• Report:  #1224

Complaint Review: PepBoys - Littleton Colorado

Reported By:
- Highlands Ranch, CO,

7469 Park Meadows Drive Littleton, 80124 Colorado, U.S.A.
(303) 754-0010
Tell us has your experience with this business or person been good? What's this?
Dateline February 10, 2000:

George, Pep Boy's District Manager, called and said that he had interviewed everyone at the (Higlands Ranch) Pep Boys Automotive Service Center who was involved in this matter. I was told that he felt we were treated fairly and that the work they did was necessary. He also went into a great deal of detail justifying their use of the Mitchell service manual. He admitted that they charged me for the labor time it would take a less experienced (mediocre) mechanic to do the work, not for the time the ASE certified master mechanic who worked on the car actually spent on this particular job. In other words, the labor charges were based not on the actual labor time, but on some hypothetical time scale established for each individual task performed by an individual with med-level experience. He also

- spoke of Rip-Off Revenge's involvment in this matter;

- apologized for any inconvenience they may have caused us;

- said Pep Boys would do whatever I asked in order to resolve this matter.

As such, Pep Boys and I settled the dispute over labor charges associated with work they performed on my step-daughter's car on February 5 and 6, 2000.

The amount we settled for is confidential; however, I am satisfied with the result.

Without the help and intervention of RipOff Revenge, I believe that Pep Boys would not have contacted me as soon as they did nor would they have offered to settle this matter for "customer satisfaction" reasons or otherwise. Again, as George put it to me, they feel perfectly justified (using the Mitchell service guide) in charging for labor time based on some mythical mid-level experienced mechanic, not on the time it actually took their highly experienced mechanic to perform each task or job. Keep this in mind when you take your car in to any repair/service shop that utilizes the same technique for assessing labor charges. The safe bet is to try to negotiate labor charges based upon the lesser of the actual labor time multiplied by the flat hourly rate vs. the labor charges recommended by the Mitchell service guide.

Thank you RipOff Revenge.

[email protected]


Dateline February 9, 2000:

I got a telephone call from George, the local District Manager for Pep Boys. George and I discussed the problem(s) which are addressed below. He said that he needed more time to review the applicable invoice and would get back to me later in the day; however, I did not receive any more telephone calls.


Dateline, February 5, 2000. After several attempts at trying to control what appeared to be a minor oil hemorrhage, and at my suggestion, my step-daughter agreed to take her 1992 Ford Taurus Station Wagon into the Pep Boys Automotive Center located at 7469 Park Meadows Drive, Littleton, Colorado. After receiving the appropriate "What can we do for you?" greeting, I proceeded to request an oil and filter change with the proviso that we wanted to know where the mysterious oil leak or leaks were emanating from. The charge for the evaluation was $19.95, for which no credit was allowed when the actual service took place. I asked to be contacted at home with an estimate for repairing the "leak(s)" prior to the commencement of any work on the car. The check-in time was 9:18 a.m.

At approximately 10:00 a.m. we received a telephone call from Mr. Peterson at Pep Boys. I asked the obvious question, "What did you find wrong?" Mr. Peterson rattled off a plethora of problems, the most troubling of which included (1) the automatic transmission seal was leaking and is potentially hazardous because it is flammable; (2) the oil pan seal was leaking; (3) both high pressure hoses attached to the power steering pump were leaking; and (4) fan belt attached to the power steering pump was badly cracked. "How much?" I asked. The answer, "$721.00."

After a pregnant pause and several minutes of discussion with my wife, I reluctantly gave permission for the work to be done. I was not, however, provided with a break-down of the parts vs. labor cost involved. I trusted the information I was given and the person delivering that information. The time was approximately 10:06 a.m. according to the call log on our work order/invoice.

According to our work order/invoice, the repairs to the car were completed at or about 3:05 p.m. on the afternoon of February 5, 2000. Pep Boys called to let us know the car was finished and my wife and step-daughter, the owner of the car, went to pay for the service and retrieve the car. The total cost for the repairs/work performed was a whopping $744.01, excluding sales tax.

Shortly after my wife and step-daughter returned home, I discovered a pool of red transmission fluid under the car. There also appeared to be other leaks which were not there before. After uttering a few explicatives, I contacted the service center at Pep Boys and relayed the problem to them. Not seeming too distressed about the situation, they told me in a less than concerned manner to bring the car back. I made it very clear that we would return the vehicle on Sunday, February 6, 2000 for them to re-fix the problem.

In addition, here in Colorado, any time a car is repaired and parts are removed and replaced, the customer is to be given the old parts - or so I thought. When I asked where the old parts were, Pep Boys told me they only give parts back if a customer asks for them. My wife and step-daughter were not asked if they wanted the old parts nor did they think to ask for them when the car was picked up. This seems a clear violation of, if nothing else, the spirit of the law.

Dateline, February 6, 2000. My step-daughter and I dropped off the car, again, at Pep Boys. Prior to leaving, we attempted to make a case against the outrageous labor charges using logic and reason, but were unsuccessful. The Assistant Store Manager, Larry, and the Assistant Service Manager tried to make a case for their use of the "Mitchell" method of calculating labor time and charges and insisted that $92.00/hour is reasonable.

My assessment of the "Mitchell" method utilized by Pep Boys is that it provides automotive repair businesses with a deceptive method of calculating labor charges and a license to steal. Given the fact that Pep Boys prides itself on its well trained and highly qualified mechanics - all ASE certified, how do they justify charging customers for mediocre labor using such highly qualified personnel. In a nutshell, if the book says 12 hours and it take the mechanic 6 hours, you still pay for 12 hours. What's wrong with this picture? What happened to that flat hourly rate? According to Larry, it's fair because the job could have taken three (3) days instead of 6 hours and the charge would have been the same. If a 6 hour job took one of their mechanics three (3) days to complete, how long do you believe that mechanic would have a job at Pep Boys?

We were called by the store to come back and take a look under the car and to be shown where the new parts were installed. I looked at the gasket seals around the oil pan and automatic transmission fluid pan. We found some ATF around the pan, but they and we did not make a solid determination about where the fluid was coming from. They presumed that it was residual oil from the drain and fill on 02/05/2000. The mechanic hosed off the front end of the car hoping to wash/flush away the residual ATF and other fluids. He also added power steering fluid w/conditioner to the power steering pump to quiet the noise which suddenly appeared after the high pressure hoses were replaced. They blamed Ford saying the noise is endemic to its power steering pumps - hmmmm! We also managed to retrieve the old parts taken off the car.

The only compensation we were offered was a free oil change for all our trouble. A $19.00 oil change doesn't quite compensate for the damage done to my driveway or the sheer inconvenience of having to spend another half day trying to get the car re-fixed.

Keep in mind, the party from whom the car was purchased is a manager with a major dealership in the Denver metro area. According to this gentlemen, he personally oversaw the flush and refill of both the oil as well as the transmission fluid just prior to the car being purchased in November, 1999. He said that a brand new transmission fluid pan seal and screen was used and did not believe that either the seal or screen needed replacement. The fluid which we noticed leaking from the car was clear or murky, not red - hmmmmm!

The bottom line. Total time for repairs, not including the hour to perform the oil leak diagnostic, was approximately 5.0 hours. We were billed $190.77 for parts and $553.24 for labor. Total labor charge/hours worked = labor charge per hour. $553.24/6 = $92.21 per hour. Per Larry, the Assistant Manager, they charge $48.00/hour for labor, but according to the mechanic that worked on the car, the charge is $65.00/hour. Assuming $48.00/hour is correct, $48.00 X 6 = $288.00. $288.00 + 190.77 = $478.77, $265.24 less than the $744.01 we were charged. Assuming the mechanic was paid $20.00/hour, Pep Boys achieved a gross profit margin on labor alone of approximately 460%.

My advice, steer clear of Pep Boys Automotive Service Centers.

3 Updates & Rebuttals


United States of America
the trouth about mitchel labor rates

#2UPDATE Employee

Mon, October 04, 2010

First off let me say that some mis-information may be the culprit here. The Mitchell labor estimating guide is not the endall to what is an appropriate time a job can be performed in. Also there are 2 labor rates for each job, a warrantee rate and a standard rate. The warantee rate is based on how much time a part takes to replace at the factory on the actual assembly line, not an easy time to beat as the part is already accessable. The standard rate on the other hand is derived by technitians useing only hand tools (IE no electric or air driven tools of any kind). these times are allways being updated and are very accurate, also these repairs are being done by highly skilled professionals, and the use of a stop watch is employed. when the tech is finished with one step the time is stopped, until the tool is selected for the second step of the repair procedure anbd that step is timed...rinse and repeat till repair is completed...a tedious process. 

No job that calls for 4 hours can be done in one hour, that is just embellishmsnt, even on my best day in over 22 years experience, my productivity has never been over 200%. That means for any job that calls for an hour I have been consistantly beating that time by half, using air and electric tools, that I have spent a small fortune on, so I could beat the labor rates.

There are many such labor guides available , however Mitchell is used by Ford, GM and Chrysler dealers, at least in the Detroit metro area.

In summation, as time is a mechanics enemy we invest heavily in tools, education and the experience we gain to shorten the time it takes to perform certain tasks. My education cost me 22,000 18 years ago and I have a tool chest worth more than the average home in any midwest state. So do not use labor estimating guides as a focus for bashing a companys service charges, there are and will always be disputes on labor times, even simple mistakes during the lookup of a particular job, however those are human errors at time of service, and at least at my location easily credited when found.

First of all i'm not and idiot! *EDitor's Comment to this REBUTTAL


Thu, January 03, 2002

They filed the following rebuttal to the above Rip-Off Report:

Their email: [email protected]
Their name: Mike

Their relationship to the company: Devotee

First of all i'm not and idiot! I tried to explain how the Mitchell Guide works. And we are not a bucnch of monkeys like you stater Mr Editor. I will conceed there are some shady places to have your car repaired. And Pepboys is not always right. No one is. And if you were so mechnically inclined Mr. Editor you might take a look under the hood of your own vehicle and try to fix it yourself. No you wouldn't try because you havent got a clue! You probably dont even know where your owners manual is!!
I didn't say the Mitchell Guide was "LAW" it is a guide used by most every repair shop.

Now as for your repair and them telling you could not take the car for another 3 or 4 hours because the book said so is just plain stupid. And obviously you werein the wrong place to begin with.

So step down off the horse you rode on Mr. "High and Mighty" and think about things a little more. Instead of banging me for your re;re;rebutal.

In short take you vehicle to the dealer for all your repairs and see if you still feel the same way!!!!! Because the charge you for everything including wiper blade installation!!!!!

EDitor's Comment to the above REBUTTAL

Not only have I never looked under the hood of my car, but I never even changed a tire on a car. I never kept a car that long I would have to do so. You're right again. I never look at an owner's manual. My time is too valuable.

Here is a copy and paste of what you said about the Mitchell guide, .."For any corporation run repair shop it is illegal to use anything other than the Mitchell Guide" ..you say it's illegal. What does that mean? There must be a law involved if it is illegal. It is this type of double talk that gets you in this type of trouble. The same BS double you give to the consumer as to what repairs are needed. Talking BS becomes a way of life. I understand.

There is absolutely nothing I said or do here at the Rip-off Report that even suggests that I think I'm high and mighty! I've spent my time helping consumers, mostly without compensation over the last 3 years and the web site helps thousands of consumers a week save money from all types of rip-offs.

I usually use dealers for all my repairs. Dealers screw you one way while the other Fortune 500 shops (the chains) screw you another way. Question is, who is screwing the consumer more? At least dealers screw you with competent mechanics.

[email protected]

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Make sure they make the Rip-off Report!

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The Mitchell Guide is used by everyone in the automotive repair *EDitor's Comment to this drivel. ..is it a Guide or a Law?


Wed, January 02, 2002

They filed the following rebuttal to the above Rip-Off Report:

Their email: [email protected]
Their name: mike

Their relationship to the company: Devotee (PepBoys employee)

The Mitchell Guide is used by everyone in the automotive repair, not just by Pepboys. For any corporation run repair shop it is illegal to use anything other than the Mitchell Guide. It is what it is..a guide. It is the average time needed based on the experience and the repair at hand are how the times are assessed. Now there have be instances on where the Guide
has been incorrect. And most times it favors the owner of the vehiclein for repair.

I work for the same company and I have lost money doing jobs and I have made money also. When the guide is wrong the person quoting the job should know and make the neccessary adjustments prior to informing the customer to the cost of the repair. Also, just because the book says it takes an hour for the repair doesnt always mean it will take an hour. Some times it takes less and some times longer. Its not an exact science time for repairs. Consider the vehicles condition and what the repair is. Meaning the car has alot of rust in the area of repair which makes disassembly and reassembly much more fragile extra time may need to be taken in order to preserve some of the parts need for repair. Such as front end repairs for example.

I believe in showing the customer their vehicle and where the repairs are need to be done before any work is done. Unfortunately that is not always an option. Being that the customer may not be present.

I assure you that a repair
such as costly as yours would arouse some questions and in that maybe a closer look needed to be taken. The customer always has the right to see the old part(s) and take them if he or she would like. But is not a commonly used by customers. It is not
offered or assumed that to be the wishes of he or she.
EDitor's Comment to the above REBUTTAL

I have never heard more drivel, even from carnival peddlers. What planet are you from? I am going to take your load of crap apart bit by bit. The Mitchell Guide is no better than the Better Business Bureau, supported by and advocated for those businesses (and mechanics) that fund them. There are several lies you have perpetuated about the Mitchell Guide and I'm going to show you and all our readers why.

You say it is illegal not to use the Mitchell Guide. You are either an idiot or think we are. What, is it a Guide or a Law? Are you saying Congress put into law the use of the Mitchell Guide that mechanics must use when estimating and charging for repairs? Not only are you a liar, but an idiot for thinking we could believe such a crock! What is the name of the law that requires its use? You can't tell us because it ain't true. Mitchell Guide is supported by the businesses and mechanics that pay the fees to use the book, so yes, it's their official (corrupt) guide! No law!

Next, I never say "never" about anything, however I make an exception in this case. The Mitchell Guide NEVER comes out in favor of the consumer. I defy you to come up with one example. Unless the mechanic is more stupid than a monkey, there is no procedure that takes longer than the standard in the Guide. I have personal experience as well as the testimony of others to support this position.

About 3 years ago, I brought my car in to be fixed. The service associate said it would take a minimum of 4 hours to do the repair. I came by the dealership about an hour later to meet my ride, and noticed my car was down off the lift. I asked the mechanic if the car was done, he said, "yes," I said, "great!" The mechanic stated to me that he did not think I could take my car for another 3 hours or so. I asked, what do you mean? He then said, "the (Mitchell) book calls for 4.5 hours and we cannot release the car." I then went to my service associate and he said, " NO, we cannot release the car for another 3 hours. He stated the book calls for about 4.5 hours and they were only going to charge for 4 hours. I said, "NO F....N' way!" We went back and forth and I just took the car from the lot without their knowledge. The car repairs were under my extended warrantee and I was not paying for it anyway.

I then investigated what I had been told. Since I'm a Consumer Advocate and general pain-in-the-butt to businesses that rip off consumers, I called several mechanics I've known from over the years. I went to see or called Cadillac, Pontiac, Ford, and went to two different Pep Boys, Firestone and Sears. They all admitted, the Mitchell Guide book is in favor of the mechanic averaging about 2 to 3 times over the actual repair time. The normal procedure always has the customer pick up the car at least an hour or two after the Mitchell Guide's estimated time.

Your entire REBUTTAL, above, is bogus. Your either a mechanic or an owner of some sort of a repair shop where you use this so-called legally-sanctioned Mitchell Guide. It is a common practice for businesses that appear on the Rip-off Report to file bogus REBUTTALS like the one above.

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