Letter To The Editor: Terry's Tire And Auto Service

A letter by Gil Denomme.

As the owner of Terry’s Tire, I would like to comment on Michelle’s story. We pride ourselves on our customer service & competitive pricing. There are always two sides to every story. First, let me say how disappointed we were to hear how unhappy Michelle was with her service at Terry’s.  We have serviced Michelle’s vehicle over the last couple of years. She neglected to mention the times she has come in for service with a check engine light on, and we did NOT charge her to scan & diagnose the problem. Nor did she mention the times we added oil or fluids free of charge to her. The times she came in without an appointment, and we fit her in to accommodate her because she was so distraught about her vehicle.  So, to hear Michelle complain about our pricing and service really does shock us.  We have given Michelle nothing but exceptional service over the years.

So, here’s the second side of the story.  Yes, it is true you can go to Auto Zone and have them scan your check engine light.  I am not sure if it is free or there is a small fee for this service.  However, they will give you the code that they scanned and tell you what they think the problem is.  At Terry’s, our diagnostic scanner is a lot more detailed. Our machine costs over $9,600 vs. $60 for most regular machines.  In addition, our machine has regular updates to stay on top of new technology.  It not only reads codes but also helps to diagnose more detailed because of the technology this machine offers.  In addition to retrieving the code, we also have to research the code with our software, which is customized to each vehicle.   This software alone is over $3,000. In addition to this service, sometimes additional testing is required to diagnose the problem. This is where all the experience, schooling, re certification classes, and licensing all come into play which we at Terry’s provide. 

When Michelle brought her vehicle in, she knew she had a check engine light on, had no codes from Auto Zone, and had symptoms with the vehicle. When she left, we told Michelle what the check engine light code was, what the repair was to fix it, and an estimate for the entire repair. In addition, we told Michelle that her vehicle was down oil and was overdue for an oil change by 5,000 miles. Also, Michelle was not truthful when she said she “got stuck with a near $100 bill before any auto work was even done.” Michelle paid UNDER $100 for scanning the check engine light code, a pressure test, and a smoke test done to the vehicle to diagnose the problem.  PLUS, she received her much needed oil change, all for UNDER $100. Also, she conveniently forgot to mention that we discounted our $89.95 diagnostic fee to $69.95 as a courtesy to her and did not fix the repair for the check engine light. She just wanted the information so a friend could fix the repair who was not qualified to diagnose it.

We have no apologies to Michelle.  We feel our service to Michelle was over and above on several occasions.  We regret that we have lost her as a customer.  However, once she starts comparing our services to others, she will realize how professional, reasonable, and experienced we are here at Terry’s Tire.

We continually strive to improve on our customer service, customer satisfaction, quality of our work, competitive pricing, and our updated technology.  We have over 30 years of experience, are licensed by the State of RI as a repair facility, and are constantly upgrading our technology in equipment & software.  All of this is done to better improve our business for our customers!!


Gil Denomme

Editor's note: This letter is in reference to a June 9 piece by writer Michelle Couchon regarding her visit to titled

Steve June 16, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Well Michelle, what say you to Gil's response. Seems like there were a "FEW" things missing in your account of your visit to Terry's. As I said in a past post, Gil, Kelly and co. have always treated my wife and I great from a service, price and quality of repair standpoint. He even went as far once as to take my wife's car into his shop the next day for a new water pump because she needed to have it for work the following week, thereby avoiding a major headache! Hopefully, you're not using the Patch as a means to vent your frustrations to a larger audience.
Haavey June 16, 2011 at 07:38 PM
There are always two sides to every story. I'm glad Gil followed up on this.
Michelle Couchon June 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Many of your statements are incorrect (I only moved to Woonsocket last June and therefore have only been a customer for about a year). I will not, however, stoop so low as to debate trivialities but rather I will stick to the facts. Auto Zone is not a repair shop, that much is true, but the following places are. Let the Facts Speak For Themselves. Check Engine light Diagnosis Fee: 1.Meineke Car Care Center, 240 S. Main St., Woon: FREE. 2.Forbes Auto, 773 Front St., Woon: FREE. 3.A & W Tire & Services, 375 Farnum Pike, Smithfield: FREE 4.Cerroni's Service Center, 124 Pleasant View Ave., Smithfield: FREE 5.Uncle's Transmission, 5 Larch St. Smithfield: FREE. 6.A 1 Radiator - $25.00 7.Moe's Broad St. Garage - $32.50 but it’s FREE if you allow them to do the work. 8.Speedees Oil Change & Tune-Up, 547 Kelley Blvd., N. Attleboro -$40.00 9.Wayne’s Service Plus, 269 Silver Spring St. Prov:: $44.50 10.Midas, 1290 N. Main St., Prov - $45.00 11. Terry’s Auto & Repair, 36 Blackstone St., Woon - $90.00 3 of the above auto shops advised me to tighten up my gas cap if my check engine light was on. (Cerroni's, Forbe's Auto, and Meineke). Apparently most mechanics are aware of the fact that if your gas cap is loose, it causes the check engine light to come on. An honest mechanic will tell you that right off the bat.
Michelle Couchon June 17, 2011 at 12:10 AM
The fact that Terry's not only charges $90.00, but fails to inform you is the crux of the entire article. I ask you, who is going to agree to a $90.00 bill just to find out what's wrong with their car? Isn't that what a mechanic is supposed to do? Hasn’t this service been free since the invention of the car? Isn’t it bad enough we have to pay for parts and labor? Now we have to pay for the diagnosis as well? In his article, Gil stated that I wished to find out what was wrong with my car so I could take it elsewhere. Well, so what? Am I not entitled to take my car to whom I choose? Am I not entitled to locate the best possible rate? Am I not entitled to learn the problem with my vehicle without spending another small fortune in addition to the outrageous amounts of money it costs to fix the car?? My sole intention was and is to stand for those of us who live honest, hard-working lives and against the injustice and dishonesty that surrounds us. I stand behind my claim 100%. I think folks should be aware of the fact that they are paying this fee right off the bat, and without first being told!
Aaron Quinn June 17, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Jim Bob, it’s guys like you who make people afraid to speak out against injustice! Why personally attack people? I didn’t see you comment on the fact that all those other places do this service for free? What about that? It seems Michelle is right after all!
Rachel Curtis Bayliss June 17, 2011 at 10:42 AM
Having worked at a car dealership myself, I have seen first hand the battles between customer and mechanic. Where I was the standard charge to check the light was an hour's labor. At times I disagreed with this especially when the diagnosis only took 10-15 minutes but someone's gotta pay to keep the doors open. I am not siding with either party just offering up more facts for people to make their own decisions on the topic.
annie June 17, 2011 at 01:12 PM
Jason D June 17, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Gil - If I was to bring my car in for "check engine light" and you performed your diagnostic scan, would you apply the $90 fee toward the repair if I had your staff perform the repair? Thanks in advance for your response
give me a break June 17, 2011 at 05:07 PM
you can't blame the editor for unhappy people, they can't monitor this site 24hrs a day7 days a week
give me a break June 17, 2011 at 05:10 PM
jim boob the writer caused the grief sandy didn't write the article and look whos trying to cause grief --- namely YOU
give me a break June 17, 2011 at 05:12 PM
who does it for free tell us tell us,
annie June 17, 2011 at 06:03 PM
ooh ooh...I know the answer to that one. He knocks off 20.00 if u let Terry' do the work. i know because i remember my husband gripin' about it.
Charlie C. June 17, 2011 at 06:34 PM
I can't believe what I'm reading. Ya gotta be outta your mind to pay 90 bucks for something you can get done for free, or even for half the price. If you guys---steve and jimboob---want to pay that kinda money like a coupla fools that's your business, but I'm no fool. Thanx for the info michelle -- and keep up the good work. Don't let guys like this keep you from sharing the truth
Denise June 17, 2011 at 06:53 PM
The bottom line is you are free to take your business wherever you want to. When I want my car fixed correctly, I take it to Terry's NOT Auto Zone. Do I think his prices are a lttle high? Sometimes, but it is offset by the fact that in a pinch, I know that I can call or drop by and 99% of the time Gil will take care of my car. Unfortunately, in these tough times everyone is looking for something for nothing and those days are gone. I will say that I had a problem with my check engine light and brought it to Gil. He told me what the issue was, but told me he could not fix it because the car was under warranty and had to be fixed by the dealer. He charged me $40 and I went to a local dealership. I told them what the problem was and they told me thay had to check it with their computer. Before they would even look at the car I had to sign a form stating that it would be $120 for the computer check and $90 per hour for labor and $$$ what ever the parts would be, if it was not a warrantied part. Fortunately, it was a sensor that was covered by the warranty. Exactly 1 week later the check engine light came on again. I had to go back to the dealership and repeat the process! Today's automobiles are much more complex than they were 20 years ago. Technology changes every day and it costs money for the service stations to keep up with the technology, not to mention that the tools to diagnose these issues are more expensive.
Jim Bobb June 17, 2011 at 07:08 PM
I was wrong to be so obnoxious...i still don't agree with the article, but Terry's (Gil's) great Service and dedicated Customers are a testimony to his business. I have apologized to Sandy for my comments..my point to Sandy was that allowing such a story to run wasn't fair to that business or any business for that matter. I commend Sandy for being such a professional and allowing people to express their opinions without being attacked by others...she does provide a great news source to the area, and i'm sure it is a very difficult job, one of which requires many hours of work...it is obvious that she takes the Patch very seriously and appreciates all the readers. Thank you Sandy!
Steve June 17, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Charlie C. Before you call someone a fool, check the facts of Gil's response. It appears that there was more service involved in Michelle's visit that she so conviently forgot to mention like various fault isolation diagnostics and an oil change! Why has she not responded to this and actually clarified what exactly she had done to her car for her 90 dollar charge? Again, check the facts before you jump to conclusions!
Charlie C. June 17, 2011 at 07:35 PM
I HAVE checked the facts. None of that other crap matters. The fact is that Terry's DOES charge 90 bux for the same service meineke, forbes and a & w do for free. I don't blame Michelle for not stooping to his level and fighting online. The bottom line is Terry's charges a heckofalot more than other shops. If he didn't have anything to hide, he wouldn't have written such a long letter explaining alot of bull that has nothing to do with what his actual fees are!
Steve June 17, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Really? If in fact these other services were included in Michelle's 90 dollar bill, this article should be pulled immdiately due to this misinformation. Nothing is worse than misinformation in an article rating a local business! This is the number one rule in journalism! Smarten up.......
Bruce Heroux June 17, 2011 at 07:49 PM
I have been customer to Gil and previously Terry, I have been treated well. So well I have bought my last 3 car there. I will not comment on what started thi, but I trust Terry's Tire and Service Shop. Thanks for your time.
Jay Dionne June 17, 2011 at 07:56 PM
So Charlie - you called Meineke, Forbes and A&W and confirmed that they don't charge anything for EXACTLY the same diagnostic that Terry's charges $90? Or did you call and ask them how much they charge for a diagnostic? It's not the same thing. Do a google search on Automotiv Diagnostic Scanners and you'll see there is wide array of products at different price points - you're not going to get the same level of results nor accuracy with a $200 model than you will with a $10k model. As I stated in an earlier post - I can go to the Dr for a sore knee...he can examine me, do x-rays or an MRI - all diagnostic tests - each with varying degrees of accuracy AND price. So exactly how did you check your facts?
Steve June 17, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Also Charlie, please call these so called mechanics referenced above and ask what they would charge for "Scanning the check engine light code, a pressure test, and a smoke test done to the vehicle to diagnose the problem. Plus an oil change" and let us know what you find out OK? Thanks.
Sandy Phaneuf June 17, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Thank you!!!
Steve June 18, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Sandy, if in fact these other services not listed in MIchelle's article were included in Michelle's 90 dollar bill, this article should be pulled immdiately due to this misinformation. Nothing is worse than misinformation in an article rating a local business! This is the number one rule in journalism!
Steve June 18, 2011 at 01:01 AM
Where is the truth here Sandy? We seem to be involved in a he said she said scenario here. Sandy, you need to get involved here and get to the bottom of this slanderous article that one of your authors wrote! This is a direct assault on one of Woonsocket's busineses, You owe it to the Patch to bring the truth to light....
English first June 18, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Isn't the USA great? People are free to say what they feel is right. As for Terry's they are the best. I have moved recently and do not frequent that business area as often. I did however go to Terry's for many years. People should know that Terry's has been around for 30 years and that is not easy for a small business to be successful in these economic times. They must be doing something right. Terry's will probably be around after "annie", "taxed2death" and Michelle have moved on to other towns or cities... Good work Gil.
English first June 18, 2011 at 02:03 PM
Thanks Bobby. I never said I didn't make mistakes. However, some people on the internet don't even try. We all should try to reread our posts. I got you to think about English grammar didn't I? suppose supposed
Lavergne June 19, 2011 at 01:54 PM
I recently brought my car to Paul Masse because my car's check engine light was on..Right off the bat they were going to charge me $92 for diagnosing the problem. I already knew what the problem was and told them what it was...they still were going to charge me the $92, so I told them that the cost was too excessive and took the car back...
jojo jenkins June 20, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Did they not perform a service for you by diagnossing the vehicle? Does this mean people who perfom services for a living should not be paid for said services? This service was not free years ago unless you were a regular at the shop. Still they would not do it totally for free. As for the gas cap. This is in the manula for your vehivle. Did you not read the manual when you purchased the vehicle? If it did not come with the vehicle. Did you not try to track down a manual for the vehicle? A car/vwhicle is not a necessity it is a privilage. As for the question "Am I not entitled to learn the problem with my vehicle without spending another small fortune in addition to the outrageous amounts of money it costs to fix the car?? " It does not take money to go to a library and look up information. You apparently own a computer. So is it that hard to search the internet? Is it that hard to take a small action of responsibility of owning a vehicle?
jojo jenkins June 20, 2011 at 03:30 AM
So you expect to get a service for free? WOW!!!!! No wonder our economy is crap now. Everyone wants something for free. If they dont get it. They bitch and moan about it.
Jason D June 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Even better my 06 Grand Caravan will give you a basic code via the dash if you follow a sequence. Don't need to go anywhere but to your computer at that point.


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