Investigation Part 2: Las Vegas Auto Repair Rip-Off - 8 News NOW

Colleen McCarty, Investigative Reporter

Investigation Part 2: Las Vegas Auto Repair Rip-Off

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The Channel 8 I-Team joined forces with the Nevada Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau for its first undercover car sting in more than four years.

Late Friday, the attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against several Purrfect Auto shops in the Las Vegas valley.

Has an auto repair shop ever ripped you off? The I-Team wants to know.

Every before and after story begins with pictures, and prior each Purrfect Auto pit stop, investigators with the Bureau of Consumer Protection mark each car part.

The oil filter was specifically identified with some very unique markings. Every squiggle, stripe and seal is photographed, and tiny video cameras concealed under the hood and beneath the car add to the visual record.

At the Purrfect Auto Center on Eastern near St. Rose Parkway , undercover customer Rachel requested the 60,000-mile service.

A coupon prices the package at $149.95 to include oil and filter change, radiator and transmission drain and refill; PCV valve and air filter replacement, fuel injection cleaning and power steering flush. The mechanic explained Rachel's six cylinder engine costs extra. She agreed to the service for $189.95.

Right away, the mechanic pulled the car onto the pit, presumably to change the fluids. It sat there for twenty minutes without a single drop spilled. The only time anyone did get under the car was when this guy dropped his pen cap.

Almost $200 later with invoice in hand, Rachel returned to home base.

Deputy Attorney General Ernest Figeroua immediately recognized his artwork. Seals on both the radiator and the transmission supported the video evidence that neither was serviced.

Deputy A.G. Figeroua: "The drain cock has the same markings right there, not touched."

Under the hood, marks remained on the PVC valve and on the air filter.

Deputy A.G. Figeroua: "The only thing they did was make a mess."

All told, the technician failed to change the oil and filter, and did not drain and refill the radiator or the transmission. The PCV valve and the air filter also were not replaced.

The I-Team's cameras and marks don't show definitively whether the mechanics cleaned the fuel injectors and flushed the power steering fluid. Therefore, we gave them the benefit of the doubt.

The I-Team returned to the shop.

Reporter Colleen McCarty: "I'm Colleen McCarty with Channel 8 and we brought a car in here last week and we've got a bill for services we paid for and didn't receive."

Purrfect Auto's Jason: "How do you guys figure they weren't done?" 

The I-Team tells Jason about the hidden cameras and the marked parts.

Colleen McCarty: "Why would it be that these things weren't done?"

Jason: "I don't know what to tell you as far as cameras on the car, no cameras on the car. I really couldn't tell you what was done and what wasn't done, I'm not the technician who worked on the car if the mechanic did not do it, I will address the issue in a heart beat."

Colleen McCarty: "We had hidden cameras all over the car. These things were not done."

Jason: "I really don't agree with it."

Colleen McCarty: "So, you think they were done?"

Jason: "Yes."

Jason chose to reserve judgment until he could see the car or the video. But he said if something were missed, he would make it right.

The Nevada franchiser for Purrfect Auto sent this statement: "Each Purrfect Auto location is independently owned and operated by an individual in the local area. The events reported by Channel 8 pertain only to those locations portrayed in the report and are being reviewed by the franchiser of the Purrfect Auto Service System. The franchiser's policy, and the policy of its franchisees, is to make sure that Purrfect Auto Service stores provide honest and quality service to its customers at a fair price and to satisfy all of its customers."

The I-Team spoke with the man who owns the Purrfect Auto shop on Eastern and St. Rose Parkway and the shop on Rancho and Cheyenne from part one of this story.

He has yet to agree to an interview or send a statement.

Email your comments to Investigative Reporter Colleen McCarty.

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