Am I being totally unreasonable?
May 14, 2014 7:03 AM Subscribe
Looking for feedback from others regarding a dispute with a mechanic over charges he made for repairs on my motorcycle.
I'll try to be as brief as possible to describe the situation. I apologize in advance if I left out any pertinent details.
Basically, the TL;DR version is that I don't think it took the mechanic as long as he said he did to fix the problems and then charged me for the full amount I authorized on the estimate. He's even claiming that he actually took more time with the bike and didn't even charge me extra for it.
The authorized estimate was $318 - 3 hours of labor @ $90/hr to diagnose and repair electrical problems and 1/2 hour of labor to replace the tire.The electrical problems were the alternator light would flicker on and off and one turn signal did not function properly. I tested the alternator myself to determine whether or not that was the problem. It wasn't. I have no issue with the amount he ended up charging me for the tire so it's not that relevant to my dispute.
When we spoke on the phone after the electrical problem was fixed he told me that there were a few connectors in the dash that were shorting out and just needed to be properly insulated. He tells me then that the total charge for the electrical repair and the tire is going to be $474. My first reaction was to think that was a lot of money to charge for that much work - fixing some loose connections, cleaning the front rim and replacing the tire. When I got to the shop to pick up the bike, I tried to ask him about why it took so long and he got very upset and deducted an hour off the final invoice and told me that I was no longer welcome there. When I tried to tell him that I would pay the whole amount if he indeed did spend that much time on my bike, he rebuffed me.
My question is whether or not I am being totally out of line here. Is 3 hours a perfectly reasonable amount of time to take to isolate and repair that kind of electrical problem? Did the mechanic get so upset because in his mind it was completely reasonable and how dare I question him? Or did he get upset because I was calling him out on some questionable business practices involving the compounding effect of rounding up partial labor hours or being legally entitled to charge the full authorized estimated amount even if it took less time to do the work?
Regarding my own background, I am fairly mechanically inclined and have experience restoring old motorcycles myself. I've had bad luck dealing with electrical work though and that's why I decided to take it in. Part of why I'm upset is that I didn't take more time to try to fix it myself. But the bigger part is that I feel like I got taken advantage of and would like to know if there is any justification in my feeling that way.