[R-G] JIFFY LUBE CAUGHT WITH ITS PAN DOWN
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Thu Jun 22 14:20:27 MDT 2006
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JIFFY LUBE CAUGHT WITH ITS PAN DOWN
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
It is every customer's nightmare.
You take your car in for an oil change.
And the guy goes down the checklist of things they have done -- and charges
But did they actually do what they said they did?
They said they changed the fuel filter.
But did they?
They said they flushed the transmission?
But did they?
Trust, but verify.
Tipped off by a Jiffy Lube insider, KNBC -- the NBC affiliate in Los
wired two test cars with hidden cameras
to watch Jiffy Lube mechanics at work.
Those cars were then driven to Los Angeles-area Jiffy Lube outlets
to get an oil change.
At one, the mechanic recommends that the fuel filter be changed.
"We pay up,
but they didn't change the fuel filter," KNBC reporter Joel Grover told his
earlier this month.
"We know that, because before taking our car in,
we lowered the gas tank so I could mark the fuel filter.
After leaving that Jiffy Lube, we checked the fuel filter
and the original one that I had marked was still on the car."
At another Jiffy Lube outlet,
the manager recommends a top-of-the-line transmission flush.
"It's a machine called T-Tech,
which they're supposed to hook up to the transmission lines under the car
to suck out all the dirty fluid," Grover said.
"But the entire time our car was being serviced,
we noticed no one ever touched that machine.
And our hidden camera shows no one ever touched the transmission lines
they charged us for the T-Tech service anyway.
And it happened to us again at another Jiffy Lube."
In fact, Grover says, he got stiffed at five out of nine Los Angeles area
Jiffy Lubes he tested.
Jiffy Lube insiders told Grover that Jiffy Lube employees are on a quota
"They are pushed to sell a certain amount of repairs per car," Grover said.
"And they say with the big volume of cars that come into these stores,
there's really no way to do all the repairs they sell."
The 31 Los Angeles area Jiffy Lube centers
are owned by Heartland Automotive.
Jiffy Lube issued a statement saying
"it does not tolerate the problems discovered in the KNBC report."
The company said that six employees, including a district manager shown in
"are no longer working for Heartland Automotive."
Five of the service centers found to have been ripping off consumers
were closed for two days in May for "re-training."
Jiffy Lube also said that it would institute its own "mystery shop
to ensure that "all procedures and policies are properly followed."
"Over the next several months, video cameras and monitors
will be installed in the 31 Heartland Automotive-owned service centers
so customers can watch their services being performed,"
the company said.
"Further violations of company policies
could result in the revocation of franchise agreements
for the affected service centers."
Why not institute that policy for all 2,200 Jiffy Lube centers
across the United States?
Are Jiffy Lube customers to assume that they too are being ripped off?
A Jiffy lube spokesperson answered this way --
Jiffy Lube has a number of quality-control processes in place
to ensure customers receive a high-quality experience.
Some of these include a nationwide mystery-shopping program
and required computer-based and on-the-job training
for all service center employees.
Jiffy Lube customers also have several options available to them
if they believe for any reason they have not received top-quality service.
Toll-free customer service phone numbers are printed on the back of every
Jiffy Lube invoice.
Customers can also request the return of their old parts --
excluding used motor oil and other fluids --
after they have services performed.
As for us, from now on,
we're either going to change it ourselves, or go to our local garage.
--Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational
Monitor, http://www.multinationalmonitor.org and director of Essential
Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors of On the Rampage:
Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy
(Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press).
(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
This article is posted at:
Focus on the Corporation is a weekly column written by Russell Mokhiber
and Robert Weissman.
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"We weren't raised to protest. We weren't raised to question.
We were raised to wave the flag. To pledge allegiance. "My country, right or
It's a terrible, terrible trap."
"The country is governed for the richest, for the corporation, the bankers,
the land speculators,
for the exploiters."
"We live in a nation hated abroad and frightened at home.
A place in which we can reasonably refer to the American Republic in the
A country that has moved into a post-constitutional era, no longer a nation
but an autotocracy run by law breakers, law evaders and law ignorers.
A nation governed by a culture of impunity ...
a culture in which corruption is no longer a form of deviance but the
We all live in a Mafia neighborhood now."
" In the Middle Ages, the sewage wasn't properly disposed of,
but people didn't pay attention to it
until the waters of the rivers and the filth rose over the doorsteps.
Then they had to.
That's what is beginning to happen [in American politics].
It is beginning to rise over the doorsteps. "
-- Barbara Tuchman, historian and author
" The whole fabric of society will go to wrack
if we really lay hands of reform on our rotten institutions.
>From top to bottom
the whole system is a fraud,
all of us know it, laborers
and capitalists alike,
and all of us are consenting parties to it."
-- Henry Adams, American historian, 1838-1918
" You can say anything you want in a debate, and 80 million people hear it.
If reporters then document that a candidate spoke untruthfully, so what ?
Maybe 200 people read it, or 2000 or 20,000. "
-- George Bush's press secretary to reporters following the 1980
"This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace,
but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society.
People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to
are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships...
Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society --
one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity,
and communal solidarity.
Their need for meaning
is just as intense as their need for economic security."
-- Michael Lerner, journalist
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