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The worst mechanic ripoff I've heard of!

dannyual767 on Fri October 12, 2007 8:29 AM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 2001
Make: Mitsubishi
Model: Galant
Refrigerant Type: R134a
Country of Origin: United States

And to think that people actually wonder why I do my own work

My friend's girlfriend called me on Monday afternoon but I was headed out of town and couldn't take the call. I called her back on Wed evening and got the details of the royal, first degree screwing that she got from some @$$h*!e mechanic.

She took her car to him on Tuesday and he proceded to liberate $1200 from her by replacing her compressor to cure a "noise." When I questioned her on the noise, she said that it only made the noise when she first started the engine. I said, "wait a minute! Are you saying that the noise only happened upon initial engine start up and then went away?" "Yes" was her reply. "When did the "compressor" make the noise again", I asked. "The next time I restarted the car", she said!!!!!!! She also admitted to me that the ac was working perfectly, blowing cold air as always. It only made a squealing sound when she first cranked the engine. I said, "OMG!!!!! You paid $1200 for a new belt!!!!"

She told me that my friend (her boyfriend) thought that it was the ac clutch going out. The ahole mechanic told her that ac clutches go bad due to the compressor going out ! Not only that but he doesn't do just ac clutches, he only does compete compressor replacements (resulting in more $$ for him!) He charged her $900 for the compressor that is $392 brand new on the AMA website.

And yes, he did replace the belt. I told her, "of course he did. Thats what the problem was in the first place and he wouldn't have cured the noise if he didn't replace it!"

I'm still mad that I didn't take the phone call from her when she called. I know I could've saved her a ton of cash. Unfortunately, I know stories like this happen every single day to many, many people.

TRB on Fri October 12, 2007 11:01 AM User is offlineView users profile

That is a shame. Honestly I could never do that to a customer. I want to make money on the jobs we do. But to just steal from someone is just wrong in my book. One reason we don't sell the miracle in a can products. Sure I could make some money. But I don't believe they are good for an auto a/c system. Snake oil sales people can spin it any way they want, poor mother of 3 just needing a cheap fix and so on. This whole world we live in has lost any since of honor in my opinion. Maybe that is why America is becoming the largest third world country.

-------------------------

When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

iceman2555 on Fri October 12, 2007 11:02 AM User is offlineView users profile

Would like to be the proverbial fly on the wall.....lets see.....the customer enters into the shop....explains the problem....noise at start up....perhaps...my boyfriend says the A/C clutch is bad.....tech opens hood.....detects a possible clutch problem...possible evidence of overheating.....you did not have the luxury of seeing what he saw.....arrives at a conclusion....the clutch does exhit possible problems.....he then works up an estimate and submits to the customer.....WHO AGREES TO THE REPAIR !!!
If there was a question in her mind as to the validity of this shop...why was she there in the first place....and since the vehicle was operational...why did she not get a second opinion?
Did the repair operation performed by the 'tech' truly repair the problem.....is so....he did his job! The problem seems to be the cost of the repair.....not so much that the repair was done correctly.....!!

Checking the internet today and several local jobbers....this part is available from various sources....price between $285.00 and $879.00....retail for many of these parts is greater than the $900.00 charged by the 'tech'/retailer. Since AMA had the compressor for $392.00 and it was available for $285.00 somewhere else...does this mean that AMA is screwing their customers as well......I DO NOT THINK SO.....it is simply a matter of the quality of the products that AMA sells...the resultant cost and a operational profit. However, from your logic...if the price of the repair/part is the determining factor. This is far from the truth. After all....she did agree to the repair....it was within her budget.....her expectations....or was she simply talked into the repair....hard pressure.....hard sell.....'the price is only good for the next 30 seconds'....if so...the fault still remains with the customer....they always have the right and ability to simply walk away.

The fact that a shop decides to replace compressors as part of a repair instead of a simple clutch repair.....there are many shops that follow this procedure. Look at a justification.....say the clutch is replaced.....the compressor fails shortly there after or in some cases does not function properly after the clutch replacement....at this point...the shop owner/tech is responsible for some serious case outlays and extra labor. As many 'techs (?) that give a royal 1st degree screwing....there are more customers that give a royal 1st degree screwing to 'techs'....seems this road works both ways...the problem is that the techs do not get the TV/publicity time as do the customers.

If the compressor does fail/cease to function who is responsible....the tech only installed a clutch....but in most cases the customers raises such a fuss...after all...the tech was the last one to touch the vehicle....it surely is his fault......the shop owner/tech 'bites the bullet' then replaces the entire compressor, rec/drier...etc and labor (at his cost..out of his pocket) to facilitate the repair......after a few of these....the shop owner simply says..no more clutches.....only compressors....a bit of an insurance program. And since the 'tech' sees more of these failures during a period of time that the average DIY'er does in a lifetime.....it becomes understandable. An also remember the tech is paid or receives profit from time spend accomplishing the repair...the first time....second....third are costly ....the DIY'er only looses some of his 'non billable' time..!!! Take this a bit farther.....the shop/owner then returns the clutch to the jobber.....AS DEFECTIVE.....and the part is returned up the chain back to the mfg'er...who ultimately 'eats' the cost of the part....no wonder parts prices are so high....and warranties are getting tougher each day.

Wonder how many that read this site and others like it each day have returned a part as 'defective'...when in reality....it simply did not solve their particular problem...or during installation something was done incorrectly and the part/repair failed and had to be done once more......??? Heck, I know there are quite a few....I see the 'fruits' of these actions every day.

Was the 'tech' at fault....this will probably never be determined....you do not have the luxury of seeing what he saw.....you only hear what is being said....by the customer.
Could the tech have 'under sold' the job...simply replaced the clutch....for sure.....but then how would the lady react if the compressor failed to operate the next day....say it locked up....not a fault of the clutch...by any means....but...bet your bottom dollar.....it was the 'techs' fault and guess who is finally going to pay....yeah right.....THE TECH!!!
Could he have given the customer the option of a 'NO WARRANTY' repair on the clutch itself.....yes.....but that NO WARRANTY is very quickly forgotten....and then....see the last statement once more.

Yes, it is known that there are 'techs' out there that do pray on the unsuspecting.....uninformed...BUT...there are those 'customers' that pray on the unsuspecting techs that are trying to accomplish an honest days work....do the repair to the best of his knowledge and ability...do we get it right all the time....no way.....but the 'screwing' does go both ways.....and from my side of the counter....seems it goes from outside the shop than it does from the inside the shop.....every shop owner has his tale.....we just never see them on TV!!!!






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The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson

TRB on Fri October 12, 2007 11:29 AM User is offlineView users profile

Quote
Originally posted by: iceman2555
Wonder how many that read this site and others like it each day have returned a part as 'defective'...when in reality....it simply did not solve their particular problem...or during installation something was done incorrectly and the part/repair failed and had to be done once more......??? Heck, I know there are quite a few....I see the 'fruits' of these actions every day.

You and I both! God forbid we say this is not a defective part you used a sealer or did something that voided the warranty. We are the freaking crooks that don't warranty crap! Run into it all the time with these mexican shops popping all around us. I know I'm bad mouthing the poor Mexicans again. It's the truth, we got a half dozen "A/C shops" that are nothing more than a broken down house on a lot. You know they do not have an Arizona business license and you know they don't have the proper equipment. Compressor comes back filled with debris and they want a warranty. Tell them we can't warranty this you never cleaned the system. I don't need to go on you get the picture. I know someone that buys stuff from Wal-Mart all the time uses it and returns it. I have had big augments with this person on this practice. Response is they let me return it so who cares what others think. For the second time today I say, this country has lost it's pride and is the largest third world country.



-------------------------
When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

cc61 on Fri October 12, 2007 12:23 PM User is offline

ditto to iceman!!!!!!!

dannyual767 on Fri October 12, 2007 4:51 PM User is offlineView users profile

Iceman, I understand your position but I believe that you've completely missed the point with your lengthy reply. It appears that the problem was nothing more than a squealing fan belt! I think that she was taken advantage of in a big and ugly way.

I wasn't there nor did I hear the noise and diagnose the problem in person. Perhaps it was something more, but I doubt it from the information that was given to me.

posted by Iceman,

Quote
....he then works up an estimate and submits to the customer.....WHO AGREES TO THE REPAIR !!!

Quote
...she did agree to the repair....it was within her budget.....her expectations....or was she simply talked into the repair....hard pressure.....hard sell.....'the price is only good for the next 30 seconds'....if so...the fault still remains with the customer....they always have the right and ability to simply walk away.

By your logic, then its okay to screw somebody since, without knowledge, they agreed to it. Most people are not experts in every field of life. Because of ignorance, we pay the "stupid" tax, as did she. I don't think that makes it right, acceptable or ethical in any way shape or form ! Unless you're a medical expert or legal expert, you could get the shaft from doctors and lawyers as well. It happens but as Tim said, that doesn't make it right! There is little integrity anymore!

Edited: Fri October 12, 2007 at 5:23 PM by dannyual767

iceman2555 on Fri October 12, 2007 9:44 PM User is offlineView users profile

Quote
It appears that the problem was nothing more than a squealing fan belt

No, it does not make it right for someone to take advantage of another...no matter what the field....however,since there are at least one...or more observations to be made concerning this repair....and unfortunately no one with any knowledge of A/C experience has had the opportunity to check this vehicle....except the tech in questoin...and since the MAJORITY of techs are honest.....do the job to the best of their ability....this may not be the 'rip off' that is being portrayed. It could well be....and it is a sincere wish that this is not the case.

That being said....not much gets my 'dander' up....but hearing someone accuse a fellow tech of malfeasance....esp when that person has had no direct contact with the vehicle....and is relying on the utterances of another. Over the years...and by the grace of almightily God, there have been many......can truly state that in more cases than not, many customers left our shops with more value...parts and labor....than they paid. And I was one that learned early that clutch replacements can be a short road to customer dissatisfaction.....mainly for the reasons stated in the prior post. Seems the normal expectation for many customers.....if you touched it.....what ever fails is you responsibility. This may not be the case with your acquaintance.....!

The other side of this is what was stated earlier...the customer is still in control.....was there a history or a referral for this shop....is so.....what is the beef....he saw the job...you did not....and I never take my vehicle to a shop that I do not check out first or obtain a referral from another trusted acquaintance. As far as Dr.s.....there again....time to check things out.....very thoroughly.....could a 'rip off' still occur....sure...the the chances are getting pretty slim at this point. If the customer has a feeling of dissatisfaction or apprehension.....they should leave that shop as fast as possible.

Taken into consideration.....the age and possible mileage....the possible lack of A/C service for this vehicle...and the possible statement to the tech that the clutch was bad.....if her male friend had stated as much....can almost bet this was relayed to the tech.....and if the vehicle were in my shop.....and I saw indicators of possible excessive wear on the clutch.....you can bet your last dollar....my quote would have been for a new compressor...but then....we always inform the customer of options....but we also maintain the right to not accept for repair a vehicle that is not repaired to our standards....in other words...if we felt the compressor was the least bit suspect....and the customer maintained that the clutch was the only part that they wished to have replaced.....well....we have a very direct approach to this.....
We simply close the hood....thank the customer for coming in, but unfortunately we feel that we are unable to satisfy their needs.....give them a business card and a written estimate....and wish them the best. Suppose the jury is still out on how many come back for the repairs we felt were necessary.....seems more do than don't...but then...heck....I still like to 'daydream'.

I sincerely hope that your friends friend was not taken advantage of......truly....but in the same thought....I sincerely hope that your statements to others do not discredit this establishment any more than the post.....for it is my belief that if this occurs...then you are in the same boat as the tech that you abhor....both you and I are working from a very large variable....neither of us saw or had the opportunity to evaluate the vehicle.....and a over looked variable....will cause a warranty or come back situation faster than anything known.....know all that is possible.....and make a righteous decision based on that knowledge.

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The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson



Edited: Fri October 12, 2007 at 9:49 PM by iceman2555

dannyual767 on Fri October 12, 2007 11:03 PM User is offlineView users profile

Iceman, at least you and I agree that "it does not make it right for someone to take advantage of another...no matter what the field."

I've already said that I didn't see the car in question and I'm perfectly aware that I can't make a 100% accurate diagnosis via the telephone. No argument there. However, after having worked on cars for 25 yrs, I think I know the symptoms of a squealing fan belt even if it is via the phone. On the other hand, I wasn't there and I don't know for 100% sure. But it sure does sound like a duck and it looks like a duck.

And for what little its worth, her ac was working fine all along blowing nice and cold. It just had this funny thing about a momentary squeal upon engine start.


You are a professional mechanic so excuse me if I don't see things your way, because I don't! Yes there are honest mechanics out there. There are a ton of crooks out there as well! Its tough to find a good, honest mechanic. I've been ripped in the past myself with shoddy, sorry work. One time, downright dangerous work ! Many people have had bad car repair experiences. We've got one repair shop in town that is so busy that you can't even get your car into the parking lot. Why are they that busy? Because they have a reputation of honesty, integrity and good work. Not all shops get those seals of approval but it looks like the masses will flock to one that does.

Quote
That being said....not much gets my 'dander' up....but hearing someone accuse a fellow tech of malfeasance....esp when that person has had no direct contact with the vehicle....and is relying on the utterances of another.

You keep saying that I'm assuming which I am, albeit with some experience of what a squealing belt can and will do. You on the other hand, are basing your assumptions on the fact that the mechanic was a "fellow tech." You have less information than I do and yet you defend him simply because he is a fellow tech. That doesn't make all techs honest and with what I've been told, I don't think that this guy was!

By the way, my friend knows as much about ac systems as his girlfriend.

Edited: Fri October 12, 2007 at 11:06 PM by dannyual767

NickD on Mon October 15, 2007 6:49 AM User is offline

It is estimated that four million people will lose their homes this year because they didn't read their loan contracts, low interest for two years where they either have the option to pay the loan off or get high interest rates. Whose fault is that, theirs or the banks?

In like manner did these banks or your friend's girlfriend's mechanic hold a gun to their customers head and force them to sign that contract? Whey didn't your friend's girlfriend call you before she signed the dotted line?

Did the new compressor and belt stop the startup squeal? No one mentioned this and have to agree that you saying the compressor was good, or Iceman stating the compressor may have been bad is pure speculation, but that is not the issue. The issue is, she took her car into a shop, was given an estimate that apparently was held to and she signed the dotted line. Was she given a one year warranty on this work?

TRB on Mon October 15, 2007 10:30 AM User is offlineView users profile

I agree with you Nick that said customer agreed for the work to be performed. But so many shops these days are parts changers! No clue on how a system even works. They swap parts until they find the problem. I have seen this first hand on some mechanics we have hired over the years. Many were hired straight from the dealership. There is good and bad in every profession.

-------------------------

When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

iceman2555 on Mon October 15, 2007 12:27 PM User is offlineView users profile

Censored myself.....ya'll have fun out there today.....!!!

-------------------------
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson



Edited: Mon October 15, 2007 at 12:39 PM by iceman2555

Cussboy on Mon October 15, 2007 11:16 PM User is offline

22 years ago my girlfriend took her '82 Firebird to a shop because of an AC electrical problem; they charged about $80 and didn't fix a thing, said their charge was because they had to try a lot of troubleshooting and look up stuff in books. I told her she shouldn't pay, because one pays for a repair, not to further the education of some shop employees, but she didn't want to fight it. She then took it to a dealer, who was able to fix it readily, for about $100. You pay for a repair, not guesses, and definitely not "we have no idea, take it to a dealer". Needless to say, neither one of us ever went back there, so I think the shop manager made a poor decision, might've had 22 years of business by acting responsible...

NickD on Tue October 16, 2007 7:43 AM User is offline

Not saying all shops are honest, in the last ten years, tire and brake shops tried to screw five of my kids, even to the point of loosening wheel bearings saying all four ball joints were bad. Midas sucks wanting to charge another hundred bucks for a lifetime warranty on a set of brakes that wore out in 8 thousand miles, never cleaned the calipers, just jammed on new pads with a sledge hammer, no wonder why they didn't last, rubbing all the time. But my kids called me first before signing the dotted line.

Changing parts? A friend came over with idle problems, opened the hood and saw a brand new carburetor, distributor, wires, plugs, filters with the idle set at 1,600 rpm, not very good with an AT overheating the torque converter. Paid over $1,500 bucks at a dealer, told him, they can't find the problem. Reduced the idle and heard a hiss, intake manifold bolts were loose, tightened those and idled find plus a little touch up on the mixtures and ignition timing that was way off.

And if their scanner doesn't show a code with the engine running rough, most are screwed, nothing is wrong. With the advent of computerized vehicles, over 100,000 electronic tech jobs were to be created, that never happened.

All professions? Be darn careful with legal and medical, enough said on this.

iceman2555 on Tue October 16, 2007 10:29 AM User is offlineView users profile

Is it not amazing...all that is remember are the 'techs' (?) that have in our day really taken advantage of customers.....yet....no post has been made concerning the other side....mmmm....go figure.

Once had a 86 Olds 98..first gen FWD....well over a 100k......tranny starting to slip...no acceleration.....mmm....must be the tranny.....it would drive...although barely.....knew a transmission specialist......took the car in.....described the symptoms.....an agreement was arranged for R&R the tranny.....almost broke an already broken budget...but what the heck...gotta have the vehicle.

Rec'd a call from the tranny shop about 2 hrs later......yep....ya guessed it....a serious problem for sure.....seems it was not the tranny but a cat that was restricted. The tranny shop suggested to get the cat changed and then determine if the trans needed repairs. Keep in mind that an agreement had already been arrived...an estimate signed and work ok'd. The shop could have done the tranny and then suggested the cat....however, due to the honesty of this shop....a new cat solved the problem...saved many $100s of dollars.

Over the years, this shop has remained a stead fast operation.....thru the original owner to the new owner....he was the previous mgr....and they get all of my referrals for tranny work.

Looking back over the years and the repairs that were not comfortable being performed.....those out of my expertise.....can not think of one instance where my family or my referrals have been taken advantage.

When one does one's home work and checks out technical locations...no matter what the discipline......after all we are not all masters of all trades...the chance of being on the short end of the stick are very few.

Talk of abuse....tech to customer is a subject that will rebound in this industry...esp with the increased technological advances of vehicles and the resistance of techs/shop owners to remain up to date....service equipement...training...etc. However, there is one side of the business that does not seem to be spoken of...the amount of abuse that is prepertuated against parts suppliers. The greatest of these occurs in the retail trade......buy a part....see if it fixes the probem.....hey...if not...simply take it back

As Nick says...this is about enough of this stuff....but one question...is there not always one last question.....DID THE REPAIR ELEMINATE THE CUSTOMERS COMPLAINT?




-------------------------
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson

tony1963 on Sun October 28, 2007 7:41 AM User is offline

Dear "Cussboy",

I charge for diagnostic time and waive the charge if the customer elects to repair the vehicle. If not, they pay for diagnostic time. Sometimes, the problem is so far off the norm that all of the symptoms and tests do not uncover the problem.

At the point that we have not found the problem in a short time, we tell the customer what we have done so far and ask if they would like to continue the testing or discontinue and pay for what we have done.

You pay a doctor whether or not he cures you and you pay for shop time as well.

If you do not like the way that this works, open your own shop and compete against the rest of us. Let us know when you invest that million or so dollars to get started.



-------------------------
Grove Automotive Group, Inc.

An Alabama Corporation

graeme on Thu November 15, 2007 1:48 PM User is offline

In principle I agree with all ^ from tony163. What is problematical in the ever increasing complexity of cars with computer controlled everything, is the problem that workshops claim to be dealing with an "unusual problem" and are using the customer's car and money to further their own education into what is going on. Im sure the majority of the unusual problems have occured previously and the diagnosis and cure has been found, however, how this information doesnt appear to get circulated amongst all the workshops out there unless it is an incredibly common problem. There does appear to be more of a need for a better network for accessing and reporting this information industry wide.

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