Cowpens, SC asked in Products Liability, Consumer Law and Business Law for Tennessee

Q: What is considered illegal with automotive parts mark-up?

I purchased tires, took said tired to dealership for mount and balance. I was informed of need for alignment, I approved service. Then notified of need for ball joints x's 4, approved service (based on prior experience I expected total bill to be $400 or less. I was charged $1,240. The ball joints, exact ones, were: 2 @ $152.83 from dealer, yet available for 2@$$43.05..and 2@ $100.35, yet available for 2@ $25.95. I was also charged an additional $396 for the installation of said ball joints.

2 Lawyer Answers

Leonard Robert Grefseng

Answered
  • Columbia, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: I am not aware of ANY limitation on the mark-up of automotive parts. If you have not yet paid them, I would confront them with the prices you've obtained and try to negotiate a reduction. If you have already paid them, you may still want to confront the management with all this information. If they won't make any adjustment, Consider giving them negative reviews on their website and other social media. ( But don't discuss these actions with them). If you do so, publish only what is absolutely true to avoid potential slander claims. You may not have a legal remedy for the excessive markup, but you can certainly take your future business elsewhere and encourage others not to do business with them based on these charges.

Peter N. Munsing

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Products Liability Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: You say the ball joints were "exact ones." Were they manufactured by the brand of the car or by an automobile parts supplier? In the old days Manny Moe & Jack's ball joints were maybe close to as good as manufacturer's. Nowdays, it varies--the ball joints from one non-OEM supplier may be just as good, while others may be really poor. Most OEM parts carry a warranty of sorts. A problem is they didn't give you an estimate for each which isn't illegal but avoids misunderstandings. Installation is charged on a flat rate per job--agains something they should have told you to avoid misunderstandings, but if they didn't.....and you didn't ask........I don't see any thing that violates a law or consumer protection type statute.

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