This place ran a special for $20 off their regular price for smogging, beating the place I normally go by $30. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" keeps ringing in my ears. I'm a single parent, the sole provider for my family of four on less than $40k a year, so I try to save money any way I can, but this time it backfired.
My vehicle is running well, has been kept up, and is relatively new with no mechanical problems. I check in with service and all seems well and good. After waiting for 50 minutes, I decide to find out what's taking so long. This process usually takes 15 - 20 minutes.
I go inside & see a tech with a Coke can in hand, chit chatting with the service adviser who checked me in. They both had looks on their faces like "busted" and the tech starts to leave like he'd better get back to work, but once my questioning starts, he decides to linger. The service adviser says he can hear the tech winding it down in there (pointing to a closed door), and it should only be a little bit longer before he's done. So I ask if they have a lot of people in here today and he says oh yes, yes, very busy. That's funny I thought, not one single person has shown up since I'd been there...So the adviser must have sensed my thoughts, volunteering that it typically takes an hour to do the smog test. I retorted, "Well, I've been getting both my cars smogged for 8 years now, and it's never taken longer than 15 or 20 minutes." Then they both argued with me, said they don't know where I've been going, basically calling me a liar. So well then I just go out and wait. Since it's already been 50 minutes, I thought, they should be done soon. It would have been considerate to tell me at check in how long this is expected to take. So in addition to having just been called a liar, a whole hour had been lost that I could have used to run errands. --My daughter-in-law and I had met there in separate vehicles--. I go out and tell her; she's shocked too. We examine the mailer for this special, and it reads that they include free services such as check tire pressure, fluid levels, wash your car, and pop corn & refreshments. My small child needs to use the restroom (which was filthy and smelly), and afterward we get some pop corn out of the nearly empty pop corn machine, and drinks. As I go around towards the office, a different tech hurries ahead of my child and me & cuts us off, then lets the office door slam in our faces. Wow this place definitely gets an F. But it gets worse.
My daughter-in-law comes in too, grabs a water, and joins me at the cashier. The service adviser comes in with the report and tells me my vehicle failed the smog test because the computer that checks the engine is not "resetting," and in the same breath, smoothly transitions into telling me I can pay $200 now, leave my vehicle with them, & run a diagnostic to find the problem. I sense a rip off in progress. "No, no, I don't think so, no." (I work in law enforcement and also have over six years experience in criminal law.) He asks me questions; has the battery been replaced lately, has the check engine light been on recently. "No." And so I ask him, are you still going to charge me, to which he weakly replies "Well we still have to be paid for our time..." He asks me again to leave my vehicle, and when my jaw falls open, he turns on his heel and scoots out of there pronto.
I realize I've just been had. My daughter-in-law is staring in shock and disbelief. Forty bucks later, I joke with her, "Dang this is the most expensive pop corn and drinks I've ever bought." Well, at least they washed my vehicle.
The inspection report reads "Fail MIL Check engine light." The vehicle's check engine light is not on and it's running smooth. I will go somewhere else & have it smogged, and if it passes, I will turn them in to the BBB. My paperwork shows the testing time as 1/2 an hour after I had checked in--.
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