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A/C robbery, what would you do?


Darkhorse

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Senario: Called local truck maintenance shop and told them my A/C wasnt working and that the previous owner had told me it was just a line that was leaking but couldnt be fixed in time for me to pick the truck up. I asked how much their rates were to troubleshoot. They stated $118 an hour and they could probably find the problem in less than an hour. I asked about the line, they said if they can fabricate it, it would be $30-$40 and if was OEM would be $130-$140. I'm looking at about $250 which is worth my time and getting the A/C going. I drop the truck off to have them troubleshoot the A/C.

I call them after a few days to get the status, they say they are working on it right now and that they are replacing the compressor....what!? Why did no one call me? they dont know. How much does this cost? They dont know, tell me to call back the next day. I told them I will call back the next day but I only authorized them troubleshooting my A/C. They call me the next day, say they replaced 2 lines (OEM ofcourse) and the compressor and the truck is ready to be picked up....$1,786!

I told them we have a problem and I need to speak with the manager, he is out of town "for training". I have been an Aircraft and car mechanic for 25 years, I took my truck to them to save myself some time and money. If it was a line and they could replace it I figured I was in for $300-$350 including troubleshooting time and I'm sitting ok. If my system was shot, I could have bought ALL the parts necessary to replace EVERYTHING, replace it all myself and have a new A/C system for under $700. Even the initial troubleshooting and if I took it to them when I was done just to check out everything I would still be under $900. I'm highly irritated they did this without my permission and that I could have replaced everything for half of what they are trying to charge me. What would you do?

 

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Complain, complain, complain. File a complaint with the BBB. Post your experience on their Facebook page (if they have one).

 

But the bottom line is they have your truck and you aren't getting it back until you pay.

 

One more thing to consider before getting even more angry than you are now...will you need their services in the future? If so, carefully weigh how you will respond to this situation.

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I once was a contract consultant for a ..........government of sorts (Indian Tribe) ......they had a diverse business unit that I did tasking for at times..... I was winding down some less than desirable aerospace tasking they had inherited and was pretty much in need of some time on a far-away place to kick-back...........When I returned I found that since I had resolved the aerospace problem that in my absence the biz-unit had obtained authorization to have me take over a newer-but-failing Heavy Marine Barge /Tug / Crane unit that they had..........(never go on vacation....) Anyhow guess what ONE of the major cost-overruns was.........yep, UN-Authorized work just like your "A/C Job"....... It was insane how bad the overruns were.........

 

I drafted and sent a memo to all of the vendors that the biz-unit that said in a nut shell:

 

1. EVERY task had to have a written estimate WITH a STOP-WORK-POINT at a COST-TO-NOT-TO-EXCEED

 

2. EVERY task HAD to have a biz-unit purchase-order that was STRICTLY limited to pay NO amount over the formal task estimated amount.

 

3. The tasking company by accepting the P O would release ALL claims IF the costs exceeded the formal estimate and P O amount.

 

A huge equipment company called my bluff.......I stood my ground.......they poured a ton of lawyers onto the skirmish.......At the end the BIG companies chief council said "well now I suspect I feel a bit like Gen. Custer felt just before the......End.......I won BIG time.....

 

After the giant fell........the rest fell into line.........you know what.... most of the work was completed at estimated costs and sometimes I would get a call and the company would say 'hey we have stopped work because you need to see what we found........IF indeed extra parts and work were required I would obtain a NEW formal WRITTEN quote and THEN we would issue a new P O........life was better......

 

It's not nearly the "hand-shake-my-word-is-my-bond-world" here anymore I a sorry to say........

 

I do ALMOST all of my work myself these days and sometimes being a geezer it's not much fun even with a big shop and too many tools.....

 

Sorry things did not work out with your A/C job .........likely the best you could hope for is to ask for a meeting with the manager when he gets back from the training session titled ........"how to bill +300% past your estimates".........

 

Drive on.........(turn the A/C to max and think better thoughts.....)

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As a shop owner, I couldn't expect the customer to pay much beyond your originally authorized amount. Sometimes I will just do something a little extra without calling to get another authorization, but this is only for maybe $10-20 and I have a good relationship with that client.

 

Obviously you were planning to fix it anyway, maybe you are willing to be willing to pay something for the time and parts right? So somewhere in the middle there could be a meeting point where it becomes fair to you regardless of them going too far and maybe the costs get covered for the shop owner.......

 

If you like the guys and think it was an honest mistake, meeting in the middle would go a long way to help your future dealing with them.

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Pay it on a credit card and then fight the purchase. Agree to pay the original amount but not the compressor.

That's not really the right way to do it either.....

 

They aren't going to let him pay and take it without signing the repair order. It might be hard to prove later that the repairs weren't authorized with a signed work order.

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Pay it on a credit card and then fight the purchase. Agree to pay the original amount but not the compressor.

Good luck with that - It's Card Present business - Service paid after performance - What are you going to claim - fraud? The bank will tell you to go to court. The banks take a dim view of those who try to use them to solve disputes.

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If you have an attorney friend have them write a letter. I'll bet the shop will back down and want to work something reasonable if they get a letter from an attorney stating they didn't get authorization for the work not listed.

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Thanks for the input. I have dealt with two other guys in the past and they really treated me right, thats why I came back to them. I havent dealt with the manager before so we will see how a civilized conversation goes. I know a lot is labor, they charged $573 for the compressor which I could have bought an aftermarket with 2 year warranty for $179, even if I got an OEM it would have been $319. I know they have to make money but thats exactly why I wanted them to TROUBLE SHOOT because I knew it would be horrendously expensive to have them fix if it was more than a line.

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Post a copy of your original work order signed by you and the shop writer here.

It will have what you authorized them to do.

 

I get one every time my vehicle goes to a shop.

Some states if the bill will be higher then on the work order they have to call you before doing more.

 

Check if that is what the state you are in requires.

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I hate to say it but A/C and auto-tranny work in a lot of shops are really gold-mining operations........

 

Be prepared for the statement........."If we did NOT replace the compressor we could not stand by our work"......

 

At tis point a conversation to state your concerns would likely be the next step........

 

Lawyer-letter is likely a step or two down the line........many shops will adjust.......the ones that won't ........then the next step is yours to call.

 

Good luck.

 

Drive on.....

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I'm prepared for them to say just about anything. There really was "no work" to be done. They were supposed to troubleshoot and "verify" that it was just a line leaking as I had been told by the previous owner. Me questioning about the price of a line was just for my information if thats what it turned out to be, it was not even an approval for them to replace that without talking to me.

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Lets hope this was an honest miscommunication. Ie the guy you told to troubleshoot it did not make that clear to the tech doing the work. And it really did need those parts. We can hope.

 

As stated before its how you want to deal with this shop in the future.

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I know this sounds harsh, but either you authorized this work or you didn't. A signed authorization is what they need. Verbal understandings are "he said", "she said" situations and mean nothing. If you did not authorize this work, then you have every right to expect them to return your truck to you as you brought it to them. Whether that happens or not depends on how far you want to push it and how long you want to go without your truck.

 

If you did authorize the work, intentionally or not, consider it a lesson learned and pay your bill and move on.

 

Hopefully, a reasonable solution will prevail. Good luck to you on a positive outcome. In any case, don't let this incident take a toll on your health or spirit.

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Well, we had a good pleasant conversation. He owned up to the mistake and I think he did his best to rectify. I am not one to treat folks bad but I cant pay for their mistakes either. I had a set budget and a plan of how I would move forward before taking it to the shop. He understood totally and was very nice about it. I told him where I was and he said where he was, We came down on his side a bit but he did offer to return the truck to the way I brought it in with no charge and no hard feelings on his part if thats what I wanted him to do. We were at a little over half of the original price and they did me right before so I paid and no one had bad blood. BUT I drove the 45 miles home a blam! A/C started blowing HOT air about 1 mile from home...heh, guess I'll be driving it back for warranty work tomorrow :rolleyes:

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Well, we had a good pleasant conversation. He owned up to the mistake and I think he did his best to rectify. I am not one to treat folks bad but I cant pay for their mistakes either. I had a set budget and a plan of how I would move forward before taking it to the shop. He understood totally and was very nice about it. I told him where I was and he said where he was, We came down on his side a bit but he did offer to return the truck to the way I brought it in with no charge and no hard feelings on his part if thats what I wanted him to do. We were at a little over half of the original price and they did me right before so I paid and no one had bad blood. BUT I drove the 45 miles home a blam! A/C started blowing HOT air about 1 mile from home...heh, guess I'll be driving it back for warranty work tomorrow :rolleyes:

Dark,

 

Blam is a great tern for the 45-minute-cool-then-turns-hot-ride......... I wish I could tell ya that you are the first guy to have a hot-ride after a MAJOR A/C repair......

 

I once was cursed with a small fleet of pressurized recip twin biz aircraft that had very complicated Freon A/C that was a royal pain-in-the-U-know-what to keep in service.........We had a great maint-chief that would call me up to make a main-check-flight before returning the aircraft to service.........before I would depart he would give me a detailed account of all tasking performed on the aircraft.........IF they had serviced / repaired the A/C system he would say oh ya........make sure you fly at least 30 minutes to that the cabin gets hot so we can find the freon leak(s) that crop-up after the fittings are disturbed......... I'd say about 10% of the repairs still needed further "tender-loving-care" after major work.......

 

I know sitting in a HDT on a hot-muggy day is not much fun with a failed A/C system but....... it is a joy compared being stuffed into a PRESSURIZED-HOT-MUGGY airplane with the only hope that your flight will be able to climb high enough to get into air cool enough that the slip-stream cabin intercoolers can bring the HIGHER temp compressed cabin air back to a survivable temp for humans.......some passengers get a "bit grumpy" past 115f.......the others pass out.........

 

Time to spare.....go by air.......more time yet.......go by jet...........

 

Look at your "new" A/C "adventure" as........"Bonding-Time" with your shop ...........

 

Drive on.........(with the window rolled down......)

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I had a 1995 S10 pickup that i paid for 5 compressor replacements over the course 100000 miles. It would suddenly blow hot air. Each replacement was about $2000 for supposed complete replacement including the evaporator, condenser. I talked to my farmer buddy we flushed the system and it was clear they never replaced the whole thing. I replaced the compressor and it worked for about 10minutes then hot air. We had gauges on it and the head pressure was high. It turns out the clutch fan was bad and had been since the truck was new. Nobody ever checked the pressure after replacing the compressor and filling the system with freon. My buddy said the fan was the most common reason to lose a compressor as it causes the high pressure /head pressure to blow seals and no one ever checks it. I now do all my own a/c work

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Sorry about your experience Pappy, tough pill to swallow. I miss spoke earlier, I said they replaced the compressor, they actually replaced the condenser. I called them this morning and told them about the hot air and he asked how soon I could get it there, dropped it off in an hour. Came back after two hours and they said the bearings in the compressor were going bad and the clutch needs replaced. I re iterated that this is exactly why I wanted it troubleshot in the first place because obviously the whole system is bad. Again said he understood, said they will discount me the parts or they understand if I go aftermarket. Said I was free to take the truck (no bill) and bring it back after I replace the compressor and they will service the freon no charge.

Dolley I always appreciate your stories and point of view, I can appreciate being stuck in a metal tube with no relief, thats why I'm a helicopter man. Even if you dont have one with A/C that fan still moves alot of air :)

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Sorry about your experience Pappy, tough pill to swallow. I miss spoke earlier, I said they replaced the compressor, they actually replaced the condenser. I called them this morning and told them about the hot air and he asked how soon I could get it there, dropped it off in an hour. Came back after two hours and they said the bearings in the compressor were going bad and the clutch needs replaced. I re iterated that this is exactly why I wanted it troubleshot in the first place because obviously the whole system is bad. Again said he understood, said they will discount me the parts or they understand if I go aftermarket. Said I was free to take the truck (no bill) and bring it back after I replace the compressor and they will service the freon no charge.

Dolley I always appreciate your stories and point of view, I can appreciate being stuck in a metal tube with no relief, thats why I'm a helicopter man. Even if you dont have one with A/C that fan still moves alot of air :)

Dark....

 

Right on about chopper-jockying.......Old chopper-engineer once told me that the main rotor had NOTHING to do with making the "machine "Levitate" ..........Those in the know realize that choppers operate on Noise....Vibration (sub-set of Noise) and the most VITAL component of all........$$$$$$$$$ and more......$$$$$

 

The big fan is only up there to blow trash around on the ground and make people duck and crouch-down as they run to get into the "torture-chamber-people-pod"......

 

Trust me........as BAD as I am at herding a "rotot-thing" around folks might need a Chinook or Kmax rig with multi-main-rotors to keep ventilated as I mis-handle the controls.......

 

The first day I ask the whirly-god-instructor........." with ALL hand and feet needed to operate controls.....how do you pick your nose.....Answer.....You pick your nose........You Die..........

 

Needles to say my rotor-craft log is pretty thin.......and the world is better a place for that.......

 

Drive on............(keep kool.......)

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