Jiffy Lube is a well-known automotive services provider that specializes in oil changes. The company has an interesting history and it's worth discussion. There are pros and cons about the business and when we checked into their current and past we found out some interesting facts that we were not aware of. Here are twenty things that you probably didn't know about Jiffy Lube.
1. The company was founded in 1971
For some customers, they've never known a time in their lives when Jiffy Lube was not in business. They first opened their doors for business in 1971. The first shop was opened in the state of Utah and they quickly expanded throughout the entire United States. Their current headquarters are located in Houston, Texas.
2. There are thousands of Jiffy Lube Franchises in North America
It seems that you can't drive into a different town without finding a Jiffy Lube there, or at least within a neighboring community. Jiffy Lube seems to be everywhere that you go. There are approximately 2,000 Jiffy Lube open for business an they are owned by 252 operators. The Jiffy Lube business model operates through the franchise system and some operators open several different locations under their franchise.
3. Jiffy Lube changed owners in 1979
The company was established in 1971 by Edwin H. Washburn. He was the first owner who set up the franchise business models, allowing the company to expand their number of Jiffy Lube centers throughout the state of Utah. This remained the extent of expansion until the company was purchased by W. James Hindman who was a football coach at Western Maryland College. Hindman purchased the seven franchises that were owned by Washburn and he renamed the company Jiffy Lube International. The headquarters was relocated to Baltimore, Maryland.
4. Hindman claims credit as its founder
Although the first Jiffy Lube was opened by Edwin H. Washburn in 1971, there is a bit of a discrepancy about who the founder of the company actually is and when it was founded. Technically, both men can claim credit because when Hindman bought the franchises, he renamed the company and then he moved the new entity to Maryland. This means that the name of the founder and the date that it was founded depends upon who you talk to.
5. Jiffy Lube went public in 1987
Within 8 years after Hindman purchased Jiffy Lube, it had achieved such remarkable success and it had grown so large that it met the qualifications to become a publicly traded stock. At this time, the company had grown in the number of franchises in operation and by 1989, there were 1,020 franchises that had been opened. This was a big deal for the Jiffy Lube International company. Soon it would trade hands another time.
6. Pennzoil bought out Jiffy Lube International
For a second time, Jiffy Lube changed its owners. It was acquired by Pennzoil and became a subsidiary. The purchase took place in 1991. They would remain under the umbrella of their new parent company up until yet another ownership change would take place seven years later.
7. Pennzoil merged with Quaker State in 1998
More big changes took place for the Jiffy Lube company in 1998. parent company Pennzoil merged with the Quaker State company. When this took place there was also a merger between Jiffy Lube's brand and the Q Lube stores. There were a total of 581 Q Lube operations that merged with Jiffy Lube which brought the total number of locations open at that time to 1,541. There were instances where the store locations overlapped and those were closed down.
8. Jiffy Lube changed hands again in 2002
Jiffy Lube would only remain the property of the Pennzoil/Quaker State company for four years. Shell Oil acquired Pennzoil-Quaker State in 2002. The new owners would soon be faced with a controversy that would unfold in the following year. The official name of the parent company is Royal Dutch Shell and they have their headquarters in Houston, Texas.
9. Controversy breaks out in 2003
Jiffy Lube became the focus on an investigation conducted by a well-known news reporter. There had been allegations that Jiffy Lube was taking unfair advantage of customers by charging them for services that they did not perform on their vehicles. Nine Jiffy Lubes were investigated and when the investigation concluded it was determined that five of the nine had actually practiced these deceptive methods with the undercover investigators who had taken their cars to them. This was unwelcome attention for the new company that had just taken over the ownership of Jiffy Lube.
10. Jiffy Lube vows to make changes
After the segment about the fraudulent charges aired, it was not long until Jiffy Lube executives had put together a formal statement about the situations. They vowed to make changes to their training program. What they didn't share with the public is that a part of their new training was in how the workers could spot an investigative journalist. By the time that the investigation in the allegations was over, the Jiffy Lube company had cameras installed at their locations so the customers could watch the repairs being made to their vehicles.
11. They developed a new program in 2011
Jiffy Lube developed a program that they called OCS in 2011. This was short for Oil Change Schedule. It was invented to let their customers choose when they wanted to have their oil changed. The new schedule took into consideration the road conditions their driving habits and other variables. This model was a replacement from the old standard of having oil changed every 3,000 miles. this was an innovative new strategy that customized oil change schedules to meet the realistic needs of each driver and it actually worked in the customer's favor.
12. They got into trouble again in 2009
Jiffy Lube was again at the center of unwanted attention n 2009. It was discovered that some of their repair procedures were actually recommended against by auto manufacturers. The way that they were doing things had the potential for causing damage to engines. The procedures that came under fire were their fuel injection cleaning techniques and their engine flushes.
13. Jiffy Lube was investigated again in 2013
The same news organization that had performed earlier investigations into Jiffy Lube's practices put them under the microscope yet again. The findings of the 2013 investigations occurred at several of the Southern California Jiffy Lube centers. The investigators uncovered several of them engaging in fraudulent practices for yet a second time. It was also discovered that this second rash of fraud was deemed to be even worse than in their earlier investigation.
14. Undercover cameras exposed diagnostic rigging
One of the fraudulent activities that Jiffy Lube stores in Southern California engaged in was charging customers for repairs that were never performed. They discovered that the diagnostic tests which were used to find problems had actually been rigged which allowed the staff to tell customers that there was something wrong with the vehicles and that they needed to perform those repairs. This was even worse than what had been discovered in the original investigation.
15. Jiffy Lube workers put old parts back in the cars
Another thing that the hidden cameras confirmed was that there were instances of technicians removing the old air filter out of a vehicle. When the customer wasn't paying attention, the old air filter that had been taken out of the car was put right back. There had been no replacement of the air filter but the customer who was really an undercover investigator was charged the full price of $26.99 for a new air filter that was never installed to begin with.
16. Some of Jiffy Lube's technicians lied about the condition of automotive fluids
Here is another dirty trick that was caught by the cameras and confirmed by undercover agents who were posing as customers. One of the service technicians who was servicing the car of the investigator said that there were several fluids in the car that needed to be changed. The undercover investigator was told that the transmission oil was nearly empty and what was left in there was "really dirty." When the investigators checked the footage that the cameras recorded it showed that the fluids had not been checked once by the technicians. What the scammers did not know at the time was, is that the vehicle had just been fully serviced at another Jiffy Lube store location. The fluids were full and clean at the time that the fraudulent claim was made by the technician.
17. Jiffy Lube execs responded to the findings
When they were presented with the evidence of what had been happening at some of the Jiffy Lube locations, the President met with the investigative team and promised that the company was going to launch "system wide changes" that would ensure that customers would no longer be cheated. One of the former managers for Jiffy Lube in the Los Angeles area met with the investigators and shared that nothing had changed and "if anything, it has gotten worse." This was a damning statement that made those who heard about it lose their confidence in Jiffy Lube's honesty in dealing with the public.
18. After promises were made for change, it continued happening
The team wasn't done investigating Jiffy Lube. Even though they were told that big changes would be made, they experienced yet another scam when they took their car to have it serviced. They were told that the battery needed to be replaced. They gained evidence that the staff member had entered the wrong numbers into the testing device so it would show that the battery was in need of replacement when in reality this wasn't the case at all. The investigators had made sure that the battery was tested by a reputable mechanic just before they took it to Jiffy Lube.
19. 7 out of 11 Jiffy Lubes again tried to scam the team
The investigative team went to a total of 11 Jiffy Lube service centers with their camera's in use and they discovered that out of 11, there were only four of the stores that didn't try to scam them in some way. This isn't a very high percentage of honest agents. Throughout a several year period, the investigative team had checked out numerous Jiffy Lube Stores and they found that a high percentage of them had consistently committed fraud which is against the law. They were robbing and cheating their customers out of their hard earned money in a variety of different ways. They would lie about various tests and their results. They charged people for work and parts that were never rendered. The top brass made promises that the behaviors would stop but they continued to carry out the illegal activities. Does this mean that Jiffy Lubes everywhere do this? It's unfair to assume that every one of the thousands of stores in existence are crooked. There are many other store locations that get rave reviews.
20. Jiffy Lube also has a lot of fans who support them
There is no way to refute the evidence that the investigators collected throughout their multiple investigations in the Southern California area, but there are other Jiffy Lube Centers who have done things the right way and established a solid reputation in their local communities. Jiffy Lube serves around 24 million customers every year. There are more satisfied customers than not. They have received praise for being one of the top providers of automotive services in the nation. In 2011, Jiffy Lube was rated as the number one provider on National Oil and Lube News in their Tops in the Fast Lubes Industry Rankings. They were also rated by Entrepreneur Magazine as the 15th in their class in the 2012 Franchise 500 list. They also came in 73rd place on the 2011 Franchise Ties Top 200 Franchise Chains by Worldwide Sales.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson