Daily Archives: October 5, 2011

When I don’t Dispute a Charge

(Photo source)

You know me when it comes to disputing fees/fines/incorrect transactions.   Over the past year, I have negotiated my cell phone bill with Rogers, disputed a charge when they didn’t give me my caller ID package, requested TD waive my cheque charges, requested PC Financial Mastercard to waive my Overlimit Fee, amongst other disputes.

But is there a time when one should not dispute a charge?  I think so.

Repairs at my dad’s Mechanic

Recently, my money drain car needed some repairs.  One minute, I was driving on the freeway, and the next my car is shaking and making weird noises and shaking.  I bring the car into my dad’s mechanic.

My dad’s mechanic is a one-man show.  He owns his own shop, and from what my dad told me is an honest guy and does a good job.  So, I trusted him.  He took my car for a test and simulated what I experienced, then opened it up to investigate the problem.

Turns out my caliper was rusted out, and my front brakes were in poor condition (hence the squeaking), but my back brakes still had about 60% remaining life.

The list of repairs included the following:

  • Replace front brake pad
  • Replace front brake rotors (2)
  • Replace front brake calipers (2)
  • Service rear brakes
  • Flush brake fluids

The total damage for the day?  $750.  Cash.  If I paid with credit card, I would have to pay taxes on top of it.  Cash it is.

Like I said, I trusted the guy and so I told him to go ahead with the work.  After he finished the repairs, he showed me the parts that he replaced.  He also explained to me why they needed to be replaced, and how I can better maintain my car in the future.

At the end, I asked him for a record of the repairs completed, and he agreed to email me the breakdown.  Keep in mind, this is a small shop, and I wasn’t expecting a printed out receipt – something hand written would have sufficed.

I Wanted a Benchmark

Even though my repairs were done, I wanted to get an idea of how much my dealership was going to charge me for repairs.  So, I called my dealership and asked for their rates to do the same repairs.

They gave me the following prices:

  • Parts for caliper, rotors and brake pads – $731.00
  • Labour for caliper replacement – $248.60
  • Labour for brake pad & rotor replacement – $186.45
  • Brake service – $73.45
  • Flush brake fluids – $113.00

For a grand total of $1,352.50.  Ouch.

Now, I know that the dealership usually charges (a lot) more, but I just wanted a bench mark of sorts for comparison.

I Noticed an Error

As I was adding up my costs and comparing, I noticed that the break down emailed to me from my mechanic didn’t add up.  In fact, when I added up his break down numbers, they totaled $700 and not $750.

I debated if I should ask my mechanic about this.  I think I got a really good price for the work, and I don’t want my $50 back.  I just wanted to know why there was an error in the adding.

Alas, after hemming and hawing over it for a day, I decided not to call up my mechanic.  Here’s why:

  • I know I got a very good deal
  • I don’t want my $50 back
  • I’m afraid it might be taken the wrong way (that I am trying to talk him down, instead of wanting to understand the discrepancy)

What would you do in my situation?  Would you call and ask my mechanic about the mathematical error or just leave it be?



Filed under Finance, Personal