A year after 20 lives were lost in the Schoharie limousine crash, allegations Mavis Discount Tire charged for work never done on the limo, and then fraudulently approved its inspection, have caused shock and disbelief to many in the Capital Region.
“I don’t know if that’s what happened here or not but if it is, it’s a pretty terrible thing. Especially when you have 20 people that are dead because of it,” said Rick Hameroff. Rick and his wife Sandra own Broadway Auto Clinic in Menands.
Rick and Sandra have been in business for 23 years. They say the foundation of their operation is trust.
"You are going to visit an auto repair shop several times a year. If you're lucky, you're only going to visit your doctor once a year,” Sandra said. “Your life is in our hands even more than your doctor's. Just like you trust your doctor, you have to be able to trust your mechanic.”
Each repair shop in New York state is audited by the Department of Motor Vehicles annually and the Hameroffs believe most in the industry are worthy of customers' trust.
“Most shops are honest and ethical but there are ones that aren’t and you have to watch out for them,” Rick said.
Rick admits it can be hard to tell.
“What are they going to do, crawl on the ground under their car and see if [they] replaced the caliper or brake light?” Rick said. “Some customers will do that but most won’t and they are trusting you.”
The couple’s first advice is to do your homework.
“I highly recommend you look at Google and see what their reviews are," Rick said.
“If they have a horrible experience, they will relive that for a very long time,” Sandra said.
Second, they say don't be afraid to ask questions.
“Ask to see the new parts and ask to see the old parts,” Rick said.
Ultimately, they believe the onus falls on the business owners themselves.
“Reputation is everything,” Sandra said. “You are only as good as your word.”
“You have to be ethical and you have to be honest,” Rick said. “Look what happens when you are not.”