Wednesday, August 13, 2008

super rog vs. the evil repairman

(Thanks to Julie for doctoring up the picture for me!)

Mom's washer had some problem a few months back. The repairman came out and replaced the 'bearings.'

Another month goes by, and the washer is acting up again. This time the repairman says that the motor is shot and will cost $300-400 to fix. So, Carol upgrades to this little front-loading beauty - just the washer.

Roger was naturally intrigued. I mean, her previous washer was a Maytag. Aren't those babies supposed to last forever? And this one was only like 10 years old. His favorite kind of puzzle to solve. He poked around online and found that new motors are $125. Once he started tinkering around with it, he ended up just taking apart the transmission, greasing everything up like crazy, and putting it back together. Cost of repair: $0.

Aside from tooting Roger's 'man skills horn', this little adventure reminds me of how maybe repairmen are actually LOWEST on the 'slime list' of professions, even after realtors and lawyers - poke poke. In college, I quickly learned to take a boy along with me anytime i needed to talk to a mechanic about my VW bug, and preferably a tall one. One of these trips was particularly memorable, because I hadn't taken a boy to the FIRST mechanic. A nice tall specimen accompanied me for the second opinion - a guy who know NOTHING about cars, while by then I had a decent knowledge of how the Bug ran, just not the tools or inclination to fix it myself. The mechanic addressed his entire conversation to my friend, while I was the person answering his questions and detailing the problem. The estimate was about $1000 less than opinion #1 and did indeed fix the problem.

Since hooking up with the Rog, particularly AFTER he became convinced the Saab is indeed a fun car, I've not had to deal with mechanics. I did go to have my tires rotated once, and the guy told me I needed to replace all 4. I smelled a rat, and sent Roger back to the exact same tire store, and they rotated the tires without any fuss - or attempts at convincing him that he was risking his life every centimeter he drove further on those tires - at all. ARGH.

So what's the deal with repairmen/mechanics? Did mom's repair guy make a good faith mistake, or did he just not want to flip the washer over to get at the transmission. Did he decide the repair required was just not worth an hour of his time, or did he honestly think it was the motor - which is located in the FRONT of the machine, by the way, and which I could probably even change out without too much trouble (assuming the wires are the same colors as the existing one).

Do they get away with it because it's just not worth a lawyer's time to go after the $500-1000 difference between reality their 'estimate?' And how would you even prove your case in small claims court? So, most people just suck it up and take it, generally not having a method of recourse. Aside from hoping for an HONEST repairman the next time . . .


azufelt said...

You know, I've heard much debate from people over whether or not DIY jobs are done as well as a contracted one... and in some case maybe not, BUT, atleast you know what you did, for real. I mean, atleast when a mistake gets made, you know what the mistake was.

I'm a huge fan of DIY-ness.

Although I do have to ward of the mechanic-suckers when I get the oil changed (Yeah, of course TJ knows how to do that... is the $50 worth his time... usually not) They try to get me to change every filtering piece of crap in the crap. Last time I think I told them more than 10 times, all I wanted was an oil change, my husband will be back for anything else.

SO annoying.

MiaKatia said...

I get had by the oil change guys every time. The see me coming and just grin. Rog rocks! I think that is awesome that he fixed the washer.

I will never buy something big/expensive without a man around for the same reasons as you and the car experience. Annoying!

kat said...

i'm all for paying the $30 for the oil change - the hassle, the mess, the disposal of the hazardous waste, totally worth it.

what DOES cook my goose is what ashley stated - the 'add on attempts.' how many times does one have to say ONLY THE OIL CHANGE, PLEASE before they'll stop with the 'how about a new blah blah filter?' GIVE ME A BRAKE.