TACOMA, WASHINGTON -- I called this repair shop and asked them how much it would be to diagnose the problem with my car, which failed the state's required emissions testing. Chris, one of the technicians, said it would require approximately 2 hours and cost $75.
I told them I would have my girlfriend bring the car in and leave it before they opened and to call me with the result of the diagnosis.
Chris also told me that if the repair ended up being "expensive", he would "see what he could do" to allow me to meet the conditions of the waiver without spending a significant amount on the repair.
I dropped the car off the next day and after not hearing from Chris by about 3:30 the day I dropped the car off, I called Chris and he told me that the car would cost $210 to replace the oxygen sensor. In the shop's rebuttal to my complaint they said that I asked them about buying the part and replacing it myself and having them sign for an emissions waiver but I NEVER ASKED ABOUT BUYING THE PART AND REPLACING IT MYSELF. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO DO THIS NOR THE TOOLS TO DO SO.
At the end of this conversation, Chris told me the car should be ready to be picked up by the time the shop closed at 6:00 PM on that day (Thurs May 24th) and I asked him if he could take my credit card information over the phone so I could have my girlfriend pick the car up. Chris said he could. I made arrangements to have the car picked up and called Chris back to tell him my girlfriend would pick up the car. Chris said that the car would not be ready by close but would be ready on Friday (May 25th).
NO MENTION OF ADDITIONAL COSTS WAS MADE AT THIS TIME.
I told him ok and to call me back when the car was ready.
On Friday May 25th around 2:00 PM I called Chris because I hadn't heard from him. He told me that the car was ready, and would pass emisisons, and that the Oxygen sensor had been significantly more difficult to remove than they thought it would be and that the charge for the repair would be $415.
I asked him why I had not been called, per Washington state law, and informed that the cost would be so much higher. He told me he didn't know why and that he was sorry but that was the amount of the repair.
I told him I would NOT have authorized paying this much for the repair, as the car itself is only worth $500. He said he understood but that there was nothing he could do.
I immediately called the State Attorney General's office to ask for possible courses of action. I was told I had no legal recourse for getting my car back but to pay the amount I was being charged, then file a complaint with the attorney general's office and take the facility to small claim's court, and so this is what I am doing.
The response I received from the facility after filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau has several false statements, which would be perjury in a court of law.
They try to say that I am accusing them of not making the repair, however the question has never been whether or not the repair was performed. Obviously it was and the car passed emissions.
The issue is that I did NOT agree to pay $415 to have this $500 car repaired. I was given an estimate of $210 and then additional labor was performed and I was NOT informed of the increased scope of the work, resulting in added charges.
Additionally, I asked Chris to leave the invoice and the Oxygen sensor in the car along with the key and he failed to do so. The only record I have of this transaction is my credit card statement with the $415 charge.
I am asking them to pay me back the difference between the 10% that the state allows for going above the estimate without approval and the more than double the original estimate that was charged me (a $184 difference) and their response was to misrepresent facts of the case.
DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS SHOP. There are many other - and better - options.
Read Company Response
Company Response on 5/1/2008: My name is Clint Kacalek And I own Custom Deluxe Auto Services in Tacoma, Wa. I was shocked to learn that the first thing on Google listings was a business complaint about my shop. I can understand you are trying to provide a higher quality service for consumers, but let me give you some background on this complaint. What is not stated in his account is that we did in fact call Mr.[snip] with a increased price to remove his oxygen sensor he said okay but what did happen then is the actual complaint. When we tried to remove the faulty oxygen sensor to repair his car it was stuck in the exhaust manifold due to rust and corrosion. This prompted us to remove the exhaust manifold from engine resulting in increased time to repair his car, we did in fact call Mr [snip] when this happened, he did agree to the additional cost but was not happy with that and thought he was being ripped off unfairly. We even saved the old destroyed part to show him!! What he also did not state is the State of Washington Dept. of Ecology also reviewed this case and so did the BBB they both sided with our shop!!!!! There was no wrong doing on our part, in fact Mr. [snip]'s car now passed the emissions test for the state with flying colors!!! We did in fact fix his car correctly, at a fair price and to show good faith we even gave the additional cost to remove his manifold back to Mr. [snip] to show we were the good guys. So please make this posting on your web site, it is all true. We are a great shop for repairs and would like to have that represented on your site. We can prove this with documentation if needed, thanks for your time.