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Scam Alert! Authorised dealers charging for more oil than actually used

My Honda Jazz has a 3.2-litre engine oil capacity, but I was charged for 3.6-litres.

BHPian rjainv recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

TL;DR;

If you got your car serviced recently, do check the quantity of engine oil charged to you in the bill and compare it with the engine oil capacity mentioned in the technical specifications of your vehicle. You could have been charged 5-10% more than what your vehicle can actually take!

My Experience

I got my Jazz VMT Petrol (2015) serviced at Brigade Honda, Yelahanka Bangalore recently.

Basic stuff out of the way:

My experience with this service centre has always been great including this time.

  • SA will try to put additional stuff to make money for the service centre, but will calmly remove it if you say no. This time was no different, though they did manage to sneak in windscreen washer fluid pouches and I accepted it at the final bill since they had been very nice and accomodating in every other aspect.
  • I had a minor issue with the bodywork they had done last time, and I appreciated how they took care of it this time with no fuss (the door side protector was incorrectly pasted leading to the driver's side front door getting jammed in the rear door was fully opened first
  • They pointed out a few things to consider getting changed but left it to my discretion without creating any pressure/scare.
  • Overall very satisfying experience, and I'll happily go there again next time.

The billing

  • Before service: During the initially estimated bill, I noticed that the cost of engine oil was higher than what the online service cost estimator on Honda's website was indicating. I pointed this out to SA and his senior but they were pretty confident that their estimate is correct as it's all automated by Honda and all they do is select the vehicle type. They asked me to check if online is estimating 3.6L of oil as that is what Jazz Petrol takes. Unfortunately, the online estimator doesn't give this level of detail, just shows the break up of cost.
  • At this point, while I was waiting for the car to be serviced, I just shot an email to Honda customer care to clarify the discrepancy in engine oil cost between the online estimator and the actual estimate at a service centre.
  • After Service: Later when I got the bill to pay, I opened the user manual of Jazz and showed SA and his senior that it says 3.2L with oil filter change. They again pretended to be unaware of why it says so, and just asserted that it's an automated bill and they charge this to every Jazz Petrol customer.
  • I paid and moved on, and later in the day shot a follow-up mail to Honda customer care about 3.2L engine oil capacity vs 3.6L billed quantity.
  • Followup: I got a follow-up email quickly from HCIL, Greater Noida that my complaint has been registered, followed by a call from SA from the service centre.
  • He said it was an error on their part due to a mistake in selection and they would refund the amount.
  • Outcome: I didn't get any satisfactory response from SA on if they are overcharging every customer in this way and if they continue to do so. He tried to dismiss it as a one-off mistake.

The CRM team from the service centre had the following to say.

Dear sir,

Greetings From Brigade Honda !!!

This has reference to the trailing mail.

Firstly we would like to apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment that you experienced in dealing with our dealership recently. Assuring that it will not repeat in future.

As informed you that during estimation time there was an error in our system while selecting the set menu due to that the quantity was increased and whatever the difference amount will be refunded to your account.

Once again We would like to extend our apologies for the inconvenience caused further, I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We are actively working to improve our service levels and your feedback has proved to be valuable input.

For any further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

I pointed out that even my earlier service bills also indicate the same overbilling issue and there is a consistent pattern. On probing further if they are overcharging other customers too, they ignored that question and gave a standard response

Greetings From Brigade Honda !!!

This has reference to the trailing mail.

Firstly we would like to apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment that you experienced in dealing with our dealership recently. Assuring that it will not repeat in future.

As discussed with our service advisor regarding the refund amount, our service advisor was claimed internal on your invoice and transferred the amount to your account.

Once again We would like to extend our apologies for the inconvenience caused further, I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We are actively working to improve our service levels and your feedback has proved to be valuable input.

For any further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

After the above exchange, I got a mail from HCIL Noida to confirm if I am satisfied with the resolution. I have not responded to it yet, but I am just going to say thank you as I don't think they are going to share any more details on whether is one-off or prevalent malpractice and if they are taking any steps in general

Regarding your concern, the dealer team has sent you a written communication. Hope the issue is resolved and there is no pending concern currently.

Thank you for patronizing Honda and assuring you of the best of our products and service at all times.

Was this a one-off thing?

I don't think so. I could find at least one more reference of another BHP'ian having pointed this out to Honda and got the refund.

BHPian NoHonking:

An update further, sharing below the response received from Honda on the 2 issues(rusted tie rods and incorrectly billed for the quantity of engine oil at 2 different HASS). While I appreciate them and the HASS for having taken care of my concerns, without commenting I leave it completely unbiased for the audience to comprehend their reply to me. Thanks.

So seems to be repeated in the case of Honda, though to give credit where it's due, I figured this out due to the online service cost calculator that Honda has made available (and is done by a few other car manufacturers as well)

I looked if I can find other instances of overbilling in the bills shared by other BHPians and I could easily see many examples across different manufacturers.

Honda

  • Jazz - Charged for 3.4L against 3.2L capacity

Maruti

Hyundai

  • Venue - 3.7L billed vs actual 3.6L capacity
  • Elite i20 - billed 5.5L vs actual 5.3L capacity

Mahindra, Tata

  • Could not find any bill with a higher engine oil quantity than capacity

Skoda

I did find a lot of bills where engine oil quantity was correct (except Skoda -in my limited search time)!

Conclusion

Unlike all other extra charges like windscreen wiper fluids, underbody/engine coating, AC treatment etc, this is overcharging isn't explicit and easily goes unnoticed!

Earlier service centres used to carry plastic cans for engine oils which came in fixed sizes larger than the car's engine capacity. Hence there was an excuse to charge for the complete can (and in some cases gave leftover oil as prasad to the customer) as a return gift. However today almost every service centre buys in barrels and has hoses run till service bays to dispense exactly the amount needed by a particular vehicle! So no such excuse anymore for charging more.

Going by conservative maths, I was charged about Rs 300 more, and I think there would be an avg of 50 cars daily. that translates to almost half crore Rupees additional income in a year for the service centre by just overcharging/wrong billing. That is about 5 top-end Jazz cars right there!

Comment for fellow BHPians - do check your service bill to see if you were overcharged!

I am in particular interested if anyone else got their car recently serviced at Brigade Honda Yelahanka if you were overcharged or correctly charged!

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Really sucks that, even after going to authorised dealers (supposedly more trustworthy than your corner shop), one has to be blatantly cheated like this. Where are the ethics? Why can't authorised dealers to earn a fair buck & charge for just what product/service was used? This is blatant theft.

Over-billing, upselling, fake services and whatnot. Got to protect your own hard-earned money.

Just wondering why 99% of dealership billing errors are always in favour of their own self. Never ever is a miscalculation favouring a customer.

Here's what BHPian sagarpadaki had to say on the matter:

Overbilling the quantity of fluids and greases is followed in many service centres across brands. What I have observed in Bangalore

Hyundai -> Bills 199 rupees for a pouch of caliper grease for almost all cars that come in for periodic service. One pouch is enough to grease caliper slide pins of 10 cars. And they do not return the excess grease back to the customer since they would be using a common pouch opened for multiple cars. For gear oil, they have 2.5L cans. Most cars in Hyundai stable take in 2L of gear oil. But are billed for 2.5 litres.

Tata -> Billed 750ml more for coolant during replacement. The coolant used was Ready to Use and not the concentrate to be mixed with distilled water. Had to point out the capacity mentioned in the user manual for them to revert back the bill to the recommended quantity

Maruti -> Bills engine oil to the nearest 0.5L. If the car takes 3.2L, the bill shows 3.5L. Excess oil not returned to the customer.

The only way we can avoid it is by being aware and vigilant. But the majority of customers have no idea of the amount of fluids their cars take in. Heck, most of the people I know have not even read through the owner's manual.

So, the service centres make hay with most customers. Unethical, but most service centres do not care.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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