Dishonest, Unprofessional, Fraudulent
I don't come here for my gasoline, as it is a full-serve place so the gas prices are too high. I am commenting on the repair side of this business. I have been here a few times for oil changes and simple bulb replacements, and BOB, the mechanic has always been pleasant and fair. My husband usually has his oil changed at Firestone in Swansea, because they usually have coupons. The last time hwe took his car in for an oil change, the technicians brought to his attention an exhaust leak. They told him he needed his manifold replaced, they gave him a comprehensive breakdown of what the costs would be for both the labor and the parts. The total was just under $350.00. I figured since Firestone was "big business" and therefore probably charging more than they should, I told my husband to take his car to SOMERSET GAS on County St. I dropped the car off and a few hours later, Bob called me to give me the good news: I DIDN'T need the manifold replaced, it was only a gasket! I was happy, and this confirmed my mistaken belief that Firestone WAS ripping us off. Bob told me he wouldn't be able to finish the same day because the labor was fairly involved, athough the actual part was only $40. He told me to expect somewhere between $150-$220, depending on how long it took. I was fine with that, since it was lower than the $350 quote from Firestone.
Well, this is where the story takes a turn for the worse. BOB, calls me this afternoon and tells me that after further inspection, the car DOES need a new manifold, and that the "number" we had previously agreed upon would be slightly higher. He said the job was almost done, although he didn't have the exact total for me as he hadn't done the math. His parting words were, "I'm going to take it for a test drive to make sure it's OK, but you're definitely looking at in the 4's, pricewise."
As in, 4 hundred and something dollars. He did NOT call me ahead of time to let me know that he DID need to replace the manifold. He simply DID it.
When I show up to pick up the car, Bob is nowhere to be found, but the owner of the gas station is there. He hands me a slip, that reads $532.xx.
I was shocked, blindsided and extremely annoyed. I tried to explain the situation to the owner, but he, of course stuck up for BOB, the mechanic. I TOLD him that I informed the mechanic upon dropping the car off that it needed a manifold. He knew this. I TOLD him I had brought it to Firestone. The owner backpeddled and stammered and finally agreed to lower the price to $475. I was very upset, feeling swindled and taken advantage of, but I felt I had no choice but to pay the bill. So, I did.
I walked back to the car and rifled though the glove compartment and FOUND the original estimate from Firestone dated three months prior. They were going to complete the SAME exact task for just UNDER $350.00. They had the labor listed as $104. SOMERSET GAS charged me $250 for labor. (I have all documentation and would be more than happy to provide this should someone want to review it)
I sat in the car for a minute before deciding to go back in to SHOW them the actual printout. When Bob and the owner looked at it, they were both dumbfounded. What COULD they say? They ripped me off, pure and simple. I told him he was running a poor business and that he should have called me and ASKED me if I wanted him to replace the manifold, since he had quoted me a MUCH lower price. The old "Bait and Switch". Would they have done this if I wasn't a woman? I don't know. That's not what this review is about.
I'm hoping that SOME good can come out of MY mistake. Do NOT take your car there for repairs. You might get a great estimate initially, but you can expect it to be more than doubled when you go to actually pick your car up.