Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00

EZ Lube shops under investigation by BAR

Disciplinary action that may result in the suspension or revocation of the Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) registrations of 76 Southern California EZ Lube auto repair shops, by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). This marks the largest BAR investigation in recent history against an independently-owned automotive repair corporation. 

In a 176-page Accusation, BAR charges EZ Lube shops with numerous violations of the Automotive Repair Act, including charging for parts and services that were not needed and in some cases not provided, making false or misleading statements, and departure from accepted trade standards.

The legal action follows a number of consumer complaints, including information from a local news report, and a two-year investigation in which BAR used fifty-one (51) undercover vehicles to gather evidence of 640 alleged violations.

"With the technological advances in the design of today's automobile, maintenance services have become an increasingly important market for the automotive repair industry," says Wayne Ramos, head of the Bureau's Automotive Repair Investigative Branch. "Unfortunately, it has also become an area in which consumers can easily fall prey to deceptive business practices. To protect themselves, consumers should know their vehicle manufacturers' recommended maintenance services and mileage intervals. That information is in the owner's manual."

EZ Lube responds

EZ Lube said that allegations made by the Bureau of Automotive Repair are flat-out wrong and libelous.

"The allegations made by the BAR are old news. The television report and investigation relied upon by BAR took place almost three years ago" said Skip Miller of MillerBarondess, LLP, attorneys for the company.

"As the BAR and everybody else knows, EZ Lube sells services and products based on a car's mileage. This is what is required by the owners' manual and by law. The BAR's allegations to the contrary are as phony as a three dollar bill.

"The company has taken significant steps to avoid just the abuses BAR is talking about. Managers and employees undergo rigorous training programs and where mistakes are identified -- either through on-the-spot inspections by a Mystery Shopper or daily customer satisfaction phone surveys -- they are corrected. And just to be sure they are doing it right, EZ Lube takes any complaints to an experienced independent automotive inspector certified as a Master Tech by the ASE (Automotive Society of Engineers).

"EZ Lube is committed to providing the highest performance standards of any automotive maintenance organization in the State. This commitment, and the programs they have instituted to back it up, have enabled EZ Lube to maintain a loyal customer base and the highest rate of repeat business in our industry."

EZ Lube has the right to an administrative hearing at which to contest the charges.


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