Repair expectations - help ?

Ice Cat ^. .^ ~ iceisit at
Thu Aug 8 14:04:02 EDT 2002

Hi Carlos ~

Thanks for writing.    I know this got much more complicated than I
ever expected because I was not aware when I hit reply than many of
my messages were sent privately rather than to the list.    Now I am
making sure that I delete the individual's name and try to remember
to send to the list.     Sorry about the confusion as many of my long
replies never made it to the general list.   I'll try to make it a
point to not have that happen again.

>It seems to me that you have a good attitude by admitting that you
>need to pay a mark up on parts and a decent hour rate.
>However, before the talk, call a dealer and ask for the minimum cost
>of diagnosys and estimated time needed to replace the hose if this
>is the defect (tell the service guy that a friend told you that it's
>the hose).

The problem this time was that we did not know it was a hose.   I sat
in the repair shop and waited for them to take it apart.   I
specifically made the appointment over a week in advance (and parked
my car for that entire time) so that I would be the first one in so
that they could tell me right away what was wrong or what needed to
be done.

Since they quoted me $85 for the hose and .5 labor I said "Oh just go
ahead and fix it since you have it torn apart."  I know they had it
torn apart, or at least suspected that they did.   I cannot imagine
them putting it back together instead of rolling out of the garage
without talking to me first knowing I was right there.

They said they couldn't get the part anywhere in the area.

This is where things start to get a little grey.

I was wondering, being I had already told him that we do a lot of
work ourselves, whether that in fact was true or whether he was
trying to get us to leave the car there. But he told me that *after*
I said to go ahead and fix it since it was such a small item.

I was previously worried it was the turbo charger or something really
expensive which had failed and that I would not have the money to
repair it.    My husband just lost his job and things are very tight.
A few hundred dollar repair bill at this point was an extreme stretch
for us.

>With this information you can confront the owner with the comparison
>of the shop price with the dealer's  and 9 out of 10 independent
>shop owners will blush when confronted with a charge higher than a

I think that that is an excellent idea for something that we cannot
do ourselves.   Say a new automatic transmission.

But the problem was that my husband could not figure out what was
wrong and the car ran so poorly I was afraid I was going to ruin it
the way it was and my husband's car is not working right now either.

  My car runs pretty good now.     *Now* is when I am going to take it
to someone else and have them finish the diagnosis being I know.
This European Car mechanic first said that he couldn't tell me what
was wrong with my car until after he fixed this part.   I said did
you find that part was damaged right away.   He said NO.   So I asked
well what else did you look at . . . .      It was tne owner's
complete outrage at me asking what was done during the 1.2 hours of
diagnosis with which I have the concern, plus his complete and utter
out of control yelling at me for minute after minute while I am
obviously trying to talk with his mechanic.

I have been told by several on the list that this would probably have
been suspected very soon and would have taken under a quarter of an
hour to find.

If so, why did they continue to look for something else when they
came up and said they could not complete the diagnosis if this part
was not fixed.

If they did *not* find this right away, they must have checked other
things and have *other* data to report.

Both the owner and the mechanic hemmed and hawed around so much
during the first part of the day and gave such oily answer during the
first several inquiries, both at the shop and on the phone when I
called back, that I started to get very nervous.

The woman in the office said that the part could not possibly be in
until after 4:30 p.m. or the next day.
When I called a little after 4 p.m. they finally transferred me to
the mechanic who said "Your part is in!"

Since they originally QUOTED me .5 hours to take out the old and put
in the new, and the old part was out, I knew he could fix it in a
half hour with time to spare.
Since they knew I needed my car right away as that had been the
previous arrangement
I said to him "I will be over at 5 p.m. to pick up my car."
Now if the car would not have been ready, I was nervous enough with
them that I would have towed it home and put the part in myself and
paid them whatever they wanted for their time and the part and just
not gone back.

What prompted my original question to the list is that the owner was
so outraged at my inquiries, which I had spoken to him in detail the
previous week:   We work on our own cars and have hit something we
cannot diagnose,  and I need my car for business and was really not
in a position to leave it for long.   I had turned down a job for the
next day because I thought I was going to need to leave it overnight
and I had to cancel an acupuncture appointment thinking I had no idea
when my car was going

(It already cost me a few jobs being my car was down for so long but
I was trying to find a way where both the shop owner and myself would
be on the same page and have the same information.)
Obviously if I had the money for a rental car, a few extra bucks for
repairs wouldn't be a problem.

When I came to pick my car up he was extremely rude and sarcastic
from the beginning and said to me:

"Oh we washed your car.  I don't know why!   And I don't know why I
should not charge you for *that* too!"

((I never talked to the owner about picking up the car, and I never
talked to the owner about the charged.
The mechanic had just said:  "That should take care of it as I did
not find anything else. . . "
I suspect that the mechanic let the cat out of the bag and the owner
was going to try to milk it for a few more dollars.))

I totally ignored the nasty comments and was pleasant and went on to
ask what I owed.   I then asked what was done during the diagnosis."

He said  "I don't know, just pay."

Me:  "I plan to pay, and here let me pay you right now so that is not
a concern that I won't pay.
I just want to know what was done," and I handed him the money.

Just then the mechanic came up and while I was trying to talk to him
about what he had done before he found the hose the owner, yelled a
bunch of stupid stuff at me about taking my car and going home, don't
come back, we are not welcome there, he shouldn't have washed my car,
and made a big deal out of the flourish of noting in my file that I
was not to come back.   I have not idea what brought all of this on.
I was totally up front with him, I only questioned the sign on the
wall which said Diagnosis $65.   Labor $65 per HOUR.  just before the
mechanic came up after he started yelling at me.

I never told him that I felt I was over charged.  I never got that
far.   He was so reactive and defensive from the minute I walked into
the door, I figured he knew he got caught trying to pull a fast one
and was on the defensive.

I tried to ignore all of this and talk to the mechanic but he yelled
so much he embarrassed the mechanic.
The owner was acting so stupid he forgot to give me my key which the
mechanic chased after me with.   I forgot it as well as I was focused
on getting the diagnostic info which I paid for.    After he told me
what he had done needless to say, I just wanted to get out of there
and see how my car drove.

Can you believe the owner was still yelling at me to have a nice day
as I opened the shop door to which I told him to have a nice year as
at this point I was highly annoyed.    I have never in my entire life
had a mechanic or a shop owner act this way.      I have worked as a
facilities manager and supervised men on work sites and know that I
did not instigate this.   That is why I would steer people away from
the shop, is that I feel that the mechanics are probably competent,
but that he is trying to grab and extra buck everywhere he can, and
when put under close examination he lashes out in a very
unprofessional manner.

  I originally wanted to know from the list how do you handle getting
estimates and diagnosis so that the owner of the shop knows that you
do work yourself and still be able to pay them for their knowledge
without them going ballistic.   ;-)          Kind regards,   Fay
              Fay S. Kelley
"Enjoy the edge you are on . . . don't think about the one to come!"  

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