My husband and I took our car in to ProCare Automotive in our city to have the engine looked at. It had been switching to high gear and stalling out, and we knew something was very, very wrong. We dropped it off early Saturday morning and they said they'd look at it and call us back. About mid-day on Saturday, we haven't heard anything, so my husband calls to see if anything is going on. The manager, Dave, tells Alex that they "meant" to call us. He then listed out the amounts of what we'd need done as follows:
Alternator, including labor and parts: $215
Idle valve, including cleaning, labor, and parts: $315
Diagnostic test: $100
Okay, fine. Alex double checked the total of $630, and then asked if they give a college discount, which they do - 10% off. Okay, so, that takes the bill down even further. Dave says the car will be ready on Monday, and that he'd call when it was ready. Great, fine, bye.
Monday rolls around, and there is no phone call by noon. So while I'm at work, I call to find out what's going on. I talk to Jim, who tells me that the parts they thought would fix the problem didn't fix the problem, so they would need to do another test to figure out what's going on. Furthermore, the guy who does those tests had already left for the day and wouldn't be back until Tuesday morning. Fabulous.
So this morning I call and ask what's going on with my car. Jim tells me that they did the test and the whole computer system [which, BTW, reads the idle valve and alternator measurements] was messed up. So I asked how much extra this new part would cost me. He refused to quote me a price, but said they'd already ordered and installed the part, and we could pick the car up because now it was working. I asked again for a price quote, and he finally gave in and said the whole repair job would cost $850.
So, basically, they took my car to do two repairs, did them, and then when those didn't work, ordered and installed NEW parts without me or my husband authorizing the repairs. And now they want to CHARGE ME FOR THOSE EXTRA REPAIRS. Four words for you: I. Don't. Think. So.
My husband, my father, and I go up to the car shop after we get home from classes. Jim comes out to talk to us. He says that Dave shouldn't have quoted us the price he did, because he didn't know this extra problem existed. My husband told him that perhaps Dave shouldn't have, but Dave DID, and now they were going to honor the guarantee that is posted on their wall that says, "If your repairs are more than your authorized estimate, we will pay the difference!</b> Jim says that that guarantee isn't valid for our situation because it doesn't include the "hidden" problem that they only discovered after they installed the original two parts. They said they "had to try something else," so this is what the cost of that is. I told them that I myself could have "tried" a whole bunch of things in my driveway, but that I brought it to them because they are supposed to be the experts. That's why they do a diagnostic!
Jim stared at us for a minute.
So then my Dad gets up there and tells him that as a former mechanic, he knows damn well that they could have told that the idle valve didn't need replaced from the diagnostic if they had waited to put it in until they tested the new alternator. And when they found out that it was the computer, they could have put my old idle valve back in and let me have that instead of charging me for the computer, the valve, and the alternator together. We also said that we should not be charged for the computer because IT WASN'T AUTHORIZED. They ordered it without even mentioning it to us, and we never authorized the work.
After about fifteen minutes of going back and forth on this, we tell them we'll pay it and - dun dun DUN - then go to corporate about it.
I swear to god, if the story had changed any faster, it would have been on Fox News.
All of a sudden, they're offering up a free oil change and to take care of both the idle valve and the computer, and apologizing over and over. Yeah, okay. :P So I tell them to keep the labor charges on everything because they DID the work, and the mechanic has a family to feed. But we wanted - and got - the parts taken off, plus our 10% discount. We walked out paying the $630 we were told we were going to pay.
It all worked out, but man, what a friggin' load of balls that is to do a repair without authorization! They're lucky they didn't blow up my car in the process, or it would have been a wonderful case for small-claims.