Dealership ripoffs


Old 11-16-07, 08:56 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Frozen Tundra, WI
Posts: 304
Dealership ripoffs

I know I am going to catch a bunch of flack for this, but I am fed up with dealership (auto repair) dishonesty.

In a nutshell, our neighbor is a VP of sales at a local dealership. My wife backed into a tree and dented her rear bumper, nothing more.

We had gotten an estimate from a local shop (with a great name) and was quoted 600. While I thought this was high, it was what I expected (we had to wait a little while to save funds). Out neighbor asked about the bumper, we told him about the estimate and told us his body shop would probably be able to do it for 150 - 200 less, just mention his name (I hate name dropping, but he told me to do it ).

To make a long story short (and this has nothing to do with our neighbor, the body shop is not his department and I know he would take care of us on the sales floor), we went to the body shop and was quoted almost 200 MORE than the other place, FOR LESS WORK!

The part was about the same price (about 20 higher, no big deal), the difference was in the labor to paint (175 more). Why was this? Because they were charging us 5.2 hours to paint a BUMPER, not mounted on the car, no masking required, just prep, paint, and clear coat (evidently they watch it while the paint dries). On top of that, they charge for supplies by the hour (I have never heard of this, I guess the supplies are union too). The charge for supplies is 30 per hour over 5.2 hours!!

I know I will get a lecture about overhead and such, I understand all that, but when they start charging by the hour for supplies and charge 5+ hours worth of labor for a no more than 2 hours (and that is high) of actual labor, it drives me nuts.

I will not bring this up to our neighbor, but if he asks, he will get an earful (as I said, he expected it to be 400 - 450).
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Old 11-16-07, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,011
Ya, I try to stay away [far away ] from the dealerships - they got to pay for the showroom and all that inventory.

btw - my wife backed into a brick retaining wall, a little crease, not so noticable with the paint touched up. I didn't figure it was worth finding out how much a new bumper would be.
Old 11-16-07, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Where the cows roam, CA
Posts: 2,204
Did ya foreget to mention his "NAME"? I mean...he's the VP in the sales dept!

I hear ya about dealerships though. I love them when my warranty isn't expired
Old 11-16-07, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Little Rock Ar.
Posts: 292
Unhappy Hourly charge

Seems like they all have a little black book now days, even the independant shops. If it says a certain job takes 3 1/2 hours, thats what you will be charged even if the guy is good and gets it done in 2 hours !!
Old 11-16-07, 04:39 PM
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Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,513
Nothing new about that. Shops have been using flat rate manuals for decades. They eliminate the guesswork when estimating a job. Yes, you may pay a little more if the mechanic is sharp, but on the other hand if the job turns out to be a real dog you get the benefit - sometimes that job that the book says 3 1/2 hours (and that you pay for) takes 4 1/2 hours.
Old 11-16-07, 06:31 PM
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Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,497
My dad took a part time job in the service department of a local dealer after he retired. He has discovered there is no longer a lot of profit in selling new cars, the profit is made in the shop (labor rate currently $105/hour). Only difference is that I drop my dad's name and they do take care of me.
Old 11-17-07, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
Sales Dept people and Service Dept people are two different animals.
I can just hear the service guys grumble "The VP of sales told you it would only cost what!"@%*&% ect...ect....ect.....
Most sales people have NO IDEA what goes into service and vise versa.

It used to be cheap to replace a bumber when they were made out of steel and crome.
Now they gotta repair, prep and paint them........very expensive process.
Back in the mid to late 70's auto manufacturers mounted the bumpers to small shock absorbers to withstand backing into a tree or retaining wall at 5 mph and it was no big deal.
But now to reduce weight and cut back on the production of crome for a cleaner environment we all pay more for these crappy cars.
Old 11-18-07, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Dented rear bumper? Plastic? Don't know the severity of your dent, but my local guy in KY, applied some heat, rubbed out the dent, and charged me $35.
Old 11-20-07, 03:52 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Frozen Tundra, WI
Posts: 304
Yes, it is plastic, the two places where we got estimates said they could not heat the dent out, but we are going to bring it to a few of the smaller shops. There is no tear in the plastic, just a nice dent.

I was (and still am) burned that they were trying to charge over 5 hours to paiint a bumper that was not even installed (so no masking required). I am sure the number they got from "the book" assumes the bumper is installed. There is no way it can take that long, unless they are counting the time it takes for the paint to dry (assuming 10 minutes a coat, and 5 minutes each coat of prep time, they could put 20 coats of paint and clear coat on this bumper in 5 hours). At the rate they paint bumpers, it would take more than a week to paint an entire car (that does not include masking).

It also did not help that they charged by the hour for "supplies". They can do whatever they want, including ripping off insurance companies, but they will not rip me off. I will take my cash and walk.

Thanks for the replies (and letting me vent )

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