A class action lawsuit filed earlier this month claims that Midas offered a $130 Lifetime Oil Change, then abruptly pulled the plug, leaving thousands of consumers in the lurch.
The suit, filed in Washington state court, says that the lifetime offer -- also known as Lifetime Lube-Oil Plus -- promised consumers up to four oil changes per year for as long as the consumer owned his or her car. If consumers bought a new car, they could transfer the agreement to that vehicle for a price of between $45 and $65.
Consumers who thought they were getting a good deal quickly learned otherwise in October 2009, when they received letters canceling the service effective December 31, 2010. The letter referred persons wanting more information to Midas's 800 number, according to the complaint.
The named plaintiffs, Robin Dawson and Chasity Luty, bought the Lifetime Oil Change in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Luty transferred her agreement to a new car in 2007 for an additional fee. Some consumers were even less fortunate; Midas continued offering the service until early 2009 -- just a few months before its cancellation.
Also named as a defendant is J & A Automotive, LLC, a Midas franchisee. The complaint points out that, despite the franchisee's different name, Midas's efforts to create a seamless nationwide service network have obscured the identity of its franchisees, and have led the public to believe that they were doing business directly with Midas. It also notes that Midas logos were displayed prominently on the service record card and the purchase receipt, and that none [of the marketing materials] mentioned any local franchisee.
The suit is brought on behalf of [a]ll residents of Washington State who purchased a Lifetime Oil Change from a Midas franchisee in [eleven counties] and who still own vehicles qualified to receive service under the terms of the program.
The suit includes counts for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
The suit comes less than a year after California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued 22 Midas shops in California for engaging in a massive bait-and-switch scam. That action, instituted last June, alleged that Midas promised customers cheap brake specials and then charged them hundreds of extra dollars for unnecessary repairs. Some of those repairs -- which included things like brake rotor resurfacing -- were never even performed, according to Brown.
The Washington class is being represented by Matthew Metz with the Metz Law Group and Adam Berger with Schroeter, Goldmark and Bender.