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Old 24.11.2010, 12:47
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Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Hi All
I've been in Switzerland 6 months and as part of the moving in process I have imported a vehicle.
I had a pre-inspection done by a local garage in my village and new front brakes and discs were needed. As parts are expensive over here I sourced the discs and pads myself from the UK and had them shipped over, paying for them directly.
The garage fitted the discs and pads on the front and cleaned up the discs on the back. In addition they did an emissions test and gave me a certificate. Total time spent on the car 0.5 - 1 day max.
Today I got the bill whch was 1400 CHF of which 1200 was labour. I know that the work in the UK would have cost around half that figure at a main dealership, including the parts.
Am I being ripped off, or do garages really charge their time out at this rate?

Thanks in advance M Robinson
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:06
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?



I would have thought that changing the front discs and pads shouldn't have taken more than an hour or two. Haven't been through a controle myself but I wouldn't imagine it cost more than a few hundred francs.

Did the garage give you any justification for the charges? New parts required to pass the inspection? Hours billed?

Even at a main agent, where I pay about CHF120- an hour for labour, the amount you spent would buy about a day-and-a-half of work.
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:12
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Welcome to Switzerland ,where nothing is cheap

May i introduce you to the neigbouring countries France and Germany,who probably can do it cheaper? it pays of to shop around..but at the end, all garages rip you off.

When we bought our car in Switzerland and asked for a price on new Summer tires, his comment was " i'm not going to bother as we are that expensive, since you live near the border, check out Germany and save yourself a bundle,thats where i buy mine too " ..

Speaking of introducing, pop by http://www.englishforum.ch/introductions/ and say hi to all of us lovely, helping ,kind an caring people of this Forum

All the best

Joey
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:20
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Thanks for the quick responses.

I will find out how many hours work they claim to have done. This was not mentioned on the invoice.

Knowing a comparable hourly rate for main dealer work is very useful and thanks for that.

In terms of shopping in France and Germany, we normally do for most things. Our vet is in France and we have just bought a freezer from Germany, so we know the savings.

By the way my wife is a regular user of the Forum and swears by it!

Best Regards
M Robinson
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:25
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

did the garage take the car to have its import mfk? did they do all the work to actually import it? eg you gave them your non swiss car and they gave it back to you all swissyfied and legal?

Its expensive to import a car, otherwise everyone would be doing it

iirc we had about 2 days in total garage time getting our car ready for the import tests, the garage took the car to the testers and made sure it passed, of course we had to pay there hourly rate for them driving it there, hanging around, arguing, and driving it back all nicley swiss registered.

(it was a lot more then 1200chf too )
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:31
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

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By the way my wife is a regular user of the Forum and swears by it!
Yeah, there's many a time I swear about this Forum too.

Our local Mechanic charges also about 120chf an hour. And any bit of printed paper and especially ones that needs stamping costs money here.
The MFK costs too.
I would certainly ask for a breakdown of the Bill.
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:36
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Labor rates are crazy expensive here. $150/hr at the Brunau Bosch shop (Doris Stocker), $169 at Neidhart Mercedes on Seestrasse.

For comparison, my ear doctor on Bahnhofstrasse charges $249/hr. It's just crazy - something I still cant get used to.
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:56
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

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For comparison, my ear doctor on Bahnhofstrasse charges $249/hr
Are you sure you heard him right?
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Old 24.11.2010, 13:57
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Garage rates are around 120-150chf per hour - which hasn't moved much in the last 5 years.

5 years ago 130chf per hour would have been £60 per hour - now it is £80 per hour - simply because the UK ballsed up their economy.

UK garages charge £50-75 so there isn't a huge difference.

To change discs - 1.5 hrs per side = 3 hrs
Pre-inspection - 1 hour
Kontrolle - 1 hour

That is 750chf before you have even got onto first Abgas + document etc etc etc

Did you need to get your headlights changed? Adjusted etc
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Old 24.11.2010, 14:24
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

I imported my car - total cost (beyond the admin fees) was for 2 headlamp units + fitting.

Don't get your exhaust emissions test done at main dealer, I got seriously fleeced doing so.
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Old 24.11.2010, 14:27
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Thanks everybody.

I did all the importing myself, i.e. going to Lausanne, going to customs, paying for all the inspections, plates etc.

The work at the garage was simply a pre-inspection at which the front discs/pads were changed and an emissions test was done. The headlights are adjustable left/right with a switch inside (I did that myself).

I was expecting a cost of around 750chf myself, around twice the UK price, not 4 times! I now have the comparitive costs I need to kick up a fuss!

Thanks to all

M Robinson
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Old 24.11.2010, 14:37
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Knowing the make and model would throw more light on whether this price is justified...
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Old 24.11.2010, 14:39
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

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To change discs - 1.5 hrs per side = 3 hrs
Sorry, but if it takes a mechanic 1.5 hours per side to do disc brakes I don't want him touching my car.

It's a 1.5 hour job for both sides, max. You're pulling two tires, four bolts on the calipers (2 per), pulling pads & old rotors, compressnig the caliper pistons, sliding new rotors over studs, replacing the pads, putting bolts back in, bleed and tires back on. It took less than two hours for the mechanic to do new pads/rotors and a brake fluid change. EURO 247 at ATU in Singen.
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Old 24.11.2010, 14:42
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

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Sorry, but if it takes a mechanic 1.5 hours per side to do disc brakes I don't want him touching my car.

It's a 1.5 hour job for both sides, max. You're pulling two tires, four bolts on the calipers (2 per), pulling pads & old rotors, compressnig the caliper pistons, sliding new rotors over studs, replacing the pads, putting bolts back in, bleed and tires back on. It took less than two hours for the mechanic to do new pads/rotors and a brake fluid change. EURO 247 at ATU in Singen.

depends on the car, if you can change the front brakes that quick on mine then you deserve a medal
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Old 24.11.2010, 14:57
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

I think you've been had. The last full service on our Corolla Verso at the local Toyota dealer cost no more than 800.-, including changing the brake pads (which were almost worn through).
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Old 24.11.2010, 15:00
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

Ok, fair enough, there are a some vehicles that would significantly more complicated, however, I would assume that someone who owns such a vehicle knows what to expect and would not be astonished by the bill. As the OP posted he expected the cost to be double the UK price and this bill is 4x, which eludes to it being what one would consider a normal job. All said, based on what the OP describes, he is likely getting hosed. He bought the materials for the brakes, so he seems to be being charged chf 200 for the ABGAS test which is chf 70 at ATU. Maybe the mechanic used some super special brake cleaner designed for F1 cars!

OP, as others have suggested, get the itemized bill and look closely.

bigblue2, I'll take that medal, but you may not want to take your Rover to the mountains passes afterward...
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Old 24.11.2010, 15:02
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

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Ok, fair enough, there are a some vehicles that would significantly more complicated, however, I would assume that someone who owns such a vehicle knows what to expect and would not be astonished by the bill. As the OP posted he expected the cost to be double the UK price and this bill is 4x, which eludes to it being what one would consider a normal job. All said, based on what the OP describes, he is likely getting hosed. He bought the materials for the brakes, so he seems to be being charged chf 200 for the ABGAS test which is chf 70 at ATU. Maybe the mechanic used some super special brake cleaner designed for F1 cars!

OP, as others have suggested, get the itemized bill and look closely.

bigblue2, I'll take that medal, but you may not want to take your Rover to the mountains passes afterward...

not talking about the rover

I know one make of car that has the lhd/rhd headlight switch and that ain't a cheap make.
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Old 24.11.2010, 15:53
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

I can do a 4 wheel and pad change in around an hour on the M3 - BUT that is with AP-Racing calipers - which are considerably easier to change the pads on**

I am pretty handy with a spanner, and with 2 people I can have a gearbox in and out in about 3 hours (with either a pit or lift).

Replacing discs can take longer - and if you are bleeding the system as well that can also take longer - depending on whether they solo bleed or use 2 people to do the job.

They will have almost certainly have charged you for cleaning the underside and engine bay. And as mentioned before ordering a new emissions document, confirming conformity, and doing the first test is not cheap.

Newer Volvos can change their Xenon lights by a simple switch INSIDE the headlight itself. It takes 5 mins to pop the bonnet - pull out each light, flick the switch and replace the light.

**Reminds me I should check the state of pads before I take the car out.
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Old 24.11.2010, 16:04
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

if you have to ask the question... then im guessing the answer is yes.

i have just been quoted over 2000chf to fit a new turbo (plus chf 2000 for the part) to an x5 plus another 4000 to supply and fit a catalyser by BMW in meyrin ..

I have got the local garage next to it to fit it for 400 AND after discussions with a few people have been informed you dont actually need to change the catalyser as the new turbo will correct it..

so original bill was for over 8000 and its actually going to cost me 1200...

BMW garage is fachinetti in meyrin so please avoid
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Old 24.11.2010, 16:08
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Re: Car Repairs - Am I getting ripped off?

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if you have to ask the question... then im guessing the answer is yes.

i have just been quoted over 2000chf to fit a new turbo (plus chf 2000 for the part) to an x5 plus another 4000 to supply and fit a catalyser by BMW in meyrin ..

I have got the local garage next to it to fit it for 400 AND after discussions with a few people have been informed you dont actually need to change the catalyser as the new turbo will correct it..

so original bill was for over 8000 and its actually going to cost me 1200...

BMW garage is fachinetti in meyrin so please avoid
Pretty much confirms why I like warranties
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