Excuse number seven: Those miscellaneous shop charges

All the excuses you need to know so you can feel better about yourself while paying outrageous prices to fix your car.

Viable excuse number seven, those irritating miscellaneous shop charges.

In our last Article we discussed the expense item on the bill “hazardous waste removal”, and we blamed the spontaneously combusting rivers of my childhood for that charge (OK they didn’t spontaneously combust, but they did regularly catch on fire and spontaneously combust sounds so much cooler than catch on fire and I just wrote it three times! Have I given away that I’m really a mechanic and don’t know the first thing about writing?) Ok all this talk is just a delay tactic because todays topic is miscellaneous shop charges and they are in part, my fault.

To understand the evil ‘miscellaneous shop charge’ you first need to understand the difference between the big dealer parts sales structure and the small shop like mine. At the big dealer they have this guy who is called the parts manager. His job is to make sure every last screw used on your car is on your bill. This guy does such a good job making sure you pay everything you owe he gets paid enough to support his ex-wife his kids that live with her his mistress and a very cool and expensive car. Guys like me on the other hand are way too busy doing the job of service manager, parts manager, salesman when someone wants a car, and mechanic when I mess up and over book, to track all those tiny parts. So, guys like me invented the miscellaneous shop charges line item to try and re-coup the losses on all the small stuff we missed. By the way guys like me have no ex-wives or cool cars, we can’t afford them.

So the next time you see a line item for miscellaneous shop charges remember, If you’re at a big dealer they already billed you for everything and that line item is bogus! But if you’re at a small time shop like mine it’s perfectly legit… one thing you can be sure of is… that portion of the bill is not your fault!

Nick Rowe has more than 20 years experience in the automotive industry. He has worked at Volvo, Dodge and Jeep dealerships and is currently one of the mechanics at Horseless Carriage in Milford.