AIBU to expect my mechanic to honour the quote he gave me?

(35 Posts)
goodbyekitty123 Thu 28-Mar-13 14:07:23

I have just got my car back after a week and a half after having the timing belt changed. My mechanic is notoriously difficult to get hold of, doesn't reply to texts etc. however his kids go to the same school as my little sister so very often I ask my mum to try and catch him to make appointments etc.

Prior to having the timing belt done I had got a quote from a different garage closer to where I live who told me it would cost £240. However my mechanic assured me (well my mum as she had to ask on my behalf as he didn't respond to my texts and calls) that it would be substantially cheaper than this. After a lot of badgering persuasion he eventually gave a quote of £180, however I have now been given a bill for £245!!

Unfortunately I am unable to drive long distances at the moment due to having bad SPD but the mechanic offered to pick up and drop off my car (never mentioned extra costs). The bill however does not have a break down and only has a description of the work he did on the car. Even if he did include the cost of picking up/dropping off my car £65 difference seems an awful lot.

AIBU to expect him to honour his original quote? If I had known it was going to be £245 I would have taken it to the closer garage which I would have been able to drive to, meaning I paid less in petrol and would have got my car back much sooner. I am now in a position where I haven't been able to budget for this large price difference so will put a financial strain on me. I haven't paid the bill yet and I have tried to get hold of him to find out why there was such a big price difference but alas he isn't available.

Floristneedsaname Fri 29-Mar-13 17:52:30

But VAT on a 180 bill would be £36, so doesn't explain the difference.

A quote is supposed to be a fixed price, unlike an estimate.

I'd send a cheque for 180 and use a proper mechanic next time.

ophelia275 Fri 29-Mar-13 17:19:57

Could the original quote have been pre-VAT? Presumably if he is operating legally he would have to add VAT to the invoice which would add 20% to the bill?

BackforGood Fri 29-Mar-13 16:14:00

As you didn't speak to him directly in the first place, it may well be he did say "You're looking at around £x for the part, so at least £160" or "£160 plus VAT" or something, and that it's been a bit like Chinese whispers as the message has come through your Mum. I don't really think you've got any grounds for complaint if you agreed to him doing the job without that all being clear in the first place.
My garage usually can't tell me a price in advance, as, until they start looking at the problem, they don't know exactly what they will be paying out for, or how long the job will take. However, they were recommended to me in the first place, and then I've been using them for years and they've never ripped me off (and sometimes refused to charge me) in all those years, so I can work like that. If you only had £160, then you needed to have been clear when you did speak to him - when he picked up the car - exactly if the the £160 your Mum told you was an estimate or a definite figure.

goodbyekitty123 Fri 29-Mar-13 15:32:38

I didn't get any free M&Ms or diet coke. Now I'm really pissed.

charlearose Fri 29-Mar-13 12:39:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Walkacrossthesand Fri 29-Mar-13 11:53:50

Disappointing to lose a good, reasonable-price car fixer - they are worth their weight in gold. Perhaps - when you do manage to speak to him - you could negotiate splitting the difference between quote and bill, on the grounds that he should have contacted you to authorise it, you could refuse to pay the excess but you're prepared to be reasonable in view of good past history...,

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 29-Mar-13 11:48:03

If it was going to be more he should have rung and asked if it was ok to proceed.
Some cars you have to change water pumps as well when you do the timing. But he should have quoted for it.
My oh has a garage and unless its a long standing 'don't care, do it' customer he always rings to say its going to be more.

And yes some cars take a blooming long time as they are awkward to get to, others are in and out but again this should be reflected in the book time quoted

goodbyekitty123 Fri 29-Mar-13 11:35:48

I have no idea what the breakdown is as he hasn't put it on the bill. I guess that's my biggest issue as if there is a legitimate reason for the £65 difference then I can understand that, although he should have called/texted to check it was okay to proceed if it was going to cost more.

He hasn't done any extra work. He offered to pick up and drop off my car and not once mentioned extra cost. Although a £65 difference just to pick up and drop off my car is a lot if that is what has hiked the price up but I just won't know until he gives me a breakdown.

I've decided I'm going to wait for him to call me and explain my confusion about the price difference and get him to give me a breakdown. He can have his money but I won't be using him again and he needs to contact me first. Knowing him that won't be for quite a while so at least it gives me time to sort the extra funds.

As for my mum she is just getting on my tits at the moment as she'd be just as pissed off if it had happened to her. I'm not going to be rude to him so I don't see how it will affect her at all. I'm just not going to talk to her about it anymore.

ParadiseChick Fri 29-Mar-13 09:47:42

What kind of car/age/model do you have?

What's his hourly rate?

Easy enough to phone a parts place, get a price for the part. Figure it out from there.

Gingefringe Fri 29-Mar-13 08:32:42

In this position I would send him a cheque for the original amount with a covering letter explaining that this was his original figure and if he wants the additional £65 then to kindly supply you with a breakdown and a VAT receipt.

If he's as disorganised and unprofessional as you make out he may not bother responding to you?

Blu Fri 29-Mar-13 08:15:59

Whatever the ins and outs of his method of communication, if he gave you a price he should either stick to it , call you to say 'it looks more complicated, more expense etc' and give you the option of proceeding or not, and he should have been clear about the drop off costs.

Have you normally driven the car there yourself? Did you ask for the drop off service after you accepted the £180 price?

At the very least you should get a proper break down if the costs, and I don't see why it causes difficulty for your mum to simply politely and professionally request an explanation of costs against the original price.

StickEmUp Fri 29-Mar-13 08:12:34

Haha! No worries!
I struggle to think of an exapmle but your hubby, what if a part broke that as quite massive, alongside a small job. Say it was £100 for the part? Would he just absorb it?

I say this as, sometimes customers say it only needs a xxx but really, they dont know it also needs an xxx, and this is found while the mechanic has the car in bits.
Some people, would say 'mr mechanic why not fix that! My car is still fucked!'
Some people, wouldn't know or care.

I suppose only way around it is to call someone while said car in bits, and get them to approve.

I say this as i bought a car recently, and it had no gearbox oil. How The previous driver could not hear the gears squeaking, i will never know. But people, not having gone to college, just don't know, eh!

Fanjounchained Fri 29-Mar-13 08:05:53

X post with Stickemup - not suggesting your hubby is dishonest !

Fanjounchained Fri 29-Mar-13 08:04:57

OH used to work as a mechanic..and this is his two cents. Irrespective of whether the job took longer, was more complicated than he thought, he has verbally confirmed that he would do the job for £180 and he should honour this.

I get what everyone is saying above about getting written confirmation etc, maybe my OH is one of the few honest ones out there !

StickEmUp Fri 29-Mar-13 07:59:40

Just spoke to hubby who is a mechanic and this is a big job. Some cars you have to take the whole front panel off to get to it. Its a 3 hour job on average.
Plus, if he had to change something else at the same time, charge would go up.

He then said you need to speak to him and find out.

Im having a new clutch tomorrow, and that involves taking the gear box apart almost 75% of it.

wannabeEostregoddess Fri 29-Mar-13 07:53:20

I know that a timing belt does not take 3 nights to complete if you are a trained mechanic and would not have taken my mechanic that long.

You know nothing actually OP. Timing belts are really awkward on some cars.

If you had taken it to KWIKfit you would have had a shoddy job done in haste by someone who isnt necessarily qualified.

Cars cost money. He might be flaky, but that doesnt mean dishonest.

zwischenzug Fri 29-Mar-13 07:50:07

Oldest scam in the book, undercut all the competition and then once you've got the work jack the price up.

StickEmUp Fri 29-Mar-13 07:47:44

Did he end up having to do more than just the timing belt?

goodbyekitty123 Fri 29-Mar-13 07:46:12

I really don't know in answer to where he got the original figure. I've used him before and never had a problem with the price. He is also my mums mechanic (she suggested him originally) - and has told me not to say anything because it will make things uncomfortable for her! Pah! AIBU that it pisses me off that she is still recommending him/recommended him to me even though she knows he is so unprofessional?
Its bloody annoying that this and various other things seemingly done to push me to my limit has happened while I am pregnant and far too emotional to deal with things rationally. I used to be very level headed but this is like having PMS for 9 bloody months. I did warn DH I will turn into a monster when I'm pregnant- he says never again.

Was he quoting less the VAT or something??

Salmotrutta Thu 28-Mar-13 16:44:18

Sorry - slight overuse of "anyway" blush

Salmotrutta Thu 28-Mar-13 16:43:37

The thing is - he's charging you only £5 more than the other garage.

So maybe he underpriced in error anyway originally. Or maybe he did an off-the-cuff estimate in his head.

You really need to see the itemised bill anyway to query it.

Why did you choose someone who is so hard to pin down anyway?

VonHerrBurton Thu 28-Mar-13 16:32:46

Sorry, yabu.

Yes, if you had gone to Kwikfit or wherever it would have been done quickly and courteously - but a lot more expensively. Sounds really dodgy to me, I don't know why you would go to someone who is difficult to get hold of, never returns messages etc.

I bet he won't be as difficult to get hold of now you owe him money...

I'm afraid you'll have to pay up and never use him again. Its not a quote unless its written, its an estimate. Proving otherwise would be impossible. Yes, he should have specifically said it was an estimate, but he doesn't sound like the kind of guy who's big on details.

YABU

good business person should either give some warning that it will cost more prior to carrying out/completing the work or else honour the original price.

Everything else you have said up there ^^^ about him being flaky and not answering phone or texts and having to get your mum to get him at the school when she's dropping off your wee sister shows he is not a good business person.

Why are you surprised? Why did you even use him in the first place?

I'd have kicked him to the kerb long ago.

MansView Thu 28-Mar-13 16:17:44

RE: Depends if it was an actual quote or an estimate.

It makes a difference I think?

yeah, it's a tricky one with garages ime... did the garage do any extra work that what was quoted, if not - did he explain why there was a discrepancy?

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