I got a recall notice in the mail awhile back for my little Toyota SUV. The check engine light was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced. Free of charge. I was very happy about this since my check engine light had recently come on. So I took it to the dealership and they fixed it. Well, four days later... yep you guessed it...the stupid thing came on again. So I call the dealership and tell them. They say that there must be something wrong with it then since they fixed the recall thingy. And they want to charge me $75 to run a diagnostic test to see why the check engine light is on. Um I don't think so.
So when I start to argue this the guy on the phone tells me that I need to speak to Justin because he is the representative in my "service tier". WTF is a service tier? Ok whatever. Maybe he can help me but he's at lunch so call back later. Well, of course, I'm a busy girl and don't get back to calling Justin for a few days. By now he's on vacation and won't be back until next week. Okay fine. My ride is running okay so clearly this check engine light thingy can't be anything of great importance so it can wait. In the meantime, I arm myself with several arguments as to why I'm not paying him $75 to plug it into a machine that will diagnose the problem. How hard can that really be? Definitely not $75 worth of hard. Plus, according to my brother and confirmed by me when I called and asked, Autozone does it for free.
So I call Justin when he gets back from his vacation ready to argue. But I don't have to cuz he says just bring it in and we'll hook it up to the machine- no charge. As any good service tier representative should have. Well, turns out the thermostat was "not functioning to it's maximum" but was "working intermittently" which "could cause it to overheat at some point if it ever got stuck open or closed".
Okay how much to replace the thermostat, the gasket you said I needed and that gallon of antifreeze, I ask innocently. "$275 plus tax. So can we get started on it right away for you?" was the reply. I know that mechanics see a sucker when a chick walks in alone with a Ms. in front of her name. But I'm not a stupid woman by any stretch of the imagination. I casually mention that my brother-in-law is a mechanic and I want to check with him first to see if that's a fair price. Justin begins to stutter and stammer a bit and then throws out that I qualify for the "preferred customer" discount so he can knock off 10%. I guess I became "preferred" in that second because he wanted me as a customer. I tell him thanks and I'll get back to him after I talk to the bro-n-law.
My phone rings about 3 minutes later. It's Justin. Apparently he "goofed". My price would actually be $199 minus my 10% "P.C." discount plus tax. He had "accidentally" added in the $75 diagnostic check fee even though he said he'd do it for free and had "luckily" just caught it. Yeah right J. I'll call ya back.
So I get referred to a mechanic through a co-worker who's father owns a garage of his own. Unfortunately, co-worker's dad is out of town for a week. I call this other guy up and ask him how much. I didn't even bother to throw out the name drop of the co-worker. Even without the friend discount, he tells me it'll be about $65. Geez.... the effing dealership mechanics are thieves. I call J back and tell him thanks but no thanks. Then I tell my ride we really need to hightail it up there to pick up my Toyota before something else mysteriously goes wrong with it. That's all I needed was some sabotage.
We drive it over to the referred mechanic. I'm a bit leery since his "shop" is the garage behind his house. But he does have a sign out front so I guess that makes it officially a business. Right? But I'm still cool with it cuz I trust the co-worker who suggested him. So I pull around back to the garage and meet the mechanic. Think Larry the cable guy but much skinnier and less teeth. He opens up the hood and looks around. "Well I reck'un that thermostat's in here somewheres. I just gotta find that dang thang. We don't get many new cars in here." Uh oh. Luckily, he finds it but unfortunately, doesn't have the proper tool to fix it. Well, it IS a foreign job and "new" according to Larry's standards. Fruck!
He sends me "down the road a piece" to another guy that'll "do me right". This guy does have the proper tool and says he can fix it but the price from him is $160 total. Dammit. But still cheaper than the dealership so fine... just fix it. I get a call a few hours later. Seems mechanic #2 has accidentally broken the alternator belt which has rendered my car inoperable until it's fixed. Which can't happen til tomorrow cuz the part had to be ordered. Double Fruck!
But he's nice enough to not charge me for the belt or the labor to install it. I let that comment slide for the time being. In a very friendly, professional way I advise him that this is my only means of transportation. This is not what the plan was. I was supposed to have my ride back in a just a few hours. What are you willing to do to help me out here? Which translates to "let's talk about lowering the price". He again says he's not going to charge me for the belt or the labor. Now I'm getting pissed. Are you frucking serious dude!? But instead I say, in a sweet as pie but stern I'm-not-gonna-take-no-bullshit-from-you-voice "I know you're not. Because YOU broke it. That's just good conscientious business practice. To correct a mistake you made. But what are you going to do about the price seeing as how I'm now inconvenienced and have to find a way to get home from work and then back to work in the morning?" (Yes for those that pay attention, I have my unmarked car that I drive for work but dumbass mechanic didn't need to know that.)So the price is now $115 total. Not great but not hateful either.
It went from $275 + tax .....to $250-ish + tax with my "PC" discount..... to $199 (cuz of the accidental charge... smirk) minus the discount + tax .....to $65 but no tool.......back up to $160.... and then down to a final $115. Boy I'm tired just writing that. But it just goes to show you, ladies. Just because we have breasts .....doesn't mean we don't have a brain. It costs too much to allow yourselves to be a doormat. So don't.