I’ve needed an oil change for a couple of weeks. While driving around town, I saw a small garage that seemed locally owned with a sign out front that read, Oil Change $17.99. That seemed like a really good price, so I stopped there one afternoon. When I asked for an oil change, the guy at the counter said it would be an hour before they could get to me. I didn’t want to sit there for an hour and there was nothing nearby that I needed or wanted to do, so I left and blew off getting the work done.
One morning a few days later, I called the shop around 8:40 and asked if they could change my oil if I showed up in about half an hour. The guy who answered the phone told me to come in one hour, and he could take care of me.
I arrived a little before the appointed time, and told the guy at the counter that I had called earlier. He told me they could do an oil change in an hour. I thought that was strange since I had something akin to an appointment, but I realize that sometimes it takes longer to make a repair than estimated. I figured it was just taking the mechanic a little longer than he’d thought to finish up what he was doing.
The guy I was talking to ask me if I wanted to leave the van and come back. I don’t know where he thought I was going without my vehicle. There’s not a coffee shop or anything remotely fun on that block. I told him I didn’t have anywhere to go so I’d wait.
I sat in one of the chairs in the grungy waiting room and pulled out my book. I’d been sitting there reading for at least 10 minutes when the guy came back into the waiting area and asked me if I knew it was going to cost $30 to have the oil changed in my van.
I was stunned and told him No, I didn’t know that.
Yeah, he said, it’s $30 for an oil change on a van or a truck.
I usually pay a little more than $30 for an oil change, and I know that’s about what it runs at Wal-mart. I wasn’t opposed to paying $30. However, I thought it was really sketchy that the sign in front said $17.99 for an oil change, not $17.99 and up, not $17.99 (vans and trucks extra). I thought it was sketchy that I’d come in previously and the guy I talked to that day didn’t mention the oil change would cost more because I had a van. I thought it was sketchy that I’d called 45 minutes earlier inquiring about an oil change and had not been told that on some vehicles it would cost more than the advertised price.
I really felt like the guy was trying to get rid of me, so I got up and left. I might end up paying someone $30 for an oil change, but it’s not going to be the folks at that garage.
I was annoyed further when as I was leaving because I saw the same guy I’d been talking to get into a customer’s Denali and drive it into one of the bays. Why was I going to have to wait another 45 minutes, but that guy’s SUV was going right in?
I figured there wasn’t much I could do to fight back, but I knew I could write about my experience and post it on review sites. When I got back to my laptop, I did a search on the garage and found it already had several bad reviews. The workers were accused of lying, saying they’d repaired things that were still broken, as well as breaking things, then saying they hadn’t caused the damage.
Note to self: read reviews before stopping in for an oil change.