How Hallens of Cambridge tried to steal hundreds of pounds from jpoc

In 1989, I bought a new Toyota Celica from Hallens who were, at the time, the Toyota dealer in Cambridge, England. I was quickly building up the miles on this car. Commuting to my contract at BT was adding 35,000 miles every year. Now, at 25,000 miles the garage told me that I needed new front brake pads. I said to go ahead and fit them and at 50,000, they said that I needed new pads again and that the front disks had worn and needed to be skimmed.

Rather than be without the car while the disks were being machined, I said to take the original disks off (we'll call them set 1) and fit new disks (set 2) and pads and to have disk set 1 skimmed and given back to me for use when disk set 2 needed skimming.

This was done, the pads were replaced again at 75,000 miles and at 100,000 miles I was told that I needed again new pads and disks. So, the skimmed disk set 1 and new pads were fitted and I put disk set 2 aside to have them skimmed later. Again, we had new pads at 125,000 miles and at 150,000 miles I was told that I needed new pads and new disks front and rear I was told that the rear disks could not be skimmed at all and that the front disk set 2 which had never been skimmed was too badly worn to be skimmed.

Hmmmm, new pads and disks all around was a lot of money. More than five hundred pounds. I didn't like the sound of that and I was surprised that the rear disks that had only had one set of pads would be so badly worn that they needed to be replaced and could not even be skimmed.

So, I had the car taken to another garage and asked for a report on the brakes. I was shocked by their report. The rear pads and disks were fine and were not in need of replacement. The front disks, the already skimmed set 1, were still within the manufacturers published tolerances and did not need to be replaced. The front pads were OK and would last until the next service but would need to be replaced then. The spare front disks, set 2, were within the manufacturer's tolerances for a skimming.

I retired the car at 250,000 miles still with the same disks and having only ever fitted new front pads.

So, not only is it clear that Hallens tried to con me into having several hundred pounds of work carried out at 150,000 miles but it also seems likely that a lot of the earlier work that they had done on the car was not necessary. Of course, at that point Hallens lost the chance to do any more service work on the car demonstrating that they were stupid as well as dishonest. They lost their Toyota franchise soon after that.

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