Oil change turns into $800 repair bill for man with Alzheimer's

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PHOENIX -- A Valley man says a simple oil change for his father's truck turned into an $800 bill. So, he contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

We have a couple of different issues going on here.

First, you have a senior citizen with Alzheimer's, you have a son who thinks his dad was taken advantage of and, third, there's a big question as to how a simple oil change turned into something more significant.

James Neville loves his truck and always makes sure it's properly maintained.

"It's a 2006 and it's got 33,000," he said.

So when it needed an oil change, Neville's son, Jim, took him and his truck to a Midas in Mesa.

"We went in for an oil change, that's all we wanted," James said.

Jim says his dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and isn't allowed to drive anymore, which is why he drove his dad to Midas in the first place.

"I'm 74 and there are some things I forget, but it depends upon what I'm talking about," Neville said.

And that's the problem because, according to Jim, what was supposed to be a simple, inexpensive oil change for his father's truck turned into a lot more.

"Next thing I know, they've talked to my dad and have him doing all kinds of work on the truck," Jim said.

"They didn't give me any idea as to how much it would cost," James said.

And exactly how much did it cost?

"When they said $800 it's like, 'What have you guys done?" James said.

Yep, $800 because, according to the receipt, they did a lot of extra work that apparently James had approved without realizing the cost.

"I said, 'Well, I don't have that much money on me right now," James said. "I can't pay it all to you now. You'll have to wait until the first of the month for the rest of it."

James paid $400 in cash right then, but his son was upset.

So before his dad paid the remaining $400, Jim wanted to verify that the additional work was even done. So, 3 On Your Side got involved and took the truck to Community Tire.

Now, we chose Community Tire because their mechanics are ASE certified and they have an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau.

And after a thorough inspection, mechanics verified that all the work was done and in fact was even suggested by the owner's manual.

"The services that were performed on this vehicle were in fact performed," said Howard Fleischmann with Community Tire.

As for Midas, the owner tells 3 On Your Side that they were not aware of James' medical condition and insist that James had approved all the work beforehand.

However, due to the circumstances, Midas tells 3 On Your Side they will waive the remaining $400 balance, which is great news to James and his son.

Thanks to Midas for waiving the other half of the bill.

Midas provided us with the following statement:

As for the balance on Mr. Neville's car repair, our company decided to consider it paid in full. I feel we were not wrong in presenting the services to Mr. Neville. As we try to present this information to every customer. Trying to educate them in proper scheduled maintenance. Whether they decide to do this with us, or another facility, or merely choose not to do it at all. THEIR CHOICE.

We feel that the decision to absorb the loss on this issue is in the customers interest. We are a family owned and operated franchise. Community involved and here for the long term.

Had we been informed of Mr. Neville's condiotion, this certanly never would have happened. That being said. Even if you were not involved, at channel 3, the decision would have been the same.

Thanks again for your time


Michael Jasko Manager