Archive | March, 2013

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].”


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.

“There are Holes in Your Story”

6 Mar

Ugh–why is it so difficult to stand up for yourself, defend what you feel is right and appropriate, without crossing the line into disrespect, tactlessness, and immaturity?  It’s not like I go out looking for a fight everywhere I go.  On the contrary–I HATE confrontation.  It really makes me feel icky and ruins my whole day/week/month–depending on with who and how big of an impact it has on my life.  And I don’t want to be over-emotional and reactive, especially given my impending 30th birthday.  I want to be an adult about things and pick my battles.

It just seems sometimes like everyone is against me.  And it’s so hard to maintain an upbeat attitude–or just neutrality.  Work–you know THAT story.  School?  You’ve heard that too.  And now mechanics?  I feel like I should be able to SAY something if I’m getting cheated.  And I’m pretty certain that they looked at me (small, young, female, gay) and increased my price accordingly.

It’s no excuse, but I think the financial situation in this region leads a lot of people to act sketchy. Business owners take on more then they can handle well.  They may charge more.  They may cut corners.  And consumers don’t want to pay for service.  They complain no matter how awesome the work.  Everyone is emotionally charged, because money is tight for all.  Owners need customers to keep their business. Consumers do not have extra money to spend.  But I shouldn’t be the one left feeling bad.  Not this time.  This was not my doing.

I feel like I am within my rights to give a bad review on a review-site for bad service.  And I should be able to do it without the business owner giving me a lot of $hit about it.  I stand by my review.  But now I have doubts–SHOULD I have given a poor review for bad service?  Is my opinion valid about my experience?  After such a heated conversation–with an adult, business owner–well, I’m doubting ME.  That’s not right.  They were the jerks.  My opinions and memories of the event are valid and accurate.  I should not be the one feeling sorry.  And yet, the confrontation is tugging at my mind and making me feel awful.

And it kept me up and or restless all night, so I was exhausted all day.  And yet, I had my best Riverpoint–no probably best college class EVER today!  At least in the social realm of things.   But back to the a$$ and his horrid phone call 20 days after my review and visit–it impacted my productivity.  And THAT makes me crazy and angry that some Douche-bag had that far-reaching affect on me–when he and his business were in the wrong.

The final installment of the Rusty drama will be posted tomorrow.  Right now (7:15PM) I’m going to get some much needed sleep.

The Nerve!

5 Mar

My school/work schedule JUST allowed me to take Rusty to another shop today.  And of course, nothing can go smoothly for me.  It’s why when an unknown number called me–I picked up the phone–which I NEVER do.  Well, it was a car mechanic, but not the place where Rusty currently was.  It was Troy’s, the place I went to previously, and gave a poor Yelp review for based on my bad experience there.  Which you saw in my last post about Rusty.  The fact there was a 3 week (2 week 6 day for accuracy’s sake) delay should already tell you a lot about Troy’s service.

It was not a call to say–We’re sorry you had a bad experience, that is not our norm.  It was a call basically saying my review is wrong and I should remove it.  Who does that???  Which takes my experience at TROYS TIRE & MECHANIC on 3rd Ave from slow, poor customer service, where they tried to gyp me on the price–> to insane.  Who calls people that give them a bad review?!!  What exactly are you trying to do?  Yelp is not designed to give the biggest bullies the highest ratings–it’s a reflection of customer experiences and opinions.  My review is perfectly valid, because I was a dissatisfied customer.

It was a a lengthy and heated conversation and here are some of the highlights that I can remember (to have on record and have people commensurate with my disbelief/annoyance):

-The guy (Troy himself?  I’m not certain, but the guy I dealt with at reception the day I went in).  He said he saw my review and there were “holes in my story.”  What?!  I said, I stand by the review–the service was in fact, poor, and the price they quoted me was extreme.

-He said my transaction receipt was for 7:51 AM, not 7:30 AM as I had stated on my review.  I reiterated that was because I had to stand there and re-report my name, address, car, and problem info–I maintain that I got there no later then 7:30 AM.  He also said within 2 hours of a mechanic looking at my car to diagnose a problem is GOOD.  Which I said they barely had to DO anything, what could take that long?  And he said I didn’t understand all they had to do with my car.

-He told me complain to Hotmail, because e-mail is not trustworthy.  When I said I got a confirmation e-mail he tried to dispute that and asked if I got an appointment time in that e-mail.  Which I told him I had picked 7:30 AM, and how many confirmation e-mails should I have to expect anyway?  He said he’s sorry they didn’t get mine–and checking in only takes 5 minutes anyway.  Besides that’s the fault of e-mail, not him.  Which I responded–don’t offer a service if you can’t provide it, follow-through with it, or trust it.

-He tried to tell me my complaints about the high price quote weren’t valid because I declined the work.  He said it’s not valid for him to complain about a restaurant just because he can’t afford not to eat there.  And I said he was missing the point.  If I went into a fast food place and they told me the hamburger was going to cost $15–I would not buy it, knowing full well that I was being cheated.  Then, I would give a bad review of that particular fast food joint for being UNTRUSTWORTHY.  Well, yes, I declined to pay that price because I suspected it was unreasonably high, and I wasn’t about to get taken.  And sure enough, when I made phone calls to a few other mechanics in town checking the pricing–they were HALF.  Then he said phone estimates weren’t accurate–everyone in town would give me low prices over the phone.

-He attempted to tell me they actually FIXED my remote start/alarm without charging me.  I said, they fixed noting, there had been no prior problem.  Because, after all, in order to fix something it has to be broken in the first place.  What Troy’s did was almost break my remote start, then fix their own mistake–which had not been a problem before they touched my car.

-He said the diagnostic charge they gave me was actually cutting me a break.  Umm-no.  And if true, also proves the prices are variable?  He also said there was no way anyone would charge less for the work then him.  We’ll see about that. . .

-He tried to tell me my review was erroneous so I should remove it.  I told him I thought the service was not good and provided my rationale, in the form of several examples, for that opinion:  My online reservation was not acknowledged and maybe lost all-together.  The diagnostic took too long.  The quoted price was too high.  When I went in after declining the work, I was not met at the door.  The unapologetic nature they used when I was informed my car wasn’t ready wasn’t good customer service.  Another issue cropping up while my car was in their care wasn’t great service.  Waiting 30-40 minutes after the phone call to pick up was also bad customer service.  AND this call (3 weeks after the fact), trying to coerce me into taking down my review=bad customer service.  And I forgot to mention the older gal who came and left and wasn’t acknowledged by their staff at all–that’s terrible customer service.  They didn’t even realize they lost a customer!

The conversation was heated–with both him and me talking over one another and volumes rising.  I couldn’t believe the gall–to tell me my review was WRONG, and tell me to take it down.  Ummm, that’s not how Yelp works–you don’t get stars for bullying your bad reviewers to take down their opinions.  At the end though, he said that if I produced a receipt of the work that was half the price Troy’s had quoted me, they would take the diagnostic charge off my Visa.  “That’s the kind of customer service we offer,” he finished off.  Like the Triple A comment–Troy, you are great at those final one-liners!  Not so good at customer care or soft skills though. . .

The drama lives on.  I hope Rusty can get fixed fast without sending me into bankruptcy or hysteria.


4 Mar

I have all of these unfinished draft posts that I feel obligated to finish and publish before I write new things.  And I guess because I started them in a passionate moment, but waited to finish them to make them better–now I’m not feeling them so much.  And it’s a cycle–write when I’m passionate, but save it to improve upon, and make each post wait it’s turn until I finish the oldest draft a post that.  But then, I hardly post at all, because editing feels like WORK.  And I just want to write about what I want to at that moment.  So this post is all about how I’m just jotting a quick note of what I’m feeling NOW–unedited, and out of turn.  Deal.  That’s how I roll now.

Anyhow, I got an e-mail though a prof at school detailing all the March events going on at school andeaster eggs in this city.  And it made me so excited!  I never realized it before, but I love March.  Yeah, the weather is this weird in-between of some teasingly sunny days, but still cold temperature and the occasional (hateful) skiff of snow.  It’s mostly wet and yicky, with too short days, and a dreaded time change that makes everyone wake up even earlier than they are already.  I’m not.  I’m going to make 5 AM my new rising time, because doing 3 AM is insane.  And work is a jerkelstilskin, taking my early morning cleaning and preparation entirely for granted.  No more.  OK, I’m still going to go in at insane-o-clock, but for my own stress levels, not those thankless mofos.

wonderBut March is also LGBT diversity and remembrance  Women’s month and International Women’s Day, and the point where Easter, which is secretive celebrating of femininity, is nearing.  Reading all of those events just made me happy.  And made me want to celebrate accordingly.

But first, before any fun-times are had I have to prepare for the speech & hearing sciences exam and take Rusty to the mechanic.  *sigh*  But than it’s all about paying homage to the gays, the gals, and minorities-Yay!  All right–here I go.  I’m going to post this in the moment of passion without even reading over it one time–mistakes be damned!

List of SLP Syndromes

2 Mar

In my Language Impairments course, we have to make a power-point presentation detailing a syndrome that impacts speech.  So in the interest of getting ahead–per the usual–here is a list I found.  I’m not sure how comprehensive the list.

  • Apert
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann
  • Cri-du-Chat
  • Crouzon
  • Goldenhar
  • Klinefelter
  • Sotos & Cornelia de Lange
  • Moebius
  • The Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS)
  • Noonan
  • Pierre-Robin Sequence
  • Stickler
  • Usher
  • Sturge-Weber
  • Treacher Collins
  • Velocardiofacial
  • Waardenburg

AND–guess what?  It’s a partner assignment.  There goes the plan of getting ahead.  I’m probably with the off-the-boat Asian dude, so maybe I can still pick the topic I want.  Maybe. . .