It was a dark, eerie night. The bus monster was out in full force. We tried to protect it, but the monsters were just too hairy, scary, and mean. We don't like hairy things. Except for dogs, we like dogs. We definitely do not like mean things. Or mean girls. They were all threatening to take our bus away.
The next morning we slowly awoke from our nightmare. Rubbing our eyes, we realized our bus was back in our driveway. Phew! The bus monsters weren't real. Or are they?
The people we dealt with during our first bus repair ordeal were the bus monsters. That's what we're calling them. We're not saying they're bad people, but we know how business works. It's a tad unsettling for us to pull this card, but let's face it, two females who walk into an auto shop and tell you they need a 14,000 lb shuttle bus looked at are bound to be taken advantage of. We hope it doesn't happen to you, male or female, but it happened to us. Luckily, one of us is super smart and really good at research (my wife). I'm like the little side-kick that will put up her dukes and ask you to, Hold me back, Hold me back!
Our problem: The bus was stalling in reverse. We later noticed a leak. My wife had done a ton of research and we went into the repair shop fairly prepared. We told them our concerns and they stated that a diagnosis fee was $59.99. We dropped it off on a Friday and had to wait until the following Monday for any results.
Monday we received a text message from the Bus Monster:
Bus Monster (Mechanic): We haven't looked at your bus yet, but we will let you know what we find.
Our Thoughts: Okay thanks for calling us to tell us you haven't looked at it when we simply expected the diagnosis. (They were being courteous I guess).
Bus Monster: So far the charges are $150 and we need your approval to move forward.
(Mind you this wasn't long after the first message, which made us wonder if they actually looked at the bus).
After a couple exchanges we decided to just show up at the shop. When we arrived we noticed our bus was still parked in the spot we left it. Gee that's odd.
We begin our 40-minute conversation with the Bus Monster. They tried telling us that we were being charged $150 for a diagnosis. We then ask them what the diagnosis is. They said they looked at the bus and it's either A, B, or C. Gee that's odd. SO WHAT IS THE DIAGNOSIS WE ARE PAYING FOR? WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR BUS?
My wife is amazing. She is the most intelligent person I know. It's not just what she knows, but the pace at which she can learn it. This 40-minute conversion was her literally telling the Bus Monster what she already knew about the bus. They would tell us one thing and she'd come back with information proving them wrong. Needless to say, they were a tad unprepared for two women knowing so much about auto repair.
The Bus Monster ended up saying there was a miscommunication on their part and were going to waive all charges at this point. They still had to run some tests to further diagnose the problem. Gee that's odd. Knowing full well what they were talking about, we declined one of the tests. They ended up doing it anyways.
The final diagnosis was that we needed a new transmission. We had already discussed that as a worst case scenario so not really surprised. Their final quote was $7,466. HOLY BUS BALLS! Um, no.
We started doing more research. They were trying to sell us something we didn't need. That's obvious though; it's a business. They want to suggest the most expensive route for you to take hoping you'll not ask any questions. The sticker shock was enough for us to say hell no, but we were not going to leave it at that. We wanted to make sure they knew what we were talking about. It was our hope that they'd think twice about screwing people over.
We called around. Every other place quoted a third of their price! They were also pleasant to talk with. We finished our business with the bus monsters and went to someone else. The point of the story is to do your research and get a second, third, or fourth opinion. Take the time to save money and create better relationships with genuine people.
Feel free to share your stories with us! Have a safe and happy Halloween!