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A bad experience with shock rebuilding!

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Birdman, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
    North shore, MA
    Full Name:
    THE Birdman
    Hi Fchatters,
    I thought I would share with you a somewhat eye-opening experience I had with having shocks rebuilt by Truechoice Performance.

    I am in the midst of rebuilding the rear suspension on my 308. At the root of the issue is the fact that one of the shocks was clunking horribly. I decided to replace the shocks, shock bushings, A arm bushings, etc. and do a nice job of it. I'm not done yet, but will post a complete "how to" with pictures when I am finished.

    Anyway, I was trying to decide....should I buy nice new Koni's at Tire Rack for $147 each, or should I have mine rebuilt. Since my wife in on my case to stop blowing so much cash on "that money pit car", I decided to look into rebuilding. I sent an e-mail to Truechoice Performance, (www.truechoice.com) a company that rebuilds shocks, among other things. They said sure, they can rebuild my shocks for $95 plus parts. "Send them on over!" I explained that I can replace the shocks for $147 each, so I "don't want to spend a lot of money!" He said no problem, rebuilding is cheaper than replacing. Just what I wanted to hear.

    So, I sent them over, figuring hey, I will save a few bucks having them rebuilt. I heard nothing for a couple weeks, so I called. They told me they had them and would get to them soon. Finally I got an e-mail about 3 weeks after shipping them, telling me that they would be done in a week or so. Oh and by the way, they would surcharge me $15 per shock for unmounting and remounting the springs. An unexpected charge, but reasonable I supposed.

    About 2 weeks later, a box showed up at my door. Hurray! I opened the box, and there were my shocks. Repainted (somewhat hastily, judging by the fact that the paint job was terrible), new bushings mounted, little graphs from the dyno that supposely show how nicely the shock works now. Cool! Now I can reinstall them. Oh yeah, let's check out the bill...

    $453!! YIKES!!! What the F*CK?

    They overcharged me for the spring mounting, added $65 labor to install the bushings and paint (I did not ask them to paint them) and charged me over $125 in parts! To rebuild two shocks.

    So needless to say, I was displeased. Two brand new shocks would have cost me $300 plus shipping. My local mechanic would charge me no more than $25 to move the springs over. With shipping, tops it would cost me $350 for two brand new shocks ready to install on the car. So what gives?

    I called them. Seems the guy I talked to on the phone the first time when I explained my wants and needs was a new guy. (He has of course left the company in the nearly TWO months it took to rebuild my shocks!) He didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Turns out TrueChoice specializes in restoring old shocks for rich people with million dollar cars who want to retain their antique shocks and have them rebuilt "better than new". They are not for saving a few bucks. The guy on the phone (this time, a guy from the shock department that actually knew something, not some dude at the front desk) explained that it is not uncommon for it to cost more than $500 for a SINGLE SHOCK rebuild.

    Obviously, they have mistaken me for a rich guy. They never called to discuss extra charges beyond the $95 per shock I was quoted. Basically, the guy knew they were Ferrari shocks and assumed as a rich Ferrari guy, I would pay it without question.

    I like to make the analogy that this is like taking your $30,000 Accord down to the Honda dealer. They fix it and return it 6 weeks later with a bill for $45,000 (50% more than the replacement cost of the car!) and wonder what you are so p*ssed about?

    In any case, the guy was pretty decent on the phone, blamed the misunderstanding on the guy who is no longer with the company, and offered to have the owner of the company call me to straighten it out. He apologized for overcharging me on the springs. He says they misquoted me the first time by accident, but would reduce that charge to the amount they quoted (great, that saves me $20).

    I'm not saying these guys are crooks or anything. They obviously cater to a different crowd than the one I fit into and we obviously had a misunderstanding based on a clueless employee. Still I think they should meet me somewhere in the middle. The misunderstanding was THEIR fault IMHO.

    In ANY case, I'll keep you posted. I'm curious...what do you think is fair for me to pay these people?

    Birdman
     
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  3. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
    10,675
    Worldwide
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    Steven
    Birdman,

    Damn dude, sorry to hear of your troubles with Truechoice Performance. When you are here, please feel free to cry into your glass of Dom P champagne. Like you, not rich here and the "money pit" in the garage brings joy into life. NOT doing an "i told you so" as we never discussed the shocks but.... i nearly ALWAYS go for ALL NEW parts when possible. Even if the costs are a reasonable amount extra. Why? Ok, Koni does warranty even our old ones, but nothing says "like new" than, well, when brand new.

    FYI: Just ordered ever more new parts from Ferrari UK today. Just remember Birdman to "drive it like you stole it." Don't save it for the next guy and when you come here next time i'll make sure you get a great steak and refreshing beverage.

    Enjoy the Drive,

    Steven R. Rochlin
     
  4. TCM

    TCM Formula Junior

    Nov 10, 2003
    552
    Tyngsborough, MA
    Birdman:

    I am sorry to hear about the miscommunication concerning the shocks. That being said, I really cannot put blame on either side, it was just a miscommunication aspect. This company obviously put their talent into the rebuilding of the shocks so you cannot discredit what their time is worth, but I do not think you should have to pay the full amount. I think you need to discuss it more with the company, but I would say $370-$400 is fair. Please let us know how you make out.

    On a side note, if you run into an issue like this again, feel free to give me a call. Since I am in the auto business, I may be able to provide some more info/ advice on what is the best way to pursue the matter, and can even save you some money on most of your parts.
     
  5. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    is the paint less than optimal? if so, that's one reason there. but other than that... it should be discounted due to time and lack of communications if nothing else.

    verbal agreements hold up in Texas, but not sure about anywhere else.

    you might want to see what Rob S. has to say about them and also with the costs of the shock rebuild. He would know this more than most.
     
  6. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
    North shore, MA
    Full Name:
    THE Birdman
    Steve,
    Thanks for the condolences! Actually, the money isn't THAT much of an issue here. It's more of a principal thing. We're only talking about $100-$150 difference between what they did and the alternative (new shocks) but I'm just annoyed that they ran up a bill like this without once calling me to explain extra charges. For this kind of money I would have preferred new shocks. This is no concourse car and I could care less about retaining the original shocks! My point is that I was trying to take the most cost effective route, and what I got was the least cost effective route.

    Birdman
     
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  8. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    Birdman,

    >>...My point is that I was trying to take the most cost effective route, and what I got was the least cost effective route.<<<

    Yes, i realized that. Maybe it is just "me" and the way my dad brought me up. LONG story and glad dad brought me up the way he did. We will chat during the next get together my friend.

    Enjoy the Music,

    Steven R. Rochlin
     
  9. sparta49

    sparta49 F1 Veteran
    Owner

    Mar 3, 2001
    7,794
    LA
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    Frank
    but I would say $370-$400 is fair.


    I would say paying what he was quoted is fair. If they put the guy on the phone quoting prices that is on truechoice if he was incompetent
     
  10. rscapri2600

    rscapri2600 Rookie

    Jan 7, 2004
    5
    Well, rebuilding them gives one the option of specifying different characteristics and damping rates for special applications. You could have ordered them stiffer or softer than stock for example.


    Of course, you just wanted stock. They were wrong, but it probably isn't worth pursuing it - your choice.
    -Joe Craven
     
  11. zsnnf

    zsnnf Formula 3

    Sep 11, 2003
    1,877
    Birdman,
    When I read your post and got to the "$95 plus parts" part I knew you were going in over the cost of new. Bilstien rebuilds, revalves, shocks for $50. The problem is by the time you add "parts" you are into them for the cost of new. Bushings are always way more than you expect. Once again, Bilstien doesn't even offer them. I too have learned this the hard way with my Corvettes.
    Talk to the owner and maybe he will knock $50 off (it was his employee that mislead you)

    Thanks for the post,
    There is something for us all to learn here,
    Rick
     
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  13. dwhite

    dwhite F1 Rookie

     
  14. notoboy

    notoboy F1 Rookie

    Jul 8, 2003
    2,531
    NYC
    Full Name:
    David
    Birdman,
    I would stop payment on my credit card, and let the credit card company deal with it.

    If you paid by check, you're stuck and I would talk to the owner of the shop and tell him that they charged you more than the quoted amout, AND note that the shocks were hastily repainted.

    Btw, NEVER tell someone what the parts are for when bringing them in for repair, bc they charge doeble for anything if they know its for/from a Ferrari - I found out the hard way as well.

    Best of luck!
    David
     
  15. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 29, 2001
    17,091
    USA
    Full Name:
    Hugh G. Rection
    New Konis come with a "lifetime" warranty too! :)
     
  16. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
    10,675
    Worldwide
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    Steven
    Dave,

    Darn, i was going to tell Birdman that when i saw him. Did not want to "pour salt in his wound" by posting that here now. Yes, it is true about the lifetime warrany.

    Enjoy the Drive,

    Steven R. Rochlin
     
  17. bill308

    bill308 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    May 13, 2001
    1,082
    Windsor, CT
    Full Name:
    Bill Sebestyen
    I had pretty good luck with TrueChoice who made up some custom Koni 8211 shocks with Eibach springs for the rear of my 308. They even swapped out the springs at no charge when the first ones were not the correct length (their fault) and did so cheerfully.

    In your case, I believe the right thing to insist on is that the cost of the rebuilt shocks with parts, including paint, should not exceed the cost of new. By the way, bushings are not supplied with new shocks so they should be extra along with the time to press them in. Also, the time to R&R the springs is also an extra and should be billed at their normal labor rate IMO.

    Good luck and let us know what happens.
     
  18. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    19,188
    socal
    Birdman,

    This is all bull. You are the dumb customer. If you knoew what this stuff cost and what it took to do the job you would have done it yourself. Since you don't know anything you relie on the expertest or the lack thereof of a truechoice employee. That employee represents TC and TC has to eat the stupidity of their employees. You are the customer. You have done this once. They do this everyday for a living. If things like this are a problem they should not begin work without a signed workorder. If they are going to do business b a verbal agreement then they will have to live with the fallout. If I was the business I would offer you a free job just to get this thread off the internet and save my reputation. I would not want to let the world know I hire idiots. Geez you got an idiot salesguy. You know nothing. How do you knowyou didn't get an idiot rebuilder? Next time as Rob Shermerhorn AKA rexRcr. he did my Bilsteins and I race my car. He is awesome.
     
  19. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
    North shore, MA
    Full Name:
    THE Birdman
    Hey Everyone,
    Thanks for the comments and ideas. I have in fact disputed the portion of the bill that I think is unfair with my credit card company. I am waiting to hear from the owner of the company. I guess if I never hear from him, he will get paid what I decide to pay him. I have never disputed a charge before so I don't know how that process works. I do feel that no matter what, they should always be able to give you a "ballpark" figure before they start work. My car dealership would never do this much work on something without calling and giving me an idea what it will cost, just because this is exactly what they want to avoid (a customer that doesn't want to pay it!)

    Birdman
     
  20. 308 GTB

    308 GTB F1 Veteran
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    Feb 7, 2002
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    Barry Wolinsky
  21. funshipone

    funshipone Formula Junior

    Jan 2, 2002
    618
    Harrison Twp. Mi. US
    Full Name:
    John Bicsak
    I am really surprised with Truechoice. I purshased two front Koni shocks this past fall price was $115.00 plus bushing two per shock $25.00 each price for each shock $165.00 three days they were on my Ferrari.
    I thought they were handled me first class.
     
  22. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
    16,078
    Arlington Heights IL
    Full Name:
    Kenneth
    The Konis on my Europa are no longer made in my size. I looked in to rebuilding vs. new Spax and it wasn't even close; I went with the Spax which are also adjustable for less than $200 each. I sold the Konis to another Europa owner and for what he paid me plus the rebuild, he's probably out $700 for the pair. You Ferrari guys get off cheap sometimes! (Not often enough of course)

    Ken
     

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