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Old 4th October 2009, 19:46   #16
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This news surprises me, this kind of levying charges is certainly going to dent the image of already not so great TASS service. This is really frustrating, on the other hand, they are encouraging us to learn to fix small / cosmetic niggles by ourself and save the cost. Way to go TATA.
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Old 4th October 2009, 20:18   #17
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@Zappo - Don't TASS mention what the standard hourly labor rate is ?

To narrate my experience with MASS - Labor charges are clearly defined as Rs 140 per hour. On several occasions I've been billed excessively for labor charges but its easy to contend the extra charges because I know how long the job took (I'm watching - never leave the car unattended) .

This one time (head gasket change), I was actually billed for more hours of labor than the car spent at the MASS - there never was more than one person working on the car!

When I pointed it out, it took them all of two seconds to turn apologetic and reduce the charges.

Sure, MASS tries to rip off people too - but the level of transparency means that its easy to contend any of their attempts to do so. Does TASS lack such transparency ?
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Old 4th October 2009, 21:49   #18
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So Tata-Fiat's following in the steps of Maruti ?

Well, agreed their margins are under a squeeze, but A.S.S / A.S.C's should not be making it so obvious that they blow their cover. Every business tries to sell stuff, but as customers we too need to be on our guard that we dont pay anything more than what is due.

But that CatCon cleaning was an eye-opener. I had expected the cat-con unit to be opened and cleaned, and this wasnt expected. On the brighter side, I now know that I should just be doing this once a week to keep my cat-con clean.

@Crackedhead : yes, T.A.S.S's display standard rate cards for standard jobs. Dont remember the rate card for labor, though. The last time I paid for labor was @125/-, and that too it was for a part that cost a fifth of that ! But I'm not saying the labor should be cheaper than the part always .. charges should be on merit.
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Old 4th October 2009, 22:12   #19
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Would it be fair to say that we've all seen and heard of umpteen instances of A.S.S ripping off customers across all brands?

In the interests of keeping things short and simple - it doesn't matter what car you drive - the A.S.S is going to try and rip you off.

A suggestion for the forum:
Maybe we should just focus on the good guys (the ones who charge fairly) and form a directory of such "honest" A.S.S centers (just like we have a tuners directory).
That way, the good guys get highlighted and we all benefit from having a ready reckoner on the best place to get a particular vehicle serviced.
I'm sure we can come up with objective criteria on how a particular A.S.S gets on the list.
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Old 4th October 2009, 22:31   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randhawa View Post
@Zappo 100 bucks is not bad. Here in Chandigarh, they charge Rs250 for car wash.
Definitely it is not bad if they charge that for a car wash. But the only problem here is that the car went for its regular paid service. And the wash part of it is built into the service cost if you look at the service cost break-up. So the 100 bucks for waxoyl treatment is an addition they have done on their own.

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Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Going through your posts, felt that the fault lies with certain TATA dealiers, the Rs. 100 Waxpol charge for example would be of a specific tata dealer, not all.
Yes, but then every Tata dealer has his own tactics of pushing up the prices. In fact initially the SA wanted me to change all the oils filters etc although I told him that it was done at 40k service and this service does not need these changes if one looks at the service schedule in the owner's manual. He also added a CF-5 treatment for 555 bucks. Apparently it is mandatory now for Tata vehicles while servicing. Turns out that it is some nozzle cleaner which is imported from Poland or somewhere by a third party and they have put a sticker of "Tata Approved" on this can and the small 350 ml can costs that much! I just firmly said NO.

So obviously he had to add something somewhere. This he did in the final bill by putting in that Waxoyl treatment without even bothering to ask me. By the way the bill says its Waxoyl. Must be a close cousin of the Waxpol. By the way there was no polishing of the car done (Waxpol or any other). I was standing by the side when they washed and then mopped my car dry.

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Also though I agree that changing a wiper blade is something that is as good as zero effort, and they are already earning in the part cost, but if they do have to charge something then 50-75 bucks for labour is the way it has got to be. Sadly that is the cost of noting down and getting something done in a proper establishment. That said they should have do the wiper change for free.
I will have absolutely no issues if they charge me 75 rupees labor if I walk in and ask them to replace the wiper blades. The problem is that when the car is being serviced and I am already paying the bigger charges small things like these where there is actually no effort involved in real sense can not be charged. At this rate tomorrow they may charge me 50 bucks if I tell them that one of the screws of the fascia is lose and needs tightening. Again, if I were to walk in and ask for tightening the screw they will be justified in asking for a minimum labor rate of 50 bucks. But during the service if they charge me separately for that then it is fleecing IMHO.

If you did not notice my earlier post in a different thread (link provided in the first post) they charged me 100 bucks in the last service for black smoke issue which should be a part of the service routine. And all that they did to address the black smoke is to floor the accelerator thrice to take out all the deposited soot in the muffler.

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Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Rear Wheel Bearing change is reasoable labourous and possibly a change of Rs. 500 is ok, but then a permium car can see the charge being increased to Rs. 1500 as well yet Rs. 900 plus for the Indica is expensive.
I agree. And yet, the question is how reasonable is it on its own. I have brought the car in for service and you are doing the bearing change in the course of service for which you are anyhow charging me royally. On top of that another 950 bucks for this job alone? By the way, the bearing change took exactly 30 minutes on both the rear wheels. In comparison, for the whole day's effort in servicing the car wherein multiple people work on it the service labor cost is 650 rupees for minor service and 900 rupees or so for major service (oil change).

Quote:
Originally Posted by adityamunshi View Post
Even the labour costs for changing small gearbox parts etc. is out of the roof. I paid 1500 labour to change a ~200 rs gear linkage. Same thing also applies to clutch change, brake pads, etc.
Gearbox work is always a labor intensive process and does cost high. I also believe that high-skill jobs should have a comparatively higher labor. And so the Gearbox job can be a costly affair as everyone (not all mechs) can do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
My Indica V2 costed me more in maintainence and repair overall as compared to my Accent CRDi... a car which costs 1.75 times more ...

The labour cost is one thing, the main problem is quality of spares. The components are not long lasting hence replacements are more frequent ...
My maintenance cost for the Indica has never been high. Only 2 big ticket works that my Indica NA ever needed was a brake-booster/assembly change (done in warranty) and FIP recalibration which was done FOC under extended warranty. Otherwise I do not think anything has ever failed or has needed anything major.

Even the labor charges I am talking about a 75 rupees here or 100 rupees there is not exactly something that pinches my pocket. It is more of ethics issue which pinches me more. I get a feeling of being licked when they put such silly charges in the bill. And that is where I have an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrackedHead View Post
@Zappo - Don't TASS mention what the standard hourly labor rate is ?
TASS has published labor rates as well as part costs for most of the major and minor but regular works. However they do not have an hourly labor rate. I think Turnkey rates are always better than hourly rates. As you yourself experienced that always leaves a huge door open for the service guys to bill you as per their whimsies. If your car remains in the garage for 7 days say for want of a part you will never know when they bill you for 40 hours (7*8=56 hours) whether they really worked for those 40 hours on your car. For all that you know they may have actually worked only 5 hours.

Last edited by Zappo : 4th October 2009 at 22:34.
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Old 4th October 2009, 22:48   #21
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Tata labor costs are indeed ridiculous. Thats the reason, when warranty got over, I decided to maintain my indica myself.
For example, on recent service I was charged 280rs for safari catcon cleaning, yet nowhere in the manual cat con cleaning is mentioned.
If Tata is charging 280rs for blowing air through the tailpipe, its really funny.
Not only that, they also charge things like brake pad cleaning. If something is recommended to be part of service in service book, it should not be charged, the 750rs service charge should cover that. If service book does not say it should be done, then it should not be done!
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Old 4th October 2009, 22:49   #22
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while there might be pressures in recent times to increase these rates which may have been historically low, I dont see how they are "fleecing" in comparison to many other car makers..

i can atleast say for HONDA - if i went there for a wiper blade change, they would possibly charge me MRP + for the blades and the labour charges would have been NO LESS THAN Rs250... which is why I DO SUCH WORK MYSELF becos as you put it yourself - its a simple sliding job...

for that matter, if i remember right, the cost of bearing replacement at HONDA A.S.S. was Rs 3000 + taxes + labour - this is the approx quote the HONDA guy gave me..

i purchased the OE part outside for Rs1650 and got it fitted in an outside garage.

From your posts I dont see the rates they charge exorbidant but probably forcing unwanted services is not a good thing ( which again EVERY A.S.S. does ) - nothing different about TATA
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Old 4th October 2009, 22:51   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
TASS has published labor rates as well as part costs for most of the major and minor but regular works. However they do not have an hourly labor rate. I think Turnkey rates are always better than hourly rates. As you yourself experienced that always leaves a huge door open for the service guys to bill you as per their whimsies. If your car remains in the garage for 7 days say for want of a part you will never know when they bill you for 40 hours (7*8=56 hours) whether they really worked for those 40 hours on your car. For all that you know they may have actually worked only 5 hours.
MASS usually display turnkey rates too - buy the hourly rate is also displayed and comes in handy for jobs where the turnkey rates aren't defined. Be it a head gasket replacement or a wiper blade replacement, a clearly defined hourly rate helps.

For instance - If I were to see a 100 Re charge on my bill for wiper blade replacement at a MASS where the hourly labor rate is mentioned as Rs 140 then I can very well question them on how a two minute job is is being billed as more than half an hour of labor.

Without an hourly rate being mentioned/displayed clearly, small jobs like changing a wiper blade or tracking down a blown fuse become grey areas which are not easy to question.

Last edited by CrackedHead : 4th October 2009 at 22:53.
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Old 4th October 2009, 23:09   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
while there might be pressures in recent times to increase these rates which may have been historically low, I dont see how they are "fleecing" in comparison to many other car makers..

i can atleast say for HONDA - if i went there for a wiper blade change, they would possibly charge me MRP + for the blades and the labour charges would have been NO LESS THAN Rs250... which is why I DO SUCH WORK MYSELF becos as you put it yourself - its a simple sliding job...

for that matter, if i remember right, the cost of bearing replacement at HONDA A.S.S. was Rs 3000 + taxes + labour - this is the approx quote the HONDA guy gave me..

i purchased the OE part outside for Rs1650 and got it fitted in an outside garage.

From your posts I dont see the rates they charge exorbidant but probably forcing unwanted services is not a good thing ( which again EVERY A.S.S. does ) - nothing different about TATA
Narayan you are absolutely right in saying everything has a labor rate on it's own. And as I acknowledged if I walked in and asked them to change the wiper blades they will be justified in charging me MRP+labor for the work.

My issue is that the car is being serviced and I asked the guys to check the wiper as it is not cleaning the screen properly. They felt it needed a blade change and slided in the new blades as well. Now in such cases charging a labor for what is essentially a zero effort job over and above the service cost is a little over the top. As I said earlier at this rate they may even charge me to tighten a screw in the front dash which is creaking.

Yes I can do that on my own. Just as I can tighten a screw on my own. Or for that matter I can floor the accelerator in neutral a couple of times on my own to decongest the muffler. However then the question arises what do I ask them to do in service if not even such small things which should be done while they are servicing the vehicle? Barring these small niggles a service is often a top up of the coolant here or a brake oil there. And a wash. Surely these also I can do on my own or at best get it done at a local garage who will charge me 150-200 bucks and change the oil completely if I buy the part/consumable. Do I really need to pay that 900 bucks service labor for just topping the oils and a wash?

But then we do it, with the idea that while doing these they will also do such small things which also need attention. Now if it turns out that such small things are still charged separately for labor even after paying the 900 bucks as service charge do I really need them to service my car? I know that immediately brings in the justification that it is the reason why many people opt for getting the car serviced outside once the warranty is over. Then again, probably they are right after all!

Last edited by Zappo : 4th October 2009 at 23:10.
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Old 4th October 2009, 23:40   #25
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Well guys even I have faced small issue with the Tata guys.

I had taken my car for service for 10000k at George Automobiles, Thane. (Vista Quadrajet)

They were supposed to do an oil change and since I do not trust any service centres, I asked the oil to be changed in front of me so that I can validate the change.

Now the oil that the mechanic brought was HP brand with an MRP of 875. This was a 5 litre can and since car will only take 3.5 the mechanic removed the 1.5 litres from the can using a measuring jar.

Hence 875 / 5 = 175 per litre. This would mean that the cost of the oil would be Rs 612. When I received the bill, I was astonished to see that the oil cost mentioned was Rs 652 which is Rs40 additional. I questioned the same and the answer given was not so convincing.

I was told that this is the price of the oil, but on my reasoning that I have seen 875 as the MRP, I am told that the MRP is from the old lot and the price of the oil has increased. I demanded to see other boxes of oil cans and he brought another box which also mentioned that it was 875. He said that is because it was from the old lot only as used in my car. Then I told him if the price is from the old lot then how come you are charging me more that the MRP. Also if I go in open market, chances are I will get a hefty discount on the MRP too. He was not ready to listen this. I was informed to officially lodge a complain and I did the same in the feedback form. (I am sure that form must have been torn as I have not heard anything from TATA on this.)

Now this is really sad from TATA A.S.S to charge this kind of amount.
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Old 5th October 2009, 08:47   #26
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Well the cost of spares at TASS are surely increasing.

Take e.g the Tata Safari..

I paid approx 2300 including oil filter@162/- just for the oil change at 1st service. Now I am sure this is for sure more that what other safari owners would have paid in the early part of 09 or 08.

The same oil costs 1500 - 1600 at the wholesale castrol dealer outside.
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Old 5th October 2009, 09:36   #27
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at least i dont think I'm getting ripped off at my TASS. I've never had any flush or stuff i didnt want forced on me ( check my bills - they're all here) In fact, they're proactively trying to reduce it, though I'm not so sure, in a good way. I asked them at my 20k and 25k service to change my brake fluid, and at both times, they said that it was really not needed. they have an umbrella 'service' charge, and nothing beyond that - no specific items. And then there is their insistence on using their own oil, but now that they use castrol GTX D ( or at least claim to). that too is acceptable.

The only problem I find is the general level of incompetence and quality of service.

And the unwillingness to respond. I've tried mailing their customer support for various things, and complaining during their feedback calls, but their questions seem to be rigged ( all they seem to be interested in is if the wash was good, if the dude was courteous, or if the estimate was correct - all this is done perfectly to the T, but what use is it if the forget the core service). I get a lot of smiling or sorry faces, and words, but no action. Talk is cheap, but action - I'm yet to see it

I'm fine being ripped off. but at least they should give good service, not let our cars be guinea pigs for lowly paid trainee mechs who will so jump to a maruti or another competitor the moment they get enough experience ( i know this is what happens - i was told this by a college mate who worked there) - because they are fed up with the way things are run
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Old 5th October 2009, 10:09   #28
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Zappo & Team

I think it is fair to conclude that:

1) Certain Service Centres of TATA - possibly like those of others - have found new unfair avenues of making money.
2) It is unfair and incorrect of a service centre to charge for stuff like WAxol/pol if it was not specifically requested by the customer and intimated to him before it was done and charged. Wasan & Balaji in Bombay / Thane (for TATA) have always informed for before charging me for stuff like that if I wished to do it.
3) We should keep writting to TATA / other car vendors about all things that we find are irregualar. If we leave it for someone else to do, nothing will get done.
4) TATA approved product is different from TATA mandated product / service, and an approved product need not be used.
5) All / most companies have similar service centre issue though you have highlighted TATA here, Have observed similar stuff with Hyundai, Honda, Skoda & Earlier Daewoo. (Have surprisingly not used the Maruti service ever.)
6) At JMD Skoda within this year once they topped up 1/2 litre of synthetic Engine Oil (Helix) at Zero charge right in front of me (including nor charging for the expensive oil itself - they make enough money otherwise with me anyways.) They same place they once tired to charge me Rs. 2000 for pelnium chamber cleaning - this is a simple 15 min job (Negotiated this down to Rs. 1000), and they once they did this for free. So won some lost some.
7) At TATA they once this year adjusted all my doors and once oiled the windows - both at Zero Charge - Balaji. They did make a lot of money when providing me a refurbished (at my request) power stearing box.

One needs to select the service centres (if there are options in town) and one also needs to be vigilent about the service bill and can refuse to pay for anything that was done without permission being taken. I always put a cap (Rs. 250) on any additional stuff that they want to do at the time of giving the car. I make it a point to ask for the bill amount before the bill is made and before I landup at the centre.
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Old 5th October 2009, 13:14   #29
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Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Zappo & Team

I think it is fair to conclude that:...
While all those that you mentioned are issues one faces at Tata as well as elsewhere, as you pointed out, the core issue is not that.

The core issue is what I highlighted in my last post in reply to Narayan. Please go through it and the question that I raised, viz.
"...the question arises what do I ask them to do in service if not even such small things which should be done while they are servicing the vehicle? Barring these small niggles a service is often a top up of the coolant here or a brake oil there. And a wash. Do I really need to pay that 900 bucks service labor for just topping the oils and a wash?".
And that is something even Tata will do well to ponder upon. I do not think that any sensible person will be willing to pay a 950+taxes as labor charges for oil top-ups and a wash. If every small thing is separately charged for labor above the service charges then there is hardly any point going to the TASS.
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Old 5th October 2009, 14:14   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
While all those that you mentioned are issues one faces at Tata as well as elsewhere, as you pointed out, the core issue is not that.


The core issue is what I highlighted in my last post in reply to Narayan. Please go through it and the question that I raised, viz.
"...the question arises what do I ask them to do in service if not even such small things which should be done while they are servicing the vehicle? Barring these small niggles a service is often a top up of the coolant here or a brake oil there. And a wash. Do I really need to pay that 900 bucks service labor for just topping the oils and a wash?".

I do not think that any sensible person will be willing to pay a 950+taxes as labor charges for oil top-ups and a wash. If every small thing is separately charged for labor above the service charges then there is hardly any point going to the TASS.

Actually if you were to look at the service manual there is a long list of things that they are supposed to do in each service (specified for each interval.)

Today even the HP petrol pumps charge about Rs. 500 for the service plus oil change that they do. So an authorized centre would charge more plus within the same also check on many of the failure points that a vehicle has. On finding a problem with a failure point (like coolant, rubber pipes, gear box and differential oils, lights etc. etc, they may or may nor charge us for rectifing the same.)

I have on multiple occations choosen to get my safari serviced with a local mechanic, (I would buy the oil, filters etc.) and ask for the local mechanic to change the same, and plus also get the car serviced (Washed & Lubricated) seperately at the service centre.

Agree that they should do suff like wiper change free of cost, but that's something most indian service centre dont realize and it would cost them in terms of the customer choosing another centre where he has a choise.
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