March 1, 2000
Mr. Tim Debrocke, General Manager
1301 N. Arizona Ave.
Gilbert, Arizona 85223
Dear Mr. Debrocke,
The purpose of this letter is to call your attention to what appears to be abuses of your status as a sales and service agent for Dodge and other vehicles.
To maintain a perception of Earnhardt's as a trustworthy business
enterprise, you are in need of revising your present business plan of APPARENTLY abusing the trust of your service customers with an innocuous postal card invitation to stop in for a minor 30,000 mile maintenance check up. (See copy of card listing, checking four items plus an oil change and tire rotation). This little innocuous card in my case generated a service invoice in the amount of $537.94. (Invoice 460750 of 10 January 2000).
Please consider the following items of contention and acceptance:
1. Evacuating the refrigerant from the air conditioning system and then reinstalling same. The air conditioner was operating entirely satisfactorily. This procedure is ludicrous, beyond belief. ($41.91)
2. The untruthfulness of indicating, on the service report, that the brake linings were 90% worn (10% remaining). Whereas subsequent inspection indicated they were somewhat less than two-thirds worn. That report is blatant dishonesty and is obviously set forth as a method of "trolling" for a $400.00 plus brake repair job.
3. Brakes - adjust rear and inspect front. Good show, if the evaluation had been honest. (See #2) $26.89
4. Rotate tires ($19.36) This is really "double dipping" since you already have the wheels off to visually inspect the brakes, so how much longer does it take to move four wheels and tires to different positions? In a tire shop, using an air impact wrench the average technician can rotate 4 tires and standard wheels in less than 5 minutes, then add 5 minutes to run the lift up and down. ($19.65)
5. Filter and Engine oil - Worthwhile service! You have a winner here. ($21.95)
6. Fuel filter - Avenger - There was no indication that he fuel filter was in need of replacement at 32,000 miles, except it generates income for Earnhardt's. ($103.77)
7. Engine decarbon - maintenance. No problem was evident. Spray a little water in the air intake would do it instead of $21.00 fuel injector cleaner. You would like to cite improved gas mileage?? It would take 60,000 miles to amortize the service charge of ($43.89).
8. Fuel injection flush maintenance ($66.95). You have already given the engine a shot of that all purpose "fuel injection cleaner" (see #7). Also modern fuel additives keep the injectors clean. This is an income generating farce, particularly since no prior problem was indicated. ($66.95)
9. "Throttle body wash" - Come on fellows!! You are really getting carried away. ($64.77)
10. Air filter replacement ($26.90) Good show in a dusty climate.
11. Automatic Transmission Service - ($80.24) An acceptable item, though actually not needed at 32,000 miles and you are somewhat "pricey" on this service. Actually, clarity, color and level of the fluid indicates any need for service. It was all fine when I checked it 2 weeks earlier. Transmission specialists (with no financial interest) will indicate that there is no need to service the average automatic transmission before 50,000 miles, if then. It is a sealed system with
no combustion contaminants. Most automatic transmissions will function satisfactorily for more than 100,000 miles with no service.
I realize that you have several hundred new cars on your sales lot at any given time, a multi-million dollar investment, and investments must earn interest for the investor. You also have an attractive sales department and well equipped service facility, but I personally do not wish to help pay interest on the money invested in your large sales stock nor advertising budget nor flamboyant business style and "THAT'S NO BULL"!
There are fortunately, in place, a few legal, moral and ethical avenues of redress for trusting consumers who have been victimized by "shoddy" business practices. In this particular case, being "snookered" to the tune of $537.94 for routine maintenance service that should not have exceeded $150.00 at the most.
Considering the computerization of auto components and complexity of current and recent models of automobiles, the average consumer cannot possibly evaluate the necessity of various maintenance procedures, recommended, but has more and more a need to rely on the honesty and integrity and sound business practices of a chosen repair facility.
At the present, under the circumstances, you are not even on my short list of such establishments.
To indicate your degree of contrition, desire to improve and concern about my expressed concerns, I am going to suggest that you make, in my name, a charitable $500.00 contribution to a very worthwhile volunteer, non profit neighborhood assistance program, namely, NEIGHBORS WHO CARE in Sun Lakes. Better still bring your charitable contribution in person to Neighbors Who Care and meet the dedicated volunteers and Director, Barbara Moore. You will be impressed and entranced with what they
accomplish in selfless community service. Phone number is 480-895-7133.
The only portion of this proposal that is negotiable is the amount of the donation. More is Better!
So let us talk this matter over so it can be resolved in an amicable fashion, with no further publicity rather than resorting to more stringent measures such as "small claims court" or a contact with Ed with the badbusinessbureau.com, and his web site "The Rip Off Report" (see enclosed).
I thank you for your time and consideration, realizing the many demands on your time required to command the endeavors of "THE WORLD'S LARGEST AUTO RETAILER."
Sun Lakes, Arizona
P.S. You may wish to run this by Hal J. Earnhardt III.