This message is only my opinion and serves as a warning about one of the biggest RIPOFF mechanics in Sudbury, Ontario. Armand's Auto Clinic located in Sudbury, Ontario.
Armand's Auto Clinic
593 Notre Dame Ave
Sudbury, ON P3C 5L4
I took my vehicle to Armands on Monday, January 12th, 2009 because I had a leaking radiator hose. I left my vehicle in his parking lot because the business was closed when I arrived there. The next day I phoned the owner to explain why my vehicle was sitting there, and what needed to be fixed. He told me that he wouldn't be able to repair it that day (too busy) but that it would be done the next day.
During the phonecall to the garage, I asked for three things to be done:
1) repair the rad hose leak
2) inspect the back of the car because I smelled gas (possible leak)
3) The car was not starting all the time and to check the charging system (battery and alternator)
I also asked about the labour to replace the rad hose and Jean-Guy (the mechanic at Armand's) stated that it would be about half an hour which would be $40 ($80 per hour rate). The hose itself would be $95.
So based on this, I anticipated a bill of approximately $135 plus whatever labour was involved for the charging system test.
Jean Guy also stated to me that my car runs like a bag of s**t and that he thought that the engine was misfiring.
So a day went by and I heard nothing. The next day I receive a phone call from Jean-Guy who informs me that my car was ready. The final cost would be $350.
$135 to $350 is quite the markup don't you think?
Jean Guy went on to explain that not only did he replace the radiator hose but he also replaced the coil pack which had been causing the rough engine idling. The coil pack was only $20 (used from a wrecking yard) but also "about an hour" labour ($80). The cost of rad-fluid was $14.
Let's do some math here:
Rad hose ($95)
Rad fluid ($14)
149$ for repairs that I DID ask for
Let's add on the cost of the coil-pack repair that I did NOT ASK FOR.
This brings the bill to $249 presuming that I pay for unauthorized work (which I won't).
I went in and paid him $200 that I felt was an adequate cost for the radiator repair and a charging system test. I made no mention of the fact that I didn't ask for the coil-pack to be repaired because I didn't want a confrontation. I simply told Jean Guy that I would need to go to the bank, and I never returned.
I went home and wrote him a letter indicating why I was refusing to pay the remainder of this bill. I quoted the Consumer Protection Act violations that he committed:
56. (1) No repairer shall charge a consumer for any work or repairs unless the repairer first gives the consumer an estimate that meets the prescribed requirements.
58. (1) No repairer shall charge for any work or repairs unless the consumer authorizes the work or repairs. 2002, c. 30, Sched. A, s. 58 (1).
I did not provide a maximum amount that I was willing to spend nor did I authorize the additional work. The final bill is also well in excess of the allowable 10% above estimate allowance.
I thought that this would be the end of things but apparently not. I received a phone call from an irate Jean Guy on January 26, 2009. He had received my letter and was not pleased at all.
Jean Guy gave me a little more clarification into my bill being so high:
The $149 for the radiator hose repair remained the same (parts & labour). Interestingly enough though the price of the radiator fluid had magically doubled from $14 to $23.90 as he was now claiming that it took two containers of fluid. The charging system test was $40 labour.
I digress I did ask for the battery charging test to be done and in all fairness my bill should be adjusted like this:
$149 radiator repair
$9.90 additional rad fluid cost that came out of nowhere
$40 charging system test
$198.90 is still within the $200 that I had paid Jean Guy.
But it gets better Jean Guy also stated that I also owed $40 for a pressure test' on the radiator. $7 for hose clamps and, oh yes $40 for the fuel line inspection.
I asked you what the labour would be to replace the radiator hose, I said to Jean Guy. He replied, You asked me what the labour would be to REPLACE the radiator hose. You didn't ask me what it would be to put in new fluid and run a pressure test afterwards.
Woe be me, oh petty customer. Apparently you need to be very precise and speak slowly when asking Jean Guy questions about estimates.
Incidentally, when you replace a radiator hose, you put in the new fluid to replace the old and then let the car run with the radiator cap removed to remove any air in the system. There is no need for a pressure test to be done, nor did I request one to be done. In fact, I had told Jean Guy exactly where the leak was occurring in the hose. This was proven when he showed me the old hose with the crack in the same spot that I'd mentioned.
The inspection of the fuel line was as simple as putting the car on the hoist and giving it a quick look. For this, Jean Guy charged me (or wants to) $40, which translates to half an hour's work.
He went on to say that he doesn't give estimates (the Consumer Protection Act says otherwise) and that he charges for the entire time the car is in the shop. Obviously I can see why he doesn't want to give estimates because I think that he likes to jack up the cost of these repairs and blindside his customers.
At this point I'm not sure even Jean Guy knows where these costs are coming from. We have $198.90 in LEGITIMATE fees plus $100 in ILLEGAL REPAIRS to the coil pack, plus $40 for an unnecessary radiator pressure test plus $40 just to just look at my fuel line with his own eyes. The total for the above adds up to $378.90.
Jean Guy went on to say that, I felt sorry for you and did you a favour. The bill could easily have been as high as $500.
I am therefore warning potential customers about Armand's Auto. Jean Guy went ahead and ordered me a used part from a wrecking yard, installed it, and then tried to bill me $100 for it. I was never informed of this repair nor did I ask for it.
When I asked for an estimate on the radiator repair, which was my right, I was quoted a cost of $40 labour. When it came time to pay for that repair, I was dinged with additional fees that were not given in the estimate.
I was told that they don't even GIVE OUT ESTIMATES despite having already done so with me.
What sort of a garage bills a customer $40 to put a car up on a hoist, start it up, and spend 5 minutes looking for a gas leak?
Armand's Auto Clinic not only performed unauthorized work but then had the gaul to demand that I take my car back to them to put back in the old' (and broken) coil pack that was replaced with a used working one. Keep in mind that the working part was a non-refundable $20 used one from a wrecking yard. The time spent for Armand's to remove this $20 part would be the same amount of time it took for them to install it.
Finally, Jean Guy told me that he would report me to the credit agency. In essence: a debt collection service. That will be interesting to do considering he has only my first name and a phone number.
One last thing. Jean Guy stated to me that I was lucky he even took my car in because he works by referrals only. In other words, if you want to be a customer of his, you need to have someone recommend you to him.
Funny, I thought that in real life people recommended mechanics to customers not the other way around.