Auto Repair Bait And Switch Tactics

Brake Jobs: Here’s where they’ve got you. I saw a brake service special from a shop down the road from me for $14.95 per axle (!). But let’s take an average “brake service” special. The bold print will usually read something like this:

“Brake Service Special $69.95”.

The fine print will read something like this:

“Most Cars, Semi-Metallic Pads Extra, Rotor Resurfacing Extra, Shims and other hardware extra, You will be charged for additional parts and services as required to bring your brake system back to normal operating condition”.

I don’t know what kind of cars are being attracted by these ads but the average car coming in for brake service today is 5 to 10 years old and front wheel drive. It is impossible to meet the conditions listed in the fine print for these vehicles! The semi-metallic pads they will be charging extra for are used across the board on all of these cars. Every one of these cars will be due to have the caliper slides cleaned and lubricated. Nine out of ten of these cars will need new rotors because from the factory they are usually just thick enough to make it through one set of pads before becoming badly rusted or dangerously thin. The one out of ten rotors that can be saved will need to be resurfaced to prevent brake pulsations, noise and abnormal wear. About half of these cars will need new brake hoses because of cracked weather insulation. About half of these cars will have uneven pad wear requiring replacement or overhaul of the disc brake calipers. About half of these cars will have either frozen or leaking wheel cylinders. I have never, in 23 years of repairing brake systems, been tempted to re-use old, rusty tin brake shims. Eight out of ten of these cars will be over due for a brake fluid change (All brake system manufacturers that I know of require brake fluid changes every 2 years). Have you guessed yet that there is little, if any, chance of getting a brake job for the advertised price? Is it ethical to advertise a price that you know 9 out of 10 times is impossible to deliver?

Oh, but you ask “What if I insist that they perform the minimum service they advertised”? They will probably have to refuse the job in the name of safety. One thing a professional Auto Technician does not want is to have his name put on a repair order for a brake service that was not performed up to code. If that car is ever involved in an accident, and they blame the
brakes, it’s the Technician that is to blame. Not the customer. No matter what the customer requested. No matter what the customer signed. No matter what disclaimers are on the invoice.

The technician is the professional and the customer is the layman. The technician just simply has to refuse to do partial or shoddy brake work or risk a major change of life style. Now, is a business that practices this type of deception in their advertising the type of business you would trust the safety of you and your family to? Do you think it is possible that they practice other types of deception? Why even bother to find out? My advice: Just find a shop you can trust that does not practice this type of deception and let then do all of the work on all of your cars. You will be amazed at how much better your car will serve you, how much better you will be treated and the extra mile they will go for you when you stop shopping and stay with them for everything.