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State Accuses Auto Repair Chain EZ Lube of Deceptive Practices

September 22, 2006|From the Associated Press

State authorities have accused a chain of Southern California auto repair shops of deceptive business practices that included charging customers for parts and services that were unneeded and sometimes never provided.

The Department of Consumer Affairs said Wednesday that it was taking disciplinary action against EZ Lube for allegedly violating the state Automotive Repair Act. The 76 shops in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties could have their business registrations suspended or revoked, officials said.

The state agency outlined 640 allegations against EZ Lube, including making false or misleading statements and not sticking to accepted trade standards.

The legal action came after a two-year undercover probe of the shops.

Skip Miller, an attorney for the privately owned EZ Lube, said the allegations were "completely wrong" and criticized the state probe.

Miller said investigators didn't reveal to EZ Lube employees that they had recently changed the oil in the cars they brought to the stores, which would have prompted the employees to tell them they did not need oil changes.

"We don't go according to the color of the fluid or how it looks; we go according to the mileage," Miller said.

EZ Lube can dispute the charges during an administrative hearing, state officials said.

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