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This is not a quilting post.

My MIL is a  tiny thing who has been on her own for many, many years.  She is young for her years, quite active and independent.  Not elderly by any  means, but completely white-haired and soft-spoken.  She would never question a recommendation from an "expert."  

She called my husband a couple weeks ago saying she took her car in to be fixed and it was going to cost her $3700.  She drives an older model car with only 70,000 miles on it.  It is in absolutely mint condition.  The cost of the repair was going to be more than what the vehicle itself was worth.  Without the repairs, the vehicle was worth nothing.  

DH is very mechanical himself, so he talked to the mechanic and understood the problem and the cost estimate.  He did some internet research and found that the actual part needing replaced would only cost $250 in addition to a couple of belts.  He ordered the parts and did the repairs himself.  It took him just a couple of hours.  

As he was going through her glove box, he found all of her car maintenance receipts.  She was going to an auto maintenance chain to have the oil changed about every 1000 miles instead of every 3000 - 4000.  In addition, he started looking at all the things they were replacing and the charges for each and was appalled.  He doesn't like to unfairly accuse, but it seemed to him they were taking unfair advantage.  He is going to talk to her about it in the hopes she will be more aware in the future.   

It was a lesson learned for him and for her.  He feels he needs to pay closer attention to her car maintenance/repair needs, and she needs to be more cautious about being taken advantage of.   I know we'd all like to trust our service providers to be honest with us, but we also need to be more informed.  In today's world where we have access to all kinds of information on the internet, we really have no excuse to let someone pull the wool over our eyes.  

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Comment by June Johnson/Wi on June 26, 2013 at 12:43pm

Kudos to your husband!!! 

Comment by Shannon, ON on June 25, 2013 at 3:45pm

Jan that is shameful. Preying on her because of her gray hair and the fact that she is female. I am always on my guard for this. I hope her ds can help her and stand up to the scoundrel. big hug coming her way!!

Comment by Jodi Cramer on June 25, 2013 at 11:53am

Did your DH talk to the auto maintenance chain to see what they had to say? I always think it is best to go to the repair shop first to see what kind of response they have before reporting them to the higher-ups. No use creating ill will if they have a plausible explanation or are willing to rectify the problem. If they are not willing to set things straight, then haul out the big guns.

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on June 25, 2013 at 8:24am

No, I didn't get the impression that you meant all mechanics.  I have a terrific one, chosen after many recommendations.  I trust him and his business ethics.  The national franchises, however -- not so much! Your post was sort of a wake-up call for us to think about our elderly relatives (no matter how competent they seem), and to check now and then to be sure that someone is not taking advantage of them.  If something sounds fishy, it probably is!

Comment by Janet/MO on June 25, 2013 at 8:22am

PQ, you didn't give that impression at all.  Unfortunately I would say the majority of people do feel they get ripped off by automotive repair people and it is a lot to do with these sorts of situations.  My husband would even go so far as to draw diagrams to help explain to people why such & such needed to be fixed.  He said he suspects that someone at this location wanted to buy your MIL's car for next to no money and that is why they were quoting such high repair costs in the hopes that she would decide it wasn't worth keeping.  That happens quite often too because they know they can do some minor repairs and then turn around & sell it for a huge profit. 

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on June 25, 2013 at 5:34am

Thanks for all the support, everyone.  I hope I didn't give the impression that I think ALL mechanics or all of those in service are less than honest, but only that we need to be aware that some (maybe the larger, impersonal franchises) might not have our best interests at heart, but just their bottom line.  Unfortunately we mostly only hear about the bad experiences, so I appreciate hearing about the honest, good-hearted folks who treat others the way they'd want to be treated.   Those are certainly the kind I like doing business with.  

Comment by Irene Gallway on June 25, 2013 at 4:31am

I think this happen's all too often.  I'm glad your hubby has caught on to this and will push it to the highest level to get something done about it.  It makes you wonder how these people sleep at night.

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on June 24, 2013 at 9:51pm

PQ, That's just appalling!  Unscrupulous people home in on the elderly, the inexperienced and the uninformed, and when they find a "mark", they go in for as much as they can get.  I'm with the others:  Sic 'em!  Those business people should be held up to public ridicule for such practices!

Comment by Barbara Graham on June 24, 2013 at 9:28pm

That is so awful--it's hard to believe sometimes what people will do. I hope as others have said that she can get some refund or at the very least make the issue public to protect other potential victims.

Comment by Janet/MO on June 24, 2013 at 8:08pm

My DH is a retired automotive service manager.  He gets just furious whenever he hears of stuff like this happening!  He was always so good to customers, but especially the older women.  Some would drive over 100 miles to have his shop service their cars after he was transferred to another location because they trusted him that much.  What I would do is not only file a complaint with the corporate office, I would file a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce.  Even if that doesn't result in a refund, it would be a black mark against them.  Also, if your local tv station has a consumer hot line, I would strongly advise you to contact them.  There is nothing like the "threat" of public notification of a company ripping people off to get them to do something.  Thank goodness she had kept all of the maintenance receipts! 

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