Posted by tklassen on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
My wife and I were returning from California on a road trip starting in Ontario. We had left Nevada and arrived in Kingman Arizona on March 15, 2011 and I was refueling at the Chevron station on Beale Street. As I returned from the cashier a man in a mechanics uniform was looking under my vehicle, and he said to me you have a bad shock. I asked how can you tell, he said “I saw you driving in and your truck bottomed out.” I asked “how could you see it?” He said “I was taking out the trash and saw you drive in.” He then had me look under the truck and said “you can see were the rubber bumper on the frame is hitting the axle, that shouldn't happen.” I really could not see anything out of the ordinary.
The man in the mechanics uniform says “I have some time just drive it over to my shop next door and I can check it out for you.” Concerned about the above, I thought I should have it checked out just in case, I was a long way from home. The shop looked new, neat and tidy, there were 3 other workers there nothing seemed suspicious. I drove over, the shop being adjacent to the fuel pumps, the guy in the mechanics uniform jacks my truck up and takes a look and says “the one is bad, but you need to put two on and I can do that for you.” I ask how long will it take? He says “30 to 35 minutes.” I say go ahead, without questioning the hourly rate or price per shock.
After installing the back he says “I have to check the front now.” He pulls off the front wheels and says “your front ones are bad too.” I think I am being scammed but think oh well it will probably help the drive home. I noticed after the wheels were off, the link on the front anti-sway bar was broken. I pointed it out to him and says “oh yea” and gets another employee from the garage to check it out. After installing the front shocks and repairing the sway bar, he says “you need new front tires.” Now I realize it is a scam and I says no way, put it back together and I will pay the bill:
$539 for shocks (4)
$160 labour to install (quoted 1 hour of labour)
$19 for shop supplies
$35 for sway bar link
$40 labour to install bar link
All I needed was the sway bar link repaired and the shocks did not need replacing, but, I had authorized the repair. Was I embarrassed. Once I had access to the internet, I filed a complaint with everyone I could think of about the business practice of this garage. I wanted these guys to feel as bad as I did.
Back in Ontario, there was a message on our answering machine. My wife says somebody with a southern accent wants you to call them. The message was to return the call to deal with some “correspondence” that arrived at the garage in Kingman Arizona.
With much posturing on both sides, I says “I am not arguing about the shock absorbers, I authorized the guy to install them. What I do not agree with is the price you charged me of $135 each.” I says “I priced them on the internet and they are available at $45 each.” Again, much posturing, and the guy says I sell them for $60 and would I be happy if he reduced the bill to that. I say no: “your website claims a labour rate of $80 per hour, you quoted me 1 hour and charged me 2.”
To end the story, I got some money refunded. I was lucky to get that. I was victim of a classic scam and thought I was too wise to ever have this happen to me. Thanks to those in Arizona that try to protect and willing to help to right a wrong. I once believed in good Samaritans, but they are far and few between and now I am another untrusting, and that is a cryin' shame.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 @2:46:17 AM
Sounds like an old fashioned con operation to me. I had a guy like that open my car hood without my asking back in the 70s at a stop on I-75 in a southern state. To hear him describe the problems he warned me about he would have to have x-ray vision and be omniscient. My dad thought we should have him check the car - I opted to warn him I was closing the hood and he might want to get his hands out of the way. Needless to say there was absolutely nothing wrong with the car.
I'm glad you were able to recoup some of your money and cause some discomfort for the crook.
Karen Kruske Says:
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 @9:54:49 AM
Greed is everywhere. Thanks for passing on your experience, it might help someone else to be more vigilant.
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