money flopsEveryone sometimes makes a mistake that has small or sometimes large financial consequences. In this series, people talk about their money blunder. This week Marieke Steinkamp (45), who unexpectedly lost 100 euros on a simple repair to her car without first receiving a quote and received a misogynistic approach as a ‘bonus’.
When did this play?
,,A few months ago.”
How long have you had that car?
,,It is from 2015, but for me it is just new. I’m super happy with it. It drives great, but I immediately had a problem. When I tried to lock the car, the driver’s door wouldn’t lock. And that meant that the car was not fully locked.”
How did you find a garage?
“We just moved to the east of the Netherlands, so I didn’t know any garages here yet. I drove to the nearest one. At first I had a good feeling about it.”
Did you have it repaired right away?
“We just didn’t have it that wide. We had just completed the move, just bought that car and I was temporarily out of work. So I asked if they could see if it was fixable first. And if so, what would it cost. The man behind the counter said, “We’ll have a look.” And he said he would call with a quote before they got started.”
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And you left your car there?
“Yes, and I got a bike home. I thought: completely well arranged this way.”
What went wrong?
“A few days later the man from the garage called me: ‘Good news. We fixed the car! You can come get him.”
But that wasn’t the deal, was it?
,,No! I said that right away. Then the nice tone changed to: ‘Well, ma’am, don’t panic!’ He assured me that the part that had to be replaced had only cost 10 euros. Yet that was not the deal; i would be called before they would fix it. But somehow I could understand that with such a low amount they would not call first.”
Why did you end up paying 100 euros?
,,When I asked him what the total amount was, he said: ‘100 euros.’ I was shocked. Of course I also understand that they have to charge labor costs, but this was quite a lot for such a small repair. And again: it was not the deal.”
What did you say?
,,At first nothing, because it surprised me a bit. On my bike on the way to the garage I rehearsed in my head what I would say to that man. I had thought that I would ask for a discount, because this had not gone as agreed.”
,,It’s so stupid, I normally really didn’t fall on my face. But when I got there and saw that man standing there, my heart sank. I cautiously suggested that we had agreed that they would look at it first and then call about how expensive it would be. “Well, ma’am,” he began again. ‘Do you really think you could have done it cheaper elsewhere? The sun rises for nothing.’ My mouth fell open. I paid and drove off.”
Did you leave it at that?
“I told my husband, who immediately started calling them. Not screaming or anything, but clear. He received a 50 euro discount with one phone call. Something tells me that as a woman with all the persuasion in the world I couldn’t have done that with that guy. He acted like I was a toddler.”
What did you learn?
“I can’t just trust people to keep their word. From now on I will ask for a written appointment confirmation. We will never go to that garage again. I don’t want my husband to have to handle all the garage business in the future. Plus, not all auto mechanics will be weird to women. Still, I don’t want to go through this again. And to look for a garage run by a woman is perhaps a bit exaggerated.”
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