I have been taking my Honda into Bret's Independent since I first bought the car in 2001. Bret's Independent specializes in Honda and Acuras, and came recommended by my father who has owned Hondas since I can remember. At first, I was pretty impressed by them, which says a lot for an auto repair business. I usually worked with the same employee, who had great easy-going communication skills and would go over every detail with me until I understood. Even for just an oil change, I was brought out to the garage and shown a few things about my car.
That all changed the last time I was in. I left my car with the same man to check a couple of things, and picked it up after they closed. I believe what I had done is called a diagnostic test. I had a bill included this time around. I had had these done a few times before, and was always told it was free to check, and if the problem occured again (a faulty check engine light) to just bring it back in and they'd reset it again for free. I was not told beforehand of any charge for this service that had always been free. I called the next day to inquire about it, and was told I needed to talk to Bret himself.
When I called back when Bret was supposed to be in, I asked about it and he completely went off on me. Now, I am not an aggressive person. I am quite passive and shy, and it is already hard for me to make phone calls of that nature. I was in no way demanding anything, and he started hollering about how the machine costs X amount of dollars, they have to feed their families too, how I absolutely have to pay the money (I didn't even ask to have it waived, I just started to say how it had always been free before) etc... and no answer about the inconsistancy between that situation and my experience in the past. I would have at least incquired about why they don't inform customers of the general cost of a service beforehand (I was not given anything to look at or sign!), especially since it had been free in the past... but his random anger was so upsetting to me that I just left it at that and hung up.
Not something I will be dealing with again.
I can understand if it's an industry standard to be paying for this service. I really have no idea - I am just the average car driver that tries to inform myself the best I can, but doesn't typically understand too much about how it all works. However, I had always been told with a smile that I could just bring it back in again for free if I had the same problem. I did, got charged for it, and then yelled at.
Next time I am going somewhere else. If the first man I dealed with owned the business, I would gladly go back. Maybe this Bret guy was just having a bad day, but he sure managed to pass it on to me. I do not want to give my hard earned money to a guy who goes out of his way to make me feel bad.