Sunday, September 6, 2020

Me - What a Sucker!

Although I did Mechanical Engineering in university, I hate to touch anything under a car’s bonnet. I have to depend on outside mechanics once a car’s warranty is over. But I am so wary of many of them. 

I was cheated a couple of times when I took over my son’s BMW 3-series – out of my concern that his car was giving him troubles here and there. It lived up to its “Banyak Makan Wang” reputation. Those days I only returned to Kuala Lumpur from time to time and each time I would always find something not working well. Each time I sent to a workshop the bill would invariably run into many, many thousands.

One day I chanced upon a young owner of a car care centre at Ara Damansara. Ah Lock seemed technically very savvy about all these Banyak Makan Wangs. And he appeared honest and obliging. I thought he was one whom I could trust and never checked his prices. He became my regular mechanic. When he moved to a bigger shop lot, I even did a little to help him – by WhatsApp’ing friends of his availability and giving my strong recommendation.

But what a misplaced trust!

Two days ago, my wife and I went for a lunch catch-up with her folks at Sungei Buloh. On driving back, the instrument panel suddenly showed a red alert: A battery icon with a stop engine warning. I thought I could drive to Ah Lock’s workshop to seek help. But no sooner, the car began to shut down. Within minutes, the car got stalled; fortunately, it was in front of a nursery and two men were kind enough to help push it to the side curb. It was raining like crazy; luckily, the people at the insurance company, MSG, were good; they arranged for a tow truck to have it towed to Ah Lock’s workshop, since the warranty of my car has just expired.   

Ah Lock, in his usual charming manner, was most reassuring. As it was getting late, I left the car to him.

Nest morning, he gave me a call – RM1,600+ for a Mercedes battery or RM1,450 for a non-Mercedes equivalent. Being a stingy old miser, I opted for the latter. And no second thoughts about the price or even the brand. I trusted Ah Lock completely. 

He called a little latter. “Uncle Lim, your car’s rear brake pads have also to be changed; it would cost RM790, including brake fluid, sensor and labour.” My reply was the usual “No problem; go ahead,”

My wife’s sister called to ask if everything was alright. My wife mentioned to her about the battery. 

“Wait a minute, Maurice (her husband and my brother-in-law) has just changed his BM’s battery and it was much less than what your mechanic has quoted you.” She said.

I started to google and called a few suppliers. All quoted less than RM1K for that particular brand and model of the battery. 

It is not the money but the trust I have misplaced on Ah Lock that is hurting me deeply!

Have I been suckered by Ah Lock all this while?