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  #1  
Old 08-23-2003, 06:36 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: westchester, ny
Posts: 747
ripped off on neutral safety switch repair???

My car , 87 300e, died. Having done a search here, I knew it was the neutral safety switch because when I got it a year ago, it virtually only started in neutral. Had it towed to an indie & gave him the MB part. Got the bill today--1.5 hours. I was told that was the labor charge per Alldata. Could someone tell me what MB specifies as the time to replace the neutral safety switch on my car. This seems like much too much time for what Mercedes Tuner in his recent post said was a 15 minute job once the car is on the lift. Thanks to all.
Rich
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2003, 06:59 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Florida / N.H.
Posts: 8,777
Guess he should have only charged you for 15 minutes , huh ??

And you brought him the part , too... that saved him some time, right ??

Get the car in , on the lift , up in the air , take old part off ,
[ linkage , , shifter and switch, connector , and adjust the switch for proper alignment for both P and N , plus back-up lights....
take car off lift and make out the bill..
You did fine.... should have brought in some oil and had him drop that in while it was in the air...
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  #3  
Old 08-23-2003, 08:28 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Matthews, NC
Posts: 1,356
Richard,

I believe you are really a good person who wants people supplying a service to you to make at least an reasonable living.
I would like to explain to you and others what a compotenet inde has to go through to make repairs to your car. We will use your example and go through what will happen and some of the things involved. I don't know where you took your car so I will use my shop as an example.
You call to make an appointment to have your car repaired. You state you want a neutral safty switch install because your car won't start and you will bring your own parts and have the car towed in.
Someone has to log the appointment and get all the information documented. ($)
The car arrives and is placed in the lot by the tow truck driver.
The job is assigned to a tech (in my shop, that would be me). The car has to be pushed, pulled, whatever to get it inside. (time)
I would do some preliminary checks to make sure there wasn't something else wrong also. (time). Determine the problem is only the NS switch so get the car setup on the lift (time). Get the car ready for the work. (un hook battery, etc). By the way, the lift cost me $4000 just so I could work on cars. Spend 15 min replacing the switch (no way) after I clean off all the mud and grease. Rehook the battery and test. Raise care again and fine adjust so all functions work correctly. Let car down and remove from lift. Take car for a short test drive to make sure every thing is in order. Park the car and make sure there are no grease prints or dirt on the floor mats. Go inside and do the paper work and call you to let you know the car is ready and all is well.

You come to get the car. I stop what I am doing to explain that every thing is AOK.
You pay, and leave.
I am now finished with the job.

Now did I over charge if i charged 1.5 hours when I probably spent a total of 2 hours of my time working on and dealing with your car. and I didn't even get to make my 40% markup on the part.

Now please think about this.

I spend $1000 per month for rent on the building (I get a deal)
I have to have libality insurance.
I used a $4000 lift.
I used a $6900 piece of equipment to check the electrical system to make sure that was really your problem.
I spend about $200 per month just for hand tools.
I have all those utility bills like tele,power, etc
I have to have shop supplies (rags, cleaner, etc)
AND I have to clean up the mess when all this is finished.

Now, please pay the shop and tell his thanks and remember the next time you have a problem, take your car to someone you trust, pay him, and say thanks.

Paul McKechnie
Paul's Auto Electric
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84 500 SEL (307,xxx miles)
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  #4  
Old 08-25-2003, 02:15 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: westchester, ny
Posts: 747
Arthur & Paul,

Perhaps I didn't express my question well, or you both missed the point, or both. I have my own small business too, and I'm very sympathetic to everything Paul expressed. Arthur, your dripping sarcasm I think was misplaced & unwarranted.

I certainly didn't expect to be charged for 15 minutes of labor, despite a forum poster saying that's how long it took. Frankly, I expected to be billed 1 hr of labor- regardless of the 15 min. comment, the indep. businessman has to make a profit, a fair profit , which was the point of my question. (The invoice actually had 1 hr to replace the switch & 1/2 hr to check starting system, as Paul stated was the proper & thorough way to deal with the no start situation). FYI, I had bought the part on Ebay 2 weeks ago because I wanted to get this fixed & originally didn't know it had to be done on a lift, which I obviously don't have. However, the car died on Tues nite in a parking lot & the part arrived on Thurs. The car wound up being repaired this Sat. morning. I thought under the circumstances my having the part was pretty convenient. And yes, I understood that my supplying the part might reduce his profit, but I hate paying the inflated dealer part cost-- where I live the dealer charges up to 50% over MB list!! Maybe the indep even added labor time to recover the part profit. (Paul ??? ) Nonetheless, I appreciated the job well done & on time, which it was.

And I appreciate your comments that I did fine. So I shall consider using this repair shop in the future, which was the related, but unspoken reason for my question.

Thanks & regards

Rich.
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  #5  
Old 08-25-2003, 02:56 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,469
If they charge more than the mercedes dealer for the parts, why dont you take your car to the mercedes benz dealer for repair?

Paul, I can understand everything you said. People forget about how much tools cost. My friends always want to borrow my tools, I buy about 2-3k of tools a year and I dont even own a shop, just a college student. I also have a lift, now I can never do without.
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No Benzes in the stable at the moment, but itching for one again.

Former Mercedes in the Stable:
1983 300CD Turbo diesel 515k mi sold
1984 300CD Turbo Diesel 150 k mi sold
1982 300D Turbo Diesel 225 sold
1987 300D Turbo Diesel 255k mi sold
1988 300 CE AMG Hammer 15k mi sold
1986 300E Amg Hammer 88k mi sold
1992 500E 156k mi sold
etc.
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  #6  
Old 08-25-2003, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Matthews, NC
Posts: 1,356
Richard,

I'm sorry if I misunderstood your intent. I made this post because there are so many people that don't understand the cost of doing bussiness, expecially in the automotive bussiness. I really haven't looked up the labor to do your job, but I will today and let you know exactly what I would have charged. You are in the NE and I am in the SE and I realize that the pricing will be less here (Lower cost of living), but I will be able to better answer your question and give you a FAIR price in the SE.
And by the way, I don't add anything if someone brings their own part and I don't mark up parts more than LIST. Down here, we get a discount from most dealers of 10 to 15% off list, which will be our markup. So we use the formular "Cost + 40% or LIST, whichever is lower" Some shops do markup all parts some % or list whichever is higher. I just can't do that.
By the way, there is one other thing I will add which I didn't bring up before. When a customer brings his own part, I will install it, however there will be no warranty on the part, only labor. This means, If I did something wrong when I installed the part, I will stand behind my work and correct the problem. If however, I install the customer part and it fails, I expect to be paid to do the job again since it was not my fault, and it was not my part. Warranty only applied to parts I supply.
Think about it. Customer brings a $500 part. I install it for $50.
The part gos bad (not an installation issue). Is it fair that I would stand behind the customers part and have to pay for the part and labor again. Is it fair for me to have to work for free because of a part I had no control over or make any money off of. Some people actually think I should.
If you bring your car to me. I repair it using parts that I get my markup on, I will stand behind it and only say "I am sorry you had this problem. It will be taken care of and thanks again for your bussiness."
The customer comes out ahead.

Again I am sorry I missunderstood your comments.
I will let you know what a fair price would have been.

Paul McKechnie
Paul's Auto Electric
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84 500 SEL (307,xxx miles)
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  #7  
Old 08-25-2003, 10:03 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Florida / N.H.
Posts: 8,777
Richard,
I apoligize for the manner of answering your post and had your post not used the phrase 'Ripped Off", I am sure I would have answered in better tone...
"Ripped " implies to me that you have already made a conclusion .
My thoughts on the expression is that you get "Ripped "when you knowingly get a New Battery and Alternator bill to fix a slipping alternator belt, etc.....
And, I agree with your thoughts of one hr. being a probable time frame , but a .5 hr. labor charge one way or another on a part change such as a transmission saftey switch is quite common and certainly would not raise question of being ripped. Some switch jobs go well and some can take longer due to corroded and rusted linkages, etc.
Re-reading your post certainly tells me I over reacted and my thoughts are , again, that you did fine .
Arthur
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  #8  
Old 08-25-2003, 10:10 AM
s60
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Well, if it is any less consequence to you. I had mine done at a trans. shop and costed $250 with part for the same repair. If you provided the part. I would conclude you still got what you wanted at a discount. Believe me, I felt the same thing especially, since they knew what the problem was in less than two mins. since, it wouldn't go in any gear. Also, it took 3 days for the repair because, he insisted getting the part from his wholesaler than from the benz dealer a block away from him. Should've brought to the Benz dealer at least, it would've saved me the time.
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