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Advice needed on high cost of service

Discussion in 'Businesses and Service Providers' started by Whippet, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm due to pick up my bike from a city mechanic who has just completed a major service on my VTR250. I have 46,000 on the clock. I was quoted $350 - $400. I'm now being told it's $584 :roll:

    There was a tyre that needed plugging and a new rear brake pad. They also did valve clearances which was part of the major service. Here's the break down....

    Oil filter $11
    Oil $45
    Spark plugs $14
    Disc pad $47
    Brake fluid $6
    Air filter $53
    Radiator Coolant $12
    Rear tyre puncture repair $45
    Coolant (?) $11
    Service fee $340
    Gst $53.10 ......total $584.

    Having spoken with a friend who has a bike and suggests it's too expensive for a naked 250 I'm interested in hearing some more opinions.

    I honour people's work and never begrudge paying for servicing. However I don't like being taken for a ride....well not this kind anyway.

    Hope you guys can offer some advice.


  2. It doesn't look too far out of order to be honest...if you work on say about $80 per hour as the shop rate then...

    4hr maybe more x $80 = $320 for labor alone...also assuming it was only a 4hr job

    plus your other parts and extra bits like puncture repair and rear pads etc....

    If it was going to be that much more expensive I would hope the shop would have called you to get your approval prior to doing the additional work... If I was quoted X and then I rocked up and was told it was Y...and I wasn't consulted I would be pissed off to say the least..

    If the difference between the quoted and final price was say 10% I wouldn't worry...having worked on cars for years I know that sometimes things don't go smoothly and it takes more time than was quoted.

    However a $184 difference is a different story...how hard is it to ring the customer and say "hi mate your bike needs x done to it, there will be an additional charge of Y, do you want me to proceed?.
  3. Thanks Bamm Bamm,

    this is what bugs me when people no longer pick up the phone to ring and consult you first. I'm annoyed to say the least. I'm becoming all too familiar with this with different car mechanics.

    Thanks for your thoughts
  4. Heya Jen, :)

    That does look basically legit... I think the parts are probably a buck or two on the pricey side and four hours labour is probably rounded up to the next hour, especially without fairings to remove. The brake pads and tyre plug are additional to a standard major service, so there's a hundred bucks whacked on right there...

    Outa curiousity, did the work sheet say what things were done during the major service? Did it include doing checking the valves?

    Do they offer a netrider discount??
  5. Im with Bamm, courtesy call should have been given.
  6. Just had this happen to me with a Subaru dealer, had a fixed quote and they tried to charge another $130. I asked to speak with the manager and told him the situation. He explained the extra cost but I argued that I should have been consulted before doing the extra work.

    In the end he gave up first and I paid what was quoted. The assholes just put it out there and don't expect you to call them on it.
  7. I might be geting old, but what was done that you didn't expect and that he was supposed to consult you about?

    And whether he did the work or not, SOMEONE would have had to be paid for it, surely??
  8. Is this directed at me? Or the orignal poster?

    In my case I expect to be called if there are going to be significant additional costs (they did not think $130 was significant enough). However, in the past they have rang regarding brake pads and quoted me $350 to do them (rear set only!!!). Off course I told them no and did them myself for $75.
  9. No, it was a general comment.

    Let's assume the 'extras' that seem to be in contention (still no answer on that) were the tyre repair and the brake pads; there's $100 extra straight away. Would you prefer to ride away with a hole in your tyre and your back brakes below their best???
  10. Except for the puncture repair and maybe the valve clearance adjustment, all that stuff is really basic.

    Presumably you're not under a warranty? Save yourself some cash, you can learn all that stuff in a weekend with a manual.
  11. I'm interested to know why there is a charge for coolant AND a charge for radiator coolant...
  12. Thanks guys,

    Hornet..the problem I had was that I wasn't informed of the extra work that was required to be done. I would have had no intention of riding away with a flat tyre and would have been happy to pay for the work. It's just that a call to ask for the go ahead and notification of the extra $180 - $200 would have been considerate.

    As it all turned out, the guys made some obvious mistakes on the invoice (extra coolant being one of them) which they rectified straight away. The bike was in to have some minor insurance work at the same time. Some of that was also accidently added to the final total.

    I have to say that I wasn't happy with their service at first but through amicable questioning by me, the guys reduced the bill to a price we were both happy with. Now they have my consideration for future work.

    It pays to look over invoices and question what doesn't look right.
  13. I sound like such a nitpicker :roll:
  14. Better to pick your nits and keep them in your wallet than theirs!

    Nicely done :)
  15. 80 bucks an hour seems abit too excessive..
  16. I've called a few places around where I live (Wollongong) and $80 per hour for labour seems the average price.
  17. Yeah in my experience $80 is industry standard.
  18. just bring it round here next time with some beer!
  19. Your on China!

    I can drink the beer and watch you service my bike :LOL:

    See you in another 6,000 kms :grin:

    On another note....my bike has been detailed and it looks farkin brilliant. I'm so tempted to sell it.
  20. Whippett well done for persuing the matter to an amiccable arrangement, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    FWIW I've had 16yrs experience running workshops for cars, the laws as i knew them in NSW are very much in favour of the consumer with regard to all things motor vehicle related. I can't quote you the statutes though, too many years ago. We also ran a flat labour fee of $55p/h circa 1996-99 depending on the nature of work.

    From memory the "practise laws" content could be somewhat ambiguous to say the least in reference to making repairs without consent, but there's 3 things in general terms to consider when handing over motorvehicles for repair. Again recall I'm familiar with NSW trade practices only but .....

    #1 If you fill out a "job card" check to see if there's any conditions before signing it. If you are NOT presented with a job card, or are presented with one that has nothing outlined on it ... you're in the box seat for an argument. A job card signed by a customer can be called an "aggreement" which is not as binding as say a "contract", but shows you as a party to something that may have been agreed to.

    #2 State your case to the repairer, you're of limited funds, you want phonecalls, you need it by X, your budget is Y, you expect consultation should any of your requests be in danger of breach. Note these things down on said job card if necessary as that's just more ammo for the aggreement.

    #3 Determine a finishing date/time, determine the costs expected at same, have those costs written down by them (again the job card is best for this). Variations do and will happen, but as others have stated consultation is as much a customer service pre-requisite as it is a part of an agreement. You asked that you be notified so if you're not yet again you're on the upper side of winning disputes.

    The manager did the right thing, my experience with the NSW repair disputes committee and Dept. Of Fair Trading have always resulted in mediation best suited to the consumer regardless of "who's in the right" so him taking those steps with you is a sign of good business practise. As an aside when I was doing this all those years ago, back then we had the power to refuse to let a motorvehicle leave our shop if repairs of a roadworthy nature where refused by the owner of the vehicle. Simply put we could (under extreme circumstances) be held liable for letting an unroadworthy vehicle hit the bitumen. One shop I ran we invoked this and got the RTA involved, it was ugly ..... and when fair trading was done with us after we released the vehicle to a tow truck we were left wondering why we even bothered. Your method of approach and discussion is always best, take it further only after discussions return nil results.