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Review for Bender's Automotive
Karen S. on 04/08/2015
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"Unscrupulous Mechanic"
My husband and I have been going to Benders for many years. Our most recent experience was so appalling that they have lost our business permanently.

Typically, I take my car in for routine service, wait for it to be done, and then my husband settles the bill via his business account. I have never received a written estimate prior to any work done. When I needed my A/C repaired, Chris just called my husband and told him how much it was. It was basically just a routine service every time. We went on in such a fashion with no problem, for years.

I brought it in for an exhaust leak. Chris said I would need to leave it for 3 to 4 days, and it would cost at most $2,000. I also told Marlan that I would like a quote on how much it would cost to repair a sticking tailgate. I told him that we would have to do the repair next time, because we could not afford to do it now on top of everything else. Again, no written estimate, which I didn't question because we've never gotten one. I rented a car, and started checking in every few days. I always got the same answer, that they were almost done with it, and it would be ready by the end of the day or at the latest tomorrow. On and on it went, until 14 DAYS had passed, always with "it'll be ready by the end of the day or at the latest tomorrow." By that time, the rental car had cost way more than we'd planned on, and my husband was now calling, too. Chris told my husband that the bill was almost $5,000, and since they kept telling us our car was "almost ready", we were led to believe the work had already been done. My husband requested a breakdown in writing, and that was when we were faxed our very first estimate ever. That cost included repairing the tailgate and the gas pumping issue, even though I expressly asked for a quote only. My husband was furious, and asked him why he would proceed when it would cost more than double what we were told, without getting our approval, first. After a couple of conversations, Chris said that not all the work had been done already, after all, and he took out a few of the items to bring the bill down to just over $3,000, which is still 50% higher than we'd been told. What gave me pause is that Chris said they had to do the timing belt, which was overdue by 30,000 miles. That means that we had brought it in for service 10 TIMES, without them mentioning that, hey, you know what? Your timing belt is due. What were they doing during all those service appointments, changing my oil and sending me on my way without actually checking anything?

I called the day before I was to pick it up, and they said my truck was just about ready. They just had to add some fluids and take it for a test drive. I called that morning, and was told my truck was just about ready. They just had to add some fluids and take it for a test drive. I live an hour and a half away. They swore it would be ready that morning, well before the 1:30 pick up time. I called them on the drive down, and I swear they told me my truck was just about ready. They just had to add some fluids and take it for a test drive. I called them when I arrived at Enterprise, and I kid you not, they told me my truck was just about ready. They just had to add some fluids and take it for a test drive. At this point, I thought they were messing with me just for the fun of it. Even the Enterprise rep said he heard what was going on. He was supposed to drop me off at Benders, but he said he wouldn't leave until I actually had my keys in my hand. We get to Benders, and you know what they said? My truck was just about ready. They just had to add some fluids and take it for a test drive. Enterprise waited patiently with me for 20 min. (Please see my glowing review of Enterprise.)

I called my husband while I was waiting, and he was so disgusted he said we probably wouldn't use them again, and not to sign anything except the credit card receipt. He had doubts about the work since they had such trouble getting the truck ready. Chris gave me an invoice to sign, instead, which released getting the work done. I told him I was only supposed to sign the credit card receipt, and that he needed to have my husband go over the invoice. He told me that it WAS the credit card receipt. So I signed it. And then he smiled & gave me an actual credit card receipt to sign. Then they told me I had to bring it back in 500 miles at no cost because they didn't finish the work. Tailgate was covered in WD40. I called him driving home because the check engine light was on (wasn't before) and it was still making the same noise. He said it could take hundreds of miles to go away & might never. My husband told them they didn't connect the exhaust right and was told they would fix it. Brought it back, and Chris didn't remember what he was supposed to do. Claimed he told me to bring it back at 500 miles with no charge "just to check it," which makes no sense as he'd had it for 2 weeks. He charged me $160 for a fuel ratio filter that he never told us he was doing, and $50 for an oil change he said we didn't pay for last time, even though I did. The invoice recommended I replace the struts, so they didn't notice we took it somewhere else and had that done already. My truck still makes that exhaust leak sound.

At this point, I worry my truck is unsafe to drive since they either don't know what they're doing or aren't doing a good job.
Service Date: 04/07/2015
Review Created: 04/08/2015 01:22 PM