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  #1  
Old 01-27-2004, 12:43 PM
WANT '71 280SEL's Avatar
I'll Go Upside Your Head!
 
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Did I get ripped off by my mechanic?

I did the ball joints and upper control arms on my car. My uncle and I couldn't get the old b-joints out and didn't see how we could get the new joints in with the Auto-Zone tool. So, I took the spindles and new ball joints to a mechanic here who my dad has known since the late 60's. Another mechanic there did the work. He removed the boots to press them in. I was there when he was putting the last boot on. he said that was the worst part of doing ball joints. That didn't take him 10 minutes.
Anyways, he charged me for 2 hours labor. $120.00! That was just to put new joints into the spindles. I gave them all the parts. My dad called today and asked the owner, he said "one hour a side, book time". Does the book say 1 hour a side just to put a ball joint in a spindle?
Thanks
David

P.S.
This was for my '79 300SD w116 chasis.
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2004, 01:36 PM
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More likely, the "book time" meant a R/R of the control arm and ball joint. On my W201, "book time" on a front ball joint is 1.8 hours, which includes R&I of the lower control arm, however with the lower control arm removed, there's a deduction of 1.5 hours, so you might want to discuss the book with your mech.
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  #3  
Old 01-27-2004, 01:41 PM
1972 350SL 4.5
 
Join Date: May 2003
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I had the lower ball joints removed and replaced as well as the lower control arm bushings removed for $120.00. I thought the cost was high but a mechanic friend said that 120 to 150 would have been the norm.
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  #4  
Old 01-27-2004, 01:55 PM
it leaks, its german
 
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Well, there are a few things to think about here.


1) Overhead of running a shop, this incudes the tools, lights, P&L etc...

2) Paying the tech

3) The fact you took on a job that was over your head.


Now, you could have posibly saved a few bucks by getting a machine shop to do the press work.


I know this, as a professional tech I would be very unwilling to take time out of my day to spend 45 minites to 1 hour of my time to press in a set of ball joints for .2 each.

You also have to think about this, most shops are set up to pay the basic bills off parts markup margins. (I was told a 33% gross on parts is the "break even" point.) Keeping all those factors in mind do you still think you got "ripped off"?

If you do, I'd recomend this, start buying tools, technical manuals, get certified, buy equipment, lease a building, start marketing, hire personel, purchase liability insurance (this is a HUGE bill with no returns whatsoever) You'll find very quickly it is not as easy as it seems. I'm not trying to be harsh, a smart ass or "get in your face". I'm simply pointing out the other side of this statement. We as professional techs make our living off repairing/servicing your cars. While there are a lot of exceptions to the rule, most techs are simply trying to make a living.
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  #5  
Old 01-27-2004, 01:59 PM
inspector1
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yeah, you got burned bad. IMO.
I did my ball joints, but like you I could not get the new one in, took a guy 5 minutes with a press to get the new ones in. It was a Sunday and he didnt charge me anything, a independant NAPA dealer w/machineshop.

A 2 ton hand press can be bought for $60.
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2004, 02:20 PM
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I can see merits in both sides of the argument, and maybe the shop was justified in charging what they did, but I think the shop made a long-term mistake in charging the full amount.

Why?

Because they probably lost a customer (you), and you'll probably tell 15 more people on how this shop over-charges.

When you say your father has known this mechanic since the 60's, do you mean that he just knows the guy as an acquaintance, or do you mean that this mechanic has been working on your cars since the 1960's?

If your father has been a customer of this guy for 40 years, you'd think he do that for you as a favor, or at minumum, a small charge.
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2004, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by suginami
When you say your father has known this mechanic since the 60's, do you mean that he just knows the guy as an acquaintance, or do you mean that this mechanic has been working on your cars since the 1960's?

If your father has been a customer of this guy for 40 years, you'd think he do that for you as a favor, or at minumum, a small charge.
If the relationship has been as this one for 40 years, then he might just have placed the cost as such to remedy the relationship.

If I were faced with the concept of the original question "Did I get ripped off by my mechanic" I'd rather not do the job. I don't bother with logical explanations such as Joe's, anyone asking such a question won't understand anyway. As I have stated before it costs at least an hours worth of labor for a shop to process a repair order without doing any labor. Tell the shop owner you will buy the ball joints from him and bring him 8 a day and see if you can get a better rate, otherwise let your fingers do the walking as real techs won't interupt their day for such a pittance. When they do it it is out of kindness.
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2004, 10:46 PM
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I just had my ball joints done for $180 by my Mercedes mech. He supplied the parts(Mercedes) He did the hole job in less than 90 minutes.
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  #9  
Old 01-28-2004, 01:00 AM
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Re: Did I get ripped off by my mechanic?

[QUOTE]
Anyways, he charged me for 2 hours labor. $120.00!

Now stop here for a min. and ask yourself where you'd be if this tech. hadn't fixed what you apparently could not.

Huh?????

We're comin' up on hump day; the weekend will be here soon.

Here's an experiment you can try.

Go to your local grocery store on Friday night. Buy eggs, bacon, bread, hamburger buns, hamburger meat, chicken, rice, green beans.

On Sat. morning, go to your local IHop and bring the eggs/bacon/bread. Ask them to cook what your brought. You'll leave hungry.

Around noon, go to your local greasy spoon diner and have then cook your hamburger. You're gonna leave even hungrier.

Pushing on sun-down, head to your favorite evening diner and have then cook your chicken, rice & green beans.

Beginning to get the point???????????
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  #10  
Old 01-28-2004, 07:56 AM
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In the future, to avoid problems,

ask for an estimate BEFORE the work is done.
Good luck!
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2004, 10:47 AM
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Exactly ... always ask before the job is performed. If in the beginning you thought $120 was too much, you could of negotiated a price that worked for both of you and you never would of posted here in the first place and the relationship issue never would of surfaced.

Talk to the owner now, tell how you feel and most likely he will offer something to keep the relationship working. Maybe not ... I know I would.

If in doubt, ask.

Haasman
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2004, 11:14 AM
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The reason I post to these type posts is so that I can give perspective to the shop position in a very interpersonal type of relationship. These issues have so little to do with technology.

With that in mind, I would recommend that you do what you want with the memory but leave the invoice alone if you value the relationship with that technician (even as your second or third choice). To bring the issue up for reconsideration is an affront. As a businessman he will probably allow himself to be beat up. As a person you can forget the ensuing relationship.
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  #13  
Old 01-28-2004, 12:49 PM
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I would agree with the people on the side that you got ripped off. I would also agree with the people who say the tech had a right to charge you what he did.

Take this as a learning experience. This guy ripped you off, and had every right to. Why; because you let yourself be ripped.

J.HIDALGO had it right when he said ask for an estimate. Since you didn't ask, he charged you what he wanted after the work was done. If you had asked for an estimate and he said 2 hours, you could have done 3 things. 1) accept the 2 hour estimate; 2) negotiate a lower estimate (2 hours; how about a 2 $20 bills instead, its only 5 mins of work.); 3) go elsewhere.
Heck, he may not even had said 2 hours if you'd asked before the work was done, thinking you'd have walked away.

Ah, I usually call around, and get the estimate on the phone.

Good luck moving forward


D
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  #14  
Old 01-28-2004, 01:26 PM
scottydodah
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ripped off??

Here's my 2 cents...
Hard to believe after a 30-40 yr relationship that this shop would have ripped you off so much!. (maybe a love / hate relationshiip)? I agree that you should have asked, but after so many years, where's the trust?. After being in business for 30+ yrs in the hydraulic business, its a 2-way street. I would have charged you for ONE hour's labor, to cover everything. Two hrs. was to much for a 15min. job. but I think one would have been more than fare for everybody. Remember he has to stand behind his repair (for liability reason's etc.), in case you come "whinning" back for something.
Scotty
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  #15  
Old 01-28-2004, 02:11 PM
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Listen to Steve!

I believe he summarized the situation very well and gave you excellent advice. I have a close friend that owns a repair shop (unfortunately not MB). I take my cars to him, I do not ask for an estimate. What he asks, I pay. I must admit that a couple of times I did not like the bill. But, as Steve says, I keep it to myself because this is not a technical matter and it is no longer about money.
On the other hand, if you relationship is just bussiness, expect to pay book value, why? Every owner has relatives, friends, friends of friends etc. He could spend all day doing charity work and losing money all the time.
Forget about it and move on!


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