Why do the majority of mechanics rip you off

KMart here bit the dust about a year ago. The sad part is that some of their lines were actually of pretty decent quality for a place like this. I used to buy workout clothing there and it is far better than something comparable to JC Penney.

The Sears here went out within the past 9 months or so. A Harbor Freight went into the old KMart store building across the street from the Sears. Menards had just gone in as well. I went into the Sears to buy one tool. The price was terrible and I knew I could have gotten it far cheaper had I gone to Menards. I didn’t want to drive across town as I was busy that day so paid the price. I could see the Harbor Freight under construction as I was leaving Sears and predicted that Sears would be dead as soon as HF opened. I called that one perfectly as Sears announced their closing within weeks. Lowes had really been the only serious competitor for years and then new stuff came to town.

The local Sears was never price competitive with ANYONE and they didn’t match prices or even accept corporate coupons. The only time I ever saw a good price there was when they were closing down and clearancing everything.

Sears Christmas tool sales were very difficult to beat. But generally during the rest of the year they were OK.

Both Sears and Kmart were moribund when Lampert took them over, he simply finished them off. Sears served a market of conservative rural dwellers who don’t spend enough money to keep a national business viable.

Sure they had problems, but Lampert didn’t know how to run a business and bring them out of their problems.Funny how Lampert’s personal wealth increased from Sears during the time he owned them.

For decades Sears OWNED the catalog sales market. They were kings. What management didn’t see was morphing that into on-line sales. If they did then Amazon might not be the king of on-line sales. Some 47% of all on-line sales are through Amazon.

Look at LL Bean. They were also big in catalog sales. They transitioned easily into on-line sales. LL Beans first catalog (1912) was 3 pages offering one product - Maine Hunting Shoe.

sbd is garbage, as far as I’m concerned

My local Sears was a franchise and they NEVER had sales. They held on with Lowes in town (this was the worst Lowes ever!) but Menards and HF were too much.

They never honored any coupon (We are not a corporate store) and never would allow the use of rewards points from Sears and KMart.

They once offered better quality and service. The higher price was worth it. Then the quality and service went down as did the selection but the price did not.

The CEO had a nice scam going. He would buy the real estate from the company to give it cash to operate. Then when the store closed he was left with the only thing of value although that wasn’t quite as good as planned when all retail stores are hurting and there is plenty of empty space.

Harbor Freight and Hobby Lobby took over the old KMart building. I am not sure what went into the Sears space as it is tucked back and I don’t have reason to go there. As for the Hobby Lobby and Harbor Freight, couples can park between the stores. The guys can go into the Harbor Freight and the gals can go into the Hobby Lobby and blow $100 bills.

I’ll be honest folks, I’m not going to read 86 responses unless it snows out, so just going by the original heading, in 50 some years of car follies, I can only think of one time I got ripped off. And that time was my own fault being greedy, thinking I could save a couple hundred on a transmission overhaul. Guess Rollie showed me. So since then I just haven’t been so price conscious after comparing the cost of a low priced botched job to what I could have got for a brand new in the box GM trans with a two year warranty, like my Dad did.

Why’d you have to do that . . . ?!

We were having fun talking about sears, hobby lobby, harbor fake, k-mart and so forth

And you just HAD to bring it back to car repairs



Well we are being monitored and like I said I never read the 85 posts but sorry to throw a wet dish rag into it.

You missed a few good posts :smiley:

I’ve known a few crooked mechanics . . .

And they ALWAYS got found out. It sometimes took awhile, but the truth always came out. Sometimes the truth came out after they’d already come and gone, though.

here’s how I usually saw it go down. On some day the suspected crook had off, somebody would conveniently go through his cabinet . . . the one that’s supplied by the shop, often next to the mechanic’s toolbox, meant for storing spray cans, grease, and so forth . . . and would discover all sorts of parts, new and in the box, often still shrink-wrapped.

Then it was suddenly obvious how the guy could flag so many hours. It’s easy to flag lots of hours, if you’re not actually installing the parts . . .

In one instance, it was actually the janitor who set things in motion. He saw a mechanic dump a bunch of new parts in the dumpster behind the shop. He went to the shop foreman and told him what he saw, and then he led him to the dumpster and told him who threw the stuff in there . . .

There were guys who would spray engine oil, atf, coolant, etc. on a vehicle, and then run to the shop foreman to announce they’d found a problem. After they got the upsell or warranty approved the repair, they’d sit down and read the newspaper for several hours, in plain sight of everybody. Then, when it was nearing closing time, they’d calmly put the newspaper down, wipe off that coolant, oil, or whatever they sprayed on the car, get the car off the rack and write up their story, which of course was a total fabrication

And when they inevitably got caught, there were never any criminal charges or anything. They were just fired and moved onto another job.

To be clear . . . those guys were in the minority

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Yep! I have seen several threads on here recently about people using cheap mechanics and not being happy or otherwise trying to save money and have it backfire. These people have no one but themselves to blame for getting ripped off. I see it in my industry and it applies to pretty much anything. People can save themselves poor by being cheap.

“There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man’s lawful prey.” ― John Ruskin

I’ve always taken pride in my work and for being 100% honest. Some years ago a guy brought me his daughter’s low miles, like new Nissan with a seized engine. His orders were to rebuild it right and cost is no object. Ka-ching! Right? Not in my book.
The problem was a seized bearing for a drive belt idler pulley. A 5 dollar bearing and 20 minutes of time. Done. I charged him 50 bucks for the entire thing. He was stunned of course and at first he would not believe that the problem was caused by something so trivial.

Now to the crooked mechanic part. I related this tale over the next few months to non-mechanic friends of mine and to the last man they all said “You should have charged him 4 grand and made a killing. He would have never known.”. True enough on both points.
So who are the crooks…I rhetorically ask.


@ok4450 The truly honest person and the one of high character is the one that does the right thing when no one will ever notice or find out. Yes?

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… or, as John Arbuckle said… You get what you pay for.

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Golf is a game based on this concept. A round of golf with somebody will show whether somebody has it or not. Pro golf players have been known to assess themselves penalties that would otherwise go unnoticed and sometimes cost the player a win.

Golf, and proper instruction, is great for kids because it instills integrity, etiquette, and other skills that spill over into all aspects of life.


Are you kidding? If I were to take my kids golfing they would be exposed to all manner of curse words, profanity, thrown balls and markers, and who knows what else? :grinning:


I have seen both behaviors from golfers. Some are just foul and cuss, throw clubs, etc. while others are more gentlemanly.

Back to the ripffs and cheaply done work… There is a competing shop to me in town. I always used to view it as a ripoff place. They do cheap work (1/2 my rates) and use the cheapest parts possible. For the most part, their customers are those who feel Wal-Mart is too expensive but a few reasonable people get caught up in the trap. I find myself having to spend extra time and money undoing his work before I can fix it correctly. Use of cheap aftermarket parts sometimes does more damage as well.

I used to think this guy was trying to pull one over on people. Then I started dealing with other service businesses who had tried to provide the guy services. He wanted his own stuff done cheaply and not always up to code. He would call an electrician and want something wired with the wrong wire because someone had given it to him or he got it in a load of junk. The same applied for plumbing, HVAC, or any other service. Of course I could never see the end result of his cheaply done work that likely isn’t up to code.

Then I had a sign guy as a customer who had once bid on the signage in front of his business. He told me to take a good look at the sign out front. The sign gave gave him a bid and the guy hung up in a huff. The space used to be an old realty business. The sign is an old plastic faced internally lighted unit with two sides. His sign is a cheap faded banner wrapped around an old realty sign that is mostly busted out at this point.

So, I used to think this guy was out to rip people off but this is just his mode of operation. Apparently there are plenty of people who are OK with this because the price is so cheap. He has been in business several years and seems to be doing OK. We have all come across used vehicles or lawn mowers that are a complete basket case because of the work of the previous owner. We are like “Some people shouldn’t touch a tool or open the hood because they will just do more harm than good.” Maybe those looking for the cheapest price and ending up with these results shouldn’t view it as getting ripped off. It is just how they live life in general.

Interesting. When I got my last computer, when I went out to pick it up from the guy that set it up, the HVAC folks were there. He had just spent $10,000 for a new system. He showed me how he could monitor the power usage on one of his screens. We needed a house call a while back and he showed up with his three wheel bike. I don’t know what it cost but prolly close to $20K. Makes me feel better knowing he’s not cutting corners. I never thought about paying him with wire though. I might bring a trailer load of stuff out there next time to barter.

There is being smart and frugal . . .

and then there is being a miserable cheapskate

I think we know what camp your competitor . . . and apparently many of his customers . . . belong to

No comment :roll_eyes:


I’ve been called a crook a few times. Very unjustly I might add. One of them involved my sister in law’s hubby who blew up the 350 engine in his Chevy pickup.He had just started a new job and money was tight so I offered to help him out.
I went by the small junk yard of an elderly black man I knew and he had just taken in a Chevy car. The engine was great but the body was roached. I drove it and it ran great. He said 250 pulled with all accesories.

So the hubby bought the engine and I installed it free of charge. The only thing he paid for was coolant, oil, and oil filter with no markup. I drove the truck and it was fine, Handed it over to him and told him to let me know what he thought in a few days. Never saw him again.

Found out a week later that he was saying that I “ripped him off”: even though the job was done free of charge and there were no problems with the truck. Sometime soon after the sister in law divorced the weasel.

So I find the guy a good engine dirt cheap, install it for free, and still got bad mouthed.

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