I admit that I’m completely and utterly clueless when it comes to auto care. I couldn’t tell the difference between a gasket and a cap, and if they shouldn’t even be in the same sentence, it’s only testament to the fact that I know nothing about car repair. I had, at several instances, watched people change my flat tire, but only because if I ever do get caught with one and I don’t have anyone to help me, I might attempt to change the flat tire myself. The closest I’ve come to caring for my car is pumping gas into its tank and pumping air into its tires.
As a result of all this, I let my husband make sure that the car doesn’t conk out on me. So he brings it to the shop, and whenever he asks my opinion concerning repairs, I adamantly state, “I know nothing about any of that.” However, our latest experience with our friendly Strauss had my hackles rising.
It all began with my muffler.
My car’s muffler, you pervs.
It was noisy and, I was told at one point, it was hazardous to my and my child’s health because it could mean a CO leak into the car. So we immediately took it to the nearest repair shop to have that “noise” fixed last Sunday. Come Sunday evening, we’re told that they couldn’t fix it because they had to order the part, and that the part would arrive Monday morning. So we took our car home and just brought it back to the shop at 7am on Monday. The repair would cost us $350, which wasn’t bad. My car’s an ‘97 Eclipse and its value these days is probably in the range of $1500. Considering the thing’s fully paid for, $350 repair costs isn’t that bad. It still stings, but it’s not that bad.
Monday afternoon and Strauss calls my husband, telling him that the noise isn’t gone and that they have to do another repair, which will come out to repair costs of $750. Now, slap me with a monkey wrench, but at that point, the cost of repairs is now HALF the cost of the car.
Just–no way! Are you fucking kidding me? I’m not cheap, but the thought that the cost of repairs is half the cost of the thing itself is just utterly ridiculous! It’s an old car! NO. WAY.
So hubby tells them, no, don’t do the extra repairs, we’re going to pick up our car that night.
So my husband tells me the story over the phone and informs me that in order to get the car out of the shop, we should pay for the $350 repairs, and so for once, when my husband asked me what we should do, I took a pregnant pause, worked myself into a lather thinking about how Strauss screwed up the repairs, and said, “What the fuck? They want us to pay for something they didn’t fix? NO. We didn’t tell them to replace the stupid pipe,” and I didn’t know if it was a pipe or a gasket or what, just that I know some kind of tube had been replaced, “we told them to get rid of the noise! I’m not going to freaking pay $350 for something they didn’t do.” I would’ve gone on, but my husband began to get worked up in a lather, too, and now he was completely anti-paying. He thought Strauss was screwing him sideways.
So that night, we went to Strauss and refused to pay. Strauss got into a bit of a confused state and they ended up having to contact the District Manager for what to do next. The DM wasn’t going to be available until the next day so we left the car in Strauss.
The next day, the DM contacts my husband again and tries to work it out with him. The final say was that Strauss wasn’t going to charge us for labor, and that they were going to do the second repair, and the total cost of it would be around $450.
<insert many, many curse words here.>
When my husband reported this to me, I grudgingly told him it was a reasonable compromise, but I told him to ask the manager what would happen if the noise was still there. Are they going to keep charging us and compromising, and all that shit? Dig us into a deeper hole, maybe? So finally, hubby tells the DM that we’ll pay the $450 if it gets fixed, but if it doesn’t, we’re not going to pay shit.
He probably didn’t use the word “shit” but you get the idea.
The DM agreed, and hours later, the DM called again and said that the initial repair apparently was just an issue of incorrect installation, that they had forgotten to install one part or another, and that now the noise was fixed, and that we only had to pay $350.
So there’s our happy ending, but let me just start my little rant over here:
Needless to say, I am completely and utterly annoyed by this Strauss branch. What gets to me is the fact that they take all these repairs and back-and-forth with customers for granted. They keep recommending extra repairs and extra what-nots, billing, and billing, and billing, knowing that the customer feels like he ought to have that repair and this repair and that repair done.
They took it for granted that my husband and I would just lie down and wallow in these added repairs and fork over the money, because they do it all the time, don’t they? I don’t think they’re dishonest, I just think they don’t think twice. I’m sure hundrends upon hundreds of customers have found themselves billed thousands just so they could get their cars repaired and have felt that they had no choice. It’s so irritating that Strauss believes that they could just do this.
Well, you know what? We didn’t take it, and in the end? We were right. WE. WERE. RIGHT.