Sexism or a big rip-off?

Coming on the heels of my last post, I have another customer service issue. Except this appears to be less about customer service and more about my being a woman.

Today, I brought my car into Monro for my 8:30 a.m. brake appointment. When I made the appointment yesterday, I explained that my brakes have been squealing for the past couple of months, and more recently, they have felt spongy. Today, J, the store manager (the same guy I spoke with yesterday) again asked me what was happening with my brakes, and I repeated the information. I also added that when I had my car inspected at my "regular" mechanic's back in December, he said that my brakes should be good for a few more months. [As an aside, at that inspection, I told my mechanic if my brakes were "close to failing," he should replace them because I would rather have new brakes through the winter. My mechanic said my brakes still had some tread and replacing them would be like throwing out half a loaf of bread. Since I hate wasting food, that analogy was good enough for me.]

When I asked how long today's appointment would take, J told me that he would drive the car around, check everything out, and then give me a call before doing anything. Ignoring history, I figured I should receive a phone call within an hour, hour and a half. You know, because 8:30 was my appointment time. Almost three and a half hours later, J called to let me know that it will cost over $400 plus tax to fix my under-warranty brakes plus a few other things.

Once my heart started beating again, I calmly asked J to break down everything for me. He did, I took some notes, and then I added everything up. Oddly, my total came to about $250, which I pointed out. Then J mentioned something else, which brought the total up to over $300. When I said I was still not getting $400, J brought up yet another thing. I told J that I needed to talk to my husband and would call him back.

Brian was pretty sure I was being ripped off because I am a woman, so he suggested I call our usual mechanic. I explained to our guy that I went to Monro because they were going to replace the under-warranty brakes they did two years ago, but Monro's price seemed insane. I gave him J's breakdown, and my mechanic came back with a price that was over $100 lower; apparently my mechanic charges less for labor, which includes cleaning and adjusting sliders, and the wheel cylinder pricing includes brake bleeding (FYI, I have no idea what any of this crap means).

I called J back and told him that not only could my mechanic do it for a lot less, but he also said I was being ripped off, which did not sit well with J. In addition, I mentioned my bad experience with Monro two years ago (which I was able to recount thanks to this blog post) and said I had not planned to come back but decided to because I assumed something under warranty would not set me back hundreds of dollars. I also mentioned to J that my mechanic had replaced my front rotors back in December, so I was confused as to why they would need to be replaced again. J said rather than lose a customer, he would match their price. Interesting. As I stated on Facebook this afternoon, over $100 magically fell off the price once I, more or less, called J's bluff.

Brian is convinced that if he had taken my car into a different Monro, he would have been quoted a lower price than what I was originally quoted. It would have been interested to test that theory.

For now, I am left to wonder if I was taken advantage of because I am a (clueless when it comes to cars) woman or if Monro (and other places, probably) will charge the most they can, just to see what they can get out of people.


But at least I fought the good fight.



Anonymous said…
I hope you never go back there. Does sound like they are ripping you off. Maybe your next post should be called Is Honesty Dead!
Facie said…
Anonymous: I don't plan to go back there, but I do plan to write a complaint on the website, not that that did any good last time.

My neighbor's daughter worked at a car place years ago and said that they encouraged (maybe an even stronger word) their workers to add things on/tell people they should do X. How lovely. I am still mad because I bet I paid for things I did not need. Ugh!
Bill Applegate said…
I think it's easier to find an honesty attorney then it is an honest mechanic...I would not go back either.

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