Thursday, August 31, 2006

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Jiffy Lube Scam

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Jiffy Lube Scam

A wise man told me his father gave this advice when he was young:
"As you get older, you need to have 4 things: a good wife, a good mechanic, a good doctor and a good preacher."

Auto mechanics, are unfortunately, very much maligned along with lawyers, politicians and used car salesmen because of incidents such as this. (guilt by association) It's quite sad that greedy people feel no remorse when ripping off their customers - at least until their caught. This kind of things has, no doubt, been going on since cars were first introduced. As a kid I remember adults referring to this type of activity as a "wall job" where the cars were parked against a wall and nothing was done to them but they were still charged for the work.

I'm very fortunate to have found 3 honest, reputable shops in my area. Between the 3 of them I have my vehicles covered as far as repairs and maintenance go. This is good because I tend to be totally inept with tools and mechanical things.

I did have a very pleasant experience with a mechanic shop in Effingham, Illinois: I was driving to Michgan one spring to attend my sister's graduation party. In the middle of Illinois we stopped for gas and I noticed the serpentine belt in my van was starting to fray rather badly. This was a bit of a surprise as I checked the belts, hoses, and had the oil changed right before we left and everything looked OK. I found a service station open in Effingham at 10pm. I expected, at the very least, to be charged quite a bit for the convenience of getting the belt changed that late in the evening - or to be just outright ripped off. I was very pleasantly surprised when the shopkeep charged me just under $60, which is about what I would expect to pay to my local, honest mechanic. The man kept apologizing that he took too long (about 1/2 an hour) and had to charge me extra because he had to make some adjustments to make the belt tight enough. I wasn't complaining at all. He had hot coffee, Cartoon Network running to entertain my kids while we waited, and it cost me what I considered normal for that kind of work. It's been 10 years so I don't remember the name of the shop nor what brand of gas they sold - all I remember it was on the eastbound side of I-70/I-57 in Effingham. Hats off to you, sir.