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Getting gouged by auto repair business. What to do?
Category: Services
Tags: overcharge, auto repairs
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3/14/2010 8:16 AM (PST)

Dropped off my 1999 Mazda 626 at a radiator specialist after discovering a slow leak. Following diagnostics, mechanic phoned with a long list of recommended fixes, many being unrelated to cooling system. I told him I only wanted the cooling system issue fixed. Was quoted $400 for (a) replace plastic coolant reservoir jug, (b) replace thermostat, (c) flush system, (d) replace water pump. Mechanic called just before closing time to tell me the car was ready. It was too late for me to pick it up, so I will get it tomorrow. He indicated that the $400 was for items (a) through (c) only. The job ended up not including replacement of water pump. When I questioned this, he said he understood that I was concerned about costs and "wanted only the minimum necessary." Online research tells me that the work that was actually done should have cost $180–$240; parts, labor and markups included. It's also work I could have mostly done myself. I'm angry. I'm supposed to pick up the car tomorrow, and I have nothing in writing. How should I handle this?

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3/16/2010 3:31 PM (PST)

Bill, Your answer is a good answer, so I like it. I had a constructive conversation with the mechanic, who explained how the costs were warranted. He also apologized for the misunderstanding, and admitted not following protocol regarding the written work order. I no longer feel i was overcharged, nor deliberately misled about the services. James

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