me a new battery

    HELLO??????? if the battery wont hold a charge when all accessories are on.. perhaps its the _alternator_???

    dont think I'll ever go back there again..
  • ...that foreign brand name dealerships have a bad reputation for customer satisfaction. I presume that (various?) outfits poll motor vehicle owners, and my statement above reflects the results. "Muffler shops" are probably a better place to get exhaust system repairs than are the new car dealerships-- considering quality and price together.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    as a service manager, we would be crazy not to do a light inspection during an oil change for liability reasons. I can't count the number of times I've been called with the old phrase "sensous".

    "Sensous" working on my car, I noticed the (insert component here) doesn't work right and you're going to fix it for free!
  • Absolutely excellent point. Our society has turned to favor the perversion that no one is responsible for himself. The lawyers have warped that path into the deepest pocket available in any actionable event/nonevent.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    Typical Geo 1.3 engine - pistons had sludged up and seized. No oil changes for a long time, plus using the wrong weight oil - that's one of the few engines that is truly picky about oil weight. The car had 147,000 miles.

    The fix was to install diesel fuel in the cylinder bores and let it sit a day or two, then suck out the diesel, change the oil, do a real good clean of the throttle body, intake manifold and heads. The car was then fired up and after smoking for a while, it ran fairly good, considering it had 147,000 miles and infrequent maintenance.

    Of course, we recommended a full tune-up, but all other work was declined. We only charged the owner $70 to get his car running. Did I mention it had sat, dead in the water, for 3 months?

    About a week later, the owner called and told us we were going to do all the tune-up work for free and if that didn't make his car run better, we were going to put in a new engine. It ended up going to a BBB hearing and we won, but after two months of arguing.
  • Went to the Honda free checkup clinic at a Honda dealer that didn't sell me my car. The hook was a free oil change coupon. The service advisor came to me and told me my brake pads needed replacing and was willing to set up an appointment with me. I asked him how worn they were and he told me way below 50%.

    Took my car to the dealer where I purchased it from and asked them to check my brake pads. I had over 80% left!

    All that I can say is that "Free Clinic" was just one big rip-off to create work for their service department. The only thing good out of was that my selling dealer accepted the free oil change/filter coupon!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    is that all service departments are just like big private shops. They are run by managers who are obviously paid for the bottom line (I was) and it's up to each person to police the tactics of the people selling things.

    Like any retail arena, there are good businesses and bad businesses - it's probably a 100 to 1 ratio for good to bad. It's the bad ones we really remember.
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    What was his justification for demanding free repair work? Certainly Chevy/Geo did not offer a 150 mile warranty?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    that's why we covered our rears with a complete diagnosis and full recommendations - with signatures from the owner when the work was declined.

    We had a 12 month, 12,000-mile warranty on most shop work. Someone simply wanted something for nothing and wanted to take advantage of people.

    These same folks begged, cried and pleaded for me to lower the bill after 2.5 hours of shop time. I covered the other 1.5 on the shop ticket (using our 67D account) and only charged one hour. That's the thanks you get when you're trying to help folks.
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    I'm sure you must be familiar with my motto (or is it "credo"?):

    People are idiots.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
  • can almost smell 'em driving onto your shop property: The first hint is the Geo Metro. At 150K you should have refused to touch it. But then, the grimy little hippy and his flower child bride plead their case, while the lawyer brother-in-law hides around the corner of the garage door with a microrecorder. Next time it'll be a Yugo.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    was the policy that we do a "systems performance inspection" where we scan the vehicle for codes and inspect the condition of all engine related components. Our estimate was over $600 and was freaked out over, but after they signed off on it, declining the work, we were saved.

    Otherwise, it would have been a he said/she said argument where the owner says "I told them to fix it and I thought they had!".
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    shop rates are $75+/hour.

    You have to do an hours worth of inspection to protect yourself before you even work on a customer's car.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    If a shop says you need such and such, ask them to show you. Surely you can tell when brake pads are very thin, and as for ball joints, if they are loose this can easily be demonstrated with a small jack. Same with tie rods. If they can't produce the visual slop in the ball joints and tie rods, or wafer thin brake pads, then TS, they don't get the work! As for belts, look for small cracks or a mirror glaze. Hoses will be mushy and soft, or visibly leaking. A bad water pump will have either play in the drive pulley or a drip from the bearing seal, or it will make a lot of noise.

    You can't catch every scam but if you demand visual proof of a defect, that will often scare away the corrupt shops.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    if the consumer was available in person, I always gave them a shop walk. That way, too, they really understand what's going on with their car.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    One thing I have noticed that Wal-Mart does to cover their backsides; if you bring a car in for an oil change, the first thing they do is check the fill level. More than one quart low and they will not touch it until you sign a waiver. I only know this from observation. I wouldn't let Wal-Mart touch one of my cars with a ten foot pole. Seen too many of their screw-ups, from the wrong amount of oil, no oil, wrong filter, on and on...
  • We absolutely have to shut down two out of every three law schools in this country. America provides safe haven for some seventy percent of the World's supply of barristers. They all demand the right to pursue a living. It isn't rocket science to see what is happening. >:oÞ
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    pull into our shop (Chevrolet dealer) with the engine running in his Caprice. Seems he used two quarts of "engine flush", drove it 15 miles into town and wanted us to do the $19.95 oil change. Ain't gonna' happen - take it to Jiffy Lube, but don't tell them about the flush junk!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Mostly I think the unscrupulous dealers don't "cheat" outright- they "oversell". That is, you get what you pay for but you may not have needed it.

    think about it --- I say to you "your brakes are worn. I recommend new ones". I really haven't said anything that is untrue now have I? Or "this tie rod is a little loose. It time it could fail"
    Also true...even a good tie rod may have a touch of play in it, and yes, in time, it will fail....
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    I would put the "7500 mile maintenance" up there with unnecessary repairs.

    Recently, my fiancee/girlfriend/wife/companion receives the dealer reminder that our CL is due for its 7500 mile service. (This will actually be our 3rd oil change, the first one at 1000, than again at 4000).

    Included with the letter is a price list for some of their most popular service items. 2 of the items were an oil change for $29.95, and a 7500 mile service for $129.95.

    She heads out for the dealer to drop off the car. Since I know she has a few minutes of paperwork, I tell her I'll meet her there, and we'll car pool. I also tell her to only get an oil change, DO NOT GET THE 7500 MILE SERVICE, as it's an extra $100 for NOTHING. I can check the belts, hoses, fluids, and filters myself, which is what you get for the extra $100.

    Of course, the service advisor advises her to get the 7500 mile service. By the time I get there to pick her up, she's already signed the papers, and I gotta get to work.

    That ain't gonna happen again! It's not unscrupulous or dishonest per se. Everything was above board. It was just unnecessary for most car owners.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    go straight down the 30K/60K checklist and recommend everything. If the owner buys a few items, that's more than an oil change.
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    30, 60, even 15K has some merit. But, a 7500 mile service? That's bordering on scam.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    The only thing a vehicle should need under 15K is a once over to look for warranty-related problems.
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    Yup. Easiest $100 they ever made. The ironic thing is that their standard oil change is cheaper than Jiffy Lube.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    never go for the "value meal" or "full meal deal".
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    ... Check the oil every time you fill up with gas. No engine is going to lose a quart in 300 or so miles without leaving big oil stains or lots of smoke. If you do start seeing the level drop, you can catch it before things get ugly. I knew a woman who was having problems with her Honda. I asked how often she changed the oil. 7500 miles, and she drove this car in traffic in central Texas in the summer. Then I asked how often she checked the level. She didn't. Just got it changed every 7500 miles as that was what the book said. Wondered why the oil light started coming on 3000 miles after an oil change. I told her not to ask the dealership that question, she wouldn't like the answer!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I had a lady come in with a rough running 33,000 mile 1996 Z-28. We ran every test we had and came up with nothing, and it surely was running badly. Stumbling idle, no acceleration, etc.

    We checked the oil and while there was a little on the stick, it was ugly. We raised it and started to drain - worst case scenario, I'd give her a free (coupon) oil change. Pudding came out.

    I asked her when she last changed her oil and without hesitation, she explained that at 100 miles, she had synthetic oil installed and the guy at Jiffy Lube said she didn't have to change it for a long time. Well, she didn't - at all.

    Her claim was denied.
  • ...about some people who are smart enough to be able to get a rather expensive car, not having the intellect needed to understand that oil changes are necessary.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    I think the general publics ignorance of mechanics has arisen out of this countries prosperity. If you have a problem with the car, take it to a mechanic. Few people even change their own oil anymore. Years ago when money wasn't so plentiful, people learned basic car maintenance out of necessity.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    full-service stations are no longer plentiful. Remember way back when where if you got gas, they checked your oil and other fluids and washed your windshield? Not so much car neglect back then.

    A good insurance policy - imagine checking your oil once a week and getting it changed every three months. Now that people who are too important to be bothered with silly stuff like maintaining an automotive expenditure own these vehicles, and the service station guys aren't there to protect us, 98% of America never checks the oil!!

    The majority of our cars will break, we'll be walking, and when the communists offer us a better way of life that includes full-service stations, we'll jump on it.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Is the dealer sales staff to begin with. I have yet to purchase a car where the salesperson will point out the oil change intervals, service requirements etc.. For the most part many cars are sold based upon low maintenance as well.

    Perhaps hard to sell a $40,000 Lexus and at the same time say come in evry 3000 miles for your $50 oil change (oh, that includes a tire rotation and wash job) Hose job!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I went over the entire maintenance book and in some cases, showed people how to change a tire. I wanted to make sure they could never say "my salesman didn't tell me".
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    LOL. I think self serve stations started around the same time as flouridated water, didn't they? Coincedence? I don't think so!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    and preservatives in food - it's all a communist plot.
  • Ain't there nothin' sacred no more?
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    People don't need to change their own oil. Not today, with every local shop, plus Jiffy Lube and the dealers offering oil changes for $20-30. The oil and filter cost $12-25 at the auto parts store.

    I use one of those methods for 3 of my 4 cars. For my Jaguar, I do it myself. But, that's only because:
    A. I enjoy working on that car.
    B. It uses almost 9 quarts, so the retail oil change would cost more.
    C. This car has certain idiosyncrasies that may be unfamiliar to the average oil change tech.
    D. I'm not paying a Jaguar dealer's exorbitant fee for an oil change. Dealer techs are often idiots anyway.

    As long as they CHECK the oil and other fluid levels on a regular basis, and have their oil changed every 3000-5000, they're cool. My ex-wife never checks the oil on her car, and my current female person didn't..until she met me. (She still doesn't, actually. I do it now.)
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    Years ago we had a Sugarland TX patrol car come into the shop with a locked-up motor. Checked the oil and there was ?something? on the dip stick, not quite sure what it was, looked a bit like tar.

    Turns out the PD had a policy that when the oil level went down a quart, add STP. But they didn't complete the memo to add "Once per oil change". Oldsmobile made some really tough V8 engines back then, but I've yet to see a motor that would run on straight STP.

    Warranty claim denied. Doh!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    played there, too. My brother lives there.

    Perhaps your PD guys had the same policy he does about most things: If a little bit's good, a whole lot is better.
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    For years, Jaguar recommended adding a bottle of Barr's Leaks when changing coolant. After a few of those, the radiator simply becomes incapable of passing coolant any more.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and where they do exist, it's in third-world countries. in the second-world countries, they took off the grey jumpsuits and put on red striped ties, and called themselves liberators, and just take a cut off the top of all of the free market activities.

    no, if it's a plot at all, it's a greed plot. promise anything, GET THE CHECK!!!, complain about the taxes on it and the oversight from the sales manager, and take office supplies on the way home.

    of course, I work for a telco that has been raped by its top brass, so I might have a jaundiced view...
  • garypengarypen Posts: 1,483
    Sounds like we still got a commie right here! Remember, swschrad, what's good for GM is good for the country! Our CEO's must know exactly what they're doing, or they wouldn't be in charge of such corporate success stories as Enron, MCI, Xerox, Adelphia...what?...oh...nevermind.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    That's is exactly what I am saying. Most people would rather pay someone to do it for them, therefore they have no idea what is going on under the hood. I do all of my own changes, and all maintenance/repairs for that matter. It gives me a chance to go over the vehicle on a regular basis. Besides, money comes to hard for me to trust even my wifes $6,500 car to any idiot. On her car, oil and filter cost around $9.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    is when I'm working on the car, my wife and kids watch/help/interfere so they learn as they watch.

    Before my sister went out on her own, we changed her oil, rotated her tires, found her jack and saw how it was used and did a minor tune-up. At least if she's stranded with a flat tire, she's not stopped.

    It absolutely kills me (when I worked for a tow company) to see GUYS (MEN, MALES) wait 2 hours to have someone come out and change their tire when it's flat. My time is worth much more than that and I keep baby wipes and Goop hand cleaner in the car.
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