AKRON (Nov. 27, 2013) — We've seen it all before — TV investigative reporters with hidden cameras catching an unscrupulous repair shop in the act of ripping off a consumer with unnecessary repair work.
Past exposés have cast suspicion on — and, frankly, tarnished by way of a wide brush — all repair shops that recommend repairs or maintenance services.
That's why it was refreshing to see on a recent episode of NBC's Today Show, seen by millions of viewers, an investigative report that turned up nothing but honest auto service facilities.
It came as a surprise to Today investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen, noting it was the first time every business the TV crew visited did the right thing. And it stunned Audra Fordin, the certified mechanic the crew asked to inspect and "rig" the vehicle that was used by the network's crew to try and entrap service personnel.
The report focused on the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) found in nearly all newer vehicles and how often times, when the dashboard indicator light comes on, it usually means the tires just need more air.
A female Today producer visited six auto service shops in New Jersey, including car dealerships, national chains and independent garages. At each location, she claimed she was naïve about cars and was worried about the TPMS light's being on.
Much to the TV crew's surprise, at each location service personnel said it was the simple solution of filling the tires to the proper air pressure — for free.
We're not so surprised at what Today turned up. The tire and auto service industry has been struggling for years to improve its professional image after years of bad publicity from government and TV news probes into shady/shoddy repair shop operations.
Industry associations have sponsored seminars galore over the years to encourage improved customer service, proper technician training and better consumer education. After all, the industry depends on honest tire dealerships and repair shops to force the dishonest bottom-feeders out of business.
It's encouraging that today's tire and auto repair businesses are on top of their game. The market is too competitive not to offer honest service to consumers.