Orange County Superior Court Judge David T. McEachern Monday approved a $5 million settlement, stemming from a 2004 investigation by the state’s consumer agency that investigates complaints against automobile repair shops. The settlement also includes 5 years probation, and closed circuit cameras allowing waiting customers to watch service being performed on their vehicles.
In 2003 KNBC/TV in Los Angeles conducted undercover investigations at numerous EZ Lube locations in Southern California. Some of its undercover video has even turned up on You Tube. In 2004 the California Bureau of Automotive Repair started its own investigation.
There is currently a statement on the EZ Lube website (click on Main Menu, Company Info then select Press & News) dated 9/27/2006: “You may have seen recent news reports that the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR has charged EZ Lube with violations of the Automotive Repair Act). We are writing to assure you that the BAR’s accusations are wrong and that our commitment to our customers is unwavering.”
According to EZ Lube’s press release dated 12/31/07 (courtesy of KNBC) EZ Lube is implementing a $6 Million Plan for Customer Assurance.
It was over 4 years between the KNBC investigation and the resolution which calls for a $5 Million settlement. Additionally there is the $6 million customer assurance plan, 5 years probation and more than 4 years of bad press on TV, in newspapers and on the internet. This is an illustration of how NOT to handle legal problems in a business.
Most business legal problems do not improve with age. EZ Lube should have started on resolving this problem in 2003. Their statement of 9/27/2006 could indicate that they were still trying to fight the government agencies at that time when they should have been well on the way to resolution.
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