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My 96 yr. old father-in-law was hours late in coming back from getting his oil changed and attention to a front end noise on his '07 Buick with 77,000 miles that he purchased new and kept in a climate controlled garage. As a retired school superintendent and WWII veteran, he likes to still be in command of his daily life. I drove to the dealership to find out what was taking so long and met him at the service writer's desk. The $40 oil change and $450 wheel bearing and hub replacement was part of the $1,157 total bill. The balance was "Customer Requests": ATF Service--Flush transmission, cooler lines and converter $199, Radiator Service--complete replacement plus additives to extend coolant life $160, Power Steering Service--Remove old depleted fluid and replace with new plus additives to extend life of system $160. They reluctantly gave me the following: 3 Fuel Services, 3 transmission flushes, 2 radiator flushes, 1 brake fluid flush, 1 power steering flush, 4 front end alignments, 2 RF wheel bearings replaced all in the last 47,000 miles. No records prior to Aug. 2010. This was with a GM dealer. Don't trust any dealer to be honest with any "Non-Gearhead Customer". Our County District Attorney has just been sent all records. Is Elder Abuse a familiar term?
I wouldn't trust the service dept. where I bought my 2015 F150 but a closer dealer thus far gives me much more confidence. My Mustangs will never see the inside of a dealership service bay.
 

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They see my wife or daughter coming and their $$$$ lights up. I tell them no matter what they say, oil and filter only. And I check when they get home. At various times they have been told if they don't do certain procedures, they will break down before they even get home. I hate that you can't trust anybody anymore.
 

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My 96 yr. old father-in-law was hours late in coming back from getting his oil changed and attention to a front end noise on his '07 Buick with 77,000 miles that he purchased new and kept in a climate controlled garage. As a retired school superintendent and WWII veteran, he likes to still be in command of his daily life. I drove to the dealership to find out what was taking so long and met him at the service writer's desk. The $40 oil change and $450 wheel bearing and hub replacement was part of the $1,157 total bill. The balance was "Customer Requests": ATF Service--Flush transmission, cooler lines and converter $199, Radiator Service--complete replacement plus additives to extend coolant life $160, Power Steering Service--Remove old depleted fluid and replace with new plus additives to extend life of system $160. They reluctantly gave me the following: 3 Fuel Services, 3 transmission flushes, 2 radiator flushes, 1 brake fluid flush, 1 power steering flush, 4 front end alignments, 2 RF wheel bearings replaced all in the last 47,000 miles. No records prior to Aug. 2010. This was with a GM dealer. Don't trust any dealer to be honest with any "Non-Gearhead Customer". Our County District Attorney has just been sent all records. Is Elder Abuse a familiar term?
I wouldn't trust the service dept. where I bought my 2015 F150 but a closer dealer thus far gives me much more confidence. My Mustangs will never see the inside of a dealership service bay.
I'm not taking anyone's side but I could see A coolant service as being ok.
Maybe A P/S fluid service. The rest is over the top.
2007 Buicks all have front hub units. I wasn't feeling enthusiastic enough to
check but I don't think the company I work for did them OE.... I think they
are mainly Svenska Kullagerfabriken-supplied (SKF). Excepting the
Rendezvous, it's unlikely a 77K odometer reading would even come close
to putting any meaningful wear on any hubs they manufactured.
 

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Had a friend from college call me because a friend got an astronomically high bill for an overheat. I'm thinking she popped the head gasket or something and the bill is warranted....no, they had a water pump R&R....oh, and a trans axle assembly R&R (????).

After some quick searching, in no way necessary. I offered to call and talk to the service manager...she wouldnt let me...
 

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Every once in a while, I actually let a dealership/auto service place perform certain work on one of my vehicles (usually just oil changes or some special-priced service). They ALWAYS tell me about other work that my vehicles need. I say, "Fine, put it up on the lift and show me." Sometimes, they will try to actually BS me with the vehicle up on the lift and "show me" the required repair. That's when I'll make them explain why it needs said repair. After they attempt to explain it, I'll ask them if they are ASE Master Technician certified. When they say, "No", I show them my ASE Master technician certification card, tell them to get my car off the lift, tell them they'll never see me again, and then go in to pay for only the repairs they performed while I loudly talk about how I can't believe how they were going to rip me off (within earshot of other customers). Works like a charm and I feel better every time!
Dave
 

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Considering the age of the vehicle, *some* of the list is understandable, if the fuel services are new filters, makes sense (or were they the $$$ "carbon removal" system cleanings?), 2X radiator definitely makes sense, dexcool becomes acidic and should be changed every 4 to 5 years, especially on a vehicle that sits a lot, 1 each of the brake and PS system is probably about right, the transmission flushes, alignments, and wheel bearings all seem suspect. 1 trans flush at ~60K... but 3???

I actually let Ford do the transmission service and radiator flush on my 2011 Mustang because I didn't want to mess with it and the transmission is "sealed" and I don't have a way to get under the car to make sure the fluid level is right. It was something around $400. I had this all done when the car was about 6 years, 60K old. So I'm going over my bill asking what stuff is (because even I couldn't decipher WTF some of the "charges" were.) There was a charge for "parts" for the transmission service and I thought that number actually seemed a little low. I asked the filter was changed, right? Oh no, we don't change that until the transmission has over 100K on it. I literally asked them, Are you kidding me? What the hell kind of transmission service changes the fluid and leaves the same damn old dirty filter? Do you wash your hands and then dry them with a dirty towel?
 

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Former Service Manager here. I've seen it all, heard it all, NEVER done it all. I was the guy that people would come to, request services based on advice from others, and I'd be the one to tell them they didn't need it (after verifying 1st of course). I had advisors that would recommend services based on mileage, condition, wear, etc, but made it very clear to all of them that they were only to do what was REALLY necessary. We never pushed anything on anyone, made them feel they HAD to, or tried to guilt them into it (not going to make it home). A large portion of my clients would actually come in, toss me the keys, and say just do whatever it needs. They trusted me implicitly. My theory was to treat everyone as though they were my Grandpa, and I never had issues. Now on the other hand- many stealerships pay their employees on production- the more they sell, the more they make. That's where you get your pushy salesman, the liars, and thieves. It's the absolute wrong way to go about servicing people as you can obviously see. After I left the dealer their customer base dropped considerably, and I was still receiving calls over a year later from former customers asking if they should have certain services done or not. I hope all turns out good for your FIL without having to be drug out. If the dealership has any integrity at all, they'll offer to either refund you your money, or at least discount it heavily.
 

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I bought my mom, who was 83 at the time, a new Mercedes 5 years ago, and just so there would not be any service "costs" bought the wheel and tire package, and 5 years worth of services.

Wheel and tire was GREAT, as in 4 years, she had to have 17 wheels or tires replaced, no cost to her, as she drives a bit by the Braille method.

However, about the services, she told me, after an oil change, she had purchased another service contract for $1732, but it had been almost 8 months earlier. Why? The existing contract was for another year, and the car had racked up an impressive 17K mileage in 4 years.

I spoke with the service person who normally handled her car. He had no record of another service contract, and hers was about to expire. She did not have a copy of the contract. I got a copy of her charge statement, and showed it to Mercedes. Again, no indication of any contract in Mercedes records. After some digging, she found a business card with the contract info, price, date, etc. that matched the date of the $1732 charge. Back to Mercedes.

Short version: The money was refunded. A manager from the dealership informed me that the service contract had been "located" in an "Account" that was not recorded at Mercedes. The employee was no longer with Mercedes. Hmmmm. Slush Fund, Off the books, Whatever. I did not push the dealer for more info, just happy to get my mom's money back.

Sadly, the car, with 21K on it was totalled a few months later.
 

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We have a 2008 F150 that I took in for its last service check. I was told the spark plugs needed replacing and that it was going to cost $400. I was flabbergasted, and asked why. The service guy told me because of the two piece plug design, there was a chance the plug or plugs would break off during removal, and that would lead to the higher charge as it meant more time than allotted to change the plugs. They would need to keep the truck overnight because they would put penetrating oil around the plugs and let it sit overnight. Of course, that meant I would have to rent a car to get home, which is close to an hour away. I told the guy I would have to talk it over with my wife because $400 was a lot of money just to change some spark plugs. Got home and did some research....the two piece plug issue for 2008 was for the 5.4L engine. Our truck has the 4.6L engine, and had normal spark plugs in it. I changed the plugs and the coil packs for less that $100 myself. I still shake my head when I think about it - the service guy either didn't know the difference between a 5.4L and 4.6L engine, or just trying to rip me off. I'm guessing the latter.
 

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When my daughter was away at college, meaning "Dad" wasn't there to do oil changes, it got to the point where I took a paint stick and wrote on the air cleaner; "My Dad is an ASE Master certified mechanic". THAT slowed down the over-selling.
 

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Classic!

When my daughter was away at college, meaning "Dad" wasn't there to do oil changes, it got to the point where I took a paint stick and wrote on the air cleaner; "My Dad is an ASE Master certified mechanic". THAT slowed down the over-selling.
I'll have to remember that!
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Five minutes into my first conversation with the General Manager, he asked me how much of a check he needs to write to reimburse my FIL for the overcharges. Since I only had 3 yrs. of history at that time I couldn't tell him as there was still 7 yrs that I didn't have. He also admitted (when i pushed him) the service writers make 10% of the dealership profit for each service sold. That's why my FIL said that when she recommended each service he told her to go ahead (Customer Requested Service) as she must know what is needed and he trusted her to know what she's talking about.
My ten minute conversation with the GM ended with assurances of their not intentionally overcharging or selling unneeded services and then offering again as to how much of a check they need to write.
I wonder how many hundreds of other customers this one dealership has done the same thing to.
 

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Some service writers seem to follow a script intended to scare a customer into unnecessary repairs. Here is my story:

Due to a tight schedule, I disregarded my own general advice and took my newly acquired daily driver to the dealer to replace 2 fuel injectors that had triggered the Check Engine light. At the end of the day I got an ominous phone call from the service writer asking me to come in to discuss some additional repairs. When I got there he told me with a straight face that I SERIOUSLY NEEDED $6500 in repairs , this on a car with about 80K miles that was meticulously maintained since new by its one and only owner. I told him to show me the critical failure problems which he proceeded to do. Examples include "The turbine sensor seal on the transmission was SEEPING and the trans needed to be dropped to replace it". At the end of his dog and pony show I declined his recommendations. He then told me in a threatening tone he would enter my refusal on their computer system which would be the equivalent of a scarlet letter on the car. At that point I looked him in the eye and asked him: "Do I look like I have brain damage?" He didn't blink. I picked up my keys and I left. I drove that car another 60K miles, never repairing any of those other "critical" problems. To put this into fiscal perspective, the Fair Market Value of the car was $5K when I bought it.

I have to believe that the dishonesty of this service writer was common enough among the franchised dealerships selling that brand to account for the massive depreciation these cars suffered in general. It was a $50K car new and, with the exception of the 2 fuel injectors, was in superb shape when I bought it for 1/10th its original price.
 

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I worked in new car dealership service dept's for all the major manufacturers for 24 years mostly as a service writer, I would always tell a customer when they came in for service if there was additional work needed what was needed now & what could wait. The way I looked at it, it is the customers car & the customers money. I NEVER tried to force any repairs on anyone.
 

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Back in the day, my uncle drove nothing but air cooled VWs. My uncle was quite the prankster. His daughter was leaving for college & her dad told her, once you get to college, stop somewhere & have the antifreeze checked. Well being a good girl, she stopped at a dealership & asked them to check the antifreeze. They said they added a quart & sold her another one to make they trip back home with. As it turned out, the joke was on my Uncle cause she had used his credit card for the purchase!
 

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I actually let Ford do the transmission service and radiator flush on my 2011 Mustang because I didn't want to mess with it and the transmission is "sealed" and I don't have a way to get under the car to make sure the fluid level is right. It was something around $400.
Are you sure they actually did the work?

My son is both a licensed auto tech and a licensed heavy vehicle tech.

He got his journeyman license working for a general shop then he worked for a dealership for a while. The stories he told me would bring chills to your spine. Like, the time he went to the service adivisor at the end of the day to say he didn't have time to do a coolant flush on a car. Both the shop foreman and the advisor told him "yes, you did".

He decided to get out of the light duty and went heavy duty. Now he fixes Caterpillars, John Deere, Komatsu, etc.
 

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Are you sure they actually did the work?

My son is both a licensed auto tech and a licensed heavy vehicle tech.

He got his journeyman license working for a general shop then he worked for a dealership for a while. The stories he told me would bring chills to your spine. Like, the time he went to the service adivisor at the end of the day to say he didn't have time to do a coolant flush on a car. Both the shop foreman and the advisor told him "yes, you did".

He decided to get out of the light duty and went heavy duty. Now he fixes Caterpillars, John Deere, Komatsu, etc.
Nope, I'm not.
 

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I changed the plugs and the coil packs for less that $100 myself.
Please don't tell me you bought Ebay/Amazon coils. Good quality coils are going to be a lot more than that, and failing coils can damaged the ECM in just a few misfires.

John
 
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