Can you get a refund from a mechanic that has ripped you off?

Earlier this month, I was hearing some funny noises coming from under the hood of my car. I checked and saw that the serpentine belt had been shredded. I took it to a mechanic and had a new serpentine belt put on, however I continued to hear the same noise. I took my car back and had them check it out to see where the noise was coming from and they gave me a list of issues they said my car had. This weekend, I took my car to them to have the tie rods replaced because they said that was one thing that was wrong with it and they also charged me for a wheel alignment that they said they were required to do when replacing tie rods. I ended up paying nearly $800 for the tie rod replacement and wheel alignment. However, later on that evening while I was driving, my serpentine belt came off.

Is it possible that the mechanic ripped me off? And am I able to get a refund?

12 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    In the US - BBB, and then there are State offices, that deal with the mechanical shops specifically, you can relate to. I know in Cali these can be efficient, since mechanics experience grief dealing with these. Finally, a flow attorney, like the guys dealing with tickets, might offer you an insight before a retainer.

  • Darla
    Lv 5
    3 weeks ago

    Unfortunately. Most places this is hard to work out in the customers favor. 

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    No, it would be pointless to rip you off if they just hand you back your money.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Maybe your car needed new tie rods. Maybe it didn't. We can't guess. If they did that work, you owe for it. Yes, wheel alignment was necessary after doing that job. A still or frozen pulley could cause a serpentine belt to be shredded and the replacement to get thrown off. If the mechanic didn't check the pulleys for stiffness or play or misalignment when they put the new belt on,  that's damned sloppy work and the problem will need repair. You bought a new belt and labor to install it. You owe that. They didn't do the job right, so they owe you doing it over right, but if more parts are needed and more repair is needed, you will owe for that. Were you ripped off? You need to examine the service invoice to see what labor and parts cost. If your car is an Audi,or a Mercedes, you probably got a discount, since they're so complicated ad hard to work on. I wouldn't guess your car is low mileage with the problems it has. Stuff wears out.

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  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    You said "and they gave me a list of issues they said my car had. " and yet you only list tie rod replacement & wheel alignment" 2 items does not make a LIST. Also these do not make noise when the car is in PARK, idling.

    . There are mechanics here that know a lot of stuff about a lot of different brands of cars.

    . Every car is NOT the same. So state the brand and the year of vehicle..HELPS US help you.

    And the LIST you got. So everything on that list you type out and your Odometer(mileage) reading. We kind of know how long certain parts last and what makes noise.

    "Funny noises" is not a description of the sound you hear.    Is it a "ting, ting, ting" or a "wap,wap,wap" or some other sound you can describe by comparing it to we hear every day? Like a phart.  Or a whistle.  Or knock. The more accurately you tell us, then we can imagine without seeing the car.

    What happened to the new serpentine belt is the fault of the mechanic. It was installed incorrectly, so he has to do it again GRATIS.  You don't want a refund, you want it repaired. You saw yourself your serpentine belt was shredded. Compared to a new belt, the old one was "flucked" real bad.  Chances are good that a pulley wheel seized up. That belt also drives the alternator which charges the battery and also drives the vacuum pump for your power brakes & power steering.  You were hanging on by a thread.

    When the belt comes off, means they did not set the tensioner correctly.  It all was loose.  They missed a step.  (realize these guys are working on 3 different cars AT THE SAME TIME so that is how stuff gets missed.  The wrench he needs is being used by another mechanic for another 5 minutes so he works on a different vehicle that has a different problem. By the time he gets back to your vehicle, the tool is now available BUT HE FORGOT HE NEEDED IT TO TIGHTEN UP STUFF. Schit happens. Usually there is 4 mechanics working on 12 cars at the same time.  It is not unusual.

    . Tie rod ends wear out way before ball joints do. Tie rods connect your steering together. They get damaged if you are in the habit of hitting the concrete sidewalk curb to stop the car...instead of using the brakes....or hitting many potholes at high speed. If you notice that your tires are wearing oddly, the alignment is out and without holding the steering wheel down  a straight stretch of road the car should not steer to the left or right  but generally go in a straight line down the road.  If it veers, then the alignment is off. 

    To answer the refund question.  Not on any planet.  But they  have to do the work on the receipt correctly or you could complain and have their business license taken away.  It costs them more to get the license back than it does to FIX YOUR CAR RIGHT.

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    There is 30 day  or a mileage  guarantee on all work., The S belt, yes, he must redo it free. If he missed a bad tensioner that caused it to fail so soon, that's His tough luck,. He must do it again, Correctly. Even if you just  said "change belt"., if there was another problem, he Must tell you and Ask if you want replaced or not. If Not, it is your problem. He Must put this In Writing too.  If he Kept Mum, its His  tough titty.. .Not  the tie rods unless of course again botched, say, they come loose and/or bad tire wear in 30 days or so many miles..

    No One said the mechanic was anything but a pro. Pros have laws to follow.  

    REF: Worked in appliance shop parts counter 3 years, familiar with law concerning work, estimates, and  30 day or more implied warranty on all parts and repair work in US .Only IF the failure not related to work done is it not covered. A hotly-debated  topic between service and customers.  but sometimes fixed free  anyway if they ***** too much.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Fly-by-night mechanics regularly rip off unsuspecting customers - 'fixing' things that aren't broken, overcharging, etc. - and most people don't know enough about cars to know the difference (and don't have the balls to go back and demand satisfaction because they are embarrassed by their lack of knowledge and are averse to confrontation).

    I was fortunate to grow up working on cars with my father - and I can fix just about anything (with the exception of transmissions - I will take them to a shop to be fixed/rebuilt).  I've swapped engines/transmissions, installed new clutches, timing/serpentine belts, and I do my own brakes, oil changes, filters, etc. - because I don't trust most mechanics to even touch my car.

    At the same time, there are some really good mechanics out there - you just have to find them, and when you do - nail their feet to the floor (and recommend them to as many people as possible).

    I don't know what I would do in your situation, but it would probably involve me, some of my violent friends (if necessary), and money going back into my wallet so that I could take it to someone competent.

  • 3 weeks ago

    It takes 1/2 hour per side to install tie rod ends. That's roughly $45 per side. A 4 wheel alignment averages $80. The tie rod ends are likely under $75 each. That's $350. Sounds like a $450 rip off to me.

  • 3 weeks ago

    I don't know what you both agreed upon, but when you replace tie rods it's pretty much mandatory that an alignment is to be done but replacing the tie rods isn't necessary unless they are bent. I would think that the ball joints would probably need replacing... not the tie rods. I would go back and ask why the tie rods needed replacing. I would ask to see them and make sure they look straight. I would take pictures and or video. I think at this point that the tie rods are probably not bent and ask to get your old tie rods reinstalled for no charge. This might get the mechanics very angry but thats gonna be their tough luck. I would get some people who know about cars and a lawyer to go with you. You also need to check your receipt to see what they charged you for.

  • Barry
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    Possible? It's a certainty. However you agreed to have the work done so you have no comeback. Refund? Don't make me laugh. You need to find an honest mechanic. Ask friends and family for recommendations. It sounds like a seized pulley in the line that will shred belts until it's replaced.

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