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Thread: DMC Estimates. Need advice.

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    DMC Estimates. Need advice.

    Hello everyone,

    Has anyone had any problems with Estimates at DMC CA? I recently purchased 04688 and put it into the shop. We agreed upon an estimate for work but when the work was completed the invoice was significantly higher than we agreed upon with the additional work already being completed. My issue is that the shop didn't get in touch with me to approve the additional work (and cost). They just did it anyway and expected me to pay the bill. Anyone had this happen before?

    Thanks

    Larry
    4688

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I would be pissed. They should have called you to discuss this additional work and prioritize it to the work that was already agreed upon.

    This is similar to what happened over the weekend with my daily driver. Brought it into the shop for an oil change and they called me back later saying I need a new cabin air filter. I decided against it because the lease is up in a few months. But I was happy they called me first before adding $70+ onto my bill.

    It's possible the additional work is 'safety' related, but it's for you to decide the priority of work to be done.

    Good luck getting this sorted.

    -Nick

  3. #3
    Matt Drive Stainless's Avatar
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    I've sued over this sort-of thing before. Generally, your state will have an Automobile Repair Act or similar that will outline your rights and remedies. In California, I see that you have a Bureau of Automotive Repair and that there is a complaint process.

    https://www.bar.ca.gov/Consumer/Complaints/index.html

    Automotive repair cases get technical very quickly, and for that reason, can be expensive to prove your side if you need to go to court. Average judges and juries, in my experience, have difficulty understanding auto-mechanics, which doesn't necessarily mean that you would lose, but they will be more likely to find a "King Solomon" judgment, where the differences are split. (e.g., you say you should have paid $1000 and the shop says $5000; the jury will say the shop owes you $2000) If the judge found the same way in your case, would it still be worthwhile litigating over?

    PM if you want to discuss further.

    Disclaimer: The above should not to be construed as legal advice.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Dangermouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drive Stainless View Post
    a "King Solomon" judgment, where the differences are split. (e.g., you say you should have paid $1000 and the shop says $5000; the jury will say the shop owes you $2000) If the judge found the same way in your case, would it still be worthwhile litigating over?
    That doesn't seem right

    Do you have any written estimate that you were given before work started? Either way, there is no way they should do work that hasn't been authorized, be it safety related or not.




    And I should note that DMC would probably read this thread
    Dermot
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  5. #5
    Not really banned Michael's Avatar
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    One of the many reasons I got out of the Mercedes buiz is estimates. I had no problem with calling about additional repairs that were pricey but here is the thing. I got a car in the air and more scheduled in the afternoon. I have a tech working on flat rate with his hands in his pockets (and a mortgage to pay) waiting for an OK from the customer that I can't get to answer the phone. My lift/bay is tied up and we are at a freaking standstill because we have those customers that raise a shitstorm over an extra 3 or 4 hundred dollars on an already 3k bill on their 6 figure luxury automobile.

    I made a new estimate sheet as soon as I arrived at my position and told my guys to inform the customer the definition of "estimate". When we got a hard ass wanting it to the penny and no more, I simply refused him unless he understood that estimates are by definition, flexible. I noted that 20% margin of error and if it was more you better be avaliable to approve or your car gets pushed back out and we will get to it at the next avaliable window(provided you called us back).

    The service shop has many customers that they try to make happy, and sometimes judgement calls are made in the customer's best interest, such as overlapping labor. A tech may get into an engine and see something that needs to be replaced, say a waterpump. Now at this point its an extra few hundred bucks for the parts and an extra hour labor. If we ignore it and the pump lets go 2 weeks later it's 6 hours labor and the customer has to not only pay extra but another trip back and a few more days without his car. If I can't get an OK and decide to replace it I'm screwed because a cheapskate will blow a gasket on me, If I hold off then I'mscrewed because be will be mad that I didn't replace it while I was in there.

    I once had a guy get mad at me because he waited till the day before a big road trip to bring his car in for a check over and a squeak. We found a flex disk on the verge of flying apart and a few other troubling things. We fixed what we could in the narrow time frame he alloted and we just didn't have time to address a squeak.

    He called from the road raising hell because his squeak wasn't fixed and I explained that the flex disk would have stranded him and very possibly damaged his transmission but a squeak is just annoying and since we only had time to fix one, we did the important one.

    He was not happy with me but he made it safe. We lost a customer that day because of his blind arrogance and me and my attitude of never being one to suffer idiots.

    So after that Vegas style response I have to ask how much was the estimate for and how much over? Was it for fixing a serious issue or did they replace seat covers without your consent?
    Last edited by Michael; 03-27-2018 at 07:24 PM.

  6. #6
    DMC Midwest - 815.459.6439 DMCMW Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    . . . . . better be avaliable to approve or your car gets pushed back out . . . . . .
    Assuming you don't have the entire suspension off the car and find a bad bushing that you didn't predict. There are often cases like this where the car is sitting on a lift and can't be moved without some amount of reassembly. [This, BTW, is why I put 3 lifts in a shop designed for two technicians.]

    I agree - there should be a reasonable amount of agreed-to leeway on the "estimate" - either a set %, or dollar amount, that doesn't require immediate authorization. So it really depends on the situation.
    Dave S
    DMC Midwest - retired but helping
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  7. #7
    Ryan > Ruben Ryan King's Avatar
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    Hey Larry. I sent you a private message.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    One of the many reasons I got out of the Mercedes buiz is estimates. I had no problem with calling about additional repairs that were pricey but here is the thing. I got a car in the air and more scheduled in the afternoon. I have a tech working on flat rate with his hands in his pockets
    He was not happy with me but he made it safe. We lost a customer that day because of his blind arrogance and me and my attitude of never being one to suffer idiots.

    So after that Vegas style response I have to ask how much was the estimate for and how much over? Was it for fixing a serious issue or did they replace seat covers without your consent?

    This post highlights the problem from the shop's side. Yes, the customer thought he had set a limit on his bill but that does not always fit with reality once the mechanic starts. Another great example is the consent you give when you have surgery. Basically you are giving the surgeon permission to do anything he thinks is necessary without waking you up to ask you. There has to be a certain amount of trust when you hire a professional to do things for you that you can't do yourself. It is also VERY common for auto body shops to find "hidden" damage and the insurance companies allow up to 20% before having to get an authorization. The shop must be prepared to prove it was necessary or risk not getting paid and/or not getting any further work. Bottom line, talk to the shop and work it out. Suing is always an option but it rarely turns out well for anyone and it takes a long time. In the end the work probably had to be done anyway. If you truly can't afford all of the extra work offer to pay it out over time. I am sure the shop will work with you in some manner, either some kind of discount or a payment plan or a combination. After all, the shop didn't cause the need for the work, they only fixed it.
    David Teitelbaum

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tianlung4028 View Post
    Hello everyone,

    Has anyone had any problems with Estimates at DMC CA? I recently purchased 04688 and put it into the shop. We agreed upon an estimate for work but when the work was completed the invoice was significantly higher than we agreed upon with the additional work already being completed. My issue is that the shop didn't get in touch with me to approve the additional work (and cost). They just did it anyway and expected me to pay the bill. Anyone had this happen before?

    Thanks

    Larry
    4688
    Just to help us put responses in context, exactly how much is "significantly higher"?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iflights View Post
    Just to help us put responses in context, exactly how much is "significantly higher"?
    About two grand higher than the estimate

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