Midas under fire for 'lifetime' oil change deal

Midas under fire for 'lifetime' oil change deal »Play Video
The promise of lifetime oil change is backfiring for local car owners who thought they were getting a great deal.

Now, a major auto service company is under fire and might be headed to court because the "lifetime" did not last as long as customers were expecting.

Cara Hampton of Auburn got the sales pitch in 2006. She figured it was a smart budget decision.

"And I thought it would be perfect, because I'll, you know, be able to go forward and have my oil changes and they would also document them in their system," said Hampton.

Hampton paid $129.99 for a service called Lifetime Lube Oil plus, that included oil and filter change, fluid check, tire rotation and more up to four times per year.

For a while, it worked. Between 2006 and 2009 Hampton got eight oil changes without having to put out more money. Then in late November, the deal hit the brakes.

"We made an appointment, went in to get the oil changed, and suddenly they're like, 'Oh, you have the lifetime. Sorry, we don't honor those,'" Hampton said.

Turns out, the local Midas franchises she'd been going to had new owners. Hampton says when she called Midas headquarters, a customer service representative told her the new franchisee could not be compelled to honor the lifetime oil change.

According to Midas, the lifetime oil service was never sanctioned by the corporate office. Spokesman Bob Troyer told me the local franchise owner had been advised not to do it because an agreement like that is not sustainable.

"We discourage any franchisee from offering a lifetime oil change and any consumers who have questions should call our 800 number," he said.

Midas says the local franchise owner involved is no longer part of the company.

But other angry consumers have called a lawyer. A class-action lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court holds both Midas International Corporation and the franchise owner responsible for what attorney Matthew Metz calls a breach of contract.

Regardless of how the lawsuit turns out, keep in mind that a lifetime contract does not mean "your" lifetime. In reality, it means as long as the company in question stays in business, has the same owners and can afford to sustain the agreement. And even then- the agreement may not hold up.

Do a little research online, and you'll find complaints about "lifetime" contracts for other auto service, electronic and appliance warranties, fitness clubs, day spas -- you name, it.

When you pay for a lifetime of anything, you're taking the risk that the contract may become worthless at any time.

For questions about Midas' lifetime oil change deal, call 800-621-8545.

For more information:

Class-action lawsuit against Midas