Issues were all addressed immediately
I received a follow up email and personal phone call from Clinton to address and discuss the issues I raised. First of all, I am satisfied with the explanation (for why certain services may cost more with IA) and apology (for the tire pressure and not informing me ahead of time how much the oil change would cost) I received. I also appreciated the honesty and excellent customer service in general. I plan to continue servicing my vehicle here.
I trusted the advice but not the charges
I like this shop and its people. I trust Chip's assessments of what work needs to be done and what doesn't. I'd rather pay a local shop than a chain, and I drive all the way across town to get to this place. I am willing to pay more for better quality work. With all of that said, I check prices with mechanic friends and a local "chain" before agreeing to pay for work. My van was already at IA, so I told them to change the oil. I didn't ask the price (my mistake), and so paid upwards of $60 for a routine oil change I could have gotten for $19.95 at any number of other places in town. I paid for a trip check which I know was performed because that's what led to the feedback about needed and anticipated maintenance. However one little item included in that (check tire pressure) was not done. I came in with the front left tire around 37 and the remaining ones at 31, and when I left, the same imbalance was still there. I had the rear brakes done, and paid about $50-60 more for the new brake pads/rear brakes than I usually pay at Ray Gordon, but again, my van was already there and I knew the work was needed, and it wasn't worth another day without a vehicle. What really got my goat was the quote on the transmission fluid exchange and brake fluid exchange. I wish I had the price quote with me. It was almost double the price Tire Kingdom charges for the same routine maintenance. The price quote to replace the timing belt (as a starting price) was higher than what the dealer charges, but with either situation the price can escalate or not, so it's hard to judge. While I'll pay for expertise, a big part of that is trust. By the time I figured out what I would have paid at Tire Kingdom & Ray Gordon (taking only the timing belt out of the factoring), I had lost a measure of confidence and was actually pretty upset with myself for prioritizing my time and potential future inconvenience over paying a reasonable price and letting the shop know I knew what that price would be. I have mixed feelings about returning and/or recommending to a friend for anything other than an expert opinion which is a shame because I really liked this place.