Rusty is Fixed & I’m Not Bankrupt!

7 Mar

Despite worrying through the night, sleeping fitfully if at all, and wondering. . .  At 9 AM I got a call that Rusty was finished.  Which surprised me, because the day before I had not received a written estimate, and I was actually expecting a call with charges to approve.  The rest, I’ll cut & paste the resultant Yelp reviews in order to limit my typing time:

happy elephant

In my opinion, it is very difficult to find a trustworthy mechanic in Spokane.  After a bad experience (and high quote of $600) elsewhere, I looked to Triple A to recommend an honest mechanic.  

I went with Martin’s because it is relatively close to my neighborhood.  Their parking lot is fairly small, but there is plenty of street parking in a residential area along side of the shop.  When I went in mid-day, it was really busy and they said they couldn’t get to my Rodeo until the next day.  Which I am glad they were up front and honest about, instead of making me wait and wait for a phone call.  Also, they brought up that I was welcome to leave my car there during the night–which I did because of my work schedule.  The guy at the desk was polite, but to the point.  

As a disclaimer, I did provide what I hoped was the correct part, which I obtained online for $175.95 including all shipping and handling fees.  The next day, the work was done by 9 AM and cost just $59.12 total!  Part + shipping + diagnostic + labor was STILL $364.93 under the estimate at the other shop.

I have only one partial complaint:  When I brought my car in, they never offered up an estimate in writing or over the phone.  A couple weeks before they had quoted me $70 for labor and $200-ish for the part.  Also, I never asked for an estimate when I got there–and maybe he remembered my car/problem from that phone call a couple weeks before?  Anyway, the price was so stellar–that’ not getting an estimate is small details.

I’m glad I found a place I can trust in town, and I will go back if my car has any other problems.

forest fire 4

And the addendum I put on my first review for Troy’s:

——————————————­ADDITIONAL INFO——————
I got a phone call 20 days after my visit/this review.  They said “there were holes in my story” and coerced me to take down this poor review.  For the sake of length, I have not included the details of this heated phone exchange, but I would be more than happy to share the nitty-gritty if you send me a Yelp message.  

The bottom line:  I stand by this review.  Also, the guy at Troy’s said if I send him a work order that proves the price I paid for the repair was truly less than half of what he quoted, he would take the diagnostic charge off my card.  He can expect a letter (b/c I NEVER want to hear from anyone at Troy’s again) with the below receipts:

“As a disclaimer, I did provide what I hoped was the correct part, which I obtained online for $175.95 including all shipping and handling fees.  The work was done by 9 AM and cost just $59.12 total!  Part + shipping + diagnostic + labor was STILL $364.93 under the estimate at the other shop [Troy’s].”

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Let’s look at the numbers:

Troy was going to charge me $600, $58 of that for diagnostics.  Which, like an exam fee at any doctor’s office, you are going to have to pay everywhere you go.  And like the doctor’s office, one diagnostic can’t be used elsewhere–everyone will do their own exam/diagnostic for their own base price.  But just to lay it out there, since I didn’t trust Troy’s at all, and the next place was busy when I went in–I didn’t provide the 2nd place with any more information than I had given Troy’s.  Less actually.

Using my detective skills, old Isuzu forums, and my car’s specs I found what I was hoping was the right part for $175.95.  I can only assume a mechanic could get it for the same or less.  They probably have built a relationship with their distributor,  get shipping knocked off since they order frequently, and maybe even have to order several parts at a time–all decreasing the price that I, as a non-mechanic nobody could find.

Even if you figure for some reason Troy’s couldn’t get the part for any less than $200.  That is still $58 + $200 = $258, which makes the labor they were about to charge me $342!  On a simple job that I was originally going to do myself!  The labor was going to cost MORE than the job itself.

My “inaccurate” (according to Troy’s) over-the-phone estimate at the shop WAS wrong.  They quoted $70 for labor and ended up charging me less.  Since I ended up paying $59.12 for labor and $175.95 for the part (total of $235.07), that $364.93 discrepancy between quote at Troy’s and actual price paid is STILL more than the total price!  I was conservative when I said other places were charging me half of Troy’s quote.  I was charged 2.5x less when all was said and done than I would have been charged at Troy’s.  $600?  I am so, so, so, so glad that I had the courage to yank Rusty out of that shop to avoid getting screwed over any more than I already did.

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