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How do I make a voodoo doll?

My mechanic of seven years, Wiygul Automotive in Virginia, has earned a voodoo-doll effort.

Every time that I went in, I asked what I should plan for soon.

Every time that they told me that it needed a few things, the bill was about $1300.
I drive a 2005 Nissan Quest. I keep up on the oil filter changes and tire rotations.

I went in for a window switch and new windshield.
I was expecting to pay about $400.

SUDDENLY, they told me that the van was “undriveable” and that it needed
struts, an exhaust and a back brake.

I asked how much and they said that they did not know.

Because my job rushed me and because I THOUGHT that I could trust them.
i let them proceed.

The bill was $5900!!!

I am furious but am told that, because I let them do it, I have no prayer in small claims court.

Furthermore, they did NOT fix the back brake.
I had to take that to someone else.

Please advise!
I need to know how to make a VERY effective voodoo doll!

Gun the car and drive it straight through his garage door over night, drop the key in the keybox and leave a note on the wind shield saying “I think you missed fixing my brakes last time… Love, Dawn99”.

Seriously, find a new mechanic.

"I Don’t Know About Virginia, But . . . "

. . . where I live there are regulations involving estimates for car repairs prior to doing the repairs.

Also, small claims court has a limit on how much you can collect, but it doesn’t cost musc to file. I’d find out what the limit was. I’d bet that you could prevail in a courtroom show down. I’ve been there, done that. Do as much prep work as you can prior to going. They (repair shop) might even call you to settle with you when they receive word that you’re calling their bluff.

One can usually go to your State offices online to find information on this stuff.

CSA

Bad publicity is your voodoo doll.
bbb reports, online reviews, flyers, phone calls to their regulars,etc
heck , make a sandwich board sign and place right outside thier place, ( they’ll remove it asap , but they’ll get the hint ) that says how they always pad the intended repairs with ‘‘extras’’ just for the bucks.

Hold off on the flyers and phone calls, they could sue, not worth it.

First off, a mistake on your part was not stopping then and there when you were told they did not know the cost of those repairs; which I might add are somewhat generic. They should be able to provide a rough estimate at the very least.

Any chance that you could break this bill down on the individual repairs as to parts and labor?
This bill appears to be so out of line for the needed repairs that I’m wondering if something else was involved that led to this point.

Thank you for reading and responding. I have a new mechanic now. I was crying so much that the post-delivery person asked and told me that, even tho the post office is right beside one of Wiygul’s locations, no one at the post office will use them.
I wish that I had thought to ask the post office since they drive every where!

My job does not allow me ANY extra minutes. I had to get my van and RACE to work.
I work seven days a week for half an apartment with NO health care. No, I am not exaggerating.
Yes, my other options are worse.

Always, I seek to build good relationships with services providers and to be a good customer. Wiygul just saw an opportunity to take advantage of someone.
I should have had a clue when they laughed and laughed at me when my new tires cost $700. I got estimates from other mechanics ( who do not and did not care ) after the act.
I called the credit card company to see what could be done.
The credit card company told me to get other estimates, and then, mail them in to the
cc co.
Then, the cc co told me that they don’t honor anyone else’s prices.
I asked WHY, then, did they send me around to get them!
The person on the phone got really quiet and sounded embarrassed.

I lost five days of afternoon jobs just getting all those!

Wiygul over-charged by about $2200. Small Claims has a limit of $5000.

The van was not showing any problems and I was in for an oil filter change a month or so before hand and Wiygul could not be bothered to see anything wrong with the exhaust then!

I have NO days off to go to small claims court. I’d have to KNOW that I would win to sacrifice the wads of sleep that would be necessary and, still, I get in huge trouble if I look too tired when I teach children.
I might get a day off for xmas and do a walking sandwich board.

I might make a BIG bumper sticker for my van that expresses the problem too.

Any other ideas? I gave them bad feedback on their site and on Yelp and Angie’s list.

Call your state attorney general’s office, consumer affairs division. They love to hear things like this

A look at the state of Virginia statute on estimates shows that a written estimate is not required unless you the customer makes a request for it.
Since you authorized a blank check I don’t think you have a shred of legal leg to stand on even if the shop did screw you over.

While the price seems overly high (way over) I’m withholding judgement until the bill has been broken down so it can be seen how that total was arrived at.

I might add that a look at the shop in question shows only 1 complaint with the BBB in 3 years time. While the BBB is a toothless entity, it can serve as a platform for logging complaints and I would think a den of thieves would have more than one complaint showing against them.

On a sheet of printer paper print

WARNING-KEEP-CLEAR- WIYGUL-REPAIRED-MY-BRAKES

and tape it inside the rear window of your car

It will make you feel better and get you some laughs at stop lights.

bscar2
Thank you for this: state attorney general’s office, consumer affairs division.
I did not know and I am learning!

Rod Knox, I WILL do that! THANK YOU

ok 4450, Yes, I have read the feedback.
Wiygul seems to have had something out for me, personally, but I cannot fathom why.
I have been their customer for a long time.
I saw that a few other people were treated fairly for a while and then, like me, got the hammer.
Mechanic’s work cannot be checked and many people do not know from shinola about cars.

So, many reams get over-looked.

Gosh thank YOU-all for holding my hand!..sincerely!

PARTS
2 rear brake rotors 145
loaded rear brake calipers with brake pads only 526
flush kit 33
front struts 571
75 month battery 137
y-pipe front exhaust w/rear converter 963
center connector pipe and resonator 517
f muffler 327
r muffle 244
Windshield ( what I went in for ) 329
window motor ( what I went in for ) 154
discount 90
shop supplies 100

LABOR
brake work 464
rotate 69
front struts 464
align 99
battery install 58
exhaust 348
window diagnose 232
discount 90

Dawn99:
The above list of parts and labor, while high, can be defended and justified by the repair shop.

Two key items:
1: Did the work truly need to be done?
2: Did you give the shop permission to do the extent of the work that they performed?

Only the shop knows the answer to the first question, and they can easily say it was done to make the vehicle safe.

If you gave the shop permission to do that extent of the repairs, then your complaint has been weakened. It sounds like this is problem gray area in what happened - which will only make fighting it more costly.

Might I also suggest that you make enlarged copies of the bill and pass them out to friends and leave copies at independent shops in your area. On the face of it that bill is outrageous and the shop manager should face ridicule from his competition and would be customers.

Remember for the future,
at any repair shop,
you CAN say no to the additional suggestions,
you should say no to all of them while stating that you’ll return for those repairs later when funds allow.
That gives you time to assess the true ‘‘need’’ as it is common practice for all shops to comb the vehicle for suggested repairs due to complaints in reverse of yours. ( " it was in your shop for X and you did nothing about Y so it’s all your fault." )
Plus, so many repair suggestions are aimed at showroom new that you can decide what level of perfect you want your vehicle.

You might save some of your hard-earned money if you learned a bit about how cars work and know what’s going on instead of blindly asking your mechanic what you should plan for. I’ve never had a $1,300 repair bill on a 7 year old car let alone a $5,900 one.

DD, thank you. I do know how the up-and-down motion of the pistons gets transferred to the circular motion of the tires. I am not current on all the computerized details. They have charged me a lot for brakes ( 1300 ) but there is not way to test each local mechanic on each repair. I picked these guys seven years ago and, really, do not know why they chose to ream me so badly.
They have gotten to know and, it is no secret nor hard to figure out that I am not wealthy.

Ken Green, thankyou. I was very cautious during the first few years with them.
Again, I am amazed that they thought that fleecing me was ethical.

Rod Knox, will do! Thank you! I’ll pin up at the local grocery stores.
When I asked the owner, just in passing, why he started offering U-Haul trucks,
he looked like he was chewing on something and then, said that they needed to
meet new people. A lot of military people come and go around here
and, I think that they have burnt bridges and are not getting referrals.
He could have, simply, said that he is putting kids through college and needed extra
or something but, he bared some sort of a problem there.

Joe Mario, I thought that I had made it clear to the whole place
that I have to know what will be needed because I have to plan for expenses.
After seven years, it seems logical that they would have gotten them message
that I say to them EVERY time.
So, yes. I thought that I could trust them and, yes,
i don’t seem to have any hope of winning in court.
They said that they didn’t know how much it would be
and, in doing that, they really took advantage of me.
I am SCREWED with a huge and growing bill on my credit card for years to come now
and would NEVER had put that much money into that car.
I am FURIOUS and not allowed to do anything about it
and i just have to get beat up month after month after month after month.

PS. they did NOT fix the back brake.
Even tho I got the parts from the mechanic who did fix it,
the lawyers I asked said that mechanics just deny and are sheer hell in court.

It is not ok to make some body who was a good client this angry
and have this many long-term problems

As distasteful as this bill is, I don’t think that you have any legal recourse on it at all. About all I can recommend is that you never, ever leave a blank check on a car repair.
However, there are a lot of repairs that are difficult to diagnose or repair due to the unforeseens.

Unless the car lives on utter junk roadways and is subjected to a lot of road salt and so on, it’s hard to believe your car needed all of that.

While it’s a comparative drop in the total bill bucket, the one thing standing out to me is the “rotate” charge of 69 dollars.
Assuming this means tire rotation I strongly question why they are charging you anything to rotate tires when all of the wheels are off anyway to do the front struts and rear brakes. This is called labor overlap and in all honesty, should be a freebie not even worth putting on the repair order.

The shop supplies charge of 100 dollars also seems excessive but if they have that posted on the wall then it’s legally justifiable.

ok4450, seriously, thankyou.

It’s WAY worse if I have no one to “talk” to about this.
You have confirmed what I have been discovering - that I cannot take this to court and hope to win.

I am very very thankful for your input!

Taking it to court and winning is not out of the question though. A judge often makes decisions on a whim and could certainly rule in you favor if he feels that you were taken advantage of.
It’s also possible that being served with a small claims suit could prod the shop into refunding all or at least a part of your money. They could decide that it might be worth a few grand to convince you to go away and keep them out of court.

I’m a bit stunned/amazed that a shop would run up this kind of tab without having a crystal clear understanding between the car owner and shop even if the repairs were justified.