My experience with PepBoys couldn't have been much worse. If you're thinking of taking your car to the PepBoys store on Elston Avenue, I urge you to read my review first.
Here's what happened.
1. In September of 2012, I had PepBoys work on my car's steering system.
2. About 10 days later, the driver's side front wheel detached from the steering system while I was exiting Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, causing an accident. If a wheel detaches from the steering system while you're driving, it's impossible to control the car. It was a horrifying experience and could easily have resulted in multiple fatalities. Miraculously, no one was hurt, but my car suffered substantial damage.
3. Immediately after the accident, the front wheels of my car were sharply pigeon-toed. This means at least one of the wheels was not attached to the steering system. When both wheels are attached to the steering system, they point in the same direction.
4. I had AAA tow my car back to PepBoys. Since PepBoys was closed, AAA left the car in the PepBoys lot.
5. When PepBoys reopened the next morning, I spoke with them by phone. I asked them to inspect the car and determine what caused the accident and what needed to be done to fix the car. I didn't authorize any repair work.
6. When PepBoys completed their 'inspection,' they told me both wheels were attached to the steering system and had been that way when the car arrived at their store. They said they couldn't explain what caused the accident.
7. I've asked mechanics repeatedly if the wheel could reattach to the steering system without human intervention. No one has an innocent explanation. The only plausible explanation is that PepBoys reattached the wheel in order to hide the cause of the accident. PepBoys must have thought the accident was caused by their negligent repair work 10 days before, and wanted to hide the evidence. The 'inspection' was done by the same mechanic, Paulie, who did the original repair work.
8. I've spent a lot of time trying to get PepBoys to assume responsibility for the accident, but so far with no success.
9. The PepBoys store manager, Chris, admits the wheel couldn't reattach itself, but claims the wheel was in fact attached when the car arrived at PepBoys after the accident.
10. The AAA tow truck driver saw the wheels were sharply pigeon-toed after the accident. So did a young woman who stopped to help me on the night of the accident. So did I. In other words, we all saw that the wheel was not attached to the steering system.
11. My insurer, Travelers, investigated the claim. They agree with me that someone at PepBoys must have performed work on the car in order to hide the cause of the accident.
12. I filed a claim with PepBoys. PepBoys denied my claim with no real investigation. They made no attempt to contact the AAA tow truck driver or the young woman who stopped to help me. Their claims staff contacted me only after denying my claim--and then only by an automated phone call. Instead, they relied on assurances from Chris, the store manager, that they'd done nothing wrong.
13. Looking back, PepBoys couldn't have behaved much worse. First they performed negligent repair work on my car, causing what easily could have been a multiple-fatality accident. Next they did unauthorized and undisclosed work on my car in order to conceal the cause of the accident and hide their negligence. Finally, they denied my claim without making any real effort to determine what happened.
14. My advice is to avoid the PepBoys store on Elston Avenue at all costs.
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