Just a heads-up for the local readers...
It seems Grove City Tires for Less in Springfield Township (near the Prime Outlets) tried to pull a classic bait and switch on me yesterday. A bait and switch is when you lure a customer to your location with a great deal, then once that person is at the location, you start to load up on the fees.
They had a flyer sent out to people involved with the Grove City Chamber of Commerce with all kinds of tire and auto service specials. Of interest to me was the coupon for an all-wheel alignment for just $29.95. Alignments cost anywhere from $40-100, depending on the location and warranty.
The first thing they did was put my car on a rack and do a computer diagnostic of the current alignment. The mechanic came out with a nifty color printout that showed the results. He then informed me that there would have to be an additional labor charge (here we go!) to fix the rear alignment.
It seems that they wanted to take my rear struts off to bore out the mounting holes to make them "adjustable." Never mind the fact that there is plenty of play in those struts - I know because I put them on myself and had it aligned by my regular shop since. This custom work would set me back $25 - surprise, surprise.
I went up front to tell the manager to forget about it. As soon as I was finishing up, the mechanic comes back tothe front with a diagram showing how my struts wouldn't work - and then he gave me more good news: I would need to buy a special bolt kit for the struts. The cost of these special bolts? $80.
My $30 alignment was going to cost me $135. I told the guy behind the counter "no" and asked for my car.
They probably saw some guy come into the shop with a plain-jane car and figured they could pull this off. I've been working on cars (mine and my friends') for nearly twenty years. I've never heard of anyone having to bore out mounitng holes on factory struts - afterall, how would the factory do an alignment before the car left the plant? Duh...
The sickening thing is how many people say, "Oh, really? Well, please fix it. I don't want my car to be unsafe!"
Bait-and-switch tactics are disgusting because they prey on those who are held helpless by "the experts" who are supposed to help them out and send them down the road.