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Repair Question

Old 07-27-22, 07:53 AM
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Specialized1602
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Repair Question

Recently brought in mt road bike in for service. I needed tires and tubes new chain, cassette and replace a broken spoke. I decided to have the bike tuned up which included “ Major Wheel truing “. Looking at the work order I noticed in addition to $20 charge to install the new spoke there was an additional $30 charge for truing the rear wheel. I thought since the tune up included Truing I couldn’t understand the additional $30 charge. Is this a normal practice? Would appreciate any opinions and experience regarding similar cases. Thanks in advance
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Old 07-27-22, 08:00 AM
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If you need parts, then those are extra cost. A wheel truing is not part of a tune up.

Tune up's usually get a quick check of your wheels, but not a truing. You really should ask the shop about the charges. They probably know more about them.

Last edited by Iride01; 07-27-22 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:01 AM
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If they have that in writing that a "major wheel truing" is included then, yes, I will say there should be no extra charge as they have already charged for the labor of installing a new spoke. Could be they just made a mistake in the billing but who knows.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
If they have that in writing that a "major wheel truing" is included then, yes, I will say there should be no extra charge as they have already charged for the labor of installing a new spoke. Could be they just made a mistake in the billing but who knows.
Sounds like "Major Wheel Truing" (whatever that is) is separate and apart from "installing new spoke."
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Old 07-27-22, 08:08 AM
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Thank you no mistake I tried contacting them received a call that I missed the message left by the shop was they would explain the charge. I’am picking the bike up on Thursday so I’ll let them explain the charge.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
If they have that in writing that a "major wheel truing" is included then, yes, I will say there should be no extra charge as they have already charged for the labor of installing a new spoke. Could be they just made a mistake in the billing but who knows.
Thank you….. no mistake missed a call back from the shop message stated they would explain the charge. The shops been closed, I’ll try again today to get clarification.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:35 AM
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Let us know how it goes with the shop.
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Old 07-27-22, 09:15 AM
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This reeks of poor communication. The shop seems to have not informed the OP of increased costs beyond the common 10%/$10 allowance many states have in their "fair business" laws. The shop might have done a poor job at describing what their tube up consists of. And when added labor costs would be incurred. The OP might not have given the service writer the limits of what was acceptable in expected costs.

We try really hard (but being human we fail too sometimes) to assess the bike's condition at the time of the drop off. We have always felt that many issues, both mechanical and relationship ones, can be avoided if the service writer is on the ball and the customer is willing to listen. It seems that some of this post's complaints started at the service write up.

Next up is what is a tune up. Different shops use broad and not well defined terms and references like "major" vs "minor" or "check" vs "adjust". Different shops have more steps and thus mechanical work in their tune ups, or less steps. (When I had my own shop I used the Barnett System guide lines/check lists and had copies in our labor rate book so interested customers could read for themselves what we did during a tune up on their derailleur bike VS their coaster brake bike). In every shop I have worked in (9 including my own, over 45 years) included "minor" wheel truing as part of the basic or deluxe tune ups. We also included such deeper aspects like bearing adjustments. We also would reduce any added labor needed to install parts during a tune up. We also tried really hard to inform the customer of any unanticipated needs before doing them if the added cost was above the allowance, but there are times when this is not achievable in the time frame the customer agreed to. This aspect, what's acceptable judgement, and what is not, can be a vital point to avoid problems. (In my long ago closed shop we had a service form with agreed to work listings with an aprox cost estimate, and a high cost limit line, that the customer signed off on and left with a copy when they dropped off their bike). I have test worked for quite a few shops that I walked away from after the test day, because they didn't have best practices with this stuff and I wanted a good reputation independent of where I was wrenching at.

IME this issue of added costs, mechanic's judgement and communication is becoming worse. I see at least two factors changing over the years. One is many customers are not understanding the repair process takes time and judgements. My thinking here is that as the world is becoming more digital and online based the understanding of what it takes to do stuff with one's hands is getting lost (or never known to begin with). The second is the shrinking ability for a shop to stay in business and, thus, the pressure to reduce the time spent doing anything. Especially in the last few years (C19) the work load has increased but the personal has reduced. Know any one who is not working now but doesn't feel like they need to? How many neighbors have pulled out of the shed their old bikes because the gym was closed.

My suggestion to the OP is first jot down (gosh, a real pen on paper task) what was said at the drop off (and if you have an estimate or copy of initially agreed to work ticket all the better), what you took this to mean, what actually happened (lack of contact when added work was done). Review any service policies that are posted in the shop or on their website. Then ask to talk with the manager when you pick up the bike. Explain all that you have noted and what you expected to happen if the cost were to grow. Listen to their response and any offers they make to handle the problem. Suggest what you are comfortable with knowing that the bike is now is safer and more reliable working order. This is a negotiation in the best cases. If you are not OK with this give and take don't pick up the bike, don't pay the bill (or only pay what was initially agreed to and leave the bike there for further resolution). Then seek help from the local Better Business Bureu, and let the manager know this is your next step. The last resort would be outing this shop on line. Many shops are using some sort of feed back system (through Facebook or the such) and fear public shaming more than the BBB giving them a bad rating. Why don't you go to the public right away? Because you don't want to loose this shop's future service and if you out them publicly they are likely to never help you again (Just about every shop I've been in has a "no longer a customer" list. Maybe not written down. There are ways to not do work for someone that is not discriminatory). Andy
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Old 07-27-22, 09:49 AM
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Old 07-27-22, 12:04 PM
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Iride01
if you read my post you would see that major truing is part of the tune up package I purchased
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Old 07-27-22, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
This reeks of poor communication. The shop seems to have not informed the OP of increased costs beyond the common 10%/$10 allowance many states have in their "fair business" laws. The shop might have done a poor job at describing what their tube up consists of. And when added labor costs would be incurred. The OP might not have given the service writer the limits of what was acceptable in expected costs.

We try really hard (but being human we fail too sometimes) to assess the bike's condition at the time of the drop off. We have always felt that many issues, both mechanical and relationship ones, can be avoided if the service writer is on the ball and the customer is willing to listen. It seems that some of this post's complaints started at the service write up.

Next up is what is a tune up. Different shops use broad and not well defined terms and references like "major" vs "minor" or "check" vs "adjust". Different shops have more steps and thus mechanical work in their tune ups, or less steps. (When I had my own shop I used the Barnett System guide lines/check lists and had copies in our labor rate book so interested customers could read for themselves what we did during a tune up on their derailleur bike VS their coaster brake bike). In every shop I have worked in (9 including my own, over 45 years) included "minor" wheel truing as part of the basic or deluxe tune ups. We also included such deeper aspects like bearing adjustments. We also would reduce any added labor needed to install parts during a tune up. We also tried really hard to inform the customer of any unanticipated needs before doing them if the added cost was above the allowance, but there are times when this is not achievable in the time frame the customer agreed to. This aspect, what's acceptable judgement, and what is not, can be a vital point to avoid problems. (In my long ago closed shop we had a service form with agreed to work listings with an aprox cost estimate, and a high cost limit line, that the customer signed off on and left with a copy when they dropped off their bike). I have test worked for quite a few shops that I walked away from after the test day, because they didn't have best practices with this stuff and I wanted a good reputation independent of where I was wrenching at.

IME this issue of added costs, mechanic's judgement and communication is becoming worse. I see at least two factors changing over the years. One is many customers are not understanding the repair process takes time and judgements. My thinking here is that as the world is becoming more digital and online based the understanding of what it takes to do stuff with one's hands is getting lost (or never known to begin with). The second is the shrinking ability for a shop to stay in business and, thus, the pressure to reduce the time spent doing anything. Especially in the last few years (C19) the work load has increased but the personal has reduced. Know any one who is not working now but doesn't feel like they need to? How many neighbors have pulled out of the shed their old bikes because the gym was closed.

My suggestion to the OP is first jot down (gosh, a real pen on paper task) what was said at the drop off (and if you have an estimate or copy of initially agreed to work ticket all the better), what you took this to mean, what actually happened (lack of contact when added work was done). Review any service policies that are posted in the shop or on their website. Then ask to talk with the manager when you pick up the bike. Explain all that you have noted and what you expected to happen if the cost were to grow. Listen to their response and any offers they make to handle the problem. Suggest what you are comfortable with knowing that the bike is now is safer and more reliable working order. This is a negotiation in the best cases. If you are not OK with this give and take don't pick up the bike, don't pay the bill (or only pay what was initially agreed to and leave the bike there for further resolution). Then seek help from the local Better Business Bureu, and let the manager know this is your next step. The last resort would be outing this shop on line. Many shops are using some sort of feed back system (through Facebook or the such) and fear public shaming more than the BBB giving them a bad rating. Why don't you go to the public right away? Because you don't want to loose this shop's future service and if you out them publicly they are likely to never help you again (Just about every shop I've been in has a "no longer a customer" list. Maybe not written down. There are ways to not do work for someone that is not discriminatory). Andy
Thank you Andrew
The initial bill which they emailed didn’t show the spoke replacement which I requested not long after I received an amended invoice showing the charge $20 for replacing the spoke with an additional charge of $30. The tune up package included “major truing bearing adjustment ( I’d send a copy to show you but can send attachments. The shop didn’t mention a truing charge when they wrote up the work order. I don’t have any problems except for the additional truing charge.
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Old 07-27-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Specialized1602 View Post
Is this a normal practice?
Is overcharging a normal practice? Yes. That's why you should learn all this simple service on a very simple machine yourself.
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Old 07-27-22, 12:37 PM
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I don't think shops routinely "overcharge," but I'm glad dedhed posted those labor rates. It's great to see how much money I've saved just over the last two years--maybe hundreds of dollars doing things myself, that I actually enjoy! How many times did I overhaul my hubs? install new derailleurs? Adjust brakes? True wheels? Install new brake cables and housing? Wrap bars--it really adds up fast!
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Old 07-27-22, 12:42 PM
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FWIW, the last time I had a shop replace a spoke for me the charge was $20, including truing. (It was a week later when I found several spokes de-tensioned that I decided I needed to learn how to do it myself.)

$50 to replace a spoke and true the wheel sounds excessive to me. $30 plus the spoke wouldn't be unrealistic, IMHO. And if your major tune-up included truing, I can't imagine why they'd true the wheel, then replace the spoke, and the re-true the wheel.
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