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mechanic - how would you handle this

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hexed posted 5/8/2013 09:55 AM

I am beyond furious.

I took my new/used truck in for an expected but expensive repair ~$4K. Just prior to taking it in I had some odd problems and asked said mechanic to check out the problem and contact me before doing ANY work b/c I would need to consider my options.

Well it does need the other work which will range from $3500 - $5K. So now I'm looking at about $8K in repair bills. I would have let the truck sit in my driveway while I pondered investing that much money in my truck or considering other options.

Well the mechanic had a miscommunication with someone in his shop and the first repair work was done w/o my approval. I am beyond livid. I would NOT have had it done.

How would you handle this? I'm considering offering to pay him for the parts which will be about $2000 but not for the labor. Is this unreasonable? I told him I would call him back later b/c I am too mad to discuss it right now.

I have no idea how to handle this but I know I just got screwed

Undefinabl3 posted 5/8/2013 10:07 AM

I guess it depends on how well you know the mechanic/shop.

if this is a place that you do business with often, then I would hope that they would eat their labor, and then only charge you for their cost on the parts - and then offer a payment plan if needed.

If this is a place that you will never go back to again, then I would pitch a total fit and tell them that you would give them nothing since it was agreed no work would be done.

Personally, I have no idea why people think they can just do the repairs without asking first. I mean, come on. Its a lot of money, and if I was the mechanic, I wouldnt touch a car repair until I had a signature telling me that I was allowed to do said repair.

Sounds like piss poor business practice if you ask me...like they 'accidently' on purpose did the one repair just to make an extra buck - but not rip you off the full 8 grand...kwim?

DeadMumWalking posted 5/8/2013 10:11 AM

So are you saying they did the $8k of work, or just the $4k that you were originally going to do but wanted to hold off until you got the full picture?

If you did not authorize the work, you should definitely complain at the shop as high up as you can go.

I would also call around a few other mechanics to get some estimates for the repair of those problems - if it is less than what your current shop is charging, you might be able to negotiate them down.

I know that mechanics will usually hold the vehicle 'hostage' until they are paid. One way you might be able to get your truck back without paying (or paying as much) is to tell them that you will take the truck back in the condition it was in when you brought it - which would mean they would have to put back the broken old parts. Do not 'threaten' this unless you are satisfied with this outcome though. If they refuse, you might try to see if the police will help.

Oh, and maybe you need to change mechanics? These ones sound very disorganized to say the least.....

hexed posted 5/8/2013 10:15 AM

this mechanic has a good reputation for quality work.

He did the first $4K worth of work.

I will probably never need to go back there again since this is a one and done kind of repair and he specializes in this one repair.

betrayedfriend posted 5/8/2013 10:19 AM

I would pay for the original repair but make it clear that you are not happy with the work having been done without first clearing it with you, but you don't really have much to stand on since you took it there for the first repair, and that is what they did. My take is that you told them to do the first repair but to consult you before doing the extra work. They did the first repair and not the extra work. I apologize if I am misunderstanding, but if it happened the way I said, then I can understand the confusion.

ETA: I reread your post, and changed my mind, you clearly stated that you were to be contacted before having ANY work done, at all... In that case you were taking the vehicle in for an estimate on expected repairs and a diagnosis, I would ask that they return the vehicle to it's original condition, and you will pay a diagnostic and inspection fee. Do you have any paperwork documenting that this is what you requested and they agreed to? If you don't you're stuck paying for the repair, if you do, you have basis for demanding your vehicle be returned to you in the condition you left it in.

[This message edited by betrayedfriend at 10:23 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)]

hexed posted 5/8/2013 10:21 AM

Just for clarity. This shop would not be doing the additional work. I will have to take it some place else.

The reason I'm mad is that I asked them to diagnose the second problem PRIOR to doing the repair for the original problem. I made it CLEAR that I wanted the info on the second problem before they went ahead with the original repair. The information on the second issue would influence my decision to move forward with the original repair.

I was very very clear about that.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 5/8/2013 11:03 AM

I can see where the miscommunication came in.

The $4K repair was authorized to begin with. You asked about some other problems - asked for a call before the work was done.

The mechanic heard - $4k work is authorized, additional work is not.

It's sticky for sure. I would try being *nice* first - you know the whole flies with sugar/vinegar thing...

hexed posted 5/8/2013 12:07 PM

I guess my bottom line question is this. Is it unreasonable to offer to pay for the parts but not the labor.

I was VERY clear they should do nothing. How they got confused is not my problem. Having to fix a truck I wouldn't have is my problem. I most likely would have let it sit in the driveway unrepaired for quite some time and bought a different truck.

DeadMumWalking posted 5/8/2013 12:45 PM

I don't think it is unreasonable to go in with the position that you did not authorize the repair and tell them that you will therefore not pay for it, they can give you back the truck in the same condition you brought it in. Then you are no better and no worse off than you were at the start. They are worse off because they will have to waste time undoing the repair, but that's not your problem.

If you want to keep the repair, then see if you can negotiate a discounted price (parts at cost, discount on labor), seeing as you would not have done the repair if you knew about the other problem.

I don't think it is reasonable to get the repair for 'free' (parts no labor) since you will then be in a better position than you were at the beginning. But hey, if they will go for it then good for you.

aesir posted 5/8/2013 12:58 PM

Do you have a copy of the original work order stating what was authorized on it? If they exceeded what was on the work order without your authorization, then you should not be responsible for it.

hexed posted 5/8/2013 15:33 PM

Mechanic is a smart business man. Long story short. After a review of the facts and overall situation, I am getting a significantly reduced bill. There was little balking by the mechanic and I feel satisfied with the outcome.

Further more, the way he conducted himself in the face my obvious displeasure was admirable. I do not yell and curse at people but I was not being passive about the situation. It is not everything I wanted but because he was quick to offer up a solution/compensation for his part of the error and acknowledged instead of arguing, I readily accepted what he offered.

I ended the conversation feeling satisfied with outcome and happy with the mechanic. He turned a bad situation around and I would recommend him to people b/c the quality of his work is excellent and he was fair to me.

little turtle posted 5/8/2013 16:59 PM

Glad to hear you were able to get a positive outcome out of this. Sounds like he's a great businessman.

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