After six months of a progressively louder clicking sound emitting from my engine, I decided to take my car in for a free inspection.
After only about five minutes, the auto-mechanic mentioned that he was sure my fan unit was broken and needed replacing. Great. “How much?” I asked.
His brother, the operations manager, got back to me and said, “$925 before tax, which is about $1,004 after tax.” Sales tax is 8.5% in San Francisco.
Phew! I was mentally preparing for some $3,000+ bill because the clicking sound was near the engine. When you go on the car forums, you always read about the worst situations. Here’s a short recording if you’re curious.
The operations manager told me I’d have to come back next week because he’d have to order the entire fan unit. No problem. In the meantime, I decided to do what any rational person would do and check what fan units would cost online.
A bunch of options came up that were 30% lower than the shop’s quoted price. The next week, I gave the shop owner a ring and asked why such a huge price difference. He said the difference was between an original part from the manufacturer and a replica without a warranty.
Sensing his weakness over the phone, I asked him if there was any way we could get the price down. After stumbling through some umms and awws, he responded, “Why yes, if you pay ‘cash cash,’ not check, I’ll knock the price down to $750 out the door.“
“Will I still get a receipt and the warranty?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
Enticing! What would you do?