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Do mechanics really rip people off?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 EssentialBludger

Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:54 AM

I need a wheel bearing replaced. Pretty simple right? DP could do it himself if he were home.

I got 4 quotes: $250, $298, $365 and $595.

FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE DOLLARS?!?!?!?! TO REPLACE A WHEEL BEARING?!?! It's an hours work!!

It was a small (not a chain type place) mechanics. Family owned I think. Does this make a difference, or were they trying to take me for a ride?



#2 ellebelle

Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:58 AM

Maybe they didn't want to do it.....standard tradie way of not interested right now.

#3 EssentialBludger

Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:59 AM

QUOTE (ellebelle @ 30/11/2012, 10:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe they didn't want to do it.....standard tradie way of not interested right now.


Wow, really? Most people I know are taking all the work they can get right now.

#4 au*lit

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

It's like any industry, there will be people who are honest and those not so honest. There are people who just charge enough to keep their business running and people who charge heaps.

My dad is in the industry and generally recommends not to go to the big chains. He seems to think most people working there don't know what they're doing and charge a premium for it.

The PP might be onto something, they probably can't be bothered to do the job and quoted accordingly.

Also, whether they're using genuine or after market parts can make a big difference to the price, depending on the make of car.

#5 gettheetoanunnery

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

I've had similar disparity in mechanic pricing, with the smaller individually operated "shops" usually being more costly.

I thought it may have been due to the larger franchises having more buying power when it come to parts and thus being able to offer cheaper prices as a result.
The individually operated shops may not have access to this volume discount from part suppliers.

I have also found on two occassions that my gender affected price costing, as DP was offered a much cheaper repair by the same person/shop with exactly same repair.

I thought the gender price hike was a bit of urban myth - in my experience, on these two occassions, it wasn't.

Fair gave me the tom tits.

Mind you - had loads of repairs over last twenty years, so these two occassions were anomolies.


Edited by gettheetoanunnery, 30 November 2012 - 11:07 AM.


#6 steppy

Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:06 AM

Short answer: Yes

#7 JJ

Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:23 PM

Yes, absolutely. I know someone who is still trying to get their money back from a recent 2k repair that ultimately didn't fix the problem (that was done by another, more honest and far cheaper mechanic later on).

#8 Bluenomi

Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

QUOTE (au*lit @ 30/11/2012, 12:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's like any industry, there will be people who are honest and those not so honest. There are people who just charge enough to keep their business running and people who charge heaps.


I agree with this.

There is also the part to consider. I got a range of quote for a car repair that required a part. The quote varied hugely because some were quoting based on a cheap part and others quoted based on the brand name part.

#9 RebelWithoutAClaws

Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

QUOTE (au*lit @ 30/11/2012, 12:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My dad is in the industry and generally recommends not to go to the big chains. He seems to think most people working there don't know what they're doing and charge a premium for it.


I don't agree with this... I know that with DF, his work (that is a chain here in Canberra) they pay far better than the smaller mechanics, so unless they are wanting to work for themselves, it would makes sense that they go to the larger places.

I think in any job you get the competent and the not so competent.

I'd definitely say the costing of parts comes into it.

#10 MrsLexiK

Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:59 PM

QUOTE (EssentialBludger @ 30/11/2012, 11:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow, really? Most people I know are taking all the work they can get right now.

I know my DH's work is so busy right now, unlike his mates in the building industry or construction industry since he got back into it (from the construction/building industry) they have been packed every day.  I suppose people might not be buying new houses but are still getting their car serviced (and usually not going to the dealership - as in the car brand dealership as they are more expensive if you are not in warranty)

Also alot of mechanic shops do car yard work, it won't come as a shock that new car sales are down (hence all this 0% finance) and more and more people are buy second hand cars therefore giving alot of mechanic shops that work.

QUOTE (JJ @ 30/11/2012, 01:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, absolutely. I know someone who is still trying to get their money back from a recent 2k repair that ultimately didn't fix the problem (that was done by another, more honest and far cheaper mechanic later on).

Of course some will rip some off like all - not all mechanics do.  Also my DH just did his BIL's car he fixed it, then he was driving it home and the ABS light came on.  Now the ABS light would not have come on if he had taken it for a test drive (as it was close to our house when it came on) so if it hadn't of been BIL the client may have been peeved.  It just happened to be by chance.

QUOTE (PussyDids @ 30/11/2012, 02:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't agree with this... I know that with DF, his work (that is a chain here in Canberra) they pay far better than the smaller mechanics, so unless they are wanting to work for themselves, it would makes sense that they go to the larger places.

I think in any job you get the competent and the not so competent.

I'd definitely say the costing of parts comes into it.

I do and don't agree with this.  DH has worked for chains and a car dealership at present he is in a shop (as second in charge) he has always made more working in a smaller place then a chain.  It could be that he can negoate and when he was in a chain he couldn't?  He is being paid much higher then he was when he left the industry 3 years ago (even taking into account CPI)

However I do agree a bigger chain can get better price for parts, some will still charge more then Joe Bloggs and some will charge massive labour costs.

#11 threeinnyc

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:27 PM

It's hard to tell OP, does the most expensive quote come with some sort of warranty?

Edited by Kenji, 30 November 2012 - 03:28 PM.


#12 SeaPrincess

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:27 PM

I think it depends - if you go through a vehicle dealership, you'll get genuine parts. I had my car repaired this week and the 3 genuine parts would cost $500 each and I would have had to wait for them to come from Sydney and Japan, whereas my mechanic (a long-time friend who I trust) used another brand and the whole thing including labour cost $1300.  So as a pp already pointed out, the cost/quality of the parts can make a huge impact on the price.

#13 EsmeLennox

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:30 PM

Some mechanics do,  some don't.
Some plumbers do, some don't.
Some electricians do, some don't.
Some doctors do, some don't.
Some hairdressers do, some don't.




#14 squeekums

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:38 PM

I knew a mechanic a while back who ran his own buisness.
He would sit there and literally make up the bill as he went along like,
'That person annoyed me, was a hot day, and I had to use an extra 50c nut, i'll charge em $450' then went on to say how it was a 5minute job only worth $50 at best.

#15 Melons

Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 30/11/2012, 03:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Some mechanics do,  some don't.
Some plumbers do, some don't.
Some electricians do, some don't.
Some doctors do, some don't.
Some hairdressers do, some don't.


^^Agree with this.

I've had experience in both environments (chain store and locally owned) and seen both sides of the story. My experience with the locally owned workshop wasn't what I would be happy with as a customer (fitting second hand parts, charging for new) and I as an apprentice had no say over this type of thing, so I left. Ended up as a tech for a large brand and thought their work was to a much higher standard and I felt comfortable there. As for pricing, as others have mentioned genuine parts come at a cost so always ask what you're getting. They also tend to pay their mechanics a decent wage which is of course going to put the price up for the customer. Go with your gut and go with the shop you felt most comfortable with.

Edited by G.K, 30 November 2012 - 03:54 PM.


#16 unicorn

Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:39 PM

This is one of my bug bears, there is one mechanic in our small city that hasn't tried to rip me off. DH is pretty cluey about all things mechanical and if he doesn't know what is wrong he will find out, usually he will just fix it, but he is having issues with his hands and I would rather we just pay someone else to do it, so he will diagnose and then I am expected to take it to the shop to get it fixed, I had one guy tell me I needed a whole new exhaust system when I went in to get a couple of rubber brackets for it. Big difference between a $20 part that I needed and the $900 system he tried to tell me I needed.  The air con mechanic last week was another, he tried to tell my I had a leak and my air con unit needed replacing, uh no there is no leak, it holds gas fine, it is the fan.  Of course I get home and whinge to DH about it, he will take it in and sure enough they listen to him and it gets fixed.
Our chain store tyre shop provides a much better service, I used to go to the locally owned one until one tyre change they didn't tighten the nuts properly and one of my wheels just about fell off, they weren't that concerned when I told them so I wont go there again.

#17 Maple Leaf

Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:50 PM

I think any industry has the potential to rip people off.

Just recently I had 3 quotes done for putting in some security screens : $1100, $750 and $600.

Same screens, same windows.

It pays to shop around.





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