An ongoing NBC4 I-Team investigation finds what insiders say are two specific tricks used at some Jiffy Lube shops to inflate a customer's bill. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 15, 2013.
What draws many customers to one of Jiffy Lubes 2,000 stores nationwide is the promise of a cheap oil change.
So, why is that by the time some customers leave the shop, their bill is sometimes hundreds of dollars?
Insiders at the nation’s largest car repair chain told NBC4 that some Jiffy Lube stores use specific tricks to inflate a customer’s bill.
As part of an ongoing I-Team investigation, NBC4 took a 2000 Lexus, outfitted with hidden cameras, to a Jiffy Lube shop in Silverlake for their advertised $27.99 oil change.
But the service advisor said our car needed a more expensive type of oil, saying that synthetic oil is recommended for Lexus models made in 2000 and later. That upsell nearly tripled the cost of the oil change to $80.
But Lexus told us it recommends regular oil for the car we were trying to service.
“They assume that every customer is dumb and that they don’t know anything about cars, and that is why they sell what they sell,” said a former Jiffy Lube manager, who wished to remain anonymous.
Another trick used by some Jiffy Lube stores, insiders say, is offering “free services” to get customers to agree to a package of repairs. But those services aren’t really free.
At a Jiffy Lube in Bellflower, a service advisor told our undercover customer they would replace the wiper blades “for free,” after pushing $705 dollars of services.
But on our final bill, there was a charge for those wiper blades. And there was a charge for a Jiffy Lube Rewards Club card. We were never told about the card charge, which Jiffy Lube said is against its policy.
An insider said he estimates “more than half of the customers are cheated on a day-to-day basis,” which he blamed on “pressure to sell” from company supervisors.
Jiffy Lube told NBC4 it is investigating the details of our investigation and will share those results with us in a week or two.
In a statement, the company said:
“We take all allegations regarding technician performance at our franchise service centers seriously, and encourage customers who are dissatisfied with their service to contact us.”