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Old 01-23-2015, 09:21 AM   #1
I STILL don't get it
 
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Rip off from auto repair shop?

I just had my car checked up at a auto repair shop couple of days ago. As I was in rush for next appointment, I wasn't able to argue much but came back a day after to discuss the invoice. Yes I know, that was very stupid move for me, but I was in such hurry and the shop owner knew it too...

I asked them to see if it's alignment issue as I can see little vibration on my back mirror at a high speed driving.

Here is the invoice I got from the shop

Parts
Wheel alignment - $70 (Wheel alignment was good, no work done, just check)
Wheel balance - $20 (All 4 wheels good, no work done)

Labor
Wheel alignment check
Wheel balance check
brake check - left rear brake caliper needs replaced ( $165 plus tax if I want to fix one brake caliper, parts can be found online for $58)
TPMS reset - one of my wheel wasn't registering TPM, after reset, it broke down again within 5 minutes.
found air leak from right rear(I mentioned them there might be leak from right rear tire)

Basically I got charged $145.60 for checking wheel alignment..
there was no such discussion of any charge and I was given invoice after.

Is there anything I can do about this?
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Old 01-23-2015, 09:52 AM   #2
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I don't get it
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Old 01-23-2015, 09:56 AM   #3
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no work done, just check
That right there is your misunderstanding. You are wrong, work was done. In order to check the wheel alignment the shop has to put the car up on the alignment rack, attach a sensor panels to each wheel, release the glide-plates on the rack and run through a series of checks and tests. The computer system will prompt them to do each of the tests. Minimum time required, 30min. 45min is more likely, especially if the tech is being careful not to ding your wheels. If any changes need to be made to the alignment of the car, they are done with it on the alignment rack. Since your car apparently didn't need any changes, it would have been brought down off the rack after the check.

If the shop is running a computerized alignment system (I can't think of a shop in North America that isn't), they should be able to give you a printout of the alignment job showing the factory recommended spec ranges, and exactly where your car sits. Unfortunately this typically needs to be printed on the day of, and if you were concerned with the invoice should have requested the printout at that time. While systems do allow you to plug in the license and customer name into the alignment computer, most shops don't take the time (it costs you money) and thus they can't go back and find old alignment jobs.

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Old 01-23-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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I understand that work was done by checking alignment. But how do you justify charging $145.60 for a check-up on alignment, wheel balancing(which was never authorized nor mentioned until billing time) when most shops I can get alignment fixed for less than $100??
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CCA-Dave View Post
If the shop is running a computerized alignment system (I can't think of a shop in North America that isn't), they should be able to give you a printout of the alignment job showing the factory recommended spec ranges, and exactly where your car sits. Unfortunately this typically needs to be printed on the day of, and if you were concerned with the invoice should have requested the printout at that time. While systems do allow you to plug in the license and customer name into the alignment computer, most shops don't take the time (it costs you money) and thus they can't go back and find old alignment jobs.

-Dave

According to the invoice, there was no alignment job done. It states that wheel alignment was good, and all 4 wheel balance was good. In another words, there was no work done to the car except check for alignment.
I am wrong to think $145.60 for a wheel alignment check is too steep?
I'm not trying to argue with anyone, I just can't seem to justify what they've charged me for work they've done. What is going standard for alignment check? One shop quoted me for free while another quoted me $54 if alignment is good and $95 if need adjustment.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:19 AM   #6
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If even your alignment was within spec the shop still has to go through the proper procedures to check everything so that takes time. Also, they would have balanced your wheels to try and eliminate the vibration, which was your complaint in the first place. Pretty standard stuff. I don't see this being unreasonable at all. :shrug:
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:27 AM   #7
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You just dont understand do you. To check alignment, they need to put it on the alignment machine. Whether adjustment is made or not, it is still alignment. What if only the right side of the car is out of alignment? You want 50% off because only that side was adjusted?

Same thing for balancing, they need to remove the wheels and put it on the balancing machine.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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So, you asked for them to check the alignment. You mentioned you had a vibration, and you think the right rear was losing air. They checked the alignment (requires all the work of doing an alignment minus some adjusting), balanced your tires and while the tires were off took the time to check things enough that they noticed you need a rear caliper. Charging you a total of $145ish for the job.

You've posted that you checked quotes with other shops on the job, so I'm not sure why you chose this one if the price was higher? Maybe you didn't ask them to quote before handing your keys over? I don't think the bill is unreasonable, based on the information provided.

-Dave
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:59 AM   #9
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for them to put your car on a hoist and mount the alignment unit is work done.
sounds shitty, but its true.

no one works for free.
you could argue the price a little bit. but work was done.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:46 AM   #10
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As for the balancing check without request, it's usually right up there with alignment as cause of vibration you described. They crossed it off the list for you for less than a separate shop visit likely would've cost.

Plus you got a tpms reset.

Doubt they'll be rolling around in stacks of cash from this $145 billing.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:53 AM   #11
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Your complaint was the vibration in the first place, out of balance wheels could cause this. Only way to check for out of balance wheels is to put them on a machine.

Then you told them to check the alignment, so they did. They also checked your tires and brakes. I don't see anything wrong with what the shop did in regards to your invoice. Techs don't work for free.

Slightly OT: Just because "parts can be found online for $xx", "Shop X can do this for $xx", doesn't mean they'll price match.
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:01 PM   #12
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^ Not to mention most parts online for much cheaper are in USD (1.25 exchange rate right now...) plus shipping to Blaine/pt. roberts/ etc, time and gas to pick them up and duty.
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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How can anyone complain about such a small fee for auto repair? Seriously you're lucky it was only $145!
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:05 PM   #14
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As for the balancing check without request, it's usually right up there with alignment as cause of vibration you described. They crossed it off the list for you for less than a separate shop visit likely would've cost.

Plus you got a tpms reset.

Doubt they'll be rolling around in stacks of cash from this $145 billing.
Thank you for input.

I wanted to see other people's opinion to see whether I was over charged for the work or not.

On a side note, TPMS was reset.. however, within 5 minutes of driving off their lot, it's not working again..
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:05 PM   #15
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seriously? u gonna make a stupid thread about this? is this what RS has become over the years? Are u a noob?


what did you expect them to charge you? oh sir everything checks out so it will be "FREE" yayyyyyyy



checking alignment and other shit, for $145 i wouldnt exactly call it a RIP OFF


not even close
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:06 PM   #16
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How can anyone complain about such a small fee for auto repair? Seriously you're lucky it was only $145!
you mean alignment checkup?
there was not a single repair that was done to my car.. except TPMS reset which for whatever reason is not working again within 5 minutes of driving
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:11 PM   #17
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1 unit of labour is equivalent to anywhere from $95 to $135 at most shops.

So you can assume that anytime you take your car somewhere you will spend atleast a $100, because a tech has to figure out what they need to do, get the keys, pull your car into the shop, get it on the hoist, do his inspection, and even if nothing is wrong, that all takes time.

You do realize that some companies charge money for providing estimates, and quotations for exactly this reason, this is a business they are running, and everytime you walk through the door, it costs them some money, even if all you do is ask the service advisor a question.

Time is money, the shop seems to understand this. I suggest you learn this quickly, otherwise you are going to grow into one bitter person.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:13 PM   #18
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you mean alignment checkup?
there was not a single repair that was done to my car.. except TPMS reset which for whatever reason is not working again within 5 minutes of driving

If you go to a hooker and don`t orgasm you still have to pay
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:25 PM   #19
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everything sounds about right, im not here to argue, flame or defend the shop...

if your wheels vibrating its probably bad balance yeah, doesnt hurt to check the alignment which you requested. they charged you for the work that was required, sometimes an inspection requires more work than just a simple alignment, some of the nicer shops will check your tie rods / ball joints / steering rack etc... when they do the alignment, most probably wont. no harm, no foul and now you know for next time your wheel vibrates what is your likely culprit

also you have to keep in mind that just because they make it look easy or like 5 minutes worth of actual work, if you could do it... you would have yourself
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:25 PM   #20
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you mean alignment checkup?
there was not a single repair that was done to my car.. except TPMS reset which for whatever reason is not working again within 5 minutes of driving
Just think of the alignment check up as a diagnosis then maybe it'll make a bit more sense as to why you were charged even though they didn't really perform any repairs

Like meme405 said, shops will charge between $90-$135 depending on where you go to per hour
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:28 PM   #21
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Think of it in terms of a pre-purchase inspection, where they don't fix anything and just tell you what's wrong with the car. Time is money.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:49 PM   #22
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OP should stick to dealerships. They rip you off less.

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Old 01-23-2015, 01:52 PM   #23
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also you have to keep in mind that just because they make it look easy or like 5 minutes worth of actual work, if you could do it... you would have yourself
This is actually a really good point. This is exactly why I don't normally let others watch me edit photo's/videos.

Sometimes a photo can take hours in post production, other times the way it comes out of the camera can look wonderfully natural, and I don't want to touch it too much.

People who watch you work, and then base what they pay you on that is ridiculous. Just because it only took me a couple minutes doesn't mean it doesn't hold value. You need to look at how long it took me to get to a point, where that action only takes me a few minutes to complete. Takes years of expertise and practice, and honing your skills to get there.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:24 PM   #24
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think of it this way

1 day ur feeling sick so u decided to see the doctor
the doctor looks at u for 15 minutes, doesn't see anything wrong with u at all and tells u to just walk it off... by the time u get out the door, u still HAVE to pay the doctor

now if ur still asking why u still gotta pay the doctor despite him not doing any "work" on you or giving u any prescriptions... then u sir need to gtfo
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:09 PM   #25
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you mean alignment checkup?
there was not a single repair that was done to my car.. except TPMS reset which for whatever reason is not working again within 5 minutes of driving
your alignment checkup is the same as a repair to most shops. we'll charge book time (probably an hour) and to check the balance of your wheels is like .6 lol.
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