It certainly does sound suspicious, but it is plausible.
There used to be a lot of equipment that was used for alignment that was simple and quite effective in the hands of someone that knew what they were doing AND cared about what they were doing. There is a very simple turn plate that you drive straight onto. As soon as the front tire hits it, it swivels if there is any toe error. It actually works pretty good in checking/setting TOE ONLY. Since toe error is by far the most common cause of excessive tire wear, that is what they (and myself) are most concerned about.
Hope this helps,