The Midas " Touch"

I   
have been waiting for a couple months to make this page ... waiting for my front wheel bearing to start making noise again. It hasn't. This means that the Hyundai dealer to whom I entrusted it ... did indeed fix the problem. They did so reliably for about $260 (left front wheel bearing). That's a lot of money for a bearing (mostly labor) ... but ... they fixed it correctly.

I can't say the same for Midas Muffler. That's where I took it first in order to avoid high labor costs and a long drive to deliver the car. They said they would replace the front wheel bearings and hubs for $462.

I should have gone to the dealer first ... but ... I needed the car fast ... the dealer was too far away ... they were absolutely confident that they coud fix it ... AND MOST IMPORTANTLY ... I had never had trouble with Midas Muffler before.

Well .................... that ain't the case no mo'.

I suppose I should have had misgivings when they suggested that I replace both bearings when only one was making the noise. But then again, it is customary to change both on the premise that if one is bad the other ought to be ready for replacement as well. Still, I should have known. I've been taken to the cleaners before and know the drill. It just seems that for every fraud I catch another escapes me and I get burned again. These frauds are rampant and in every business in general.

In fact, the customer should always assume that a fraud is about to be perpetrated on him (I mean here intentional criminal fraud) ... until proven otherwise. There is so much of this that you must assume the business guilty until proven innocent ... the opposite of what you are philosophically accustomed to. This applies to big name corporations as well as fly-by-night outfits.

It costs money to police your own corporation. That money is better spent on golf outings and power lunches. It is only when the fraud becomes rampant that the company executives must take notice and find the appropriate scapegoats ... and get the spin doctors to attend to their "embarrassments". Then it's back to golf.

The Midas Fraud - my experience

  • Well, I give 'em my car on 05-17-00
    after they show on hoist the source of the noise.
    "Well, I guess I'll have to take it to the dealer."
    "Noooooo ... We can do that here."
  • Next day, "It's ready"
  • I whips out my plastic. Drive away ... and ...
  • It's still making the same damn noise.
    Not a similar noise ... the exact same noise.
  • Back to Midas ...
    "Well, it was OK just a few minutes ago when I drove it."
  • Another test drive ... "See?" says I.
  • "Leave it here tonight and we'll fix you up. Don't worry."
  • Misgivings ... but ... they already have my money. "OK"
  • Next day. Runs fine. I'm happy. No noise ... except just a little ... maybe 1/100 th of what it was before ... but it's the same type noise ... or is it? ... I don't know ... Little noise goes away next day.
  • One month later noise back.
    Same noise ... same place ... same thing.
  • Straight to Hyundai dealer next day 06-18-00
  • Changed one left front wheel bearing $260
  • It is now 08-27-00 (now 10-16-00 and still no noise)
    (more than two months after the dealer fixed it)
    No noise after fix ... nothing now. It's fixed.
  • My analysis

    The first day Midas had my car ... they did nothing at all ... and had the criminal audacity to charge me for work not even attempted. They couldn't have replace the bearing (even with a used one) or it wouldn't have sounded exactly like that same noise. There would have been some difference. Something!

    The second day, they globbed it with heavy grease. This concealed the noise for the most part but left the "little bitty noise of the same type" that I noticed. After a day of wearing in, the grease got into the deepest reaches of the bearing and silenced it completely.

    After a month, the grease was lost or burned out by friction and the bearing noise returned. In effect they charged me $462 for a

    Grease Job

    OK ... here's some grease from me.

    
    
    
    Midas Muffler
    618 E. Hwy 303
    Grand Prairie, Tx 75051

    
    
    
    In fairness to Midas Corp. I should say that they aren't the only crooked corp in the US. The exception is the honest one. Like ... Discount Tire ... I have never had trouble there ... but then they only sell and install tires (out where you can "see" the problem).

    Hmmmm ... Pep Boys ... wait an minute. They once put my car on their computer and it showed that I needed a new carburetor $450 ... I put some carburetor cleaner in it instead ($2) and it ran for two more years ... AND ... last time I went they said I needed $500 worth of AC hoses ... so I took it to the dealer and they fixed it for $70 and no hoses (maybe they just tightened the fittings, eh?) ...

    Maybe Cottman Transmission? ... No way man. They "fixed" my transmission problem by changing wheel bearings ... ostensibly the same ones Midas later changed again ... to no effect of course. Another 400+dollars down the tube. [It's quite possible that these characters didn't do anything at all and just charged me for work not done - like Midas.]

    One of the prime reasons for auto-maintenance fraud is the necessity of getting auto insurance on the individual car. Even if you're not driving it, you have to pay much more for two cars. So you can't reasonably keep a spare while you "shop around" and mull the problem over with your friends and look for answers on the internet, etc. You've got to get it fixed now ... to get to work, etc. Here's where a lack of knowledge hurts you and favors the business-criminal element.

    My advice to those with car trouble.

    Unless you know exactly what the problem is, prepare to take it up the poop chute. These criminals will take you for every penny they can.

    An honest mechanic will be proud of his work and will actually "want" to show you the defective part if possible (it's his trophy of accomplishment). In any case, always ask for the defective part(s). True, they could do a switch or just get another bad part to hand you ... but only if they have one on hand. If possible watch them. Or, catch them while they're working on the car and ask questions. Or, I intend to do this sometime ... get a very small tape recorder and hide it in the car. See what they're saying when they work on your car. Like ... "How much whould we f__K this jerk for, Jimmy?" It'll be a hoot, sure.

    If you go to a specialty shop, don't allow them to do anything other than their specialty, i.e. if tire shop - then only tires ... if muffler shop - then only mufflers. The corp to which they are affiliated may be able to hold them in line on that (maybe) ... but what they do on their own ... well,

    you're on your own

    Needless to say, I will never go to Midas Muffler again ... even for a muffler ... time to give another crook a chance ;o)

    
    
    Addendum 03/18/03: A female reader (Vk in Ak) wrote to me today ...

    After a random internet search for "crooked midas" I came across the description of your Midas rip off experience. They shafted you on 5-17-00, and just recently a Midas in AK did the same to me as well on 2-20-02.

    My experience was similiar to yours. My car was idling irregularly and stalling. I took it to Midas and their diagnoses after hooking it up to their computer was that my car needed a basic tune up and part replacements. That was for $619. They called in the afternoon, said my car was running great and it's ready for pick up. Before the commencement of repairs, I told the salesmen that I wanted my old parts and he said he would save them for me. When picking up my car, I see that the box of old parts he promised was not inside my vehicle. Their shop was already closed but I was able to get a mechanic's attention through their garage window. I asked for my parts, he found them in the garage and before handing them over went on a short rendition of each part's demise.

    On my short 4 mile drive home, my car does the same thing. Nothing had been fixed and it's symptoms were exactly the same.

    I take it back to the same shop early next morning and tell the manager that absolutely nothing has been fixed. He tells me it maybe a couple hours before they can take a look at it and if I want a drive home. I opt to wait in the lobby. I overhear the salesmen, that had spoken to me the previous day, talking about today's business over the phone. He says, "Today we got slammed. Just finishing up a couple of brake jobs left over from yesterday and taking care of the problem child."

    An hour later the manager waves me in back with a plastered bleach white smile on his face. I'm lead to my vehicle and am told that they found the cause of the problem, again. But this time it's the electronic ignition coil. They tell me they'll be really nice this time and not charge me for labor only the part cost. I agree to nothing and the mechanic replaces the part after going on a long spiel. The car stalls in their garage as I'm backing it out for a test drive. My car stays at their garage while they send me off home.

    That afternoon, they call.

    Apparently after performing a through throttle body cleaning, the problem has been fixed. The mechanic tells me it's ready for pick up. As I'm approaching the Midas shop, I see my a mechanic get in my car and drive off. I enter the shop already knowing what their going to tell me, my car has not been fixed. They want to keep it over night. I email the Midas Corporation that night about their incompetent mechanics in AK. Saturday morning, with a mini recorder in my pocket, I speak to the manager and demand a refund and my car returned to me with my original coil. He doesn't acknowledge the refund part but I do get my car back and my old coil with the new one still in my car.

    My car limps to the next place I have in mind, an independent shop that specializes in my car make. I discovered them after research I did the previous night. They fixed my car with a radiator replacement for $280. They also informed me that my throttle body was tampered with what looked like an attempt to raise the idle speed, they tell me it's not a major concern but my car will probably run a little rough as a result. They also inspected my old parts and confirmed that replacement was unnecessary. I got that in writing. I called Midas Corp. on 3-6-03 and filed a complaint but am told that resolution will have to take place with the franchise involved and that my complaint will be forwarded to them and take they will contact me. My call hasn't been returned. Other actions of recourse are to follow. This has been another Midas tale of their crooked touch.


    EBTX reply ...

    Excellent horror story!
    From several like experiences I've concluded that I will always take my car to the dealer that sells that type of car. (Except for simple oil changes)
    I've been ripped off for the last time by chain outlets like Midas. The dealer has a vested interest in doing the job right cause he wants to sell you another car. Now I have a Honda and couldn't be more pleased with the car and service I get. They even have coffee and donuts if you have to wait.
    Dealer prices are higher ... but ... you only have to do the job once ... so actually they end up being cheaper.

    
    
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