By Kurtis Ming

An upset tire shop worker spit on a Call Kurtis crew three times following their hidden camera investigation into customer complaints the shop raised prices after the work was completed.

Our investigation revealed exactly what customers like Loretta Brown of Jackson have been complaining about.

“I said that’s not the price you quoted me and I’m not paying that.”

She called El Camino Tires and Wheels at El Camino & Fulton in February after seeing dozens of ads the company posts on Craigslist with remarkably low prices for tires.  Before making the hour long drive down the hill, she called to confirm the cost.

“He told me $199 plus tax,” she recalls.   “I get down there it’s completely different… goes from $199 to $270 something.”

The invoice shows the tires are $199, but then they wanted to charge her $24 for valve stems she didn’t approve.  Even if you add that up with tax it should come to $242.51.     So how did they get 271?

She says the worker refused to explain the mystery math and then cussed her out in front of her 11-year old daughter.

“He actually told me to shut my f—ing mouth a few times.   He told me you’re a white b—h.  You’re a f—ing whore.  You’ll do anything for $20.”

Ron Malinis of Fairfield drove 45 miles for a new set of tires. After installation he says the shop raised the price $90.

“I just wanted to get out of there, so I just paid it,” Malinis said.

We wanted to see what would happen to us.

After scanning their most recent ad on Craigslist, our producer called up for a quote.   A staffer said it would cost $299 plus tax for 4-new tires installed on our Saturn.   The next day, our undercover team armed with a hidden camera drops off the car noticing the shop now goes by a new name, All Star Tires and Wheels.  It still has the same phone number.   Once again, a worker confirms the price.

“It’s $300 plus taxes,” the worker says.

“And that’s installed?” our producer asks.

“Yeah,” the worker responds.  “We mount and balance them.”

With tax of 8.75%, we’re expecting to pay around $326, but after they do the work a clerk tells us it’s going to be $379.    How did they get that?

“I feel the price is getting changed on me,” our producer explains.

“It’s not getting changed on you,” the clerk says.

The clerk explains the tires cost $299. They’ve added on a mandatory state tire fee of $7, which is fine with us. Then there’s a valve stem charge of $28.  We never asked for new valve stems and a state investigator tells me we don’t need them.

Plus there’s a disposal fee of $15.  No one ever said anything about that. Add tax on all of that and you get $379.

“I just feel like these are hidden fees I wasn’t told about,” our producer says.  “I’m kind of short on cash.  So what happens if I can’t pay it?”

“Call somebody, but you have to pay it,” the clerk responds

She then says they’ll remove our valve stems from our tires, but will not warranty the tires.   Our producer asks if we can just have our old tires put back on and is told we’ll have to pay $50 for the labor.

I then walk in and ask what caused the price to go up?

“Taxes and balancing fees,” the worker responds.

“We were told it would be $299 installed plus taxes.”

“Nope.  That’s not how it is.”

I explain to them customers should not be surprised on the back end when they pick up their vehicle.   Another worker told me a lot of people are not surprised when they get the bill.  A third worker behind the counter wants us to know there are new owners.

“We bought the shop,” he says.

“Who owns it?” I ask.

“It doesn’t matter who owns it.   Your mom owns it,” he responds.  “You happy now?”

He gets agitated by our camera putting his hand on the lens and then spits on our photographer.   When things calm down, I attempt to explain once again what happened.

“She (our producer) called up yesterday and was quoted one price; confirmed it on the phone,” I said.

“You got it confirmed on the phone.  Is it recorded?” the worker asks.


“Is that right?  Okay,” he says.   “We have the right to tell you to leave, so leave.”

When I remind him they still have our car, he says we can talk outside.  My photographer and I went outside only to get the middle finger. The same worker who asked us to leave comes around the side and once again puts his hand on our camera, and then spits on our photographer two more times.

“I’ve got a lawyer who will f— you up,” he says.

Gary Almond with the Better Business Bureau calls this a classic case of bait and switch.

“Obviously this is a very very bad practice.”

So what do you do when they jack up the price after the tires are installed?

“Really there’s almost nothing you can do,” he says.  “They have the keys.  They have the car.”

The Chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Sherry Mehl says you should push back and say you’re not going to pay more than you were told.

”You need to say I’m not going to take this.  Most of them will back down.”

After our photographer was spit on three times, we called the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. They showed up.   Our photographer decided not to press charges.   The tire shop re-installed our old tires for free.

Iqbal Shahzad says he’s the new owner of the family business after his Uncle moved to Pakistan.  He apologized for his employee’s behavior and admitted the shop location has had problems.  He says he’s trying to change the business for the better.

“You guys are going to be much clearer with people about how much it’ll be?” I ask.

“I could put fine print on the ad,” Shahzad responds.   “I can have them sign the paperwork and everything up front.”

It’s too late for some customers who don’t like the way people have been treated at this tire shop location.

“Personally I wouldn’t go there,” Loretta Brown said.

“Don’t take it there,” said Ron Malinis.

The owner’s wife posted on the Call Kurtis Facebook page, “We are proud to say the man does not work for the company anymore”.

CBS13 has learned no government agency regulates tire shops.  Tire shops that ONLY install tires do not have to be licensed with the Bureau of Automotive Repair.    I recommend you always ask for pricing in writing before you have any work done on your vehicle.

Comments (47)
  1. Miguel says:

    just burn the shop down with all the employees and the owners in it

    problem solved

  2. DealWheeler says:

    I’ve been there and it was okay but yes they will change the price on you and I’m not too sure about ALL of the workers being family. I did get the valve stem run around but the type of tires my car takes are very expensive so I didn’t complain. They are however somewhat short on cutomer service and it seems that this “new owner” thing is scapegoat doing their best impression of a sheep.

    Can’t stand anyone that would take advantage of and/or call a women names. I sent my wife there and believe me if they would have called her anything besides Mrs. tirebuyerlady they would have all got a KNUCKLE SHAMPOO!

  3. benji says:

    If you were watching the News for the day, you would understand that you definitely caught those tire shop owners on a very bad day.(The owner’s uncle probably had a very difficult time getting his ticket to “where was that place”?)
    “Spitting” is usually reserved for Saturday’s only – obviously spitting on a non-Saturday was a mistake.

  4. JJC says:

    Me being a 30 year retired master tech, i take offense people calling these back yard shade tree monkeys mechanics. They are not even close to a proffessional. The BAR should be all over this with decoy cars and shut them all down by pullng their licenses.
    The best thing people can do is hit them in the pocket book, stay away no matter how good the sale might seem. Go to COSTCO or AMERICAN Tire or LES SCHWAB, and get your moneies worth from people that will stand behind theiir products.
    keep complaining to BAR and CONSUMER AFFAIRS. after a while they will have to do their job and investigate.
    If everyone stays away, eventually they will shut down because they cannot pay their bills and everyone will win but them, the consumer will get the last laugh.

  5. V says:

    I enjoy watching Call Kurtis. Over the years he has covered very interesting stories. I can personally say he has helped me save money by doing more research and reading the fine print. Unfortunately, this business is one of the many businesses featured on Call Kurtis. If there are new owners in place, hopefully they will keep their word and turn their business around. As a business you can only redeem yourself by keeping your words and not rip off your customers. We’ll see… As for some racist comments on here, everyone is an immigrant. Don’t forget history, white men sailed here they weren’t born here so in essence we are all immigrants except for the natives. Please educate your ignorance is you are racist. This is not the type of world we want our children to grow up in. America is about freedom and diversity and ultimately opportunity. Please don’t spread hate with discrimination. God Bless you all because some of you really need it.

  6. Little b!tch says:

    That little bald prick would have had his ass kicked after spitting on me one time. Little b!tch.

  7. What really happened? says:

    Kurtis cut out a lot of parts. His camera man pushed the guy first and then the guy spit on them. That doesn’t make it okay, but Kurtis cut that part out. Since when is it okay to push people? You can even hear the owner saying “Hey don’t hit him.” Where is that scene Kurtis? Also, this business is under new ownership, they just bought the business April 1st. You ruined their rep knowing that the complaints were for the old owner. I don’t know what to say about Kurtis, I guess it’s true when people say don’t believe everything you see on the news.

  8. matt b says:

    Thank you for doing this… this has saved me from being ripped off.

  9. bmw repair granite bay says:

    I was extremely pleased to discover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to check out new stuff in your website.

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