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I am overwhelmed to say the least. I went to purchase new tires and check a problem with a clunking noise while driving. I paid almost $1200. This included tie rod ends, 4wheel alignment, wheel bearing, and 2 tires. I left telling myself the money spent was an investment. I drove not two blocks and the problem was still there. I call the mechanic and they took me in a couple days. The mechanic rode with me to hear the imaginary clunking noise. When he heard it too he took it back in the garage. When they returned I was handed another list of work needed that totaled over $1000, gas strut cartridge replace, gas matic front - pair, and struts (which I was told were fine but they would not do the work without also the struts). A second opinion before committing to the work the shop was told the story about the clunking noise. The estimate given was $295 to fix the problem-Bushings, plus power steering pressure hose, and a fluid top up. What are my rights with the $1200 already spent?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Bogi Lateiner, Owner and Technician at 180 Degrees Automotive Hi Dee, First I want to say how sorry I am to hear about your adventure. Unfortunately this is a really difficult area. They are legally only allowed to do work that you approve and can not require you to pay for anything you did not approve. That being said - assuming the first shop called you or gave you a written estimate before they did the first $1200 worth of work, and assuming you gave your written or verbal approval, there is little that you can do. There is no way of knowing at this point if your car actually needed the repairs they did or not, and it *may* have. Sometimes there is more than one thing going on and as technicians we have to eliminate the obvious before we go any further. That is not to say that they handled it right, just that making a case against them will be difficult. It is worth a try to talk to the owner and let them know about the diagnosis the other shop gave you and that is resolved the problem. I*d let them know how dissatisfied you are and that you would like to give them the opportunity to make it right with you. Unfortunately that is about as much as you can do. ...aside from telling everyone you know how disappointed you were with their service and than how happy you were with the second shop. Review the two shops online - customer reviews online are *very* important these days, and while you may not get your money back - at the very least you can help spare someone else the same experience and you found a quality shop that you can start to build a good relationship with! Good Luck! Bogi Lateiner

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Questions back to you: -Did the replacement of the bushings get rid of your clunk? -Did you ask the 2nd shop to check to make sure they did replace the tie-rod, wheel bearings and do an alignment? -Did you ask the 2nd shop to check your struts. If you feel safe with the 2nd shop, I would ask them for help... or I might even get a 3rd opinion. I would make sure I had good solid information about my car. I would even have the shop take pictures to prove what is wrong, what is not wrong and what was done & not done. If the struts are really OK, I would take back all the *evidence* to them, ask them for your money back (they may only give you a %, but that would be better then nothing.)Let them know that you are taking action against them. You will call the attorney general*s office, and tell alllllllll your friends, blog about them and report them to the Better Business Bureau. If they are AAA approved, you could call AAA and they will investigate what happened. You could call the Better Business Bureau to report this. You could call the Attorney Generals office. BUT, please make sure you have accurate information. You need to know for certain that your car doesn*t need struts.... and that the repairs from the 2nd shop fixed the problem. Good Luck.

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