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Searching For A Good Car Mechanic

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Cars and trucks get more and more complex every year.  Most of us are dependent upon service centers and car dealers to get proper repairs made to our vehicles.  The scary part about that dependence is the worry about being ripped off.  I know there are honest car repair people in Billings.  I keep wondering why I don’t find them.

This story opens with a car that has a minor issue.  In this case, the vehicle has a door that closes over its cup holder.  It’s a simple design issue.  One in keeping with the character and quality of this moderately priced vehicle.  The door in this car is stuck half open (or half closed depending on your point of view)  It’s open just wide enough for a cup to sit and lean over about three quarters.

After fighting the door for weeks, I gave up and decided to take it to the dealership for a repair. The service writer quoted a price (seemed high, but) and I left for lunch.

The Problem Found

Upon returning, the writer told me they had looked at the problem, found the door was broken and the repair would be $600!  I balked at that and paid for the one hour of “work” that had been done on my car.  When I climbed in I discovered the rest of the story.

See, because of the way the door worked, the travel coffee cup I used was always pointed in a specific direction (opening to the highest point) to reduce the potential of spilling.  You can imagine an inspection of that door would have required the cup to be removed.  The likelihood of the cup being placed in EXACTLY the same manner was unlikely.

Yet, that’s what happened.  The cup appeared to be pointed exactly the same as I left it.  Strange, huh?

Additionally, there was a small piece of paper like a piece of a straw paper in the cup holder too.  That piece of paper was in EXACTLY the same place as when the service department got the car.

Clearly the only thing touched was my credit card for the one hour fee.   A phone call and argument followed.  I don’t mind paying for work, but I do mind being ripped off.

The Second Visit

Eventually, the car was returned to the dealership later that day.  Service began to work on the door. I was stunned when the “broken” door, was found to have had a stuck penny in it and was returned to proper function in about 60 seconds.

I negotiated an immediate reduction in the charge on my credit card to about $25.  The funniest part was the service writer attempting to give me a “free oil change” card for my trouble.   Really?

Fraud like this by some of the biggest companies in town ought to offend the guys who do the job the right way.   It would be unfair to name names here for bad work, but if you have examples of HONEST car or truck mechanics in Billings, lets recognize them in the comments.

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