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So, I take my wife's Passat to VW for an oil change. When I call to inquire about final cost they say 40 something. The oil change is 30 something so I ask what they charged me. They said the changed a rear brake light for me. So I go and pick up the car and tell them I am not going to pay for the light cause I did not request for it to be changed. They say as a courtesy, they check all lights to make sure they are functioning correctly. I don't think it is a courtesy at all, looks like a way to miilk the customer out of a few bucks. I don't know much about cars but I can change most bulbs myself. Needless to say, they didn't charge me.
 

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I'm with you - this is just a way for them to make more money. There's no way I'd pay for unauthorized work, especially something so simple as that!
 

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Geez, I'd rather them screw me by not changing the bulb and saving me $10.00. You did the right thing. I bet they make an extra 100.00 every day with this scam. Just think in a year what they make.
 

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A lot of dealerships have initiated sales oriented compensations plans for service managers. They get 3%-5% of the total amount that runs through the service department. Dealerships get most of their profits through the service side and not the sales side. So if they pay 5% to increase sales 15-20% they are making out.

For example my BMW dealership has a labor cost to every thing they do regardless of the amout of time to do the job. Example: Changing windshield wipers takes 15 minutes, oil change 1 hour and belts 2 hours. Even if the all the work only takes 2 hours they charge me the minimum times for each job. So I end up paying for 3h 15m of labor.

It sucks but it is hard to prove if you could do it at all. Anything that is a judgement call is always do to the work side, not the leave alone side. It's not just the Auto business that does this, nearly all service business do this. Its just that as consumers we see this more often than other forms of "scams".
 

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For example my BMW dealership has a labor cost to every thing they do regardless of the amout of time to do the job.
Yep - that is how most mechanics work. They have books that quote a fixed number of hours for a job. Your dealership is almost certainly using times specified by BMW. That way you don't pay extra if the mechanic is slow or inefficient. Of course, it also means that a good mechanic can bill more hours than they actually work.
 
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