Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 07:23:25 -0700
From: "John Horner" <>
Subject: Re: Puzzled by a SAAB dealer's cliam of billings convention

Almost all shops in the USA go by a "flat rate manual" which gives time estimates for various jobs. They bill you for however long the book says it should take. The scam is that they add up each individual job time to reach a total, and when multiple jobs are being done at the same time it is of course more efficient. For example, say that the book says: Replace pulley #1 = 1 hour Replace pulley #2 = 1 hour Replace serpentine belt = 0.5 hours Then they bill you for 2.5 hours. However, if what the mechanic actually did was to replace two pulleys and the belt all in the same go, it may well have taken only 1.25 hours, yet they still bill you for 2.5 hours. Personally I think this is an area of practice which is ready for large scale investigation and class action lawsuit status. The fact, however, remains that this kind of thing is so called standard practice. The bottom line for me is that I do 99% of all my own repair and maint. work. John

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