Blatantly Ripped Off by Mavis - Can I get a Refund?

Hi all. Have a 2017 Civic EX that recently started having a weird noise coming from the rear tires. One look at it at a local Mavis mechanic and he said the rear shocks appear to be in need of replacement as the “tread” on the back tires were uneven. Umm, ok. Was kind of shocked that in only 4.5 years of driving this car this repair would have to happen. The car had 42,000 miles on it. I DID take it to Honda at first but they claimed they could not find anything, so I was on my own and I was desperate.

At Mavis they told me however, before I got these new rear shocks, that it would “take some time for the tire tread to even out” due to the previously “bad” shocks that caused uneven tread. I had a bad feeling in my stomach, but was desperate to get rid of this noise that had been annoying me for several months now.

Anyway, $300 and two weeks later and the noise had not changed one single bit and was still driving me crazy. I took the car in for a second opinion today at a local mechanic back home. Upon inspection he saw the tire treads on the back tires were perfectly fine. He showed me and I saw with my own eyes that there were no issues with them. WTF!! He said he couldn’t ever see how rear shocks were the problem and that if I was waiting for uneven tread to “even out” that I’d be waiting forever.

We took it for a ride and he told me he beleives for certain it is a wheel bearing coming from one of the rear tires. I then called Honda and they said to bring it in and that wheel bearings are covered under my warranty.

Now the question is how do I get my $300 back from the crooks at Mavis who claimed the problem was rear shocks?? Do you think I have a case to get refunded? I am livid about all of this. I know the customer is not always right but in this scenario I absolutely am and they either ripped me off cold or a huge mistake was made and they will have to take the loss.

Since they performed the service you paid for, it is unlikely you will get a full refund without a fight. The fact that their “diagnosis” was faulty may help, but you will have to rely on the goodwill of the manager. That means being polite, as much as that galls you.

Full disclosure: I have had a bad experience with Mavis, as have others I’ve spoken to, in different parts of the state I live in.

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Did replacing the wheel bearing silence the noise?

You have no way to prove the shocks were bad unless they gave you the old parts/ Consider it a relatively cheap lesson.

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The evidence is gone now so there is no way of proving those shocks were good or bad. Odds are they were good but Mavis could claim wheel bearings failed so why not shocks also.
So; have the bearings been replaced and problem solved?

If this leads to a sit down with the store manager, NO cursing or threats. Just be firmly blunt so to speak.
If that fails then small claims court is an option.

As far as I know most States license repairers of autos, and also most States have some sort of grievance process where you can file a formal complaint and ask them to investigate. Find out if that’s the case in your area and then go to the Mavis shop and speak quietly with the manager. I think a fair settlement would be for them to repay you their labor fees and you agree to pay for the new shocks themselves. If the manager stonewalls you, ask for the legal address and name of the shop, or ask to see a copy of the State license and tell them you are filing a complaint.

A couple of years ago, CR rated retail tire chains (based on customer feedback), and Mavis was rated as the absolute worst tire chain in The US for customer service.

In my area, Mavis bought-out STS several years ago. STS wasn’t exactly great, but now that they have been replaced by Mavis, I would only go to one of their shops if there was no other alternative.

Thanks for all the replies everyone. To address a few points:

The issue with the car, as told to me by this manager, was that the rear tires had uneven tread and this was causing the noise. Not a word was mentioned about the shocks actually being bad upon instant inspection, but the implication was more that they must be “bad” if they were causing the tires to wear in this way. I trusted his judgment, but the thing is, the tires were perfectly fine, so either this guy flat out lied or flat out made a huge mistake. I am going in tomorrow (Monday) morning to have him put the vehicle back on the lift to see for himself that this never had anything to do with tire tread. After that I am hoping a civil conversation will lead to an understanding that something wrong happened here and I will get my money back. @wentwest I will not be asking for only a partial refund (i.e. just the labor fees). I will be rightfully getting all of my money back.

To answer other questions, no I have not yet got the bearing replaced by Honda as first I want to get this taken care of. The bottom line is that this shop was wrong in their diagnosis and subsequent work performed. Whether or not the new bearing makes the sound go away (which something tells me it will) should have nothing to do with what happened here at Mavis imo.

I really pray this manager has some goodwill and does the right thing, but something tells me I’ll be on the phone with Mavis corporate at some point tomorrow morning. Regardless the lesson learned is, even if you’re desperate, unless you are absolutely certain YOURSELF that you are paying for something that will fix the problem, don’t hand over that credit card.

There is a point where it is not worth it to continue to be upset. One needs to deal with anger or it eats you up. The guy was wrong, maybe on purpose. You got new shocks out of the deal and shocks are not going to last forever. 40,000 miles was probably 50% of their life. So you got maybe $150 in value and cost you $300. Your loss is $150. Not worth getting upset about. The Honda dealer already gave up so you expected a kid at a low rated tire shop to know better? Be happy they found the problem if they did. Wheel bearings going out at 40,000 miles are unusual, although I did have one fail at 20,000.

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Have you checked that the tires weren’t rotated at Mavis?

Maybe your good front tires are now on the back, and the “wore” back tires are now on the front.

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Has nothing to do with the tires. They are all in pretty good shape and have the right amount of air in them.

@Bing It’s about principle, not about thinking oh ok well at least I did get new shocks. They were shocks I didn’t need, is the bottom line. $300 of my hard earned money, a dime of which didn’t need to be spent. Also it wasn’t some kid, it was a guy in his 60’s who acted like he knew exactly what he was talking about.

Will report back tomorrow.

I don’t think I’d bother with it over $300. Not worth the aggravation. I’ve had similar experiences. Mechanic suggests repair to solve an issue, mechanic does said repair, issue still persists. I had no luck even getting that particular dealership service writer to answer my calls, much less discuss getting a refund. That’s a huge reason I started doing most of my own repairs, if I can. Goes without saying that I didn’t return to that dealership. Good luck.

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Thank you but I feel I have a strong case here as the diagnosis of the vehicle was 100% wrong and the evidence will be right in front of his face tomorrow. In all honesty I would be pretty surprised if he flat out says no, and yes I know how this industry works and that most people will find that funny, but I also like being optimistic and thinking that some businesses still care about doing the right thing.

I’m not sure where the OP lives, but I think that company is from the eastern part of the US. Licensing may be so where he is. But I have lived and worked in 3 states on the West Coast, and none have had any licensing requirements for auto mechanics. You can become certified and licensed to do certain things like smog checks, but any yo-yo with a milk crate full of wrenches can come in and work on your car. Makes sense, huh? I need a license to cut your hair but not to fix your brakes.

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You have new struts at least.

Ironic ain’t it?

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As a disinterested outsider, I will say that until you have the cause of the noise tracked down and repaired you’re in no better shape than you were when you started. You have no way of knowing if replacing a wheel bearing will correct the noise. Mechanic #2 “believes for certain” it’s a wheel bearing but he didn’t tell you which one? You may very well take the car to Honda and have them tell you it’s a differential noise or a carrier bearing.
At any rate, it’s simply a your word vs. his as to whether the rear shock replacement was necessary. Unless your repair invoice clearly states that the shocks were replaced and guaranteed to correct a noise from the rear of the car, it may have been done as recommended maintenance or as a first step in tracking down a noise. Remember, if it isn’t documented in writing it didn’t happen.

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I personally would not even go back to Mavis. So little to gain and having them touch my car again would give me the heebie jeebies.

Actually it’s quite frustrating. A bad haircut will grow out in a month. A botched brake job can last a lifetime. Licensing won’t fix all the problems but it may at least help some people take their careers seriously.

This industry has been driving away good mechanics for a long time because the wages we earn aren’t enough to justify the investment and abilities we need to do our jobs. On one hand we have shop owners who engage in stupidity like “we won’t charge a diagnostic fee if you have the work done” and turn around and complain that they can’t afford to pay higher wages. On the other hand we have customers come in with $2000 of custom rims and tires and complain that they can’t afford a $700 water pump or think that an $89.95 oil change is a rip-off.

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And it is not only car repair it can cover a lot of jobs now a days makes me glad I am retired and out of the rat race. :grinning: