Let me first just say that I work in the automotive field and shame on me for not just crawling under the car and doing this myself.
I have been to Meineke twice in the past two weeks. Last Tuesday I went to have my tires mounted and balanced. Today I went to have some exhaust work done. Long story short I paid $625 for dual exhaust pipes and the catty converter.
Now I realize how we (service techs, owners, shop foremans, etc...) make our money. We buy parts dirt cheap and up charge a substansial amount on the installation. We also up charge on the parts. To my understanding we either sold the $5 air filter for $19.99 installed or we charged $10 for the same filter and $10 to put it in.
Before today I was ok with that... I mean I have been making my money off of these same practices for 3 yrs now(without being a scumbag or ripping of customers). Now to my complaint:
My last visit was average (No "out of the way" customer service). I got in and out quick paid what I thought was a resonsable price and drove off satisfied. I critiqued my experience like a doctor would critique having a check-up. So is was a plain jane experience.
Today was my second time through. Went to the counter(they didnt remember me, you should know your customers people) asked to have my exhaust fixed. This time the manager seemed a little busy so he kinda rushed my request along (give me the keys have a seat and we"ll get to you when we do)
So they pull my car in. They look over it and bring me out to show me what the problem was. The shop foreman was working on my car so I felt pretty confident about the work that was going to be done.
They gave me an estimate of $625 for everything($500 for the part, the rest labor). Now i only needed the cat and those dual pipes going to the manifold(one 3 foot peice). I thought it was a little steep but I know how they make their money. They didnt do me wrong on the tires so I threw them the bone and let them tackle the exhaust.
Three hours later I paid my bill and bolted. The car is running fine. From what I can tell they did good work. Just out of curiousity I stoped by a NAPA auto parts store on the way back home.
I asked how much for that same part. Heres where the anger builds and the sh*t hits the fan. He tells me $244. Now I dont know about you but I was kinda shocked. I asked him to look it up again, make sure he's looking at the correct part. Yeah its only $244.
Wow. Lets do some math. $625-$244=$381 ($400 is a resonable price for this job). Now remember folks $244 is my cost. So whats Meineke's cost??? I called Mike, the boy wonder shop manager. He put me on hold. I waited for 5 mins hung up and called again. Told him the situation(i was in earlier, got a problem who do I talk to) Finally connected me to the mechanic who worked on my car(manager totally avoided me). Told him what NAPA listed that part for. He doesnt know why he charged me $500 for a retail $244 part. He told me he suppossedly MADE THE EXHAUST SYSTEM HIMSELF IN THE SHOP LOL. Meineke doesnt get parts from a supplier they just make them in house! lol what a crock of sh*t.
I asked to speak manager. Get this...he's to busy to speak to an upset customer and make good on what appears to be a huge ripoff to save the face of the sole establishment that he himself is utterly responsible for. Come on people. They bought that pipe for 50 bucks wholesale...they just made $575 off of me. I'm a fool for not doing my research.
They dont care about losing me as a customer though. No resolution was met. When I asked if they thought it was fair to up charge so much they didnt have an answer. The manager was to much of a coward to even talk to me. He had to leave his boy the mechanic out to dry. Its not your fault bud....your a good dude. But somebody needs to fire Jimmy or Mike or whoever the f*** runs that sorry excuse for a shop.
Most shops out there do good work and want to keep your business. Some shop run scams to make a little more.
Do your research. Buyer beware...If you know how to do it yourself then do it...if not you better pull all the papers on whoever you choose to work on your vehicles cause you cant trust anybody.
Do it yourself
somewhereville, New York