Of all of the reasons not to do an on-camera interview, Jiffy Lube execs have found one that is the most honest and most transparent — even if it is wrong.

A hidden-camera expose by KNBC recently nailed several Southern California Jiffy Lube shops caught charging for repairs that were never made. It’s a well-done and well-documented piece, and the stores are absolutely nailed. Worst of all is the “district manager” who lies about not being a manager, and claims to be a customer instead.

At the end of the piece, Jiffy Lube promises to make a number of changes, including the installation of cameras in 31 stores that will allow customers to watch the crew at work. Six employees (and the district manager) have been fired, and several stores closed for internal employee training.

However, one thing you won’t see is a Jiffy Lube executive or spokesman issuing an apology. The reason, according to reporter Joel Grover:

“They will not speak to us on camera — they say it wasn’t to their benefit.”

Instead, all the viewers saw was a full-screen graphic from a written statement, which amounts to a clip-and-paste of PR/spin cliches:

“We take KNBC’s allegations seriously… will investigate this matter thoroughly and take appropriate actions… to prevent further occurrences.”

Will the public buy it? Very doubtful.

For apologies to work, you have to appeal to the consumer in an emotional way. You have to make a connection for real contrition, and that means communicating with all of your tools: body language, posture, voice tone, facial expression. Most of communication is non-verbal, and it’s damned near impossible to “sell sincerity” unless you open yourself up to be seen.

For Jiffy Lube to take a stand that an on-camera reaction would be of no “benefit” speaks volumes about a complete lack of understanding about communication. To get stung this way for the third year in a row speaks volumes about not really caring to begin with.