May 15, 2008 at 8:57 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 10:46 AM
Full statement released from Pep Boys Auto:
An undercover representative from NBC 12 in Richmond, VA visited our store on Midlothian Turnpike on Monday, May 5 with a 1999 Saab.
As the customer's initial complaint was that the vehicle's air conditioner was not cooling effectively while driving, our service professionals created a work order for an air conditioning performance check.
In the shop, while trying to replicate the problem described by the customer and inspecting the entire A/C system, the technician discovered that the A/C system was blowing cold air at a normal vent temperature of 37 degrees.
The technician followed up with the customer on this finding. As the customer then noted that the A/C was not working properly as the car sped up, further diagnostic tests were scheduled.
The technician tried to replicate these symptoms, testing the A/C while running the engine at speeds comparable to those experienced during normal driving. Although the A/C system continued to blow cold air, the technician noted a lower-than-normal pressure gauge reading in the system's compressor, which can indicate an improperly functioning expansion valve (the valve that regulates refrigerant flow through the system).
Based on the symptoms described by the customer and as a result of his findings during the inspection, the technician recommended that the expansion valve be replaced. As an industry best practice, it was also recommended that, because the A/C system was going to be opened and exposed to moisture, the dryer, a key component of the system, should be replaced. In addition, it was recommended that the system be recharged after being inspected.
Pep Boys is committed in both policy and practice to communicating clearly and honestly with our customers, as customer satisfaction is our greatest priority. As we strive to follow the uniform inspection and communications standards (UICS) set forth by the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), any instance where we may fall short in communicating repair recommendations effectively is unacceptable and will be rectified.
In this instance, if we did not, we should have clearly communicated to the customer that the problem originally described could not be replicated but that, based on the description of the issue and the low pressure reading from the compressor, that we were recommending a valve replacement and, in accordance with industry best practices, that were recommending the accompanying dryer replacement and A/C system recharge.