Auto Repair - What To Do When You're Unhappy With Your Bill
Have you ever been handed a bill for auto repair that didn't match up with your expectations? Here are some things you can do when you aren't satisfied with the price.
Compare the Estimate
Never get auto repair done without being given a written estimate. If you did so, then you may already be out of options. A business has the right to charge their customers virtually any price they want, with some exceptions. If you failed to ask how much you would be expected to pay, you may not have much of an argument after the bill arrives. But since few shops proceed with work without providing such an estimate, you'll probably have something to compare. Will the estimate always match exactly? Of course not—hence the word "estimate". But if the final bill is more than 10 percent over that amount, you should bring it up. A mistake may have been made.
While most shops charge a standard fee for labor which won't change much from mechanic to mechanic, parts can vary somewhat in price. This is especially true when you begin comparing aftermarket parts to OEM. If you think the price of a part quoted on your detailed bill doesn't sound right, you can always call around and see what other shops are charging for the same part. If you consistently get a lower price quoted to you, you may have a valid dispute. Ask your mechanic directly why you were charged so much more for this particular part.
Perhaps you weren't expecting to pay for anything at all. When a shop fails to fix a problem the first time or fixed it in such a way that it simply broke again a month or two later, most consumers expect that the second auto repair will be free of charge. But you shouldn't make assumptions like this before handing over your keys. Make sure you and your shop are on the same page. If you are charged and you didn't expect to be, show them your receipt from the last time and ask for an explanation.
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