I love local businesses. I try to give a recommendation whenever I am pleased with a local business. However, this time I feel like I should warn against a local business.
The setup: My wife was having problems with her headlight. Intermittently, the headlight would go out. I could always fix it by wiggling the wires, but the fix was not permanent. While I usually go to another local auto repair shop, my wife decided to take her car to J&J's because J&J is located close to our residence. J&J looked at the headlight and ordered the parts to repair the headlight. Seems good, so far.
The scam: My wife was working, so I agreed to pick up her car and take it to J&J for repair. I entered the lobby of J&J and was greeted by an employee sleeping in a chair. The employee opened his eyes after I walked in and stated that so-and-so will be with me in a moment. The employee then returned to hibernation. I should have taken this as notice and left immediately, but I decided to wait. So-and-so never arrived.
After waiting 5 minutes, the employee regained consciousness and left the room to continue repairs on another vehicle (I hope he wasn't charging the client for the time spent sleeping!). Another 5 minutes go by while a couple employees stroll in and out of the lobby without acknowledging me.
I text my wife that this is some of the worst customer service I have ever witnessed, and I will be leaving in 10 minutes if I am not helped. I stroll outside hoping to garner the attention of one of the employees. As I'm standing outside, I am looked over by a guy who I believe, judging by the website, is the owner of J&J. After looking my way, the owner, who is having a casual conversation with a friend, returns to his conversation. The owner looks at me a few more times over the next few minutes, and each time he continues talking with his friend while ignoring my presence. I text my wife that I only have 1 minute left before I am leaving.
At that time an employee pulls a truck out of the shop, hops out and asks if I have been helped. I tell him, "Not really." Without apology, the employee takes my information and starts working on the car. I was glad to have someone FINALLY offer a semblance of customer service -- or so I thought.
17 minutes later the repairs are completed. The employee who helped me offers up a bill of repairs. The bill gave the following information: 24$ for parts, 4$ for disposal fee(?) and 64$ for labor. Seemed like a large bill, but I assumed that they had quoted my wife the price and she had accepted. Wrong!
When I spoke with my wife after the repair, she expected nothing nearing 100$ for a 17 minute repair. She called and complained, but the employee stated that this was their hourly rate. I was amused by the amount, so I began calling the local auto repair shops that I frequent to get a quote for the same repair. Additionally, I called non-local repair shops to confirm the quotes. My quotes from other repair shops? The highest was 80$, the lowest was 40$ and the median was 55$. Astounding.
This is absolutely the worst service/price-inflation combination that I have ever received. J&J's ad mentions something along the lines of old time values -- I guess those old time values are price gouging.
RETAIL price of the part online: 12$ (compared with 24$)
Price of disposal for connector and wires: 4$ (recycle much?)
Price for labor: 64$ for 17 minutes=225$ an hour
As I stated in the title -- caveat emptor (buyer beware). I have never been so offended by a local provider of goods/services.