My 2.5 cents
"I even hesitate to take my car to my trusty mechanic, cause he messed up a bit while doing the chain, but he's human too you know."
Sorry folks, but this is why these shops proliferate, would you say the same about your doctor?. I doubt it. If the mechanic is licensed, operating a legitamite business and you are paying for the service, then you are entiltled to nothing less than satisfaction to the agreed job. Having said that be realistic and clear in your communication. The shop who could not give a quote because their computer was on the fritz is pure crap, would they let you take your car and come back later to pay the bill, I don't think so. After they have your keys is too late to ask for a quote.
A work order is a contract, it is important that the work order reflects your wishes. In my experience this is the only defence you have against any shop, either good or bad. However the only way this works is if the work order is clear. Don't be afraid to read, alter and most important put a $ limit on any work order BEFORE you sign it.
If any shop performed "un-authorised" repairs not ordered on the work order, I would firstly only agree to pay for the listed work. At this point most shops try to go the hostage route. Next I would ask they "undo" the un authorised work. Failing this you would have your $ limit as listed on the work order (contract) to fall back on and a lawyer.
Now re diagnostic work, get it in writing that their recommended repair is guaranteed to fix the problem, if they won't do this, walk away. A shop rate entitles you to a informed, correct and profesional diagnosis. Its ok for us arm chair mechanics to play "swap and change" parts until we find the problem, but we don't get paid to do it for a living.
Diagnose first, no work authorized
Quote for repair second
Signed work order upto the quoted amount third.
It takes a little more time, but you don't get burned at the end, and you can always walk away in the first or second stage without it costing your shirt.
Just think of it in terms of what you do yourself for a living in your respective profession, what is your personal liability to your client/customer/patient then step up and demand the same for yourself. God gave us feet to walk away from these kinds of operations, hopefully before we've parted with cash. Also remember, most shops charge you by a book, if the repair takes less time than listed, who usually gets to keep the difference?.
Almost done ranting now, don't be afraid to complain (if you are right and the work is contrary to the work order) but a good tip is always go around 5pm when others are also picking up their cars, then if you encounter a "problem" ensure everyone hears about it. Oh yeah, always ask for your old parts back too (written on the work order), its your right unless they are core parts and reflected in the replacement part price, it keeps them honest, and is good education to look at them.
Last edited by Crownwayne; 01-26-2003 at 09:40 AM.