I brought my 2005 Mazda 3 yesterday to Budget Brake and Muffler at 13718 104 Ave. Surrey, BC to have the starter replaced. Trevor, who took my order, quoted close to $400 for a remanufactured starter plus one hour labor. I also asked to have my brakes checked, which Trevor said would be done without charge. The work was completed today. Dave Shires, who said he was the owner of the shop, initially wanted to charge $577 instead of the $542 that I remembered was Trevor’s quotation. Dave seemed to have no knowledge of the $35 discount that was in Trevor’s quotation. Dave eventually conceded that the lower price was correct and attributed the mistake to the price of the brake check, which had not been performed. I advised Dave that brake check was free, as promised by Trevor. Dave insisted that it costs $29.99 for the brake check but that wasn’t charged because that work had not been performed. When I returned home, I called the Mazda dealership and found to my dismay that an original starter costs only $208.08, labor $111.98 for a total of $358.46 including 12% sales taxes. That’s $183.95 less than what I paid to Budget. I called Dave, explained the situation and asked him to refund the excess. Dave said the remanufactured starter does in fact cost more than the original one. That was rather astounding and it makes me wonder why anyone would go anywhere but the car dealership for service and repairs. Dave offered to remove the installed starter and refund me all of the $542. I’m not sure that I’d be inclined to take up his offer. I really don’t want other things to start going wrong with the car … Anyway, I called Lordco to verify the price of the starter. That’s where Dave said they get the starter from. Lordco told me the retail price is $358 including $70 core deposit. Let’s say Budget gets a 20% discount on price of the starter, which means it pays $356 (286+70). Budget will get the $70 core deposit back for a net price of $286. This is still much more than the $208 at the dealership. My other complaints about this Budget shop are it doesn’t offer written quotations and it would not include the warranty period on the sales invoice unless the customer insists. Trevor said the starter has a 2-year warranty but Dave wrote that into the invoice only after I insisted he did so. My advice to anyone thinking of going one of these third party auto repair facilities is: Compare prices. The dealership could cost less than you think. Get written quotes. That’ll prevent “mistakes”” from happening.”
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