Here's the story:
I live in Minneapolis/Saint Paul and was working in Brooklyn Center early this summer. BC is about 25 miles up the highway from where I am living in the cities.
My deeply beloved and super cute 1997 green Oldsmobile Achieva (Lucille :) broke down in the middle of Highway 100 in the pouring rain at 8:30pm two Tuesdays ago. The battery, abs, and brake lights are screaming and she can't muster enough juice to even set the blinkers on. Poor baby car! Nice guys come and help me push her off to the shoulder and I call Progressive. I am politely told that there will be a tow truck coming and so I cool my jets for 45 minutes. This isn't the suck. I could imagine that there were a lot of accidents due to the rain and I had a book.
The tow truck shows and I settle into the cab of his truck while he does all the tow driver things that they do- checking battery, hoisting up front wheels, etc. He comes back to the cab, gets in, and starts to hit on me in an increasingly obvious way going from asking why I didn't have a guy in the car to "take care" of me and then moving on to how he graphically planned on taking care of me "in the near future." Oh, heck no. I'm soaked through and pissed so I am coldly precise about where exactly I want the car towed- to my mechanic in Saint Paul. He flatly refuses and says he'll take me to Pep Boys because otherwise he won't be paid. Fine. I just want to get out of the cab without having to punch the man and/or call the police and say as much.
Lucile and I get ditched outside Pepboys and I check her in for intensive care. The counter guy seems pleasant enough and says what I was thinking, that it sounds like the alternator or the battery, and that I should be able to pick her up the next day. Awesome. I call a friend to pick me up from the hinterlands and call Progressive to complain about the tow driver. I get put into an electronic phone tree and finally wind up at some manager's voice mail. Okay. I'm rattled, but feel more in control because my car is in good hands, right? Wrong.
The next day I get three calls about new things that are wrong with my car aside from the alternator and battery. Belts, lights, tensioner rods, coolant, etc. After the third call I try to get them to tell me exactly what the car needs to drive under Minnesota regulation standards and I am told the lights, the alternator, and the battery. Okay. I give the approval for that and am told I may pick the car up by 5pm that day.
The same beloved friend hauls me out to Brooklyn Center, I pay $460, and get into my car. The air conditioning is not working. It was working before I dropped it off. I go back into the Pep Boys and am put on 'hold' for fifteen minutes (I was watching the big Pep Boys clock) while the manager took new orders for mechanic work on the phone. I finally am paid attention to and proceed to tell them that the air conditioning was working before, and now it wasn't and I'd like this fixed. The manager throws a bluff at me and tells me my car is old and the wiring is bad, and that's a dash thing and they weren't even under the dash so it can't possibly be them. I, very calmly, say that it was working before, and now it isn't working and that they need to fix it. Ten minutes of arguing later they find some guy from the back who goes out to the car without uttering a single word, pops the trunk, connects a wire, and then yahtzee and little green apples! There's air conditioning again. Hmm. But, okay. The car is working. I take her home.. or, try to take her home.
One mile away from home and the battery light goes on again. I get her home by revving through neutral and call them again to say that I am going to be out of town for the weekend but will be bringing her back the following Wednesday to have her looked at- again- because she is still under their warranty. They tell me that there's a good chance the battery light is going on because the wiring is bad but, whatever. They actually said, "but, whatever."
So, the next Wednesday I get in the car and make it 3 miles before a total battery blitz out, just as before. *sigh* I call Progressive, get towed (have no problems with this tow driver)and spend three hours in Pep Boys reading the Pep Boys service pledge in cut vinyl on the wall: "All services will be free if you are not 100% satisfied!" Hmm. I watch three daytime judge tv shows on the tiny wall mounted tv, talk to a nice lady in the same situation (she went in about her check engine light, they charged her $300 and the light was still on) and drank their bad coffee.
After the three hours (my limit) I go back to their counter and am told that they found out the alternator they put in the car went bad and sucked the battery dry, but this was because I hadn't replaced the tensioner rod they recommended. They refuse to admit that they put in a bad alternator or that it could in any way be their fault. I reminded them that they said that this tensioner rod wasn't crucial to the well being of the car and that there was no way I was going to pay for a new alternator and battery. Oh sure, the counter guy agreed, and "we'll be nice and not charge you for the service to replace the new alternator either, but you really should put that tensioner rod in or else you'll wind up by the side of the road again and that will be an extra $50".
I grit my teeth and do so. When paying for the extra part I tell him that his service pledge says I should not pay if I am not 100% satisfied, and I am emphatically not 100% satisfied. He shrugs, refuses to look me in the eyes, and says that is a corporate thing and they don't follow it or expect anyone to read it.
Okay. Good to know.
I have complained to corporate, am working on switching my auto insurance, and am in the process of filing a better business bureau complaint. I post this here mainly so that my experience may steer people away from Pep Boys in Brooklyn Center Minnesota. They are dishonest, rude, and bad mechanics.