Is it me or was I “mugged” by my garage?

This is not outdoors related but I felt so incensed today that I need to vent.

My car is coming up to have its MOT and knowing that the horn is not working properly I needed to get it looked at. I phoned up the garage I bought the car from and have taken it to in the past for other work and got it booked in. They have been expensive in the past but I felt that as an “expert” garage for my car it was worth it. The garage said over the phone that 99% of the time it was the electrical contacts and shouldnt be a problem.

I got there and sat down for 20minutes to read the paper whilst they looked at the horn. Imagine my face when they came out and said it wasnt the contacts and that in fact it needed a new horn. I asked if they had them in stock. No they said they didnt. I said that they had infered it was almost certainly the contacts and if they they thought it could have been the horn they should have told me before I came down (that they didnt have the part). And the princely sum for their mechanic to test the contacts? £45

Now I might be being a bit sensitive here but I felt like I had been mugged. £45 for a simple electrical test that takes a few minutes and the fact that they didnt tell me they didnt have the parts upfront. It would be like getting a new kitchen from a firm, you choosing the kitchen, them coming round to measure up, telling you they didnt have it in stock and then charging you for the measuring up.

Just really peeved. Whatever happened to good old customer service, honesty and integrity? Maybe its me but I am £45 lighter and still no nearer to getting the horn fixed.

The finishing touches to a lonnnnnnnng week 😦

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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8 Responses to Is it me or was I “mugged” by my garage?

  1. tandembob says:

    I can share your frustration; trouble is that kind of attitude in garages is all too frequent these days! Be mindful that garages very often charge £65 or more an hour (plus VAT) for labour so it doesn’t take many minutes of investigation to start racking-up a bill. In the “good old days” the garage would have had a look told you that a new horn was required and made their money by supplying the part and fitting it; unfortunately this is no longer the case. I find the best policy is to coincide my annual service with the MOT and get it all done in one hit.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      I realise that they charge an absolute fortune it was just the way they treated me. In the old days you would go to a garage and they would look at it for 5 mins and say bring it back next week and we’ll fit xyz and not charge you for the looking. Looking for a few minutes used to be part of the service. These days sadly not. The “work” they did was 5mins worth and charged me a small fortune. Very unhappy because I truly feel duped

  2. Robin says:

    That’s ridiculous. They should have offered to offset it against the cost of a replacement. I’m afraid everyone is grasping for money at the moment. The customer is increasingly treated as a profit opportunity. Bad business practise in the long run.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      exactly and to make matters worse they got shirty with me when I challenged the cost, the fact they hadnt informed me they didnt have the part ahead of the visit and then refused to offset the labour against the work needed to replace the horn! 😦

      • Mark Everson says:

        Mechanics and Builders! Licence to print money! (I hope none of the readers of this blog are either :)!. There are of course, plenthy of decent ones around, but there are also many who take advantage of people’s technical ignorance. I’ve stopped using a garage near my office in Cardiff due to untrustworthiness. Among other jobs, I asked him to check my rear wiper 12 months ago for the MOT. He told me it wasn’t a fail but would check it anyway. I mentioned that an Alfa Romeo* forum online suggested the wiper motor brushes could be cleaned and it was likely to work again. He subsequently tells me that they toiok it apart and tried that and it still didnt work. So I left it and paid the bill including labour for this work.
        6 months on I bought a wiper motor myself from a scrap daler and undid the rear trim to access the part. I noticed straight away that the connector to the motor was hanging loose. Plugged it in and hey presto – one working wiper motor. They obviously hadn’t even checked it! It’s a pity there’s not a firmer regulatory body that clamps down on these cowboys.

        • backpackbrewer says:

          That really takes the biscuit re the rear wiper. How on earth do you sift through the good ones from the bad ones re mechanics? And lets be honest, mechanics have got plenty of jobs to go to and dont need to resort to dishonesty. I just wish I had the time and the inclination to be a mechanic myself if only to do my own car!

          I just get frustrated about being ripped off by people. Mind you this time I am going to go back to them and pepper them with calls and letters to see if i can get something out of them. A vain hope maybe but at least I will feel better 🙂

  3. Sean@Oookworks says:

    You don’t have to take this, Dave. Stand up for yourself, man! Send the Mrs round there to complain first thing in the morning.

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