Gross Dealership overcharging (entertaining if nothing else)

skippythedog

Observer
I crashed my 2007 FG140 back in December due to a catastrophic failure of my LF 37" Hankook tire (A wild ride, bouncing off jersey barriers on both sides of the freeway despite having both hands on the wheel when it happened.) Primary damage

was to the left door, headlight + panel and the step...and it blew the axle back a bitIMG_0830.JPG destroying the rim and some hub parts. My axle housing was bent as well. I scored an axle housing from another dealer about 200 miles away. Frame was checked at a Freightliner dealer then towed to the Mitsu dealer.

This FUSO dealer has it's own body shop. They've had the truck since February (it's still there) to perform 42 hours of bodywork which was finished the first week in June. Then it went to the mechanical shop 10 yards away where they were to perform a 5 hour job doing the axle housing swap (per Mitsubishi factory labor guide, page 26-3) "axle center replacement" which includes brake adjustment and bleed as well as setting toe-in.

After exactly 2 more months, I am presented the bill for the 5 hour job wherein they flag 27 hours of labor @$120. So I call the service manager (who has never provided a written estimate and never once called me during this whole time except when he called me to bring them a spare key, since they had lost mine).....He tries to sell me on this absurd overcharge by stating, "My tech actually spent about 60 hours on it!." Incredulously, I asked him if he thought that telling me his tech took over 10 times as long as book time was supposed to instill any confidence re: their competence. Silence....which of course devolved to shouting with him telling me I should, "Get an attorney."

On the day I dropped off the axle housing, I stood in their yard with him and asked for a verbal estimate, (Waddya figure, 6-8 hours at most?" I asked, already knowing the factory time as well as confirmation from the dealership I had procured the housing from who had done this job recently..... The service manager nodded and mumbled, but again, never provided an estimate nor called to apprise me of any additional costs. I asked only about labor costs as I knew there were going to be some new parts, subject to inspection.
He went on to tell me that they had to disassemble and reassemble the left side after discovering the brake backing plate was rubbing. (I guess that was my fault for not telling them :D)

They refuse to budge, despite the overwhelming evidence. They are clearly in violation of several state laws pertaining to this very thing, which also prohibits them from filing a mechanics lien as well. I have no idea how to proceed. They have my truck. They've had if for half a year.

Now, I'm not entirely inexperienced in this arena. I'm a former factory trained Porsche/VW tech., service writer for several brands, Dealership service manager (Toyota). I managed a small VW/Porsche shop at age 19-22 that had 4 techs. I finished out my automotive career by selling those absurdly expensive tools from my step van. I've been in a lot of shops, seen a lot of things....but nothing as egregious as this.
This has to be one of the most poorly managed shops (let alone authorized dealership) that I've ever seen (or even heard of). There were other glaring errors as well: I made it only 2 blocks on a test drive when I discovered a myriad of problems, including missing shifter bushing, missing nuts and bolts, dash all hacked up because I had asked them to install a new antenna as the A-Pillar was getting fresh paint anyway. Their techs apparently didn''t know where to pry to get the plastic dash bezels off...chewed them all up with screwdrivers.....missing bezel over my emergency flasher/cig lighter...on and on....They even decided to take a hacksaw to my powder coated $4000 front bumper instead of removing two 10mm bolts holding a trim panel (utterly simple and self-explanatory).


I don't know how to proceed because during my entire life, I've only ever seen one customer quote the state law which says that you can't exceed a written estimate by more than 10% w/o authorization. It happened to me, when I added $40 to a $110 dollar bill for a tuneup on a sheriff deputys Porsche in 1980 because he needed distributor shaft bearings, and in those days, it was nigh on impossible to reach him via dispatcher, radios, payphones etc. Knowing he was an enthusiast driver, I was sure he wanted that car tuned correctly. When he barked, I was utterly compliant, apologized, tore up his entire bill but asked him to never return (This guy had insulted the collective German pride of all of us Krauts in the shop, including the owner).....He came back 8 months later w/ a platter of cookies from his wife and a bottle of booze for my underage self. He'd gotten hosed at a couple of other shops....

But I digress.... Another dealer recommended that I get Daimler/Fuso, back in Jersey, involved, so I've fired off a little note to them and will call tomorrow....so, we'll see what happens.....wondering if I should go steal my own truck back... :cool:

Caveat Emptor

PS In parting, the service manager threatened to remove the entire front axle, disassemble, throw it in the bed and force me to tow it to another shop. I asked him if he was really that stupid and vindictive, given how very wrong they are.........Professionalism.
(and actually, this is the path of least resistance...For 2.5 hours labor (as there'd be no axle to remove) $240 dollars + the tow bill ($300 to the other dealer 16 miles away to the South) I can have my truck back....far cheaper than the $2640.00 ...Two thousand, six hundred forty dollars this outfit is overcharging me.) grrrrrIMG_0820.JPGIMG_0830.JPG
 
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