Another case of a dealership overcharging customers to fix their vehicles has come to light from Mumbai. Team-bhp member Navin in a post on the popular automotive forum shared the story of a friend being overcharged by Skoda’s Autobahn dealership in Kurla, Mumbai.
The owner of the Skoda Laura was quoted a figure of Rs 1.68 lakhs by the Skoda dealership for a problem with her car’s engine, which was then diagnosed and fixed by an independent garage for just Rs 1,062 (inclusive of labour charges and GST).
According to Navin’s post on the team-bhp forums, a friend’s Skoda Laura started having engine issues on the night of 16th August. The afflicted Laura’s engine suddenly started revving and then slowed down. The owner’s son, who was driving the car at that time, decided to bring the car to a halt by the side of the road and then switched the engine off. However, when he attempted to restart the car, the engine refused to start again, forcing him to get the car towed back home.
The next day, the owner of the car and her son contacted Autobahn Skoda and had the afflicted Laura towed to the dealership’s workshop in Kurla, Mumbai. On the evening of August 18th, the owner of the Laura was contacted by the dealership and was given an initial oral estimate of Rs 2.5 lakhs to get the car fixed.
The owner, who is quite knowledgeable about cars, refused to accept this exorbitant quote and asked to speak to the manager of the dealership employee who contacted her, Mr Sameer. She then questioned the service manager, Mr Mudassar Kelkar, about the charges, who then emailed her a written quote of Rs 1.68 lakhs, with a split of Rs 1.43 lakhs for parts and Rs 25,000 as labour charges.
Disturbed by the still quite exorbitant quote, the Laura’s owner got in touch with an independent garage by the name of Bharat Auto Associates and had her car towed to the non-authorised service centre from Autobahn Auto. This was done after paying the Skoda dealership Rs 3,539 as estimate charges, ie: to diagnose the car.
The car was towed to the Bharat Auto Associates garage in Worli, Mumbai from Kurla (towing charges Rs 1,800) on the 21st of August, where the problem was diagnosed as an issue with one of the engine’s rubber belts (which is the first item listed on the Skoda dealership’s estimate).
The Skoda’s owner was charged a total of Rs 1,062 to replace the afflicted belt (including labour charges and GST) by Bharat Auto Associates. The independent garage diagnosed and fixed the issue in just two hours’ time and the owner was able to drive home her Laura by 6 p.m. that very evening. The Laura has not had any issues since.
However, the owner of the car was left shaken by her experience with the Skoda dealership and has asked the following questions,
- Had it been a less alert customer, would he/she have been “forced” to pay Autobahn Skoda Rs 1.68 lakhs or more?
- When a small independent garage can diagnose that only one item of Rs. 396 (as per Autobahn’s own quote and something that Bharat Auto charged Rs. 550 for) needs changing, why did Autobahn include charges for several other items including a “Compressor” for Rs. 62,982 and a “Bearing Speed Sensor Kit” for Rs. 17,076 in their quote?
- What was Autobahn Skoda’s intention?