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Have had two nightmare experiences with a local Midas Autoshop (independently operated) in Southern California. A bit of a story, thanks for reading.

I have had this noise occurring before and after braking, groaning type noise, but it varies slightly. I've had this for almost a year now.

I first visit the shop for this concern recommended by a friend 'yeah ef him', about 9 months ago. To which case, the mechanic, brings me into the garage with the back wheels off. Aggressively says 'your back pads are low', as if that's the solve. I say 'ok' and agree.

I pay $300+, pull out and immediately still notice the noise in the parking lot. At this point, I have already waited a few hours and need to get back home. I'm shocked, confused, but head home like 'wtf'.

I'm extremely swamped with work the next 2 months, I work from home, so took a break on that issue momentarily.

Several months later I take it to another Autobody shop for the concern, as it seemed to get a bit louder/worst, they tried a few things, and didn't charge me, but essentially 'don't know'. Their brake inspection passed everything for me.

So, I live with it a few more months - then eventually take it back to these guys, they say 'we can't solve this, we have already tried a few things last time and this time - we suggest taking it back where you got your last brake job as it should be in warranty, and it's maybe a brake hardware installation issue'.

Reluctant, I call back that Midas. 'Yeah, yeah, you have warranty, let's get you back in here ASAP!'.

I go back last week, explicitly explain my concern, noise with braking, I am not a mechanic, it is occurring coinciding with braking, so this is the only way I know to describe it, the front desk sales guy seemed nice and emphatic. 'We'll diagnosis that for you'. I get a call 2 hours later...

!!!! 'We found your issue, your brake hardware is loose, because your caliper isn't providing pressure - you need a new caliper for $400'...

Side note: One week prior, my calipers and brake pads had 'passed' that part of the previous Autobody's brake inspection. I have the documentation of this report.

I say "OK, thanks, let me come back next week, I have been having a hard time tracking down this solve, let me consider that".

He is very pushy, "this is 100% of that cause of that noise your hearing, we don't want to honor your brake warranty, without doing this caliper update at the same time, because there is no point, he basically already starting resurfacing your rotors, and this need to be done at the same time". I have some relief, that finally, someone has confidentially addressed my issue...

I say "Are you sure this is the cause of my noise, I have really been struggling finding a fix for this, do I have any type of recourse if this doesn't work? No one has been able to fix this for a year". Very pushy and fast he states "It is 100% obvious this is your issue, this is where your getting that noise, we'll have it done in 1.5 hours, and you'll have no noise". "You have a 12 month, or 12,000 miles warranty on the update".

Desperate for this fix I say "OK". (Later, I realize how stupid it was to consider yet another 'warranty' and believe that, it's only on their erroneous fix, not my concern).

Two hours later I come back to pick up my car. The mechanic is doing a test drive with it. Eventually, the Mechanic hands him the key, concerned I sit there "Everything good?". "Yep, all good". He makes me pay. I pay about $380, for the new caliper, labor, and brake fluid flush. Allegedly, my rotors resurfaced for 'Free', although I had its warranty. And allegedly, I got a $20 discount!

Relieved, to finally have this noise alleviated I walk to my car, head out of the parking lot. EXACT SAME NOISE, NO NOISE ALLEVIATED. I am completely stunned.

This time, I'm like 'NO WAY', and turn right around to the shop. It's 5:20pm at this point and they are both outside, without uniforms, seemingly getting ready to head home...

I say to the sales-guy/front desk guy. "I am still hearing the noise, what happened? Look at this". I replicate the noise in front of him. He spastically, runs to the front tires with a flash light 'Sounds like it's coming from the front, we didn't even check the front'. Funny, his Siri from his phone, hanging out of his back pocket shouts "Of course you didn't". Gold. Anyway. I say, "Am I loosing it, here try it". Spastically, he jumps in the car and replicates it loudly. "It sounds like it's coming from the front".

The Mechanic, then runs over, hardly speaks any English, "It different", "It suspension", "no issue". I am still replicating the issue for both driving slowly in front of them, he's following my care continuously shouting the above. I'm gassed and at a loss for words. I leave.

The way this was handled was despicable and unbelievable. So, I came in this shop twice, with one noise, one noise only. Each time it is 100% obvious that my noise was not even looked into or replicated. How could the guy on the phone sell me for a 'sure fix', that he has clearly not replicated? What was this mechanic's 'test' at the end? The one noise only wasn't brake related, so his 'new caliper' would have the exact same noise outcome? It's completely unbelievable.

I call corporate a few days later to try and complain. It's some young girl on the phone, and basically just 'forwarded my concern' to the store manager. "He has 72 hours, to reply, if you don't like the reply, call me back". She sounded emphatic. He calls 2 days later, Friday at 11am.

Store Manager: He is nonchalant and condescending. I am calm, polite, and very reasonable. "Thats a different issue, unfortunately, that is suspension". A 15 minute conversation, where he essentially put all the blame on me, arguing semantics. "You said it was a brake noise, you mentioned the last shop said it was a hardware installation issue, so we fixed that for you with a new caliper". "Thats unfortunate, that's what you were trying to go for". I try to convey my main concern, where the one and only noise was not replicated or inspected, twice, nor was alleviated, but I was sold the service on the phone as if it was". No direct responses, to that, again more semantics, "When you called, you said previous shop said brake hardware issue, we fixed that". Then his voice raises, and his point is essentially I got a great deal on everything as "we basically reinstalled and resurfaced your ROTORS FOR FREE". Manager, then says 'NOW, if you want to come in for that suspension noise, we can make a new appointment'. His only offer, which was offensive (not for free). Again, only ever been one noise. He begins trailing off 'well, thats unfortunate' - I then just hang up, more time wasted.

My invoice even states: 'Service Comments: Check brake noise in rear, check and advise". They should have said "We don't hear any noise coming from the rear, but we'd suggest X,Y,Z".

I called corporate again, this time a new girl, impossible to get old girl, this time she is basically 'hands in air' - well, we can request a different manager to call. We can't do anything for you here.

I wrote a bad review on google, and filed a complaint with BBB (though, in my experience anything with BBB goes nowhere).

This is a-lot to read, and apologies for the rant here, I am just completely stunned with this shop and how they treated me, twice.

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    Details need to be relevant to the legal issue. Mentions of calipers and resurfacing rotors only obfuscate your description. Also Siri's intromision in the conversation is irrelevant. Overall, it seems that you might have a viable claim for breach of contract and/or one premised on consumer protection laws. Not sure whether California legislation also has statutes addressing mechanics' incompetence. Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 20:16
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    Sounds like at least equal mixture of incompetence ... along with fraud... Also, there's the meta-incompetence issue, where people truly do not understand that they don't understand. My sympathies, anyway. "I've been there..." Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 20:26
  • Thanks everyone. Unfortunately I do not have in writing nor recording of the salesman's blatant lie. Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 20:42

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Let me simplify the question for you, because there is TMI in your question.

Can I sue the repair shop for fraud, because they told me that the framistan need replacing to fix the noise, and they did that, but actually as proven by 3 other experts, the framistan was perfectly fine, the noise came from a broken veblitzer

The crucial legal question is whether they lied to you in making the claim about the framistan. If they had a good-faith belief that the framistan was the problem, it was technically bad advice but not fraud. Incompetence is not the same as actually lying.

A shop might (imaginably) offer a warranty to the effect that they guarantee that framistan-replacement will eliminate the noise, so that is a different potential cause of action for a lawsuit (breach of contract). Once you monkey around with the work they did, or hire someone else to do some monkeying around, you provide them with an avenue to avoid legal responsibility – it wasn't us who caused the problem, it was the other guy.

Actually suing over this would be expensive, hard to win, and not likely to yield substantial financial benefit. It is a sad customer service tale, but not reasonably addressed through legal channels.

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    Thanks for reading. There was a blatant lie, but I have no way to prove it I suppose. I don't have it in writing or in recording. Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 20:50
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    Instead of considering fraud, is it perhaps more fruitful to consider other consumer protection laws? In many jurisdictions, a customer is entitled to a refund if the work is not done to a reasonable standard; in this case, particularly with the invoice saying they were supposed to check something which they evidently didn't check, it seems easier to argue that the work was below a reasonable standard rather than that it was done under false pretences.
    – kaya3
    Commented Jul 31, 2022 at 10:05

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