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  1. #1

    Default Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: PA

    1. Dropped vehicle off to have a mechanical repair done.
    2. Service manager called the next day: we took your vehicle apart, the part arrived, but its the wrong part. Correct part will not available for 3-4 days.
    3. Service manager recognized my inconvenience of being without a vehicle during this time, said, we can put it back together if you want to come get it.
    4. I said yes, its the weekend and I have things to do, go ahead and put it back together. When you get the correct part next week, I will bring it back and you can install it.
    5. 45 mins later, I called back, said forget it, I'll change my plans, don't put it back together. He said, well, we've already started doing it. I said "fine".
    6. Manager calls back 2 mins later and says "do you want us to stop?" I said, yes. I wouldn't feel comfortable driving it with the worn part. I'll just wait.
    7. Manager says, yeah, I'd hate to see you pay all that extra labor. Its a 4-hour job total, two to take it apart and two to put it back. Note that he did not tell me in step #3 above that there would be a labor charge for reassembly without the new part. They either ordered the wrong part or received the wrong part, but in my opinion, that's not my problem.

    Should I have known that asking a shop to reassemble a mechanical component they disassembled to install a part that they either ordered wrong (or received wrong, I don't fully know) would trigger additional labor charges?

    Should the manager have told me in step 3 above something to the effect of "look, if you really want to have your car for the weekend, we can reassemble what we've disassembled, but you will have to pay all the duplicative labor charges to do that". Had he told me that upfront in step #3, I would have never agreed to any further work.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,238

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Let's start with what the Pennsylvania state regulations say about pricing for car repairs by a car repair shop. The regulations say that it is a deceptive trade practice for auto repair shops do certain things, including the following:

    (3) Charging a customer for repairs which were not authorized in writing or charging a customer a price for agreed-upon maintenance or repair services which price, including parts and labor, was not authorized in writing or displayed in a clear and conspicuous manner on the premises. If the repair shop is unable to obtain advance written authorization because the specific repairs or costs thereof are not known when the vehicle is delivered for repair, the customer shall be so informed and shall be afforded the opportunity to select one of the following options:

    (i) No repairs may be performed until the customer is notified of the exact nature of the repairs to be performed and the total price to be charged, including parts and labor and the oral or written authorization of the customer to perform the repairs is obtained.

    (ii) Repairs may be initiated, but, if repairs will exceed a price specified in advance by the customer, the oral or written authorization of the customer to proceed further shall be obtained.

    (iii) Repair of the described problem may be authorized without limitation of price provided the customer is informed of the hourly labor rate prior to commencement of repairs.

    37 Pa. Code 301.5.

    Under these rules, the dealer really needed to specifically tell you what it would cost to do the extra work if it was going to exceed the estimate of the work dealer already gave you. If the dealer doesn't do that, this rule gives you a defense to the dealer's claim to the extra labor charges.

    That said, IMO paying the dealer a reasonable sum for the extra work at your request would be a fair thing to do. The dealer was doing the extra work at your request so that you could have the car for the weekend. You had to know that would cost the dealer in labor to pay the mechanics to do it. But that's just my personal opinion and has nothing to do with your legal rights in this situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Quote Quoting gardening123
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    Its a 4-hour job total, two to take it apart and two to put it back. Note that he did not tell me in step #3 above that there would be a labor charge for reassembly without the new part. They either ordered the wrong part or received the wrong part, but in my opinion, that's not my problem.
    What are they replacing?

    When told of the situation that the wrong part was received, you should have know (as any reasonable person would) that telling them to put the car back together without the part would include additional labor charges because they would being the repair twice.

    Auto repair companies and dealerships don't actually bill you for the actual time it takes to do the job. They charge you the book value of the job. Meaning that if to change a water pump is a 3 hour job (book value) and it only takes an hour and half, you still pay for 3 hours labor.

    You're just going to have to wait and see what they charge for the extra time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
    View Post
    (iii) Repair of the described problem may be authorized without limitation of price provided the customer is informed of the hourly labor rate prior to commencement of repairs.[/INDENT][/INDENT]
    What would you like to bet the shop's hourly rate is very obviously someplace or multiple places the OP would have seen?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    What would you like to bet the shop's hourly rate is very obviously someplace or multiple places the OP would have seen?
    Sure, I know their labor rate. But when they received the wrong part, took my vehicle apart, and then told me they wouldn't be able to get the right part for four days and could reassemble the car and let me have it back between now and the time the correct part arrives, I would have expected for him to explain that "you would be paying us to do the job twice if you choose this, are you sure?"

    Fortunately, I have never had a shop obtain or receive incorrect parts, or tear a vehicle down and commence repairs without confirming they have the correct part. I've been paying shops to repair cars for 25+ years.

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
    View Post
    Let's start with what the Pennsylvania state regulations say about pricing for car repairs by a car repair shop. The regulations say that it is a deceptive trade practice for auto repair shops do certain things, including the following:

    (3) Charging a customer for repairs which were not authorized in writing or charging a customer a price for agreed-upon maintenance or repair services which price, including parts and labor, was not authorized in writing or displayed in a clear and conspicuous manner on the premises. If the repair shop is unable to obtain advance written authorization because the specific repairs or costs thereof are not known when the vehicle is delivered for repair, the customer shall be so informed and shall be afforded the opportunity to select one of the following options:

    (i) No repairs may be performed until the customer is notified of the exact nature of the repairs to be performed and the total price to be charged, including parts and labor and the oral or written authorization of the customer to perform the repairs is obtained.

    (ii) Repairs may be initiated, but, if repairs will exceed a price specified in advance by the customer, the oral or written authorization of the customer to proceed further shall be obtained.

    (iii) Repair of the described problem may be authorized without limitation of price provided the customer is informed of the hourly labor rate prior to commencement of repairs.

    37 Pa. Code 301.5.

    Under these rules, the dealer really needed to specifically tell you what it would cost to do the extra work if it was going to exceed the estimate of the work dealer already gave you. If the dealer doesn't do that, this rule gives you a defense to the dealer's claim to the extra labor charges.

    That said, IMO paying the dealer a reasonable sum for the extra work at your request would be a fair thing to do. The dealer was doing the extra work at your request so that you could have the car for the weekend. You had to know that would cost the dealer in labor to pay the mechanics to do it. But that's just my personal opinion and has nothing to do with your legal rights in this situation.
    Yes, my feeling was that it was unfortunate on their part that they would be losing money on this job. They disassembled without confirming the part was correct.

    Maybe, in the end, they will recognize they should have been more upfront with an obvious verbal warning about possible duplicative labor charges if I demanded reassembly. Maybe I will need to recognize that, in the future, I should ask about charges related to every step of a repair and possible extra charges related to any possible delays.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    After reading this OP's post history, it's quite clear that he expects everyone else to take full responsibility for everything that happens and that he himself has no responsibilities at all. It's everyone else's role in life to clear the path before him, take everything out of his way, and make sure that nothing uncomfortable, unpleasant, or difficult every happens to him or requires him to take any actions he does not want to take.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    CBG, quite an exaggeration in my opinion. What's the point of you making this statement, and how does this advance the conversation about hypothetical mechanic labor charges? Please delete your post #6.

    There are plenty of smoke and mirrors in the dealership/mechanic/customer realm; I'm trying to get clarity on a legitimate scenario.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    750

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    After reading this OP's post history, it's quite clear that he expects everyone else to take full responsibility for everything that happens and that he himself has no responsibilities at all. It's everyone else's role in life to clear the path before him, take everything out of his way, and make sure that nothing uncomfortable, unpleasant, or difficult every happens to him or requires him to take any actions he does not want to take.
    That's right, he doesn't!

    The OP ONLY has the responsibility to pay the quoted amount when the job is satisfactorily completed. Nothing else! When a professional orders the wrong part, or if the wrong part is shipped, that has no bearing on the quoted price. The mechanic should have never torn the car apart before verifying he had the correct part to install.

    As a contractor, I would never tear all the windows out of a house before the window truck showed up. Maybe the mechanic will learn from his mistake.

    Professionals should be held to a higher standard and should have contingency money ready to pay for screwups like this...and not stick it on the customer. But telling the OP he's screwed or that he's an idiot seems to be par for the course around here.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Sorry, OP, but even if I were inclined to take orders from you, there is a limited window to edit or delete, and it's already expired. My OPINION on your attitude, which is not in any way intended to address your legal responsibilities in this post, is going to have to stand.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Potential Issue with Mechanic Labor Charges

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    Sorry, OP, but even if I were inclined to take orders from you, there is a limited window to edit or delete, and it's already expired. My OPINION on your attitude, which is not in any way intended to address your legal responsibilities in this post, is going to have to stand.
    "My OPINION on your attitude, which is not in any way intended to address your legal responsibilities in this post, is going to have to stand" - so, is it fair to say that your posting was never intended to be a help, and you knew that saying what you said served no purpose in moving this discussion of dealing with mechanical services and related potential charges forward?

    Why post then? Why can't we all just get along?

    Quote Quoting Harold99
    View Post
    That's right, he doesn't!

    The OP ONLY has the responsibility to pay the quoted amount when the job is satisfactorily completed. Nothing else! When a professional orders the wrong part, or if the wrong part is shipped, that has no bearing on the quoted price. The mechanic should have never torn the car apart before verifying he had the correct part to install.

    As a contractor, I would never tear all the windows out of a house before the window truck showed up. Maybe the mechanic will learn from his mistake.

    Professionals should be held to a higher standard and should have contingency money ready to pay for screwups like this...and not stick it on the customer. But telling the OP he's screwed or that he's an idiot seems to be par for the course around here.
    Thank you for saying what you've said here, Harold99. While I see what some of the others are saying about me asking them to do work "again", I also feel that the onus is on the professional to adequately diagnose the problem, recommend the solution along with a price estimate, and then complete the repairs accordingly.

    By beginning the job before they had the confirmed, correct part in hand, they left me high and dry without a car. Even though I did authorize the reassembly only to recant 45 mins later, I think they should have made clear any additional charges that they might be inclined to add above and beyond the original estimate for "extra work". We'll see what happens.

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