Longtime Customer - No More I have been going to F&F for the past t... read more Longtime Customer - No More I have been going to F&F for the past two years and recommending them highly to anyone that would ask. It seems that something has drastically changed. My previous mechanics were not around but the owner was there so I was happy to deal with him. I took the car in for an oil change and NC State Inspection. Red flag #1 - Not taking my "no" the first time. I received a call from him a few hours later letting me know that the car needed more work associated with an oil leak. He quoted me about $475. I refused the additional work and let him know that the oil change has been around for years and that we routinely monitor the levels. In 2009, we were told that the fix for the small oil leak would cost "more than the car is worth". So we have continued to drive the car and monitor our oil levels. After refusing the service, he let me know that he was not "trying to make money on me" but that "the car could catch on fire" and "the air filter is incredibly dirty." I told him again, no that I don't have the budget for now and that I am not going to proceed with the service (I change the air filter at home and yes, it was due for a change.) He recommended again that the service be performed and I sternly told him that I would not be paying for the recommended service at this time. Red flag #2 - Charging for a service that was not finished/completed before telling me that it was not finished/completed A few more hours go by and I call to find out if the car is ready. "Yep" it was so I walked up the street to get it. After swiping my card for the $30.00 inspection fee and the cost of the oil change/labor he proceeds to tell me that I will need to drive the car around for about 100 more miles because the system was "not ready" to be tested and that it could have been reset if the battery died or the light was reset. We had actually had both happen. I had purchased a new gas cap from a local parts store and they reset the malfunction indicator light that was most likely being triggered from a torn ribbon on the old gas cap and the battery had died afterwards. Red Flag #3 - Would the recommended $475 service actually fix the issue? We continued to talk and I told him that we had been told by another mechanic that the oil leak would cost more than the car is worth to fix and asked him if he could assure me that the $475 quote would fix the leak. He said that he couldn't guarantee that because the engine is so dirty from the leak, he would have to figure out exactly where the leak is coming from so the cost could be more. Ok - so I pay $475 for?? Red Flag #4 - Offering to buy my car at a low-ball amount After I told him about the fix being worth more than the car is worth he said, "If you're serious about selling it, I will give you $1,000 fix it up myself and sell if for $3,000. That's a good college car and I can sell it to someone to drive for another 4 years around town. I said, "It would start at $2,500 if we sell it." He said, "In the condition it is in? You won't get that." While that may be true, it seems very odd to have the owner of a garage offer to purchase your car for undervalue and TELL you that they can triple their money by doing the repairs themselves. He then says again, "Talk to me if you decide to sell." Red Flag #5 - Oil Cap Not Screwed Back On I left the garage, drove the car home and popped open the hood to replace the air filter. I can't get the screws off the cover with my tools because they are on WAY too tightly. No biggie, I figure he can loosen them for me the next day. I happen to check the oil cap and thank God that I did. The cap was resting on the reservoir but had not been screwed back on AT ALL. Not one thing was keeping the cap on other than gravity. Good Customer Service I Was Used to for the Past 2.5 Years I called him the next morning and he was quick to loosen the screws on the air filter cover and apologize for the mechanic not screwing the oil cap cover back on. He said that he talked to the mechanic and that "we are all human." Yes. I agree with him there. As I told him: I wasn't mad; I just knew that it needed to be done correctly. Where it gets ugly I decided that I wanted to get a second opinion because all of the things mentioned above weren't settling well. After driving the car for a bit, I had it inspected at another local garage and it passed. I asked them about the $30.00 charge from the previous garage and they told me that didn't seem right that maybe he was banking on me bringing it back in to F&F and there wouldn't be another charge but that they should refund me if I didn't have it done their. I called F&F and asked for my $30.00 back and they told me that I could bring the car in to be inspected and there would be no additional charge but that the "state charges them the money and they are charging it to the customer." I did my research. Called the DMV License and Theft Department and asked them if a station is supposed to charge for a "not ready" inspection reading. They said "No. You need to report this to an officer next week. They are not supposed to charge for that reading." (This was the week of Thanksgiving) I called F&F and said I had called last week asking about the $30.00 refund and that I was calling again to request it. I told them I had the car inspected somewhere else and that it passed and I have the receipt. He said "I can't refund you the money." I said, "I called License and Theft." He said, "Well, I can give you back the $6.25 for the inspection fee but I can't refund the $23.75 because the state charges us and I have to pay my mechanics. After all of the things I have done to help you; I can't believe you are acting this way. You are one of those customers that I don't want to have." I asked him what he has done to try to help. I asked if offering to buy my car for less than it is worth was what he was referring to. At which point, he could not remember having that conversation. He then said, " I was just telling you not to give the car away." I TRUSTED F&F for years. I recommended them. I put my name along with their name. No more. All of this over $30.00 when I had spent thousands there before.
He was timely, polite and knowledgeable. Also very thorough.
Brandon was very easy to talk to and explained what was going on as he... read more Brandon was very easy to talk to and explained what was going on as he was fixing my car. He also answered additional questions I had, as well as made sure to get me the right parts and make further suggestions for keeping my car in shape. I would highly recommend? him!