Warning about some auto garages, dealers and quick lubes over charging for service or safety inspections – how to prevent being taken advantage or what to do if you have

Hi-Tech Auto Service (NAPA AutoPro) on Pembina highway – Google

Oct 6 2019 – Concerned Customer

Warning about some auto garages, dealers or quick lubes over charging for service, safety inspections and failing more items then needed plus how to prevent being taken advantage of or what to do if this has already happened.

Try and use a garage or mechanic that you trust or is recommended by someone you trust. Beware of online reviews only as many have been found to be fake.

More than sadly, large CBC Marketplace investigations exposed that a high percentage of these shops in several parts of Canada are charging for work not even needed and other fraudulent or shady practices.

In at least Manitoba make sure they do not charge PST on the Safety Inspection fee. Call before to get full cost for the inspection fee and if they charge for reinspection if the repairs done elsewhere. They should not charge more unless they have to take something apart to reinspect.

If you are suspicious or uncertain about what they claim needs repair consider getting a second opinion. Let them know you want to see what needs repairing beforehand and or the old parts after repair.
For some used parts Urbine mine or similar recyclers will pay you. For six rotors and pads it was only about $8 but was close to my work, I was in and out in ten mins or less and better than these going into the land fill which is what some garages do.

If you have a dispute and are not able to resolve it you can contact the vehicle inspection authority for your jurisdiction (in MB visit https://www.mpi.mb.ca/Pages/coi.aspx) to find list of what needs to be inspected, full legislation if needed, who to contact if you have questions or need to file a formal complaint. They can sometimes email you the form.

You can also contact Consumer Protections for your jurisdiction (eg. Manitoba) about formal complaints against business’s that do not operate as expected or required. If they get enough complaints or it a serious enough one there can be consequences for the business. In some cases if it a grey area you may need to go to court to get the legislation interpreted as intended if it worth your time and effort or if it an important matter of principle.

— Here is one personal example —

I would avoid dealing with Hi-Tech Auto Service (NAPA AutoPro) on Pembina hwy. I had used them several times before as they are fairly close to my work and I was very happy with their service and prices. Twice they had NOT even charged me to check something that was concerning me but turned out to be minor and they said it didn’t need repair.

I recently dealt with Matt there who I had not talked too or seen there before. He said on the phone that the inspection fee was $149. I had told him it was a 2010 F150. After it was already there and in the shop he said the fee was $200 due to having to take the rear rotors off to check emergency brakes. This setup is well known and I checked after with other garages and my Ford dealer and they do not charge extra for this.

He said their mechanic found the front and rear brakes were pulsing so new pads and rotors for both, a new lower ball joint, bushings for stabilizer / sway bar and both wiper blades were streaking slightly. Matt quoted me about $1850 for the repairs plus PST and GST and said they could start right away.

I knew about the ball joint but had front and back brakes done by my Ford Dealer less than 40k km ago and rated for up to 70k MILES plus lifetime on the pads. The vibration was barely noticable and only with very hard braking at highway speeds.

I decided to take my truck to a very experienced and trusted mechanic I was referred to through my cousin. Farther away but well worth it. They said the front drivers side brake caliper was sticking which likely caused over heating and slight warping of that rotor. Him and two other experienced mechanics he has worked with said the rear brakes and swaybar bushings did not need to be replaced. It only cost me $540 for the front brakes including servicing, rotors and pads plus the ball joint.

I decided to call vehicle inspection department at MPI who explained since recent legislation changes they can charge up to $300 for inspection and only charge for reinspection if you get work done elsewhere and they need to remove parts. There used to be a limit for reinspection but there isn’t now. They can’t charge PST on inital inspection. He and the legislation says the bushings only need to meet manufacturers specifications and it is up to the discretion of the mechanic. He emailed me the form and gave more details to return. You can also go into MPI on Plessis to get the form and file it with copies of safety, invoices, photos etc…

When I returned to see Matt, he was not in but the guy who was and the mechanic changed their mind about the rear brakes “failing” but refused to safety due to about a 1 mm or less of a gap in one bushing when using large pry bar and a few tiny surface cracks. They showed me but I didn’t agree. There was no issues with steering or unexpected noise when driving after ball joint replaced. I had buyers interested so accepted when they offered to drop the reinspection fee, their cost on the bushings and reduced labour plus PST on inspection fee refunded. It cost me about $100 more with both taxes on the repair.

I told them I would be filing a complaint with MPI about the bushings. We both took pictures of the bushings but the mechanic took the pry bar out for mine saying “so the bar doesn’t fall on you” but he had left it their for his photos and the first time I was shown. Regardless I have the old bushings to show their condition.

I will also include them quoting for rear brakes that were not needed, misleading initally about the full inspection fee and trying to charge PST on it.

I will likely post about the outcome. If not and your interested comment here or on my Facebook post:

https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10157404914011745&id=699936744

——

Some of the comments

And avoid canadiantire as plague…I was there to get a front light bulb and been told initial assessment cost to check 3 way relay would take atleast 45 mins , consider 1 hr labour charge and parts cost….roughly would be 100$….I refused and grabbed a beer pack from liquor store and a 5$ bulb from walmart and replaced in 15mins…

Yes they also forgot to tighten wheel nuts on my van years ago and within a day or two was so lose it started thunking and damaged the alloy rim. It wasn’t a matter of not torquing either. It would have been finger tight. Luckily it didnt come off as we were on the highway with the kids.


Be aware that most mechanics are on commission and have to meet quotas to keep their jobs. They will oversell to stay. They don’t care because they get paid well for it and if found out, it’s the shops name that is sullied and that mechanic just moves on to another shop. No repercussions, only potential rewards.

Blair at Mr. Transmission on pembina higway. Honest and wont fix it if its not broken. Trustworthy and i would send anyone to him

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things I find interesting or that I think are matter of public interest.
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