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Old 4th October 2009, 16:23   #1
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Default Is Tata milking it's customers dry in the name of Labor Costs?

The malady is spreading between the partners I guess. People complained about high spare prices of Fiat. Tata is also on the same path albeit in a different way. And now I am certain that if they do not do something urgently they will loose out on their VFM status soon.

Sometimes back I complained in a dealership section thread on how Tata's Detroit Motors (sub dealer for Concorde and a huge authorized TASC) fleeced me when I went to service the Turbo Indica. The details are available in this thread here.

In short they charged me separately, over and above the service charges, a 100 bucks for black smoke issue in the name of CatCon cleaning. This when all that the mech did was to take my car to a secluded portion of the garage that opens to a vast open stretch of field at the rear. He lustily hit the accelerator (in neutral) a few times to get rid of the black carbon deposit in the muffler. I was aghast. What do they do in service if they separately charge for something as routine as carbon deposit removal (black smoke problem) which probably every diesel car owner asks for during service?

I even complained to Tata about this but the guy at the other end only made all the right noises (tut tut, we will look into it sir and such) but actually did nothing about it.

However, yesterday I realized that the malady is probably from the Tata end. They have articulated a new way to make money. By charging for absurdities. I am not saying dealers are any babes-in-the-wood. Only that Tatas are also not helping matters.

My NA Indica was in for service yesterday (this time with Autofin, Secunderabad). It was a 45k service. The car had just undergone a major service at 40k wherein every oil (engine, transaxle, brake), coolant etc had all been changed. This one was supposed to be a minor service with mostly top-ups. But the SA won't have it that easy. He almost tried to brow beat me into changing everything although the complete changes are supposed to be done only in alternate service.

Anyways, I did not agree and so he ultimately had to fall in line. However when I got the bill I realized that once again some items in the bill are ridiculous. Over and above charging me for the Service they had added a Waxoyl treatment charge for 100 bucks. I asked what it is and they said apparently this is a washing charge. Washing is a part of the service. And still they had sneaked in the 100 bucks which apparently is a separately charged item for the vehicle wash.

Next item was even more hilarious. I had asked them to check why the wiper was not cleaning as efficiently as earlier and whether the arm needed to be adjusted. They told me that my wiper blades had hardened up and need to be changed. I agreed. In the bill they had not only put in the charge for the new blades but also billed me 75 rupees labor for putting the blades in!

Now anyone who has seen how the wiper blades are mounted will know that there is not even a single screw that needs to be opened. The wiper blades are simply slided in place on the wiper arm. It's kind of a hook and a bracket arrangement. The whole thing does not take more than 30 seconds and if you were to use a stopwatch for a competition one can probably do it in 12 seconds flat. They charged me 75 bucks to put that wiper in place!!!

Now, I felt I needed to talk to someone I knew and was familiar with the setup. The guy told me that there is hardly anything they can do as these are standard Tata rates now and the moment they enter wiper blade change the labor gets added on its own. I do not know how correct this is (as the person is from the dealership and may have some vested interests) but if it is indeed true I believe Tatas will soon come to grief as not many people would like to buy a white elephant that will bleed you later with it's maintenance costs.

Oh, by the way, before closing this post let me tell you that some 8 months back I asked the TASS to change the bearings of the rear wheels. Besides the bearing costs (some 650 bucks I think) they also charged me a cool 950 bucks as labor charges to put that bearing in.

So think before you say that Tata is cheap maintenance. Not any more, probably. Their labor costs are a killer.

Last edited by Zappo : 4th October 2009 at 16:37.
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Old 4th October 2009, 16:31   #2
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8o bucks to swap an IRVM - two screws
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...report-img.jpg

and what exactly is hub greasing, and why does it cost so much ? (I've not had to pay for it yet, but i hear a lot of folks at TIUG complaining about it ...
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Old 4th October 2009, 16:42   #3
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Yeah. Hub greasing is the euphemism for bearing change. Basically the rear bearings get old and they impede the free rotation of the wheels. This typically happens at 35k to 40k or so. Now just imagine. They take out the two rear wheels and the drum and put in the new new bearings. How can that cost 950 bucks? I have no idea really. And though that 950 is not a small amount by itself they very cleverly left out 50 rupees as 1000 bucks would have looked like sacrilege for that job.

For that matter, 100 bucks to floor the accelerator 3 times when the car is in neutral. Euphemism for this activity is CatCon cleaning. 100 rupees separately for the wash during the service. This is waxoyl treatment. They do not need to ask for it apparently. And then 75 bucks to slide in the wiper blades on the wiper arm which I can do in 12 seconds flat.

Last edited by Zappo : 4th October 2009 at 16:48.
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Old 4th October 2009, 16:44   #4
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Quote:
Now anyone who has seen how the wiper blades are mounted will know that there is not even a single screw that needs to be opened. The wiper blades are simply slided in place on the wiper arm. It's kind of a hook and a bracket arrangement. The whole thing does not take more than 30 seconds and if you were to use a stopwatch for a competition one can probably do it in 12 seconds flat. They charged me 75 bucks to put that wiper!!!
While I dont have a nasty TASS experience to talk about. I have had similar instances in the US.

PepBoys and JiffyLube also charge customers almost $5 to install wipers if you decided during your service routine to change them. Now in my Camry, it was lift the lever, slide out, slide in. Compare this to Advance Autoparts where wiper installation was done for free if you purchased the wipers from the store.

Same goes for any bulb or fuse in the car. There was an installation charge pro-rated from the $80/hour labor charge!!!!!!
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Old 4th October 2009, 17:03   #5
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@Zappo 100 bucks is not bad. Here in Chandigarh, they charge Rs250 for car wash. Had got the rear wheel bearing changed twice and its making the noise again so ready for third transplant in 108k. It really pinches to pay for that labour which is way to much. Had my CD, stereo remote and idol of Hanuman ji stolen from my Dad's car in separate occasions from their service centre.


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Old 4th October 2009, 17:21   #6
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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. 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.

TATA Wasan and Balaji both in Mumbai for example charge Rs. 100 for setting all doors of the Safari, and this has been the rate for the last 9 years of my owning the safari, the outside local door setter charges 50-100 depending on his mood, so that rate is ok. All it involves is banging the hammer and tighening the screws is a few places. Actually Rs. 75 for changing the wipers is funny if your compare.

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. But again it must be checked out if this is a standard rate prescribed by TATA or something that the dealer took advantage of.

Last edited by Dippy : 5th October 2009 at 11:33. Reason: Please do not quote an entire long post when replying. Thanks.
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Old 4th October 2009, 17:23   #7
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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.
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Old 4th October 2009, 17:27   #8
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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.
Rs. 1500 for a gearbox part change irrespective of the part cost is quite ok, Gearbox work is quite complicated. And doing it in an authorized centre would cost a bit.
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Old 4th October 2009, 17:36   #9
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Tata's cars may be cheap to buy; in the long run, they are anything but. Niggling problems are way too common on my Indigo and the service bills are more than of my Honda. I'm glad I took the 4 year extended warranty, yet part failure (due to shoddy quality) is too frequent. I rarely sell my cars before owning them for 10 years. With the Indigo, this may be an exception.

I'm hopeful that the Vista, being a 10 year newer platform than the original Indica / Indigo, proves better in long-term durability & reliability. Tata ought to have learn an awful lot on making cars in the past decade. This quality trap that Tata finds itself in is a viscious circle. Better mend things as top priority, competition is becoming tight and their diesel USP is long gone.
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Old 4th October 2009, 18:20   #10
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The service story is the same with the sister brand Fiat that I use. After Tata-Fiat merger, I have noticed a huge hike in service costs and every time, after every part has been changed, I have noticed the service charges are higher than the parts cost. I used to think its routine and remains same for all brands but after reading here, it looks to me to be yet another silly policy from the A S S. The main problem of any Fiat car IMO has been the A S S experience, this kind of irritating and silly pricing only adds to the frustration of having bought the brand.

P.S.: I don't think any new owners of Tata-Fiat branded cars would even notice this menace, the problem only starts once the car is out of warranty.
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Old 4th October 2009, 18:37   #11
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I'm quite shocked by these stories. Especially the wiper blade story. Its absurd to even think of charging for the blades. Poor show.
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Old 4th October 2009, 18:47   #12
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All this is news to me ! I thought TATA had one of the cheapest mantainance charges. Now I know why companies like Hyundai, MUL, Honda & Toyota are praised.

I have never been charged for small probems and sometimes even major ones that I have complained. In fact they do it free of charge most times.

And sometimes I tell them to do a certain job or put / replace something they say '' No Sir - you can go for another 3 months '' !!
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Old 4th October 2009, 19:06   #13
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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 ...
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Old 4th October 2009, 19:29   #14
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um guys, can we focus on the labour rates for tata cars here

I think we've done the reliablity of tata cars bit to death, and several threads exist already.

Thankfully, I have been very happy with my indica, with not much part replacements ( just over 2 years and 25k kms ) - nothing serious, apart from an intercooler mounting bracket

zappo, if you are interested in comparing rates, you might want to look at a cross section of 40k indica service bills at
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/...ervice%20Bill/

and if possible, post yours here/there

Last edited by Technocrat : 5th October 2009 at 14:33. Reason: removed extra Smilie :)
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Old 4th October 2009, 19:36   #15
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I have a less than 2 yr old DLG Indica, 30K. They've already changed the alternator and starter under warranty. The power window cable broke and i was charged 4k for the whole assembly (i have extended warranty). Apart from this there's a hard PS problem they are unable to diagnose, god knows whats wrong there


Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
um guys, can we focus on the labour rates for tata cars here

I think we've done the reliablity of tata cars bit to death, and several threads exist already.

Thankfully, I have been very happy with my indica, with not much part replacements ( just over 2 years and 25k kms ) - nothing serious, apart from an intercooler mounting bracket

zappo, if you are interested in comparing rates, you might want to look at a cross section of 40k indica service bills at
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/...ervice%20Bill/

and if possible, post yours here/there
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