Thread: Brake Job Price
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Old 06-05-2002, 11:37 AM
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Lebenz Lebenz is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862

There are a lot of different business models. The auto repair industry is mature Ė meaning it has been around for quite a while Ė and, as a result there is ample opportunity for all involved to make a reasonable living. And yes that includes marking up parts for sometimes more than ďretailĒ to justify putting a warranty on something. In my book thatís not unreasonable. I would bet that many service businesses would thrive if they encouraged the customer to buy their own parts, or better yet, have the customer provide a credit card to the shop and have the shop buy the right parts for the customer, using the customerís $$ and the shopís time. The shop gets paid for their time involved in the order and just sells service. The customer saves, and the shop has folks that love it for going this extra step. Right?

Of course, time has shown that often when using this model, if there is any type of parts problem (which is all too typical), it comes back as being the shopís responsibility in one form or another. The result is the shop is financially responsible even though the customer theoretically understood that the shop had no responsibility for the customerís parts. If it went that far, the courts would probably support the end customer (they almost always do), and while the shop did the right and kind thing in the first place, in the end theyíd be responsible for court costs as well as the ultimate re-repairs that would be then done at another location, plus likely punitive costs. The shop canít win by being a helpful and good guy. Iím sure itís been tried before, so there is nothing gained by trying again.

In the end, the more anyone (end user and/or shop) minimizes their risks, the better off they are. Customers donít always realize this, and, in fact do choke when presented with a bill including a $600 part they later find out they could get for ....lets just say less than $600.

This all makes sense to me. I too am a shop owner and have had these experiences, first hand, on many instances. And on those occasions I have always accommodated the customer even though it was something beyond my control and for which I was not at all at fault, just to make nice with the customer. It sucks. But it almost always pays off in the form of repeat business.

Anyway, I do understand the point, as I hope this illustrates.

Now as to your question, I guess I have to apologize for a possible misunderstanding about customer supplied parts for the local dealerships. The dealerships that I spoke with; more specifically the service advisors at the dealerships I spoke with said they have no problem with customer supplied parts. I didnít imply that MBUSA states this as policy. As you know the dealerships are independent franchises, and only resell MB products without having a direct affiliation to MBUSA or DC except that MBUSA is usually their primary supplier. They can largely do as they please, as can all shops.

Rock and Role!

'00 ML320 "Casper"
'92 400E "Stella"
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