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JHiggy
06-26-2011, 10:32 AM
Hey guys, wanted to get your take on something before following up with a audio repair outfit in San Diego. I'll try to make this as short as possible:

PO had a Pioneer F90BT installed. Worked fine for months but then GPS became stuck/wouldn't register. Researched problems and cost to send into Pioneer for their factory technicians to repair. Per their website, $200 flat rate (as there were no mods/damage which incurs $300) plus shipping @ approx $15. Supposed to take approx 3-4 weeks for them to return.

As I don't know how/didn't want to uninstall/reinstall myself, took it to a reputable spot in San Diego. The rep attempted to troubleshoot it after I advised him exactly what was going on. After allegedly working on it, he ended up calling Pioneer while I was there and they advised that it needed a hard reset (uninstall everything for 15 minutes). Didn't work. The rep advised that they could send it in and take care of the cost and shipping (to which I would be charged later) and then reinstall. Sounded right so I agreed. I was there for approx. 1 hour.

Waited approx 4 weeks. I called the repair spot and left a message, sent an email inquiring as to status. No response. The rep emailed back a few days later and indicated briefly that it can take this long and the would call them but it was Pioneer's lunchbreak so he would call later. No response from repair spot. Called again and obtained serial # from rep so I could contact Pioneer. Contacted Pioneer and their rep indicated that a part was backordered, the part came in and they would expedite.

Couple weeks went by and I checked my email to find that the repair rep emailed me to advise that the unit was to come in and to schedule reinstall. Called back and scheduled reinstall for this past Tuesday.

Reinstall took approx. 1/2 hr as I timed it. Charge came and I signed off. $300 for Pioneer factory repair, $15 for shipping, $110 for install & "r+r". I asked if Pioneer had sent anything back indicating what was done; repair rep indicated it took a long time probably because the tsunami and firmware had been replaced/upgraded.

Called Pioneer factory repair the next day at work to learn what they had done so I could have something concrete for my memory/records should it crash later. They indicated it was a firmware replacement and the repair facility where I had taken it sent them a check in the unit's package @ $200. I inquired if additional payment was requested/receive to make it $300 and they indicated that there was not for either.

I contacted the local repair facility rep the next day via email and documented my concerns regarding the cost of the Pioneer service repair essentially repeating the above.

The local repair facility rep sent me back this:

"First off, let me say I am sorry to take so long to get back to you. I have been by myself at the shop for the last few days, and it has been busy.

I can see where you are coming from. Unfortunately the best answer I have is that we are a business. And as a business we must charge more than what we pay for when dealing with products and services. I feel that what we charged was very fair as we worked to troubleshoot a radio install that was not done at our shop, nor was the radio sold through our shop. A good note is that I charged you $110/hr to work on your equipment, but if you come into our shop there is a sign, and the work order you hand signed, that both clearly say we Charge upwards of $140/hr to work on equipment not installed by our facility.

The breakdown I see of the services rendered to you:
We spent time to check in and check out your vehicle each time the car comes here.

We pay merchant services when you use a credit card to pay us.

At the end of the all work, we had near 2 hours into your car.

We paid $17 for shipping (with insurance).

I talked with you several times on the phone, or through email.

I communicated with Pioneer Repair facility multiple times to, both get the radio set up to send in, plus to find out the status and make payment with them.

If you feel we overcharged you, I am truly sorry. What would you like me to do to make you happy? At the end of the day, both you and myself being happy with the work and the amount charged are my main goal. Please let me know what you think is a fair charge and I will consider it."

What are your thoughts? My initial frustration is that I paid the amount without addressing my concerns when I paid re: the $300. After that, I'm quite upset that I was charged $100 more by the local repair rep for work they didn't even perform (as Pioneer did). Essentially, they padded their profit by this amount. That is, if you presume that he didn't charge me the right amount for labor. His cost for shipping (and insurance) has now changed as it was quoted on my receipt as $15. He's indicating miscellaneous charges like merchant fees and communication he and I shared (but didn't as I didn't call him more than 2x and our conversations were <30 secs). In total, I was there about 1.5 hours but the first time I went in, the unit spent 15 mins turned off doing nothing. I would presume it didn't take them more than 10 minutes to take the unit out. When they reinstalled, it too longer as they customized my settings (paired my phone) which I could have done.

Frankly, I'm not sure where to go with this. While I'm happy that the unit works and fits into it's original spot nicely, it works because Pioneer fixed it. The local repair spot uninstalled and reinstalled it. Based upon my knowledge, any and all attempts to determine status and updates were done by me as I was never contacted by the local to update me. His report that he contacted Pioneer, is doubtful as I wasn't updated by him. Per Pioneer's website, all that's needed for a factory repair is the unit shipped to them and $200. Want to get some objective opinions out there as I'm pretty heated and don't feel comfortable bargaining with him. Thanks everyone.

Jeff

Oli77
06-26-2011, 10:53 AM
Is it fair to pay $100 fee for handling your repairs (beyond the $200 pioneer fixing fee)?

I think so. As you didn't want to take it out, package it, ship it and reinstall yourself.

The thing that bugs me is that three times I have gone this route with electronics. I sent a sony camera back to them (worked for 6 months and then died again). I sent and HTC pro phone (was without one for 2 months) and eventually say gave up and sent me a new one. I sent an iPod for repair but it could not be repaired. So in all, they can't really fix their own products well, and I pay for shipping, leg work, insurance, etc... and products fail.

I hope your stereo stays fixed for ever (or until you forget about the $300 fee).

My 2cents.

shadowpuck
06-26-2011, 11:05 AM
i think it falls under shop markup.....a bit more upfront about the charges and a written estimate would have been nice.....

Marcus-SanDiego
06-26-2011, 11:19 AM
Rather than me writing this long, drawn out response, let me get to my conclusion:

I would not pursue this any longer. You should have got a detailed breakdown of the shop's cost before you authorized them to do anything. That's water under the bridge now. The shop thinks that it is justified in charging you the extra $100. You do not. It's a stalemate. Do you think the shop will ultimately refund the money to you? I don't. Therefore, I would chalk it up as a learning experience. Never do business with the shop again. And feel free to tell your friends the name of the shop you dealt with, so that everyone knows which shop you dealt with in San Diego.

I'm pretty good about sizing up my chances early. I'm also pretty good about figuring out how much time I'm going to expend trying to retrieve something. In this particular case, I'd likely cut my losses early. I'm already out the $100. I don't want to be out any additional time as well, which is also worth something.

If I thought that I could grab $50 of the $100 back (and I thought I could do it in less than 15 minutes), I'd go for it.

Otherwise, I'd move on.

az3579
06-27-2011, 08:45 AM
I think they were more than reasonable with the charge. They gave you a discounted price, and they did after all spend time uninstalling/reinstalling. The way I see it with labor charges, they're the ones who took one for the team.

If time was spent on something that they technically have nothing to do with, then a charge is reasonable.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

billschusteriv
06-27-2011, 11:38 AM
Rather than me writing this long, drawn out response, let me get to my conclusion:

I would not pursue this any longer. You should have got a detailed breakdown of the shop's cost before you authorized them to do anything. That's water under the bridge now. The shop thinks that it is justified in charging you the extra $100. You do not. It's a stalemate. Do you think the shop will ultimately refund the money to you? I don't. Therefore, I would chalk it up as a learning experience. Never do business with the shop again. And feel free to tell your friends the name of the shop you dealt with, so that everyone knows which shop you dealt with in San Diego.

I'm pretty good about sizing up my chances early. I'm also pretty good about figuring out how much time I'm going to expend trying to retrieve something. In this particular case, I'd likely cut my losses early. I'm already out the $100. I don't want to be out any additional time as well, which is also worth something.

If I thought that I could grab $50 of the $100 back (and I thought I could do it in less than 15 minutes), I'd go for it.

Otherwise, I'd move on.

Marcus has a good assessment on this one.

My apologies if these responses weren't what you were looking for. Considering the attitude and non-responsiveness of the shop, I'd most likely move along and be sure to tell my friends, family, and various internet business rating venues (Yelp, Yahoo! Business, etc) how dissatisfied you were with the shop and how seemingly dishonest they were in their estimates and cost breakdown.

Marcus-SanDiego
06-27-2011, 12:10 PM
And, Higgs, it's not that I don't agree with you. It's that I believe you'd be wasting your time in the long run. I don't see this shop working out a solution that will please you in the end.

kpro
06-29-2011, 07:41 AM
Honestly, we mark up everything we sublet out to outside companies, like radio repairs, machine shop work, rental cars, tow-in's...its pretty standard practicefor business'. You need to cover your overhead of your employess/supplies/whatever somehow, and if you charged actual cost, you wouldn't make it as a business. I would take Mark's advice and just squash it, take it as a learning experience. It sucks that it took that long to get it back though :(

JHiggy
06-29-2011, 08:51 AM
Thanks everyone for your opinions. Exactly what I was looking for and I appreciated your honesty and education. I decided to drop it. At the end of the day, regardless of whether I was pleased with them not providing what I would consider full disclosure, I didn't ask for a written estimate and breakdown of costs or what additional fees were to be added if they sent it in vs. myself. The way I see it upon reflection, they charged me what they believed was below or at cost for labor and padded the cost for sending in to Pioneer. It was/is a learning experience and your responses helped to remind me of such. I think I became a bit defensive when I read that part of the service provided were things I would consider the cost of doing business (returning 2 phone calls and a couple emails after receiving no phone reply) listed as services rendered in addition to the feeling I had that I was doing the leg work for follow up @ 4 weeks... see, still defensive.

The outfit was La Jolla Audio in San Diego. They appear to focus primarily upon sales/install of audio and radar in relatively high end autos (ferrari, lambo, mercs, bmw, porsche...boats, etc) although they do advertise repair on their website. What I can vouch for was that they uninstalled and reinstalled my unit without damaging the enclosed and it works now (but Pioneer actually fixed the bricked unit) as they appeared to plug it in properly. Not sure if I would strongly recommend them but I would presume they would do well with proper/custom install of a unit.

Thanks again guys.

Marcus-SanDiego
06-29-2011, 10:32 AM
Sounds like a plan, sir.

One thing, San Diego guys. If you guys ever have an issue with a San Diego car-related retailer/shop, there is a good chance that I might know someone. In this particular case, I know the owner of La Jolla Audio (Scott). He's a good guy. He has a competent staff. (Who did you deal with? Donald? Joel?) These guys are used to charging for stuff like this -- and their clients (many of whom have more money than they know what to do with) don't flinch.

My recommendation is to always make sure you get all of the costs upfront -- whether you're dealing with LJA or anyone else. I hate surprises. This will help you avoid them.