Ripped Off?


We took my wife’s Saab 2002 model 9-3 in for the 60,000 mile service to an independent mechanic that specializes in Saab work, and they put in new spark plugs as part of the service. This is OK, but the same shop put in new distributor cables and spark plugs about 10,000 miles ago on this car (last year). I didn’t realize this until today. I called to discuss this, and he got defensive. I said I feel ripped off. Am I on base here? What should I ask him to do to remedy it? He offered to pay me back 2/3 of the cost of the plugs, or about $50 dollars after I pleaded with him a while. Finally I just said I’ll leave it up to him on what remedy to offer because he just wanted to argue.


It’s not up to him to keep track of YOUR cars maintenance. 50,000 mile service, 60,000 mile service, it’s all the same to him…These terms were invented to fleece consumers. YOU should determine EXACTLY which services you want and spell them out. Get everything settled BEFORE you leave your car at the shop. When you say “Hey Eddie, I think it needs a 60,000 mile service” Eddie can do literally anything he wants…


I agree.

Anyone who just drops their car off and doesn’t SPECIFY exactly what they what done and exactly what the cost is, is always going to feel like they were ripped off.

My customers never leave my shop without a signing a estimate for repairs. Before they leave we are both in agreement as to what repairs are being performed and how much it is going to cost. If any additional repairs are needed we do not proceed until the customer is called for authorization.

If people (plus the repair shop) would follow these simple rules they would never feel like they were ripped off.


This is not to offend anyone but not everyone is a car guy, alot of people use mechanics becuse they don’t know what the car does/doesn’t need, if the mechanic is taking advantage thats on them


Well, when you dropped the car off did you make the shop aware of what you wanted done?

If you asked for a 60k service then the shop should do exactly what the owners manual calls for, including plugs.

YOU were not aware until later that the plugs/wires had been changed previously, so why assume the shop owner should remember it.
There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since last year.


While I agree with your statement, I would point out that mechanics generally don’t keep records of maintenance for every car that they work on.

While there are many car owners who don’t really want to keep track of their car maintenance, it really is important that they do so. Oil should be checked at every fill up, air pressure checked often etc. Failure to do so can mean some very expensive repair bills. You can’t rely on the mechanic to do it all for you.

The car’s owner’s manual has a list of what should be done and instructions for the kind of stuff most people do themselves.

Heck, you even have to learn to replace the battery and how to use an IPod.


Based on your brief description, I’d say the mechanic gave you exactly what you asked for. If the 60,000 mile servicing calls for new plugs and wires, that’s what he must give you. Why do you think he ripped you off?


This has nothing to do with being a car guy. You bring your car in for repairs, you ask how much it’s going to cost… period.

What’s so hard about that?

If you leave the shop without any idea of how much it’s going to cost, it’s your fault when you get the bill and it’s more than you thought it would be.


I am reluctant to say you were deliberately ripped off. However, there is no excuse for a shop’s not keeping records of the work performed on its customers’ cars. Everybody keeps his business records on a computer. Failure to look back is just laziness.

If you want to keep on using this shop, offer to cover his cost on the parts so that he doesn’t actually lose money, but insist on a refund of his profit on the parts and his labor. In your shoes, I would start looking for a shop that paid better attention.


In the mechanic world time is money, so you’re saying that a shop should have a dedicated employee whose job it is to pull computer files, paper RO copies, and cross check everything?
On who knows how many cars a week?

In this case, what would have happened if the shop had not replaced the plugs because they were “just replaced 10k miles back”.
The engine could have a misfire the next day and the shop would then be cursed for NOT replacing those plugs, which ARE part of the 60k service.
(And yes, popular opinion or not, plugs can very easily be misfiring in 10k miles.)


It would be nice if all the shops would keep better track of what they are doing instead of who they are doing. I havent been to a tire shop that didn’t know the cars exact history if you were a repeat customer. Two tire shops and two repair shops could read the screen and tell me what they did four years ago. It’s a great way to keep your business and the warranty records. They change tie rods again on your Tempo after two years and won’t charge you for the parts because of the lifetime warranty. Convenient, effective and easy.


you got ripped off as soon as you bought the saab