Had a Side Job Done at the Dealer!

So I found a GM tech on Craigslist doing side jobs.

After some e-mails and setting things up he said “just pull around to the back of the dealership and give me a text.” So I did, he came out, took my car in through the service bay, and two hours later he was done with $600 worth of dealership priced work for $200. Parts were only about $80 (he bought the parts from the parts department at the dealership at his rate), so he made out great, but so did I.

This all seemed a little crazy to me. I asked him if we needed to be a little discreet and he said “don’t worry about it.” He did seem to be looking around a bit in the back lot though.

I didn’t want to ask too many questions and break the guy’s balls (I’m assuming the shop manager is allowing it with a kickback), but I’m wondering how he’s dong this? He said he would do any work including dropping in a new engine! The work seems to be legit, so I plan on using him again when I need something done I can’t do myself. What do you all think?

I think he must be fully vested and ready to retire. Or getting ready to open his own shop. Or both. 'Cause if he gets caught, he’s gonna be out of work and have an awful tough time getting another job.

Personally, I wouldn’t turn him in, but I wouldn’t use him again either. What he’s doing isn’t illegal, but it is highly dishonest. I won’t support highly dishonest.

@the same mountainbike

Perhaps, but the dealer charging $600 for 2 hours and $80 in parts is a little worse, imo.

I won’t support a dishonest dealer either.
There’s no question that dealers are usually more expensive, often MUCH more expensive. They have higher cost structures and have to use parts procured through the manufacturer parts distribution system, generally two to 2-1/2 times the cost of comparable aftermarket parts. And I’ll generally recommend an independent shop for cars no longer in warranty. But IMHO there’s a big difference between high costs and dishonesty.

Many/most dealerships specifically prohibit the mechanics from doing sidejobs on company property. Many/most also specifically prohibit the mechanics from approaching the customers, to do sidejobs in their garage, on the weekend

This was during business hours at 8am.

Whether or not it’s done on business hours, the potential problems are considerable. In addition to stealing the dealer’s time, shop supplies, and facilities, there are issues like insurance, liability, and even taxes. In the scenario you describe, both the dealer and the mechanic are evading income taxes by not reporting income, and the IRS frowns on that. If, as you suggested, the supervisor is taking a kickback, the felonies list is even longer.

My guess is that if you felt comfortable with this you never would have posted. My guess is that you know this is wrong. My guess is that you’re now wrestling with your conscience and with whether you should continue accessing this money-saving opportunity. I recommend against doing so. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Unless the IRS gets involved, in which case you might need a good lawyer.

I agree with above. Dealer prices are high, so are some hair saloon prices, use them accordingly. In this case, the mech is committing fraud. Being a costumer there is tricky. You should also know that there are probably security cameras all over the premises. I wouldn’t do it. If the mech did this at his home on the weekends, then I would be fine with it.

This doesn’t weigh on my conscience at all (especially not for taxes, I was in the military and gave them more than they could ever repay). Further, there is no liability on my part other than risking an unwarranted repair. Also, no felonies were committed (I can say that as a law school drop out and police officer).

I was just curious as to what other mechanics thought and/or what their experiences with this were.

I mentioned the business hours only because it makes this scenario all the more interesting.

I worked as a mechanic in a dealership, and this reeks of deceit and dishonesty.
I would not do it.

@Demo_Beta you only help the poor image of police by some in this country. You should have left that detail out!

@demo_beta I guess I am glad you have a clear conscience . What the mechanic did is theft and a violation of his contract and you are bragging that you cheated the dealer . I actually wish I could notify the dealer.

Although this really stinks, it’s human nature and many folks do stuff like this and feel no shame for their actions. The tech will be caught eventually and fired. He will have a tough time getting another job (if anyone checks with his prior employers) and may even be subject to prosecution for an illegal act. I wouldn’t get involved because you may be charged as well. I worked for 25 years as a lawyer and cannot begin to tell you how corrupt things can get in that profession, that’s why I’m a university professor nowadays, which also has it’s problems but not to the same extent. Human nature, but we can rise above certain things. Rocketman

Even if one is sociopathic enough to be OK with screwing people over, one should be careful working with those who are sociopathic enough to be OK with screwing people over, because as soon as it is to his advantage to screw YOU over, he will.

Side jobs alone are problematic because you are taking 100% of the risk of the job. If you have your engine changed out by the dealer and then 50 miles later the engine grenades, you can get the dealer to replace it again without having to pay. If Sideshow Bob replaces your engine, you’re on your own when problems develop.

Side jobs performed by people who are decidedly not supposed to be doing them are doubly problematic, because if he’s looking to skim money from one source, it’s reasonable to conclude that he’s looking to skim money from another. How do you know that he actually installed those brand new parts you bought rather than installing some crap he got for 10 bucks at the local junkyard?

The other caveat to doing side jobs …is the warranty on the job done !
We’ve seen that happen in our shop. The customer comes into the shop this time because something does not work now and states ‘’ Walter put this in for me last month’’ and we can’t find any record of it. Then the truth comes out ,’’ oh , well he did it at his house.’’
– now what ? –
They either walk back there and see Walter or pay us now for the whole job inside the shop for full warranty backing.

So no felonies were committed, eh?
How would you classify tax evasion? Ever heard of Al Capone?

Demo, I too was in the military during Viet Nam. And I’m proud of having served. Don’t use that as an excuse to cheat. I find that offensive. If your morals allow cheating, at least be man enough to admit it.

+1 to mountainbike’s comment.
Personally, I find it both amazing and appalling that somebody would rationalize aiding and abetting a crime, on the premise that his prior military service permits him to do this.

I retired from a career as a university professor. I did quite a bit of consulting services. I either did the consulting on my own time or I had the contract for my time written through the university. I once had one office at the university try to have me do outside consulting on university time for which I would be paid in addition to my salary. I refused to do it. On the other hand, I did a job during spring vacation on my time. One office at the university was upset, but I was contacted directly, drove 200_miles and back in my own car and used the client’s facilities.
I think using an employer’s shop for outside work is dishonest.

Most shops do not want their mechanics doing side jobs even at home but my opinion is tough cookies. As long as the mechanic is not soliciting work during his day gig and there are no ties between the shop and the home then more power to the mechanic.

Personally, I have a real issue with the guy who did this. If he’s doing it without the service manager’s knowledge then he’s essentially a thief.
In the very rare event that this guy may be greasing the service manager’s palm then the SM is also a thief.

What would be interesting would be to see the reaction of the SM if this incident came to his attention.
Shock followed by canning the mechanic like a tuna…
A bit of nervousness and tapdancing around the issue which means the SM is getting antsy about the possibility of being canned himself if this went higher…

How is he doing this without managment knowing? It’s not that difficult. Management is up to their ears in bureaucracy and the off the record car out in the shop is just one of many. No one is going to dwell on whether it should be there or not; they’re out frying their own fish.

Demo claims to be a cop. I hope he realizes that if he got caught up in an IRS investigation of tax evasion he probably wouldn’t be a cop much longer.

For the record, I have no problem whatsoever with a mechanic doing work at home as described by OK4450’s first paragraph.