• Jun 15, 2007
The vast majority of service technicians are honorable, hard-working folks. It's the rotten few that will rake you over the coals when given the chance, giving the entire profession a bad name. Wise Bread, a personal finance website, tells of a Mercedes-Benz owner who seems to have encountered one of the latter. The gentleman in question had a moonroof that was on the fritz, so he took it in for service. The service writer and "certified" technician appear to have teamed up to deem the powered roof completely broken, and gave an estimate of $6,500 for repairs. Shocked by the guesstimate, the man went out for a second opinion. The second tech looked over the problem, found a pebble in the roof tracking, and removed it with a pair of tweezers. Total repair cost? $143 (most service departments charge you two hours labor just to walk through the door).

What happens next is both cool and funny. The disgruntled owner went back to the dealership with a hidden camera to show just how wrong this original diagnosis was. The resulting seven-minute video, while poor on audio, is quite amusing nonetheless. Check it out after the jump, and while you're over there, tell us in the comments about some of your most memorable trips to the service department.

Thanks for the tip, Wilson!

[Source: Wise Bread]

http://view.break.com/312449 - Watch more free videos


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      damn, that is unfortunate, the dealer should of asked for more time to properly diagnose the issue. not just claim that is all destroyed when there is no evidence of that.

      the video makers claim that techs make $110 an hour is incorrect though....

      in both cases it seems like both the dealer and the owner of the vehicle are jackasses....
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Mattlach @ Jun 15th 2007 11:08AM
      In my humble experience dealerships are full of incompenetent bungling teenagers who just received their ASE certifications and know nothing about the cars their are servicing."
      As someone who works in a dealership service department, most of my customers are bungling adults who have more mony than brains and need to read their owners manual before calling and demanding a "courtesy car" for a check engine light being on when they forgot to put the gas cap back on. Stupid people should be charged more. And we do!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hmm... I wonder why these "stupid" people don't think to check their GAS CAP when their check ENGINE light is on?!? How stupid can they possibly be? That whole thing was just another scam by dealerships to get people to bring their cars in so you can scam them into thinking something is really wrong with their engine. I have yet to see a car with the gas cap in the engine. But, hey, I'm not ASE certified, so what do I know.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great consumer sleuthing. They should have this guy do Ford commercials instead of the "Dirty Jobs" Shill. I kinda makes you wonder: was the $6500 estimate a.), an honest, anomalous mistake; or b.), a premeditated attempt to rob the unwitting owner? The hidden camera investigation, while a clever gambit, did not determine either conclusively.

      I just have a question for any new 3-series owners out there: is it true that there is no longer an oil dipstick under the hood, and that in order to check the oil it has to be drained and measured at a mechanic's??? That can't be right...

      Cheers, mate

      David Lovejoy
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, it is true that some BMWs do not have a dip stick, and the ones that do are horribly inaccurate. Because of this and the iDrive, I would never buy one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The 3-series has an onboard computer that measures oil level.

        http://blogs.edmunds.com/roadtests/475
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some service techs are paid commission, so this does not surprise me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Another customer for Lexus.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Service advisors are paid commisions on certain jobs, but its always a buyer beware situation where any smart consumer should get a 2nd opinion on a quote this high. The more of these dealers that are exposed, the better the industry will be. Service at dealerships can be less expensive than having someone fiddling with new technology that has not had the proper training (ie. Hybrids), and will always be the best way to maintain warranty. (btw bobby d, last time i checked the cdn dollar was around 0.95 u.s.)
      • 7 Years Ago
      A couple of comments.
      I was a tech at various European (Porsche, Audi, Land Rover and Volvo) dealers for over 10 years, and in my experience, most of the techs are very honest people. But at each dealership there are usually 1 or 2 guys who are basically a thief and will write up a car for all kinds of stuff it doesn't need. The rest of us techs don't like this anymore than you as a customer do, but believe me, the management/owners JUST DON'T CARE! Its all about the money, and usually the higher up the ladder you go, the bigger the crook you'll find
      We've tried to get guys that were crooked fired before (even with cold hard proof of stealing), and the management doesn't care, because these guys put lots of money in their pockets. My strong suggestion to you from my end of the business is this, instead of throwing a fit when you go to the dealer and get screwed (because as you can see this is pointless), instead ask for the technician's name when you get good service. IOW, if you take the car in one time and it is fixed properly and nothing is broken and you were charged fairly, get the guy's name and request him from then on.
      A couple of other points:
      He mentions technicians making $110 an hour, don't I wish that were true. A tech would be lucky to get 20-30% of that. The rest goes in the owners pocket.

      Also, I feel the need to point out that this is not just a problem in the auto business, crooks are everywhere. I find it laughable that this guy holds up lawyers as his "good" example of where to spend 110/hr. If you don't understand that you are being screwed by your lawyer, its only because you don't understand his lawyerspeak. And last time I checked, lawyers usually have much nicer paychecks than auto mechanics.
      P.S. I work at Carmax now and am much happier, a great place to work and from what I've seen so far they will stand behind their product and their service.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I stopped using the services of my local Mercedes dealer when they noted that I would "need brakes soon". I checked and there was over 50% pad left.

      When questioned, the mechanic said he was instructed to put this on every work order. Their explanation is that anything that's not new doesn't meet Mercedes spec, therefore justified.

      I actually got 11,000 miles out of the pads before the light came on. What a rip-off.

      When I confronted the owner over his deceptive practice, he looked at the paperwork and determined that the vehicle was out of warranty and banished me from the dealership.

      Great customer service.

      • 7 Years Ago
      My cousin lives outside Boston and bought a new lexus, after about 6 months, some sensor burnt out, so he took it back in to the dealership, they replaced it and told him it would be @550, but since it was still under warrenty it was covered, 2 months later the sensor goes out again, takes it in to another dealership. At dealership they tell him the same thing. So about 6 months later the same thing happens again they tell him some b.s. So in spit he takes it to an independent garage and the garage fixes it for 300 for both labor and parts even though this time he had to pay. it was standard operating proceedure to replace both the sensor and something else. He sold it and got a CTS and hasn't had any problems for the last 2 years.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I had a 2001 BMW 3series that we payed an aftermarket warrenty company to extend our coverage to 100,000 miles and 4 yrs additional to the factory warrenty...it was worth every penny of its $2000 price...within the next 60,000 miles after the factory warrenty we had nearly $6000 in repairs....

      Dealers make money off repairs more then they do selling of cars...just a thought
      • 7 Years Ago
      I recommend everyone go to the dealer website's service department page and "make an appointment", with explicit instructions on where they can stick their diagnostic equipment....
        • 7 Years Ago
        Not really. Seriously, the best thing to do is buy the service manual and have a good idea what the car needs before you take it in. Trust no one, especially the guy with a motive to take advantage of you.
      • 7 Years Ago
      hes the idiot that bought a $140 pair of tweezers. Grow a sack and learn to fix your own stuff.

      And who's to say once they had that estimate and started to take apart the sunroof they find that pebble and do the right thing and quote him the shop rate after they find it .

      i think hes the one that looks stupid.
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