Over the years, I’ve taken our three cars and our two sons’ cars to Monroe for oil changes. We get postcard reminders with a discount deal and I take advantage of them. As of today, the $18.99 postcard coupon was better than the Walmart $31.xx basic oil change. Monroe is convenient because they’re close, and I can make the appointment and sit and read something while they do the work….or we both drive over there, drop whichever car off and then get it at the end of the day.
And I KNOW that they are going to try to upsell me something more than what I went in for. McDonald’s does it with their suggestive selling, “Would you like to try….” or “would you like to add fries and a drink?”
Air filters, windshield wipers and higher mileage oil (twice the price) are the favorites.
Two trips (@7000 miles) ago, they said I needed tires. Problem was that the tires they wanted to replace were tires THEY sold me…..and I wasn’t yet at the projected miles. Of course there were the warranty loopholes. The manager, for whom I have zero respect for at this point, told me I should have bought better tires. When I responded that I bought the tires they sold me, his response was that “I was not the manager at that time.”
My last trip they tried the tire approach again. I flat out told him I was not going to buy tires from Monroe.
So today, they got on the brakes. He sits next to me with his clipboard and asks, “If I can make you a super deal, can we do your break pads and roters on the front?”
“What’s your best price?” I asked.
“Since you’re already here, I’ll do it for $290.”
Thinking that sounded high, I told him I wanted to check it out. “But you’ve got ‘0’ left on your pads and you’re grinding metal. I just can’t let you leave with an unsafe car.”
“Man, I’d take just about any reasonable offer.”
“But I asked for your best price….so NO, not today.”
“But we price match for up to 30 days.”
“I won’t want to go comparison shopping after the fact. We’re done here. I will pay you today the price that was on the postcard, plus tax. Do whatever work you can do for that price.”
(Read the final Monroe conversation at the end…..)
So, I asked for recommendations on Facebook and heard several names. I also called some places about tires.
- Ambler’s. One recommendation. I have had them do work on two of my cars. Very up front, honest, reasonable people. The price on brakes was about $240 ($50 below Monroe) and tires were something they would order in (price was a little high).
- Kipp’s. Two recommendations. Excellent muffler/brake shop. I’ve done work there before. Brake quote at $245 ($45 under Monroe). But they did these brakes before and I asked about that lifetime warranty. “But those were Bendix brake pads and we don’t honor that any more unless you have the certificate.” Turns out, I have the receipt, but not a certificate. I have an appointment to go there Tue, and if I do need brakes and they honor my receipt, they’ll get my business. They don’t do tires.
- Daniel’s. Two recommendations. Not familiar with that one. I put them on my list for future consideration.
- Pfiester’s. One recommendation. Haven’t heard of that one either.
- Niswander’s. Even the dealer price was $45 below the Monroe special deal; about $250. They don’t do tires.
- Wertenberger’s. Didn’t ask about brakes. Tire prices were competitive.
- Walmart. They don’t do brakes. Had the best tire prices. And if I replace the two that Monroe sold me, then all 4 tires on the car will be Walmart-supplied so I can take advantage of the free rotation…..so that is my tire decision.
- Mike’s Car Care. Competitive on both brakes and tires…. I’ve dealt with them before…..but will probably stay closer to home.
With all this, I called the Monroe guy back. When I challenged him on why his price was $40+ higher than everyone elses, here was his respoonse…..
“Of course it is. All those guys are using ‘off the shelf’ pads that you could buy and put on yourself. You’re comparing hamburgers to steak, man.”
How do you think the conversation ended?
ps… Beware ticking off a guy who manages five blogs, three facebook pages and an active twitter account. Just sayin’. But hey, I don’t try to be a difficult customer. I just want people to tell me what they will do and then do what they say. I want them to sell me what I want to buy…..and if they think I need to consider something else …. then let me consider it.