Reader Question: I am on a tight budget, should I tell my mechanic how much I can afford to spend?
Dear concerned car owner,
Do you like to take your car in for repairs? Do you ever feel like you were cheated or taken advantage of by shop or their mechanics? Do you know it could be what you are saying to repair shop that could be costing you more? Most auto repair shops are run by honest hard-working people but in some circumstances you may bring out dark side at some shops.
For instance, never tell shop how much you are willing to spend without first getting an explanation of what you are going to have done. When you give shop a “spending limit” they may have a tendency to do as little as possible but will manage to spend up to your limit. For example, a woman came into my shop and told me she had $500 to spend. She did not start off her conversation with "hello", or "can you fix my car", all she said was how much money she wanted to give me.
Now granted, it is nice to have people come into shop and actually like to pay their bills, but this lady gave me a spending limit before she told me what she wanted to have fixed. She thought she had transmission trouble and assumed that it would cost her a fortune to repair. While on a test drive with her I concluded that problem was not transmission-related, but that car probably needed a tune up or something along those lines.
But wait, this person wanted to give me $500! If I was not an honest shop owner, I would have remained quiet on test drive and taken money that she was willing to pay. Let's say that I told this customer that I could fix her car because I am a nice guy and since she only had $500 to spend I would try to help her out as much as I could. In reality, actual repairs needed would have only cost $200.