Oil change scams: Hidden camera investigation on what really happens to your car (CBC Marketplace)

Oil change scams: Hidden camera investigation on what really happens to your car (CBC Marketplace)


(♪♪) >>Tom: This week on “Marketplace.” >>Oh, boy, came in for a $20 oil change. >>You’re about to see a fast lube franchise pull a fast one. >>If you can, try and get your transmission fluid changed. >>Is it necessary? >>No, I just did a transmission service. >>Tom: That’s what I thought. We go up on the hoist to show you what’s really going down at these oil change shops. >>Let me tell you a little bit about fraud. >>Tom: Insiders share the secrets of shaking you down. >>I’ve never worked for a more shady, crooked, deceitful company. >>Tom: And we track down the man behind all this greasy business. >>That’s him right by the door. Do you want to just go get him, Tom? >>Yeah. >>Just go, just go. (♪♪) (♪♪) >>Tom: We’re heading to this Economy Lube in Guelph, Ontario. (♪♪) >>Tom: It’s part of a chain of oil change garages that promises fast and affordable service. (♪♪) >>Tom: Ten minutes, 20 bucks, and you’re done, according to their ad. (♪♪) ♪ Just $19.99, at Economy Lube♪ (♪♪) >>Tom: Catchy but maybe not that simple. >>Hi there. >>Need an oil change? >>Yes, please. >>Tom: Who hasn’t worried about turning over their car to some gearhead and getting back a big bill. And a lot of gobbledygook. >>Tom: We’ve been hearing there’s reason to worry at Economy Lube. That’s why we’re putting it to the test. (♪♪) >>Tom: Right off the bat, they’re upselling that $20 oil change. >>Tom: Recommending a more expensive package than advertised but does it get any worse than that? These guys say you can bet on it. >>I have never worked for a company like Economy Lube, for a more shady, crooked, deceitful company. >>Tom: They’re insiders, former employees of Economy Lube, who still have ties to the industry, and don’t want to be identified. >>I totally rip people off and I did that for a number of years for the dollar and the money. >>Tom: Their years of ripping people off at Economy Lube ended in a bitter fight over wages. You had issues, you went to the labour department and argued over money, that sort of thing. >>Everything we’re saying is a hundred percent true. There would be many more people besides us that would be, you know, willing to say so as well. >>Tom: They have no axe to grind, they say, just a conscience to clear. >>This is our chance to right our wrongs and bring awareness to what’s going on. >>Tom: So they’re blowing the whistle on a company that they say tops you up and rips you off, all because the boss wants it that way. >>I couldn’t remember questioning him about the practises as far as sales go, and his exact words were go save the whales somewhere else, and he told me it was an upsell world. >>Tom: But we’re not just talking their word for it. We’ve assembled a team of testers to help us see for ourselves. All of them work for CBC. Anu, Steve, and Ryan. Each driving a car with one thing in common: They all need an oil change, and nothing else. They will be heading to that same Economy Lube in Guelph. And what’s about to happen has lessons for us all. Our home base for the day is Conestoga college. They train a lot of future mechanics here, and they have agreed to let us use their massive garage. >>Tom: Morning everybody. Nice to see you. So the plan as you know is we’re going to head down to Economy Lube and you’re going to just be customers. >>Tom: Helping us with our test is expert Mark Sach-Anderson. >>They shouldn’t be offering you anymore than just the oil change you’re going in for. Everything else is fine on the car so it should be a nice simple, easy, in, oil change, and out. (♪♪) >>Tom: Mark has been in the industry for more than 20 years. He began as an oil change technician himself. Became a mechanic and worked his way up the ranks. He now runs this garage in Toronto’s west end. >>There are a lot of good oil change facilities. Unfortunately, there’s a few bad ones, and it spoils it for everybody. >>Tom: The oil change industry knows it has a bad reputation. >>It seems like mechanics are always out to get you. >>Tom: Jiffy Lube, for instance, plays off customer worries in this ad. >>But at Jiffy Lube, we don’t fix vehicles, we help keep them running right to help you leave repair shop worries behind. >>Tom: So if the industry knows we’re suspicious, can we really finally leave worries behind? If only. (♪♪) >>Tom: To do our test properly, it’s important to establish a base line. So Mark spends days going over test vehicles. He knows the kind of additional services routinely offered by places like Economy Lube, such as fluid and filter changes, and he wants to beat them to the punch. He makes sure none of our cars need anything more than an oil change. (♪♪) >>Tom: Our hidden camera specialist. Rob, is hard at work making sure we’ve got all the angles covered when it comes to capturing our test. >>Tom: Cool. And where is that going to go? >>Under the hood of the Uplander. >>So the guy working under the hood, we’ll be able to see his hands working. >>We’ll be able to see his hands reaching to all the different — stick and engine coolant. >>Cool. >>Tom: So wondering what to expect? Back at Conestoga college, our first tester, Anu, is wired up and ready to go to see if what we’re hearing about Economy Lube holds true. >>I’ll open the door for you. >>Okay, thank you. >>All right, good luck. >>Thanks, Tom. (♪♪) >>Tom: The Economy Lube shop is less than five minutes down the road from our home base. As Anu approaches, our surveillance camera across the street picks her up and follows her in. Our insiders say at Economy Lube, the technicians count on your ignorance, even though they might not know much more about your car than you do. >>When I started, I’d never worked on vehicles, never popped a drain plug, never did an oil change, no experience. >>Tom: How about you? >>I had experience from a previous oil change places but I worked with people who didn’t know anything about cars at all. >>Tom: They soon learn the way things work at Economy Lube. Who trained you? >>Actually, the owner of the company Steve Moxey. >>Tom: And what did he teach you? >>How to sell all the different services, upselling. >>Tom: What did that mean at Economy Lube? >>To sell as many services and get as big of a bill as you possibly could on every single vehicle. >>Because he didn’t care if you did the work, he cared if you got the money. >>Tom: And were these services that were needed? >>Uh, majority of the time, no. (♪♪) >>Tom: You can find a photo of owner Steve Moxey right on the door as you enter Economy Lube. Moxey has built a chain of 12 shops throughout southwestern Ontario. And according to our insiders, he’s done it through dishonesty. >>Just need an oil change? >>Yeah. >>Tom: Inside the shop, our first tester is hearing she needs a lot more than a simple oil change. >>Couldn’t have smelled burnt and it certainly wasn’t brown because I changed it. >>Tom: And later, a former fraud cop weighs in on our findings. >>I have told people all my life that fraud is theft with a smile. (♪♪) (♪♪) >>Tom: We’re inside a quick oil change shop called Economy Lube. Like all these types of shops, they say they specialize in fast work at affordable prices. (♪♪) >>Tom: Insiders tell us they do a lot more than that. Like sell you services you don’t need. >>Engine flush. >>Tom: Charge whatever they can get and often not even do the work. >>Gimme some examples of where you might do something that wasn’t really the real thing? >>One of the easiest things to sell is power steering fluid. Take a sample and you can tell a person that it should be clear, you could tell a person that it should be red, or you could just go by the smell of the fluid, smell this, the fluid is very burnt. There’s a very easy sale. >>Tom: With each lie they tell, technicians earn money. >>They were on a commission system as far as what you sold, so if I sold, say, a coolant flush for $59, I would get $2, if I sold it for 69 bucks, I get three bucks. >>Tom: The bigger the lie, the more money. That’s why they do so much lying. How often would those things happen where you do a trick every day. >>Every day. >>Multiple times a day. (♪♪) >>Tom: So will it happen to our first tester? Anu’s car has been up on the hoist for a few short minutes. When she gets the prognosis. >>Most of your stuff is in good shape. >>Okay. >>Tom: The car needs more than an oil change, he says, it needs a brake flush and power steering flush, two procedures that involve time and the complete replacement of fluids. But why? >>Tom: Burning fluid. Just like our insiders talked about. >>Tom: Remember, our expert mechanic has checked out this car and assures us it needs no such work. But in keeping with our test, we give the go-ahead. >>Tom: In reality it takes them half that time. In less than eight minutes, we get the bill. >>Tom: More than 200 bucks? How did that happen? >>Tom: We push for a better explanation and get a better deal in the process. >>Tom: Our tester pays up. And heads back to home base. (♪♪) >>Tom: So how did it go? >>You know what? They were really nice. >>Tom: Can we see the bill? >>Yeah, sure. >>Tom: Nice is nice but our expert mechanic Mark Sach- Anderson says there’s nothing nice about that final bill. In your view, the power steering flush and brake fluid flush were not needed? >>No. The fluids were up. All of this was checked when I had it at my shop. Not three days ago. >>Tom: Not only was the work not needed, Mark suspects it wasn’t done. Given how little time it took. Mark shows us the four points behind the wheels where it would be clear if a brake flush had been carried out. >>There’s so much rust on the back of this bleeder or on the bleeder here, and around the seal, it hasn’t been opened. That tells me that the system’s not flushed. >>Tom: All right, Mark, let’s go to the videotape, shall we, and see what they did. Our videotape confirms Mark’s suspicions. >>Tightening the filter, wiping off any oil. >>Tom: That $90 brake flush never happened. >>Tom: Still nothing on the brakes. >>Nothing on the brakes. >>Tom: Same for the power steering flush. Our hidden hood cam shows no evidence it was performed. >>But reality is you were charged for it. And it wasn’t done. (♪♪) >>Tom: Time for test number two. Our man Ryan is pulling up for his oil change. And who knows what else. >>I’m here for the engine oil change. >>Yeah, no problem. >>Tom: Just like last time, that $20 oil change they advertise becomes 29. >>Tom: And just like last time, it doesn’t end there. After a quick inspection, they tell Ryan he needs more than his oil change. >>Tom: The brakes, again, and the transmission? Our expert, Mark, just did that a few days ago. A messy and lengthy procedure we captured on camera. Our insiders tell us this kind of deception can really add up. >>As much as you didn’t want to do it but at the end of the week when you get a thousand dollar paycheque take home. >>The money was just too good. With a high school education, where are you going to make between 65 and $100,000 a year? >>Tom: Now Ryan is handing over his money at Economy Lube. After just ten minutes of work on his car. >>Tom: On his way with some air fresheners and a bill that stinks. >>Thank you, bye. >>Tom: Back at home base, we have a look. How was it? >>It was, yeah, pricey. >>Tom: We’ll see what you came up with. 218. >>Yeah. >>Tom: You asked for a $20 oil change? >>Right, yeah, I did. >>Tom: $218, Ryan’s bill is ten times when he went in for, including 80 bucks for the transmission. Was that needed? >>No. I just, just did a transmission service on this. >>Tom: That’s what I thought. We check our hidden camera tape to see how they sell that one. >>Tom: There’s that burning fluid line again. Our expert is appalled. >>It did not smelled burned because it was all fresh fluid. But I mean there’s absolutely no way that this service was needed. Good sales pitch. But it’s completely false. It’s almost like a script, it’s almost identical to the service that we had on car number one, the same it’s dirty, it smells. >>Tom: So how about that expensive brake flush? They didn’t actually do it the first time they charged for it, how about this time? Mark checks and says no. They didn’t do a flush? >>They couldn’t have done a flush. >>Tom: Two for two. Two flushes paid for that didn’t happen. (♪♪) >>Tom: Our third and final tester Steve pulls in towards the end of the day to get his oil changed. But will the upsell happen again? The answer comes minutes later. >>Tom: The technician promises to flush out the entire engine block and the radiator, and of course, the braking system. Back at home base… >>Tom: How was it? >>That was the most expensive $19.99 I ever spent. >>Tom: Really? >>Oh, yeah. >>Tom: Let’s see. 251 bucks? Good Lord, that’s the highest of the day. What was the sales pressure like on you? >>They start off sounding like you can choose, but they sort of — they gradually move it into you really should get it, we can do it for you right now. >>Tom: But did they do it? Mark is interested in the full system coolant flush they charged for. He says this car uses a special coolant called dex-cool which is orange. He shows us what’s in the resevoir. >>Look at that, bright green. >>Tom: Bright green. That’s not the proper coolant? >>That’s not the proper coolant for this vehicle. >>Tom: Is what’s in there in here? >>We don’t know that. >>Tom: Mark wants to take a sample from the radiator. He says if an actual flush was done, the fluid coming out will also be green. >>That looks orange to me. Oh, yeah. Look at that. Okay. So that’s coming out of the radiator. >>Tom: Right. >>That is what is throughout the system. What we’ve seen changed here is the stuff in the resevoir and it’s been changed with the wrong stuff. >>Tom: And what does that mean for the vehicle? >>It can cause damage to the sensors, it can cause damage and premature wear inside the engine. We should really be pulling that stuff out of the resevoir before it causes problems. >>Tom: So not only was the coolant publish not needed, it was not done right, causing cross contamination which means we have to fix it. And yet we paid $250. What do you think about what they’ve done? >>Certainly not right. Certainly gives us in the industry a bad name. >>And it’s certainly time to get some answers. >>Tom: Oh. >>What? >>Tom: He’s coming. So after the break, we show up at Economy Lube’s warehouse uninvited. Mr. Moxey, Tom Harrington from “Marketplace.” (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Tom: Our investigation into oil change shops run by Economy Lube takes us to a former investigator himself. >>Let me tell you a little bit about fraud. >>Tom: Mark Simchison used to lead the major fraud division of the Hamilton police. at Economy Lube. we were sold >>Tom: And what our expert mechanic discovered. >>It hasn’t been opened. That tells me that the system’s not flushed. >>Tom: So what’s his verdict? >>I have told people all my life that fraud is theft with a smile. >>Tom: Putting it right out there, you’re saying what they’re doing is fraud? >>If they are charging for, and accepting, money for and receiving money for services that they did not perform that you paid for in all honesty, that’s fraud. >>Tom: And that’s exactly what we found. Time to take our evidence to the top. (♪♪) >>Tom: We’re as close to the lot as we can possibly be so we can see the door. We’re outside Economy Lube warehouse in Cambridge, Ontario. >>He’s in the car sitting. >>Tom: Is he really? >>Yeah. >>Tom: Looking for some answers. Okay, he’s gone in. We’ve already made repeated requests for an on-camera interview with president and founder Steve Moxey. He’s now inside. He backed in with his Range Rover inside that closed door garage door. Given him weeks to think about it. >>So if he sees the camera, I don’t think he’ll come to the door. >>Tom: Right. More details when requested. >>I don’t know exactly how we should proceed because we’re across the parking lot right now. — But Moxey still won’t come on camera. >>Tom: Oh. >>What? >>Tom: He’s coming. >>Do you want to go get him, Tom? >>Tom: Yeah, why don’t we try now. So when we spot the man who greases the wheels at Economy Lube… >>Okay here he comes, he’s out. Just go. Just go. >>Tom: We decide to roll. Mr. Moxey. But Steve Moxey — Tom Harrington from “Marketplace.” — doesn’t want to talk about why his company is ripping people off. (♪♪) >>Tom: A few days later, we reach Moxey by phone and he denies any wrongdoing. >>I have a real hard time believing that you took three cars in and not one of those cars actually had the service done because I’m in stores every day. You know, I could be wrong, you know, it’s a hundred employees, anything’s possible. If it’s in fact the case, I agree with anybody that that is fraudulent. >>Tom: We contact those Economy Lube employees caught by our hidden cameras. This one denies working on any of our test cars. >>There you go, sir. >>Tom: But the other fesses up. >>I’m not proud of it, but that’s how we were taught to do stuff. In that company, you are forced to rip people off basically because all the owner’s looking for is money. If he’s not making money, then you’re no use to him. (♪♪) >>Tom: As for lessons learned in all this. Here’s a few tips from our “Marketplace” survival guide the next time you need an oil change. Familiarize yourself with the service schedule recommended by your car’s manufacturer. They built your car, and probably know best when it needs maintenance. Quick oil change shops are fine for a quick oil change. For anything bigger or unexpected, stick with a mechanic you know you can trust. And finally, be on your toes and know an upsell is coming. That way you won’t be caught offguard by any greasy business. (♪♪)

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  1. This is why you always get a second opinion. Take your car to one mechanic and see what he says and take your car to another and see what he says. One mechanic wanted to charge my parents 1300 to get the A/C fixed and another wanted to charge 400.

  2. Jay Leno rolls up to one of these places in a 2.5 million dollar car just to add some air to a low tire…these guys " yup looks like your going to need a radiator flush and new blinker fluid" hahahah

  3. Montgomery WARDs used to scam. Like this. They will change the oil but put add on's to your bill saying that if they go under your hood and the car leaves damaged they could be held liable so they HAVE to fix it and Charge the customer a great deal of money.

  4. Do a piece on Precision Garage/Elite of pheonix same ethics .Owner name is Charan.You could bust them hard….Ratings gold

  5. You know these live shops are total rip offs. With that said a lot of what the “expert mechanic” said was total BS as well. Like when he said he completely flushed the trans system…. lol when you take the pan out it only drains roughly 4 quarts when the trans actually holds approx. 10-15 quarts so you can service it and it is possible that it still will be dirty. All I’m saying is they did a poor job to prove their case although we know the live shops did rip them off. Also the dexcool coolant top off job they did would no way harm the engine or sensors as he said. Just because it’s not dexcool, doesn’t mean the fluid they used didn’t meet or exceed the dexcool requirement. Which obviously they didn’t even do, which is less of an impact. I’m just sick of these videos that make Mechanic’s look bad without the proper facts. They totally relied on a very ill informed tech as their expert.

  6. The exact same crap that I was told the last time I took my car to a local mechanic shop. Sold a $20 oil change and supposedly found $1500 worth of things that needed work including the famous power steering flush and cooling system drain and fill. Luckily, I'm the type of person who remains skeptical when people tell me things that I'm supposed to believe. Strangely enough they supposedly finished an oil change, fluid fill and a 30 point inspection in like 15 minutes. Then I decided to get a second opinion and I was told that most of the items on the list were not necessary. My 3rd opinion also confirmed that local mechanic shops only rip you off. So from this point on, I'm only dealing with people I know whenever I need my vehicle worked on.

  7. happy to see this video out there. Businesses like this see this video and cringe, hahaha. my guess, the 10K thumbs down do this for a living or are related somehow.

  8. They changed the oil only but not the filter and in three months 😒😡 you have to do it again, happened to me and what I did I painted the filter hidden area with nail polish, I went back to complain they denied everything, so I asked to remove the filter and aha 😅 long story 😂

  9. I took my car to Jiffy Lube to get an oil change and was told I needed a new air filter. Sorry, nope. When I told them I'd change it at home, there didn't seem to be a big issue. But, while I was sitting in the waiting room during the oil change, one of the mechanics walks in with an air filter and sets it in my lap. "You need a new air filter!" Talk about pressure tactics. Still turned them down though. First and last time I ever used Jiffy Lube

  10. How the heck on earth do you even get an oil change for only $20.00??? Come on guys… Come over to my country you will faint once your bill is given ha ha ha… For a small service : ~$200.00, Normal Service ~$350.00 and for Major service all fluids replaced is ~$500.00 + That's the truth!!! Only in Vanuatu…

  11. I was screwed by Valvoline oil change place. I needed just an oil change. Short story: They never changed the oil or the filter and charged me $80.00 for the privilege. Thanks to them, I now change my oil and filter for less than 1/2 of what those crooks charge. You got me once guys, but NEVER again!

  12. It's a shame that these guys are so crooked.. Unfortunately it makes us all look bad. Where I worked( G.M. dealership for 25 years), we treated our customers cars like they were our mom's car. We never did any shady crap like this.. sad..

  13. mechanics and doctors they all read the same book is there're no broken cars or sick people they don't make money

  14. There was a car shoo around the corner from where I used to live called Vavaline that did this often to my mom's car.

  15. I saw one of these similar exposes where the TV station had a car thoroughly gone over and then they unplugged one vacuum line causing the car to throw a code.  They took it to 3 or 4 different shops and all but one tried to rip them off with a faked diagnosis.  One shop however the mechanic saw the unplugged line, plugged it back in and wouldn't take any money.  When asked what he was owed he simply said "Remember us when you really need service".

  16. I'm glad they do these types of vidoes but I feel as though there should have been legal action taken against that business. They literally have theft on tape, 3 times.

  17. It is a techs job to make you aware of your manufacturers recommendations, adn if that location offers the service, and if the customer would like to have it done. Its the customers choice, this is just another dried up media scam to have you thinking people cant be trusted.

  18. Awesome! Once again a whole industry gets a bad reputation due to a few crooks. Thank you for sharing this information. I will be more careful next time I go for an oil change.

  19. Oil change customers are of the same ilk of people that go to car washing // detailing business —
    Lazy bum chumps. 🤑🤑

  20. I manage a repair shop and yes we recommend services based on mileage and the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance. I don’t consider these things up sells. These are things people should be getting done if they want their vehicles to last longer and run more efficient. Keep up with the maintenance some money now less money in the long run. You change your oil at specific intervals for a reason. The other fluids should be changed also at the recommended intervals.

  21. U did a great job welcome to reality not just oil change everything is same
    Business is a polished way of cheating

  22. لماذا لايخجل المرء في دعم هكذا انظمة ارهابية دموية ؟؟؟هذا احتقار للانسانية جمعاء ان كنتم فعلا بشر

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_zbI5q9rCU&t=90s

  23. لماذا لايخجل المرء في دعم هكذا انظمة ارهابية دموية ؟؟؟هذا احتقار للانسانية جمعاء ان كنتم فعلا بشر

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_zbI5q9rCU&t=90s

  24. لماذا لايخجل المرء في دعم هكذا انظمة ارهابية دموية ؟؟؟هذا احتقار للانسانية جمعاء ان كنتم فعلا بشر

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_zbI5q9rCU&t=90s

  25. لماذا لايخجل المرء في دعم هكذا انظمة ارهابية دموية ؟؟؟هذا احتقار للانسانية جمعاء ان كنتم فعلا بشر

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_zbI5q9rCU&t=90s

  26. لماذا لايخجل المرء في دعم هكذا انظمة ارهابية دموية ؟؟؟هذا احتقار للانسانية جمعاء ان كنتم فعلا بشر

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_zbI5q9rCU&t=90s

  27. لماذا لايخجل المرء في دعم هكذا انظمة ارهابية دموية ؟؟؟هذا احتقار للانسانية جمعاء ان كنتم فعلا بشر

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_zbI5q9rCU&t=90s

  28. They were happy to rip off customers for years…but didnt like it when they were ripped off themselves (Through Wages)….so now they blow the whistle? Scum… all of them.

  29. Up selling is not ripping you off; it is your choice to accept or not. Not getting what you paid for or being told you need parts and or labor for no reason is.

  30. I know the jiffy lube at king city Oregon. One of the techs put a screw driver in the radiator and the poor girl still had to buy 300 bucks of parts.

  31. Man if they told me its 218 when i came for 20 i would just take my car and leave… noone can stop you tbh you didnt want a full on check

  32. Ok. If an everyday person goes into a store and steals, the forces of law and order come down hard on them. So a business is caught RED HANDED stealing money from people, why aren't these SOBs in jail and their stores closed?! Because they are a business they have a license to steal? It should NOT be let the buyer beware, it should be let the seller beware. Punish those criminals!!

  33. I’ve seen where the crooked Lube Garage puts tiny bits of metal in the oil sample then shows you. “You’ve got a problem here.”

  34. 11:08 "You know what? They were really nice". What. A. Moron. How could she say that knowing they're robbing her blind.

  35. "Right our wrongs and bring awareness to what's going on" Oh ok so did these mavericks return the money they've been scamming people? Oh they did not you say? I'm sorry but it doesn't take courage to whistleblow on a job you're working on anymore.

  36. Any mechanics that is trying to sale isnt a mechanic if you go in for a oil change you should only be given the price of an oil change

  37. My girlfriend just went thru one of these horrible experiences. She went in to a local "purrfect auto" to get one of these "economy" oil changes and came out with a blown head and needing a transmission flush. Mother fuckers changed her oil with old reused recycled watered down oil. I was pissed.

  38. I would like to see some fraud check under cover work going on at some wireless phone companies. Especially Verizon Wireless!

  39. Here's a little tip, You can legally say no to their advice. Chances are there's nothing else wrong. Shocking, I know

  40. …..uhhh …..maybe next time …. I gotta go ….. write that down I'll call …. all better answers than ok , if I need it 🤔

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