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Scam?

Ok, so I have a 2001 Chevy Blazer with 116,000 miles on it. Memorial Day weekend I was driving 8 hours to visit family in Chicago. The morning I was leaving I had my car at my mechanic to get the AC recharged, but they told me I had a leak which would involve much more work. So I drove to Chicago with no AC, and my father suggested I call up the Midas he uses and get it fixed while I was in town. So do I that, and they find a leak in the compressor. I’m told that they have to also replace the accumulator because moisture could get in while they are replacing the compressor. They also drain and replace the coolant, telling me that it is needed since they took off the radiator to get to the AC system. All in total I’m charged $650.

3 days later when I’m driving back home I found out that I have no AC again. Unfortunately I cannot go back to this Midas to get it fixed, so I went to a local dealer. They found that I was completely empty of refrigerant, so they refill it and tell me to come back in a couple days to see if it has leaked. I do so, and they find that the pressure switch on the accumulator that was replaced was leaking. To fix this I had to pay another $220. The dealer also tells me that Midas had no reason to even replace the accumulator or coolant. So I call Midas to get a refund since the part they replaced was leaking, and I’m told that they won’t do it because the switch goes INTO the accumulator so it was not part of what they replaced. They will only give me a refund of $80 for the refrigerant.

Is Midas lying to me so they don’t have to pay? Did they scam me by replacing more parts? Or is my dealer wrong and those things did need to be replaced? I don’t have any car knowledge, and if Midas is lying I need to know how I can get them to give me a refund, especially when I am 8 hours away from them.

The first question I have to ask is, did they flush the entire AC system prior to replacing the compressor and accumulator?

Tester

I don’t know if it was before or after.

If they flushed the AC system, it would mean they had to remove the condensor to flush it out. That’s because the condensor has a top inlet and outlet. And in order to flush the condensor it has to be removed and turned over so the inlet and outlet are at the bottom. So the radiator would have to be removed in order to remove the condensor. Which requires draining the coolant.

The accumulator has a Schrader valve where the low pressure switch screws in. It would appear that they didn’t replace the O-ring for the low pressure switch when it was reinstalled and that’s where all the refrigerant was lost.

Tester

Sorry you went to Midas, they’re the last place I’d go for a mechanical problem like this. But I have no good advice for what you can do now. There’s no way they will give you a refund just because you call and say it didn’t work.

Sometimes advice from dad isn’t so good. In this case if the shop botches the job, which they did, you end up 8 hours away and have to use another shop to fix the botched repair. You are up the creek without a paddle on this one. Send dad to Midas to argue for your refund.

Whenever one shop blames another, I am skeptical. You have no way of knowing if your dealership is trustworthy, Midas is trustworthy, both are trustworthy, or neither is trustworthy.

There is no way of knowing whether you were scammed by either service provider. You are fortunate Midas is willing to give you $80, so take it.

Air conditioning diagnosis and repair can be very complicated, and resolving an issue like this can take two or three attempts. In the grand scheme of things, getting your air conditioning working was probably worth at least $790 to you, so be happy you have working air conditioning and forget about whether or not you were scammed. There is a good chance it was just an honest mistake.

By the way, if this had happened to me, I would have taken the vehicle to a Midas in my area, not a dealership, when I got back from the trip. There is a good chance the local Midas would treat you as if you were coming back to the same shop. When one shop botches a repair, going to different shop (instead of another Midas), can complicate things, but two Midas stores might act like one, which is an advantage of going to a national chain for this type of issue. Also, the a/c technician at your local Midas can call his counterpart at the Chicago Midas and expect a good level of honest cooperation. If your dealership calls the Chicago Midas, the dealership can’t depend on the same level of honesty about the work performed.

^

Unfortunately Whitney, the closest Midas to me is 4 hours away so taking it to another Midas was not possible.

I guess I’m more skeptical about Midas scamming me because after I told my dad it wasn’t fixed, he informed me he usually has to take it there a second time to fix what wasn’t fixed the first time.

Either the people at Midas failed to find both of the leaks or they caused a new one (pressure switch o-ring).
I don’t think it was an evil plot, just a common workmanship problem.