This was inspired by something that happened yesterday, and so I wanted to share with you what I have learned from the experience, (and several others previously) so that you can hopefully take what you can and not have to go through a ‘hard lesson’.
We took our vehicles in to a local garage to have one get an oil change and the other inspected so we could register it. (Story on that coming later). We thought everything would be fine, but it turns out we had ‘problems’ with both vehicles. Here is what happened…Part1: The Car (oil change)
We take pretty good care of our vehicles and my husband usually changes the oil in them to save us time and money. We were able to get a package deal on some oil changes and so it was cheaper than us buying the supplies, so we decided to go that route and see how it worked out. Anyways, we took our car in and wanted to get the oil changed using our certificate. It would have been free, but we asked them for ‘higher mileage’ oil, with the assurance that it wouldn’t ‘cost that much extra’. A nagging feeling left me uneasy that we didn’t get an exact price before hand, and that feeling turned into pure frustration with myself when the time came to pay the bill.
Before I go into that, I have to tell you that while they were working on the oil change they brought out the air filter and told us that we needed a new one. We knew that, but we also know that you can buy them for a fraction of the cost of what the garage wants to charge and install it for, at places like Autozone or Wal-Mart and install it yourself. I can’t remember exactly but I think it was around $40-$60 they charged for this service. Like I said, my hubby is pretty handy with the vehicles, so we declined that service, since we already had an extra one at home anyway. Next they came out and told us that our battery was dead…(it was cold cranking at 0%)…we obviously were not thinking clearly, because we had just drove 20 miles to get there. If the battery was ‘dead’ it wouldn’t have even started the car…so because they wanted another $120 to put in a new battery, and we didn’t feel ‘good’ about spending that much and something didn’t seem right so we declined again. So, thus far they wanted almost $200 for extra services with our ‘free’ oil change.
Lesson to be learnedly here: When you get a FREE service or a discount on something, you will more than likely be pressured into buying something to balance the “books”. Take a step back, and think logically about everything before you jump into a purchase, no matter how big or small. It’s not hurting them if you don’t buy it, and it costs you money, for something you probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise. So stop and think about things and discuss them with your spouse or close friend first for advice! It is ALWAYS best to wait, if circumstances allow, before you make any big decisions. Yes, $60 is considered a big decision to me because that is most of my grocery budget for the week. With that being said, the point I am getting at is to think about every purchase first and see if you can find someplace cheaper to buy what you are looking for, and try to do things yourself to save money.
Part 2: The Inspection! This part wasn’t quite so bad, except that they came back and told us that we failed both emissions and the inspection. 🙁
We got the paper work with a list of everything that needed to be fixed, and they of course told us how much they charged for everything…(like $55 to replace three lightbulbs!!! what???!?). So we told them we would get the things fixed ourselves and we would come back and have it rechecked. We got the parts, and within a couple of hours had replaced and fixed everything that needed to be fixed, spending only about $40 on all the parts, when we would have spent about $150-$200 at the garage. Big time savings and a feeling of gratification for doing something yourself! 🙂
We took it back the next day and just as we anticipated, everything passed. YAY! (I do have to note, that we had a coupon for a free Inspection with an Emissions. This coupon didn’t save us as much as we hoped since they charged more than other places for the Emissions. But oh well…there were lots of lessons learned over this 48 hour period.)
As far as the oil change in the car, they came back and told us that it would be an extra almost $25!!! for the extra cost of the oil in the car! I was ticked off. While I am sure that is a great price for synthetic oil, I feel so frustrated that they wouldn’t have at least came and said something, or found out first, when I asked twice before hand about how much it would be. I learned here, that I will from now on put my foot down and get a clear answer before proceeding with anything. If they say they don’t know or can’t give me a straight answer, then I will have them get one or take my business somewhere else. And if you are unsure about something, always get a second opinion. After the oil change and the inspection we took our car to Autozone, and they tested the battery and said that it was running at 100%. I am so glad we didn’t rush that decision and waited to get another opinion. That would have cost so much money that we didn’t have.
Just remember, a good deal isn’t always a good deal if you end up paying a lot extra or get talked into buying things you normally wouldn’t get. Always talk through everything you get and make sure you can afford it.
What are your experiences like this? How did you handle them?