I took my girlfriends 2005 chevy cobalt in to get the timing chain replaced. I had already had the problem diagnosed by an independent mechanic. I contacted champion chevy and was told theywould be able to do the job, and they quoted me around 590.00 for labor, plus whatever the parts would be.
I had the car towed in to them, and then threy informed me that they would have to diagnose the problem themselves first, and that would be $180.00 for the diagnosis. They told me I must come down to sign for this. When I arrived, the service writer tolld me that I had to sign for it, otherwise they weren't able to even touch the car. I signed the papers. He then flipped the papers over and told me that they had already done the inspection and the only thing wrong was it needed a new starter.
I informed him that the starter was fine to the best of my knowledge (I am a mechanic as well) and that I needed the timing chain done. He quoted me $800.00 to change the starter, and then gave me another quote of approximately $1,800.00 for a bunch of seemingly trumped up stuff they said needed to be done. (including spark plugs, tune-up, brakes, radiator flush) When I asked him if he was serious about the other work mentioned, he sorta smiled and said that the other work was just in case I wanted it done, and was by no means necessary.
I talked this over with my girlfriends family (they were footing the bill) and we ultimately decided to have them do the work. (they had total faith in the dealership and their expertise) When I contacted the service writer, he told me that we would have to give him the entire amount prior to them doing any work. He stated that he didn't feel I would be able to come up with that kind of money, so it would be "cash up front" for me.
We decided it was all too shady sounding, and cut our losses and paid the 180.00 and picked up the car. We had the starter changed elsewhere, and found out that the old starter was fine.
I feel that the service writer based his general demeanor and his special "cash only" policy on the fact that I am black. I am not one to scream discrimination lightly. I understand that this is a very serious accusation, and that it is sometimes thrown around without merit, but I feel that it is warranted in this instance.
I also noticed later that on the work-order, he wrote that I had simply stated that the car wouldn't start, and I needed to know the cause. "motor cranks but won't start" I was shocked to find these kinds of business practices from a chevy dealer, or anybody for that matter in our present day.