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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
i got my timing belt / water pump / thermostat service done recently by a local mechanic. i got a quote from him (about $430) which seemed fair and was certainly cheaper than the VW service place / dealership by about $200. i bought all the parts at ECS tuning and took everything to my mechanic and explained what i wanted done.

as an afterthought, i told him to replace the fuel filter as well. i told him to go ahead and buy the part himself since i didn't have time to get it ordered online.

i got my car back, all was well. i was looking at the bill and noticed the charge for the fuel filter and labor - $73. $37.50 for the labor and $36 for the part itself. i didn't know much about fuel filters and how much they cost, so i looked it up on ECS tuning's website. about $8. well, ok, i am sure ECS is cheaper than what the local VW dealership would have charged him for the part. i called the VW dealership, parts department, and asked how much a fuel filter was. $14.

ok, now you really can't get much more expensive than the dealership, right? so why on earth would my mechanic mark up this part over 100% ?!?! i've talked to a few people about this, and they tell me this is common. i figured a mechanic would mark up the part some, you know, for driving out there and picking it up, but i thought this was ridiculous!

am i just plain retarded here or was i hosed? :confused:

i know i will always be buying my parts from here on out. this was the first time i took this car anywhere for anything major since i got it and i don't really know who to trust about these issues. any advice or insight would be appreciated. thanks.
 

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120,000+ miles
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1,423 Posts
I can't speak for if you got taken on this, but, once, a L-O-N-G time ago when I was driving a '75(?) Rabbit the odometer cable quit. Off to the garage I bought the car from, the guy gets my cable, I watch him unplug the old one and replace with the new one and then he says to me $10 for the labor.
I say WHAT? do you think I'm some rich New Yorker that can just give away my $??? Take it out - TAKE IT OUT!! Not gonna give you 10 bux for a 45 second install! I don't remember his exact words but I didn't have to re-install the cable and I think I gave him like a couple of bux instead.
I did this kind of thing another time when a garage was doing an oil change and they wanted me to pay for them to top off the windshield washer - some other outrageous amount that would have bought me at least two gallons of the stuff at any store! - Didn't pay them (or go back) for the fluid either.

I can't stand hearing these kind of stories, ya, everyone has to earn a living but JEEZ!!!
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
my99vdub said:
I can't stand hearing these kind of stories, ya, everyone has to earn a living but JEEZ!!!
i hear ya'. i understand markup, believe me. i work for a company that sells copiers, so i know about the whole "we bought it for X, but we sell it to the customers for Y".

however, i never expected a mechanic to more than double the cost of a part. i did send him an email about it, and he called me back, but wanted me to call him back to talk about it. yeah, we're both being passive aggressive here. this is the same place that charged me $30 to put a clamp on my car ($1 for the part and $30 for the 5 mins. labor). i should have known better. i guess i'd just like to hear him explain himself.

yes, i know people have to make a living. maybe this is more common than i am aware of. i guess i'll be checking out other mechanics in the future. i think i am done with this place. i guess what i want to know is this: is this an unusually high markup or is this common?
 

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I like yours too!
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764 Posts
RE: ripped off by mechanic?

How about posting his name and phone number........I'll call him myself.......and I'm all the way down here in Tn. Make sure to put this in the other section about dealings,with companies and people.
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
buglover said:
How about posting his name and phone number........I'll call him myself.......and I'm all the way down here in Tn. Make sure to put this in the other section about dealings,with companies and people.
but does this sounds like an unusually high markup for this sort of thing? what is the typical markup for when a mechanic gets some parts for you?
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
buglover said:
Well.....:( Damn.....That would have bought a couple of Harris Pizza's................yum
yeah, that kind of markup could have fed me for a few days! :D
 

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strange things are afoot
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1,535 Posts
erin,

sadly this is all too common. you should count yourself lucky you were able to find a mechanic that let you bring in your own parts to install.

to me, it sounds like they did a good job of installing all of your other parts that you provided and didnt give you grief about it. yet for $36 (at most a $22 markup) you are willing to write off a shop who is able/willing to install parts they are making almost NO money on..

you have to see it from their view. granted, if you had to pay for ALL of your new parts at these markups, I would be more inclined to tell you to tell them to take a leap. however, since you seem pleased otherwise, chalk it up to a learning experience and just supply all your own parts in the future.

it was only $22. I knwo we are all poor (I know I am ) and can hardly afford to take it in the rear like this regularly. just dont write him off over such a small amount.. sounds like he knows what he is doing.

my $.02

Aaron
 

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overwhelmed/underpaid
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3,319 Posts
I have to agree with Aaron here. Nowadays many shops are defiant towards customers bringing their own parts because they can't warranty their labor 100%. I know when I did some time in an independent shop, we wouldn't accept customer parts at all. I look at it like this: if you're happy with the work performed and he lets you bring your own parts, then I say keep him around.

BTW, most shops charge a 1/2 hour for labor minimum...this guy seems reputable to me.
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
thanks for the advice guys. i guess i didn't think of it that way. i guess what i wonder is this: if i had him supply ALL the parts for the timing belt work, would he have marked them all up this same way? that would have cost me a fortune! i never realized that mechanics were making money off the parts, too.

i have been happy with him so far. i guess i just needed to get an outside opinion on it. i am very protective of my car and my money and when i feel like i get ripped off (which is bound to happen when you take your car in for service), i get pissed. i feel so helpless when it comes to my car and the more informed i can be, the better. i guess that's why i am here.
 

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Premium Member
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3,650 Posts
This has been a very good thread. It shows two sides to a very common question. It is rare to find a mechanic who will install the parts you bring -- I am fortunate to have one here. If it makes you feel any better ... I paid $66 for a sensor (engine coolant temp sensor).. $6 part, $60 to put it in. It took him all of 5 seconds. He also bet me that if it went out after 70k he's do it for free (failed at 53k). I wasn't so upset, cause his past employers were dealers that he left over how they handled customer complaints. He's very pro-alternative fuels, and a diesel diehard. a unique guy. However, if you don't have such relationship with this shop ... and know of another shop you can take your car too ... go elsewhere for the next tune up and compare. :)
 

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a.k.a. porkchopzz4
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890 Posts
callisto9 said:
i got my car back, all was well. i was looking at the bill and noticed the charge for the fuel filter and labor - $73. $37.50 for the labor and $36 for the part itself. i didn't know much about fuel filters and how much they cost, so i looked it up on ECS tuning's website. about $8. well, ok, i am sure ECS is cheaper than what the local VW dealership would have charged him for the part. i called the VW dealership, parts department, and asked how much a fuel filter was. $14.
Since you used an independent mechanic, he probably gets some of his parts from the local auto parts store (NAPA, Advance, Autozone, etc...) - they all have a commercial dept that delivers right to him. The only problem with doing this, is that in some cases local auto parts stores prices on "oddball" parts are very skewed. For instance, I checked on a Bosch O2 sensor for the Beetle and it was $160 - the "genuine VW part" from World Impex was $22.

So... that may explain the mark up on the part. A shop will usually put at least a 20% markup over their cost.

What you should REALLY be upset about is the $37.50 labor. Presumably, this is a half hour labor charge. It takes all of 3 minutes to change the filter. Maybe this is a "minimum" - but you didn't go in to just get the fuel filter changed. You went in and had a lot of work done and the fuel filter should have only added about $20 to the bill (labor, parts and all).

But oh well, everyone has got to make a living right? :)
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
i know i have something to be upset about here, it's just a pain that i have to "check up on" my mechanic whenever i get work done. i always have questions and i always feel like i get ripped off. i really need to give him a call and ask him about this fuel filter thing. i just hate having these kinds of conversations with my mechanic.
 

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<-----No More Beetle :(
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18,312 Posts
It stinks that my dad is a "retired" mechanic. He used to own his own garage so whenever I needed anything done he did it. I didnt have to worry about getting ripped off! I never really knew how lucky I was until he closed up and sold his lifts. He still owns the building and until he sold the lifts he would still do work on my car...now he rents the building out and can only do stuff if it doesnt involve lifting the car. So no more free oil changes for me! :( Or tires!
 

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a.k.a. porkchopzz4
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890 Posts
CyberGreenBaby said:
It stinks that my dad is a "retired" mechanic. He used to own his own garage so whenever I needed anything done he did it. I didnt have to worry about getting ripped off! I never really knew how lucky I was until he closed up and sold his lifts. He still owns the building and until he sold the lifts he would still do work on my car...now he rents the building out and can only do stuff if it doesnt involve lifting the car. So no more free oil changes for me! :( Or tires!
Speaking of which, my next house *will* have a lift. I will have it installed by the builder so it gets wrapped into the mortgage :)
 

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TDI Lover
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230 Posts
I have to agree with Porkchop
I work in wholesale parts and alot of the shops I deal with will charge list price for the parts no matter what they pay.
I looked up the filter and my list would be $44.00 in my area this is what you would pay at a independent shop. So your mechanic ws not out of line as far as I can see

Don
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Don_n_Herbie said:
I looked up the filter and my list would be $44.00 in my area this is what you would pay at a independent shop. So your mechanic ws not out of line as far as I can see

Don
how can that part vary so much in price? $7 at ECS tuning, $14 at my local VW dealership, and now you're telling me $44? i just don't get it. it's hard to trust anyone about this kind of stuff because of all the different information.
 

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strange things are afoot
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1,535 Posts
Erin, its called, middle man markup.

ecs prolly get them directly from the manufacturer.

the dealership is just well, the stealership..

your friendly local auto parts store get them from a wharehouse who gets them from a distributer who gets tehm from the manufacturer.

and your mechanic... gets it from the friendly local auto parts store.

[janet]thats the way love goes.[/janet]

all of these people have to make money on the parts. the closer yor supplier is to the manufacturer, the cheaper you can get your parts.
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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8,727 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
i know, i know. i am learning new things all the time. seriously all, thanks for the advice. it's much appreciated. i guess i am "lucky" since my mechanic will let me bring in my own parts. it's good i have you guys to calm my nerves a little. :)
 
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