Monday, June 7, 2010

An Annonomous Phone Call Away

A few weeks ago I was driving to work when a light came on in my car. I called the boy freaking not sure really what to do. I tried to describe what the light looked like over the phone, but couldn't quite get the message across. He told me to pull over and look up in the manual what the light meant. After a little research it meant either I had forgotten to put the gas cap on (No), or there was something wrong with the engine.

We made plans that the boy would meet me on my lunch break and we'd drop my car off. But while I was a block away from my office I noticed my car dealership, that I hadn't realized was so close to my office. I dropped my car off and then made my into work.

By around lunchtime they called me to say what was wrong with my car was... nothing. They couldn't figure it out. They turned the light off, and since they couldn't figure out what was wrong it would be free of charge. Just if it came back on I was supposed to head back.

Two weeks go by...I'm driving to work, and the light comes back on. This time I know what it means and where to go. So I head back to the dealership. Luckily the girl working the desk remembered me since I had only just been there. Again they called me around lunchtime, but this time they knew what was wrong, or at least they had an idea. They told me my air filter had to be replaced. (At least I think that's what it was. It was at least some type of filter.)

They gave me an estimate, and I called the boy since I had no idea if the estimate made sense. He called around to a few other places, and confirmed that the price they gave me was ridiculously high. He wanted me to call the dealership back and anonymously get a quote on the cost for the part and the service.

So I called the dealership back anonymously. The parts center easily gave me the cost of the part. (Around 1/3 of the estimate I received.) Then they transferred me to the service desk. I told them that was looking for an estimate of the service for this specific part for this specific model. I'm guessing this wasn't that common of a service, because I'm pretty sure they new it was me. "What did you say your name was?" she asked me. Except I didn't want to tell them my name, because they would probably tell me exact what I had been previously quoted. Finally, she told me she'd have to check with the mechanic and the service would be based on the length of the repair. I could give her my phone number and they could call me back with an estimate. Since I didn't want to identify myself, I told her "Thanks, but no."

Not too surprisingly, about 30 minutes after that call I received a called back from the dealership. "We just wanted to call you back with good news! It turns out the mechanic had overestimated the amount of time it would take to fix your car. And it's going to cost you less!" This new estimate? Over $150 less than the original. I guess my anonymous phone call did the trick.

So at the end of the day I went to pick of my car. And they even gave me a free mint! Or on the other hand, a mint I paid a few hundred dollars for. Hopefully, this fix does it, and I won't be heading back to the dealership after another two weeks!

Anyone else had any interesting dealing with getting your car fixed? Did they at least throw in a mint for free?



  1. That is a great story! Good job on getting the price reduced- I think I would have been too chicken to do that, haha. I once got an oil change for free because they were supposed to use one type and they used another. When I asked them about it they apologized and said it would be free. But that's a boring story, no where near as good as yours!

  2. Wow! Good for you! I would have never thought of that. Thanks for sharing. I hate car places. They tell me I need something and I have no idea what it even means or how much it should cost so I am always just like ok whatever. I always say I should probably marry a mechanic because I am so clueless with cars!

  3. What a FAB idea! I would never have thought of that!! I'm always freaked out about being ripped off with my car so I ALWAYS ALWAYS check with my Dad or Eric before spending any amount of money on something!

  4. Wow, good thing Beau called around to figure out that they were overcharging you. that is just terrible! I am glad they were able to reduce the price, though.

    See, I am the worst consumer (or the best in the eyes of a mechanic) because I am so intimidated by things like car repairs, I never really ask around or get competitive quotes...

  5. uh I hate it when I have car problems. I always think they are ripping me off! glad you beat them at their own game!

  6. Oh I hate car issues! Hopefully that was it and it's all fixed up!! And I hate how much it costs to get the dealership to fix stuff.