Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Follow up; A very bad auto service experience with Greensboro's Capital Subaru

If Capital Subaru doubled their labor costs on our vehicle, how many others have they ripped off over the last few years?  

We had our 2013 Subaru Legacy towed to Capital Subaru of Greensboro with a transmission related code.

The Service Advisor told me the diagnosis would not be charged if we did the work, which ended up not being true.

A common practice at auto service establishments is to mislead customers as to whether or not a diagnosis is charged for.  What happened here is the diagnosis charge was bundled into the total cost instead of being itemized separately, thus 'not charged'.

I replied in writing "You told me if I did the job diagnosis would be covered." The reply from Capital Subaru was "we will just charge you 4 hours."

Alldata, a labor quote guide, says the job takes 1.7 hours.

After escalation, the Service Manager sent a picture and told me the job took 4 hours. The computer program he used to generate the quote can be manipulated to show anything he wanted it to, so he did, deceiving us.  By changing the numbers around, he didn't provide what the labor guide cites, but what the Service Advisor quoted, which was about or more than doubled.

I confirmed a similar labor quote elsewhere. I recorded the call. Capital Subaru lied.  

Then I was quoted a higher price than the original by the Service Manager.

Then the Service Manager told me he was using "Grid Pricing", in writing and on a recorded call.

This is what I found on Grid Pricing;

"4. Flat Rate Grid Pricing Matrix; This slimy tactic is totally underground, one that goes completely unnoticed because of how well it's hidden.  The flat rate pricing matrix system is used by many of the big dealerships to increase labor cost for larger automotive repair jobs.  The dealership will claim that they use the system because the repairs that take longer to do will be at a more difficult level, which is total BS!

...The [extra money charged] is mostly all profit, the mechanic doesn't get a piece of the pie, the mechanic still gets paid the hours the job worth. My point is, if the garage you're bringing your car to for repairs is using this grid pricing matrix, you're getting ripped off, there is no justifying this increase in labor cost, unless you're the one charging for it."

Eddie Carrara
Founder of Simple-Car-Answers
The Service Manager removed the Grid Pricing, which they appear not to disclose to customers whatsoever.  It ends up the quote was about $300 more than it should have been, as the Service Manager willingly misled a Subaru customer for profit.

I called Subaru customer service line to no effect.  

Since we needed the vehicle, and didn't have time etc... to have it re-towed somewhere else at cost, I told Capital Subaru to do the work.

The first Valve Body installed didn't work. The job took another few days.

Then I was told the vehicle was ready for pick up.  I asked for a copy of the bill to review.  I was sent a bill that didn't spell out how many hours were charged for what.  After asking for the bill to be itemized, the Service Advisor wrote "That's the final bill".  Capital Subaru's Service Department refused to itemize the 4 hours.

The Service Manager seemed to have suddenly disappeared when we picked up the car.

Instead of quality customer service, we received the opposite.

Instead of honesty and integrity, we reaped deception and greed

Instead of a win win, we got a win lose.

Instead of truth, lies.

I forwarded this information to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and was contacted by the General Manager who reimbursed us for the two extra charged hours for overcharging the work by at least double.

The General Manager didn't acknowledge the issue. If Capital Subaru doubled their labor costs on our vehicle there is no indication the overcharging will be looked into, there is no resolution for the multitudes of others have they most likely ripped off over the years. The manager was dismissive and rude. He only made the monetary concession to end the phone call. Subaru National did nothing about an issue representative of their brand. They are most likely going to keep stealing from unknowing consumers.