Go Back  The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > Dockside Chat
Reload this Page >

RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Notices

RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Old 02-05-2006, 06:14 PM
  #1  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Braunfels, Tx
Posts: 8,763
Default RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Yesterday I took my truck in for some brake work and check the alignment at the local FIRESTONE GARAGE. I called right at opening and "Yes Sir, we will can have it out today no problem"

So I take it in and have it checked in by 0930. I called at 1300 to check the status..

"Well, we're real backed up, BUT it's going in next!!!"

Uh huh..

I call back at 1600 and they still hadn't gotten to it. I asked that they please put it inside for the night and lock it up. So... I go by at 1930 (an hour and a half after closing) - my truck is sitting there by the street, unlocked and alarm off (as I left it, but they didn't even lock it.. ). So I move the truck under the street lamp, remove the faceplate to my stereo and lock it up.. Done.. I wasn't happy, but I wasn't dwelling on it either..

So they call me this morning about 1000 to give me an update on the brakes and alignment. I knew the alignment was pretty good, but I figure to get it checked while it's in there - it was good. As for the brakes, they told me they needed to turn the front rotors and yada yada yada and they would call me back. 1230 rolls around, they call me and say the front rotors are spec'd out and I'd need new ones.. Kind of had a feeling that would be the case.

I tell them to go ahead and mount new rotors and bleed/flush the brake system (60k miles).

They called at 1530 to say "Come and pick 'er up... "

So, I go in, very nice and cordial, settle up and thank them repeatedly. I told them no worries on the delay and that was that..

I get home...

Now, In my years of experience, I have learned to always check to see that the work I PAID FOR was ACTUALLY PERFORMED...

I could visually see that I got new rotors.. I looked underneath at the rear calipers to see if they were actually bled and.. that's funny, they look dirty as ever, no greasy smudge, no marks from a wrench on the bleeder. Now, I worked at an auto repair place in my younger days for years and used to be pretty handy with car repair (still am actually - but now I can pay people). I can't say I ever performed a bleed of a brake system and left the brakes absolutely spotless (i.e. filthy from the road) as though I never touched them..

So I pull the rubber dust boots.. Dry as a bone..

I check all 4 calipers - same, dry as a bone..

I then go inside and get some toothpicks.....

HERE'S A TIP FOR YA

I inserted a toothpick in each bleeder and each came out dry as a bone.. I was furious, but I wanted to hear what they had to say.. So I drove back over there, receipt in hand. I pony up to the counter, lay out the receipt and asked ANDY if he could explain the charges on the brake bleed (totalling about $70 with fluid). He explains and I then ask...

"So, how do you guys bleed the brake system? Do you all pop the bleeder valves and all that"

Now, I know good and daamn well how it's done, I wanted to see what the manager was going to say.

He replies they only do it at the master cylinder.. That's a new one..

I asked "You do pop the bleeder valve, right?"

"I'm pretty sure" - he obviously doesn't know anymore..

So, I said "Do you like toothpicks?"

He looked at me in a stupid kind of way as I pulled out the evidence. I said to him that unless there is some new way of doing a brake bleed, I got stuck with charges for work that wasn't preformed.. He got irritated and said he watched the mechanic do it.. He even said, "Here, let's talk to him"

As soon as the mechanic got to the door, the manager introduced me and what truck I owned - as soon as that was done - I cut off the manager and asked "Hey buddy, I was curious.. Just how do y'all bleed the brake systems nowadays. Do you still crack the bleeders on each caliper and all that?"

He replied "Yep...and we gravity feed"

BUSTED...

I was pissed and said, "Well, you got some explaining to do because you sure as hell didn't do that on my truck. You lied to me and him (pointing to the manager) I don't know what kind of bullsh!t you're selling here, but you messed with the wrong guy. I used to work as a mechanic years ago and either you admit now that you're lying or we can get the cops down here and we discuss it with them.. " I bombarded him for a minute or so and told him that's the oldest trick in the book. If you're gonna screw a customer, at least make it look like you did the work..

He wouldn't budge, but the writing was on the wall.. The manager still backed his employee, rightfully so and got a little irritated with me (rightfully so too..

I told the manager to follow me out to the truck. We popped the hood and the reservoir was obviously carrying old brake fluid as told by the brownish mixture, not the honey color of fresh fluid and it stunk (another tell tale).. I crawled under the truck and pulled off the dust cap, handed it to him. Then I took the toothpick and showed him it was dry as a bone..

He shut up pretty quick about then..

I was livid.. He gave a full refund of anything referring to the brake bleed..

I told him "I don't know how kids can think they can get away with crap like this. If I had done this when I was working in a place like this, I would have been fired right then and there... "

I stopped by ACE and picked up two bottles of brake fluid and did it myself when I got home. That kid didn't even top off the fluid.. 30 minutes later and I have new fluid running through the system..

I just don't get it.. Now I know why I don't trust anyone with my vehicles, but myself!
ReelWork is offline  
Old 02-05-2006, 06:22 PM
  #2  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 1,269
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust..

And folks wonder why I do all my own work on my boat!!!
thom
boatommy is offline  
Old 02-05-2006, 07:01 PM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
PLEDGER
 
HOTSPOT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bradenton, FL
Posts: 13,395
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Get 'em Chris!!!

Bunch of a$$monkeys!!
HOTSPOT is offline  
Old 02-05-2006, 10:43 PM
  #4  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 1,220
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

It's nice that you got your money back, but they probably did the same thing to fifteen other people the same day.

so the score is fourteen $70 ka-chings, and one $70 refund.

and I ain't buying that the manager had no idea what was going on. It was all the rascally mechanic's idea.
dwg2116 is offline  
Old 02-05-2006, 10:49 PM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Amelia Island, FL
Posts: 4,667
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Chris, atleast you busted them. Much of the time we wonder if the work was done, but we can't prove it.



As Fletch said, "it's all ballbearings these days. Maybe you guys need a refresher course!".
Reel Boobs is offline  
Old 02-05-2006, 10:58 PM
  #6  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,467
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

I don't let anyone do my brakes, I do them myself. With a car, you have to steer, and you have to stop, all else is nice to have.
JimPend is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 12:02 AM
  #7  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
PLEDGER
 
Bruce W's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: VA
Posts: 14,961
Default RE: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

GREAT job, Chris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have been livid, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People like this need to have a little "shock treatment" from time to time to keep them "honest"! Like Reel Boobs said, most of the time we either can't "verify" that the work was done (maybe get the "old" parts back?), or we don't know enough ("mechanically inclined") to KNOW if the work was done!

I have built up a good rapport with a Goodyear place about a mile up the road - I take all 3 vehicles there to get any work done or tires since we don't have a garage or due to my "mechanically DEclined" abilities. But I've NEVER had any reason to think these folks didn't treat me right!

Two Friday's ago, I noticed the "blinker/flasher" on the '94 Olds Cutlass appeared to be on it's last leg - figured it was the flasher, as the fuse was o.k., as well as the turn signal bulbs. I do NOT like to drive the car (this one is Margie's) or have HER driving it without WORKING turn signals!

Well, I went to NAPA to get a "decent" flasher (the auto repair place doesn't sell them). Having replaced these in cars over the years, I knew it was under the dash - SOMEWHERE???

NOT shown or listed in the owner's manual - only the "fuse" location for the light BULB circuit?

So I went by the shop (ALL of them know me! ) and asked, "Do you know WHERE this flasher is LOCATED?".

The owner went and got the "electrical" guy (probably in his late 20's), and he came outside and we commenced to "find" it by "listening" (it was sporadic - blinking sometimes and NOT other times).

After he had to LITERALLY take MOST of the lower dash panels off the thing, we FINALLY found it - beHIND the fusebox - almost imPOSSIBLE for a mechanic to even get to!

Got it changed out and the kid spent another 15min. getting all the panels screwed back in - about 1/2-3/4hr. total on that flasher.

I went inside and put my wallet on the counter and just told the owner to keep it - for my NEXT "fix"!

He laughed and said, "Get outta' hea' - it's FRIDAY!".

I asked if it was o.k. to "tip" the guy - he said "Sure!".

I gave the kid $20, and said, "Have a nice weekend!". I could tell he was very appreciative!

Point is - like BOAT dealers/mechanics - if you can find a good AUTO mechanic, they're worth their weight in gold! Not necessarily CHEAP, but at least HONEST!!!!!!!!

I guess you'll be lookin' for another "shop" now???

Glad you "called them out" on that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards,
Bruce W is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 01:22 AM
  #8  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 3,616
Default RE: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Thats sucks Chris. To make matters worse you had to physically crawl under to prove your point! I try and do all my own stuff. The Ford engineers must have really screwed up on the 02 Expedition. I had drained ALL the trans fluid, TQ and pan and a reusable gasket, and refilled in just under an hour. The job was WAY too easy. The manufactures are making them dealer maintenance only now. No plugs no access nothing any easier.
broncobirdy is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 03:23 AM
  #9  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Garett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 24,083
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Good for you Woody

I know up this way threatening to call DOT (in your case DMV) usually gets some serious action happening pretty fast at a shop.

I've had three experiences over the years like yours Woody.
1) was a safety, the shop was trying to bill me for items that weren't covered under a safety. DOT was called and did fine the shop 10k and pulled a few licences - I warned the shop to not f#@k with me, but they wouldn’t listen.
2) was a tranny job I had done when I was some 700 miles from my tool box. DOT was just about called - I got that job for free. I don’t screw around with people trying to screw me over!
3) was I had small leak in my A/C system's filler valve. 9 mon. and $1,800 with no end in sight later....so I again pulled out the DOT threat - the shop pulled all the used crap they put in there and replaced with new OEM equipment at no charge, but I still paid out 1,800 bucks. How I caught these guys was, I got into marking parts with a punch and then a smear of old axle grease to make it look like a mark that was there forever. What they were doing was every time I went back in there they would swap out my good parts for old used crap that was on it’s last legs.

In your case Woody, I personally would have never settled for just a refund on the fluid and bleeding, that is only a refund on work that was not done, that doesn't take into account your time, trouble and possible loss of life because of an accident. The way I look at it is: if they are trying to screw me over.....and now the shoe is on the other foot......it's my turn to do the screwing over! What's good for the goose is always good for the gander If they don't or won't work with me on my terms after the fact, no problem, I just lock the vehicle up and walk to the nearest phone and call DOT and the cops - up here these guys just love this kind of stuff.
Garett is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 09:02 AM
  #10  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Braunfels, Tx
Posts: 8,763
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Well, I called corporate and have an appt next week to meet with the regional and corporate store manager as well as look at the evidence (the drained brake fluid).
ReelWork is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 09:28 AM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Poquoson, VA
Posts: 4,235
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Dang, after that report I wouldn't let Firestone work on my red flyer wagon.....

Glad you got some monies back and have a meeting with the "Regional Man"



Mardi-Gras is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 09:44 AM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: TN
Posts: 4,792
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

24 years ago, my first car, my first experience with a mechanic (also Firestone) taught me the same lesson. Details are too boring, but pretty much same BS - waited in the lobyy of the shop for 3 hours while the manager looked for the "shop service slip" that showed "the parts used" - did get my $23 back. That was the day I vowed to never trust anyone, and learn as much of the basics of car repair so I can verify serice performed.

I have never used Firestone ever again for anything other than tires (I can easily see if they're new).

redneck joe is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 02:07 PM
  #13  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 9,473
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

that is screwed up to say the least. I've got a good friend who is my auto & marine mechanic, the horror stories he tells of work that people pay for at other shops that never gets done is horrific, anything from scamming people on fluid changes, to a local boat dealer who has been known from time to time to charge people for a new water pump, but not actually change them.
autobaun70 is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 02:23 PM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location:
Posts: 6,870
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

I can relate to your pain Brother..... 1969.... 2 year old 1967 Chevelle SS 396, needs brakes, go to Firestone, leave car, get picked up (by a friend) return at the end of the day. Pay the bill, get in car, leaving parking lot, hit brakes before entering the street, NO @#$%ing brakes!!!!!! I slide sideways into the street in front of a cop, finally get the car stopped, cop pizzed, explain problem, he tries brakes, same result. HE gives me a lift back to Firestone and goes in with me. Manager unnerved due to cop, he refunds money, NOT the end of it.......... Cop explains that I have NO brakes and tells manager to get 3 guys and go push the car back into the shop and fix correctly or "somebody's" going to jail. (as he stares at the manager) Suddenly I became #1 priority, cop swings back by twice in 60 minutes to check on progress. Job completed at NO charge. Cop proceeds to chew a hole in managers azz and then goes out to the car to test the brakes himself. Seems his wife used this particular store to have her car serviced also.... talk about luck on my part............ "I'd rather be lucky than good"........... Moral of story, don't let the vehicle out of your sight...........
Bailey Boat is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 03:29 PM
  #15  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Texas
Posts: 3,366
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

FWIW ~ If you're able to do the work yourself - DO IT YOURSELF.

Ain't no truer words spoken than "if you want the job done RIGHT, do it yourself" ... unless it would be "if you want the job done RIGHT and you're not sure HOW, go FIND someone to help you learn"

farmerjane is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 03:50 PM
  #16  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 12,649
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

If the corperate people give you any this is an isolated incident BS tell the local media consumer protection reporter This is the best way to "give back" to the community And it is probably the only good use of the media that I can think of
ubettcha13 is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 04:43 PM
  #17  
tka
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location:
Posts: 726
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

If you think it is bad for us to go,imagine what happens if your wife or girlfriend ever drops a car off to be repaired.When my wife and I first started dating she took her car to a ntb store here in atlanta for a front end alignment and new brakes.She called me that afternoon and asked if I thought she could get by without getting the brake fluid changed this time as she really didn't have the money for it.I asked how much.170.00 dollars.I almost had a fit when she told me.The service writer was putting the pressure on her to change it saying that it had to be done or it was going to cause problems.I came to find out they had charged her for this same thing less tha 35k miles ago when she had the front brakes changed.I had cottman transmission repair quote me 700.00 to replace a spring and ball assembly in the trans pump of a 2000 z 71.It wasn't shifting right so I had them look at it.I took it to a shop my buddy recommended and it was 275.00. I have a friend that has opened a shop locally that we take our cars to for service now.I dont know where we would go if not for him.I try to do brakes,rotors,tune ups etc but dont always have the time.

I seem to have the same problems with local boat repair shops and upholstery shops.I got a quote last week from a local canvas shop for 4400.00 for a 28ft cc cover.I got a quote also for fixing some chips on the bottom of my boat from a local yard.2250.00 dollars.I had a qoute of 850.00 to do the work already from a shop in florida,but was hoping to find someone local.When I went by to pick it up thier glass guy told me to bring it back when things slowed down and I could get it done for around 900.00-1000.00.If you want to try to screw me the first time around,why the hell would I ever come back?
tka is online now  
Old 02-06-2006, 07:00 PM
  #18  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Braunfels, Tx
Posts: 8,763
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Jane, you hit the nail on the head..

Probably the main reason I took it is I don't want to be out there with my neighbors thinking I am turning my driveway into a repair shop. I used to do that back in San Antonio from time to time. I would jack up my truck, remove all the wheels, load the rotors in my wife's car and take 'em over to get them turned.

I installed a lift kit in my driveway. Painted parts to keep them looking new. replaced track arm bushings every 6 months or so (hated those darn track bushings!). You get the idea.

I have done pretty much everything except a frame up restoration and extensive interior work and trust me, I know you're so right it hurts!


One time I had a kid at my local oil change place forget to add the oil. He cranked it up and the valvles were slapping and he shut it off. I asked him, "You gonna any oil back in MY engine?" He said he did and I replied to him "No Jackass, you didn't... Check the gauge and pull the dipstick, it's the metal one that says "OIL" in case you can't figure that out "

I was a very good customer of theirs and I think they handed them walking papers not too long after that..


This stuff ain't rocket science!
ReelWork is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 07:03 PM
  #19  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Braunfels, Tx
Posts: 8,763
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

tka - that's true and you know when I called corporate, I said to them - "If you think I am pissed now, you better be glad it was mine and NOT my wife's car.. You would have a lot more than just phone call to worry about. "

It's pathetic.. I think I am actually more pissed today, now that it is sinking in..
ReelWork is offline  
Old 02-06-2006, 07:20 PM
  #20  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Amelia Island, FL
Posts: 4,667
Default Re: RANT - No wonder people don't trust mechanics..

Garett - 2/6/2006 4:23 AM

Good for you Woody

I know up this way threatening to call DOT (in your case DMV) usually gets some serious action happening pretty fast at a shop.

I've had three experiences over the years like yours Woody.
1) was a safety, the shop was trying to bill me for items that weren't covered under a safety. DOT was called and did fine the shop 10k and pulled a few licences - I warned the shop to not f#@k with me, but they wouldn’t listen.
2) was a tranny job I had done when I was some 700 miles from my tool box. DOT was just about called - I got that job for free. I don’t screw around with people trying to screw me over!
3) was I had small leak in my A/C system's filler valve. 9 mon. and $1,800 with no end in sight later....so I again pulled out the DOT threat - the shop pulled all the used crap they put in there and replaced with new OEM equipment at no charge, but I still paid out 1,800 bucks. How I caught these guys was, I got into marking parts with a punch and then a smear of old axle grease to make it look like a mark that was there forever. What they were doing was every time I went back in there they would swap out my good parts for old used crap that was on it’s last legs.

In your case Woody, I personally would have never settled for just a refund on the fluid and bleeding, that is only a refund on work that was not done, that doesn't take into account your time, trouble and possible loss of life because of an accident. The way I look at it is: if they are trying to screw me over.....and now the shoe is on the other foot......it's my turn to do the screwing over! What's good for the goose is always good for the gander If they don't or won't work with me on my terms after the fact, no problem, I just lock the vehicle up and walk to the nearest phone and call DOT and the cops - up here these guys just love this kind of stuff.

*Note to self- Don't screw with Garrett, he KNOWS people!*












Garrett, next time I am being screwed, I will pay the plane fare for your "expert" opinion!
Reel Boobs is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread