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Do I have to pay for a part that the mechanic ordered but I fixed?

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Do I have to pay for a part that the mechanic ordered but I fixed?

  #1  
Old 12-03-2015, 03:46 PM
Cid
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Default Do I have to pay for a part that the mechanic ordered but I fixed?

Hello everyone, nice to meet you all and what I great community you have here. I have a question that is semi related to Volvo, but I don't know where it belongs, so I am posting it here.

My turn signal arm on my S60 broke, it's no longer signaling left or right all the time. I didn't look it up, I assumed it had to do something with my steering column which I'm not equipped to repair. So I took it into a mechanic to look at while he did some other work on my car and he said it would have to be replaced, and he'd have to order the part from the dealer. But after doing some research, I saw that it was a pretty simple task. I followed a video and took off the steering cover, unplugged the arm and cleaned the contacts, put it back on and now it has been working perfectly for the past two days. The problem is I got a call earlier from the mechanic saying the part was delivered. He also told me he wanted to bring my car in to see if it was the right part if not he'd have to exchange it. I explained to him that I didn't need the part anymore, it's working again, and asked if he can return it. He told me he doesn't know, this has never happened to him before either. He said for an electrical part the dealer may not accept returns because there is no way to know if it was used or not. Which struck me as strange because he just said that it could be exchanged even though the part was technically considered used when he goes to test it in my car. He also said it's hard to believe I fixed it, which struck me as indirectly accusatory. I won't be doing business with these guys again because they went against my wishes and ordered parts without my consent and installed them when I just asked them to inspect it. They work fine, but he gave me Monroe struts instead of one of the few brands I really wanted.

I just wanted to know my rights as a customer because this has never happened to me before. I am obligated to pay for it? I didn't give him a deposit, I didn't sign any papers, he wrote a note on the bill for the other work he did that the turn signal part was ordered, but that's it. No doubt they're going to try their hardest to sell it to me, but I just wanted to know if most Volvo dealers allow returns from mechanics and if that bit about electrical parts was true. The only weird thing is when he was doing work the first time he wanted to see my insurance card for "just in case" and I'm not sure why. I've asked a few people I know what they think, the general consensus is that I don't owe them anything and he can't force me to pay for it since nothing is in writing. And that he should've done a better job inspecting it to rule out the minor issues. But I wanted to also ask the mechanics and car enthusiasts of this forum before I ask him back.

What do you guys think? Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.
 

Last edited by Cid; 12-03-2015 at 03:49 PM.
  #2  
Old 12-03-2015, 04:19 PM
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I don't think he can make you pay for it, but he is right for wanting to replace it. Most shops don't remove and disassemble something like that to clean it because there is a high probability it will fail again and the labor is less to replace it. If it's replaced, the work can be guaranteed.

I'm a dealer tech and if we order a part, the customer pays for it up front. That makes sure they come back to have it installed.

As for returns, it's up to the dealer and in a case like this, their relationship with the shop. If the shop does a lot of business with them, they are likely to return it, no problem. If not, or if the shop frequently orders parts and wants to return them instead of actually diagnosing the problem, fat chance. But that would be his problem.
 
  #3  
Old 12-03-2015, 04:41 PM
Cid
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Originally Posted by ES6T View Post
I don't think he can make you pay for it, but he is right for wanting to replace it. Most shops don't remove and disassemble something like that to clean it because there is a high probability it will fail again and the labor is less to replace it. If it's replaced, the work can be guaranteed.

I'm a dealer tech and if we order a part, the customer pays for it up front. That makes sure they come back to have it installed.

As for returns, it's up to the dealer and in a case like this, their relationship with the shop. If the shop does a lot of business with them, they are likely to return it, no problem. If not, or if the shop frequently orders parts and wants to return them instead of actually diagnosing the problem, fat chance. But that would be his problem.
Thanks for the answer! Well it's working fine now, but if it stops working again I found someone selling the same arm for $10, in mint condition. I only take my car into the mechanic for things I cannot fix on my own, and I totally overestimated what had to be done here. What can be fixed by myself in 15 minutes for $10 would've cost several hundred dollars at the mechanic.

While I don't feel 100% happy with my decision to tell him I'm not paying for it, one I never told him to order the part, he did it and told me after the fact that he ordered it. Just like with my struts, I only asked him to inspect it, nothing more. And two the least he could've done was take it off and inspected where the part connects to the steering column. I understand what you're saying, but I didn't disassemble the part. I only unscrewed the torx screws underneath the steering column, pulled the cover down (not taking it off), unscrewed two phillips screws to take the arm off, and cleaned the contacts with an eraser. I am almost certain he just looked at it for 5 seconds and said to himself, that's got to get replaced. He would have done the same steps to intall the new part anyway, minus the cleaning the contacts part.

I think I sound rude by saying this, but the dealer is his problem, why should I pay for it? He did more than what I asked him to do, and there's nothing in writing. I'm worried why he took my insurance though. He just left a message about an hour ago asking to call him back, so I am going to tell him I don't need it anymore and I'm not going to pay for it. I'm not doing business with him again so I don't have to worry about him doing work on my car in the future, but I'm just making sure that no matter what he says I absolutely am not required to pay for it.
 

Last edited by Cid; 12-03-2015 at 04:53 PM.
  #4  
Old 12-03-2015, 05:30 PM
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I get what you're saying and I agree with you. You paid for struts when he didn't give you an estimate first? In most states, that's illegal unless you signed the work order a stating there was no need to call and get permission.

How I would have handled it: I would have verified the symptom regarding the turn signals and priced the stalk. If the customer buys it, they pay for it first then come back for installation. If they want to take it, they take it. I wouldn't remove it, then I have to charge for labor (we don't work for free).
 
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ES6T View Post
I get what you're saying and I agree with you. You paid for struts when he didn't give you an estimate first? In most states, that's illegal unless you signed the work order a stating there was no need to call and get permission.

How I would have handled it: I would have verified the symptom regarding the turn signals and priced the stalk. If the customer buys it, they pay for it first then come back for installation. If they want to take it, they take it. I wouldn't remove it, then I have to charge for labor (we don't work for free).
Well it's two older gentleman that inherited the garage from their father, so they've been doing this forever. Not to mention he's a friend of a family friend, and was reccommended to me. That makes things a little awkward if he says anything to the family friend, but it's not a big deal.

I dropped it off and left in 5 minutes. Signed nothing, didn't discuss pricing or options, nothing. I got a call later saying that the struts and rear shocks are shot and he already ordered new struts and is waiting for it to be delivered, and it would be done by the end of the day. He also told me the turn signal part is on order from the dealer. Then he asked me about my insurance card which I'm still confused about.

I was pretty angry on the inside because I clearly said inspect (I wanted to weigh my options for parts) and because he ordered cheapo Monroe struts (even though he insisted they are quality, been around forever and he would only buy parts he would use in his own car) but I didn't say anything because the family friend part. He also charged an insane markup on the parts, but I ended up paying a bit less.

Picked it up later, he told me it was $1260 or something or $1000 cash. I told him I would rather do cash but would need two days when I get my paycheck, he was fine with that. Very off the record with how he deals with things, but this is considered illegal? Watching how he deals with other customers, I don't think it was special treatment because I'm a friend of a friend, I think that's just how they operate.

He didn't charge for labor for looking at the stalk, because like I said he probably just glanced at it for 5 seconds and didn't want to mess with it further. I expected him to look at it and either fix it if it was something easy or let me know it can't be fixed, and charge me labor for that.
 

Last edited by Cid; 12-03-2015 at 07:12 PM.
  #6  
Old 12-03-2015, 07:38 PM
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A lot of small indy shops will operate like that when they know their customers. I'm not a lawyer, but in most cases, an estimate is required and then permission to proceed with the work is needed. Unless the customer states otherwise. Where I work, our work orders have three options. The first is an initial estimate and we call for any needed work. The second is an initial estimate and the customer can set a maximum price to not exceed. The third waives any estimate. We only have people sign for the first.
 
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ES6T View Post
A lot of small indy shops will operate like that when they know their customers. I'm not a lawyer, but in most cases, an estimate is required and then permission to proceed with the work is needed. Unless the customer states otherwise. Where I work, our work orders have three options. The first is an initial estimate and we call for any needed work. The second is an initial estimate and the customer can set a maximum price to not exceed. The third waives any estimate. We only have people sign for the first.

I would've preferred one of those ways. It's why I like taking it to the dealer to get fixed. Maybe I should've done that for the struts too. More expensive but more peace of mind.

So do you agree with me? Should I tell him I'm not going through with it so I don't need the part nor will I pay for it?
 
  #8  
Old 12-03-2015, 08:24 PM
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Yeah, he really has no way of making you pay for it.
 
  #9  
Old 12-03-2015, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ES6T View Post
Yeah, he really has no way of making you pay for it.
I agree, there is really no way he can force him to, but I do think it is a case of buyers remorse (Cid) and after getting his car back figured out he could do it cheaper, but clearly he initiated the repair person to order it or at least should have been more verbal about not ordering the part.

he said it would have to be replaced, and he'd have to order the part from the dealer. and then when car was picked up was written on receipt part was ordered


I kinda side with the repair shop on this one.
 
  #10  
Old 12-04-2015, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Cid View Post
I was pretty angry on the inside because I clearly said inspect (I wanted to weigh my options for parts) and because he ordered cheapo Monroe struts (even though he insisted they are quality, been around forever and he would only buy parts he would use in his own car) but I didn't say anything because the family friend part. He also charged an insane markup on the parts, but I ended up paying a bit less.
You are 100% correct. These guys are lazy and disrespectful. Just blow them off and don't look back.
 
  #11  
Old 12-07-2015, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ES6T View Post
A lot of small indy shops will operate like that when they know their customers. I'm not a lawyer, but in most cases, an estimate is required and then permission to proceed with the work is needed.
I agree with this. Whether its a dealership or independent service shop, an estimate or quote is usually provided before the customer agrees to the labor and parts. The quote isn't necessarily spot on but you should be given some reasonable estimate.
 
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