Saving yourself from mechanics and vendors

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Sometime ago, the bumper of my Prius got damaged in an unfortunate accident. The front registration plate and lower grill got broken, which prompted me to go to Mont’ Gomery Road in Lahore, which is close to my home and is a famous place in Pakistan to get parts and your car fixed. However, you’ll find a lot of people advising against going to to Mont’ Gomery Road as the vendors and mechanics operating over there are rip-offs, especially those who aren’t well informed.

Regardless of the advise I got, I put up my investigative glasses and decided to explore this avenue as well. Here’s how it all went down:

Arrived at about 2 PM, which is considered a peak time there. The following tasks were at hand to be done:

  1. Repair/Replacement of LED light Front number plate.
  2. Repair of Bumper scratches (By compounding I estimated).
  3. Repair of lower bumper grill (a little weld maybe).

Once parked int he parking of Shell station, I set off to talk to the people who had their stalls against the wall of the station.

The Number plate guy said, “Yeh toh nayi paraygi (You will have to get a new one)”, I said it’s just one crack at the side and two wires are hanging out, just fix these wires and it will be OK.

But he was adamant that, “Naa, yeh ager taar nikal gayi toh theek ni hoti (Once the wire is out, only solution is replacement)”. I tried to convince him to just fix it, as he quoted a new number plate for 1000 PKR, not one Rupee less.

Anyways, the bumper person said that the Scratch had removed the paint altogether and only solution was to paint the area. Again I pleaded to try compounding it just but he did not budge. He maintained that since the paint is Pearl White, it is very hard to match and the color can is very expensive, so 2000 PKR for the front bumper, not a penny less.

The lower grill person had a similar story, again said it will have to be welded, and not glued together by “Elfy” or some other adhesive, his fee was a fixed 500 rupees as well.

So the current bill I received sums up to 3500 rupees but I can’t stand and bumps and ding marks on my car and had to get them fixed right away, not any other day, it’s just my nature.

Now see the magic, initially, I didn’t want to but was forced to call (like most of us avoid taking favors) a relative of mine, who manages that pump (via Police department, Accounts department). He knows most vendors of that area and came after a short while, and met those vendors who upon seeing him changed their price, mood, tone, etc, “oho yeh aap k janay walay? (Oh! He is your relative)”, “Pehle kyun ni bataya? (Why didn’t you tell us before)”.

Now, to my utter amazement the number plate guy agrees to repair the number plate almost free of cost, he just charged 25 rupees for Elfy and, wiring was reconnected to the lights.

Then we moved to the lower bumper guy who also agrees to fix the part using an Elfy unlike before, 25 rupees spent here as well.

Finally, the bumper guy who previously was against compounding, did exactly what I asked and charged a modest 100 rupees.

Summing up, a 3500 rupees work was done in just 150 rupees because I brought their boss along. References does wonders in Pakistan and is also the reason of our predicament today.

Therefore, my advice to everyone would be: Either get your car fixed by mechanics you know for some time, and who enjoy a good reputation, or get a reference when dealing with unknown.

Also it would be wise to:

  1. Google about the issue using the internet, there is a ton of knowledge available on PakWheels and chance are quite good that your issue has already been asked and solved on PakWheels Forums or Blog.
  2. Ask about the issue on Pakwheels. Take and post pictures as well so members can guide you even better.
  3. Ask a friend or a family member who knows about cars and their maintenance techniques. They could also have a reference with the mechanic(s).

Performing any of the above to know your problem better will atleast provide you with some idea and cost of the work that is required to fix the issue on your car. Because if you go there without a reference or are not informed with knowledge in vehicles, they will “Kheel laa deingay” as they say in the local tongue.

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  1. Mohammad Aftab Abbasi says

    great, similar stuff happend to me and now i am convinced that this is not a land of pure anymore but land of theives and bayghairat haramkhoor, when i took my subaru pleu to get a.c serviced guy looked at me as i look fool and asked me 3000 rupees to open up loose curren gas and then clean the coil and blower motor, i asked myself to wait, next day i went to another guy near Bahria town in police foundation he immediatly started work and only charged me 300 but i paid him 500 , now tell me what the other dude would have done with me. what a shame…………………

  2. Ahmed Talal says

    Unfortunately, this happened to me as well on same Montgomery road. People there force you to empty your pocket and feed their hungry bellies. I went their for speedometre repair which had to cost me 1500 rupees with few parts and labour, and I spent 7000 rupees instead just because guys there were insisting me to get new things installed in my car. Mostly, I fix minor problems of my car on my own as I am quite smooth in dealing with such machines and avoid mechanics. I go to them only when I think I won't be able to fix some thing.

  3. Muhammad Umair A says

    No body is looking at the other side of the coin. In Pakistan people tend to rob other people of their livelihood by applying some kind of pressure/force. That's exactly what the author did. How can you justify all the work for Rs. 150? Just because you had someone influential you look advantage of the situation. It's okay that you did not want to be ripped off but it's not cool when you do it. You ripped off the vendors. What's the difference then?

  4. Abdul Rahman says

    nice observation and feeling of care behind it…

  5. Hafeez Ahmed says

    i have a problem in my toyota vitz 2005 when i start the car ,engine is may be like knocking when i accelarate it and sound is tak tak tak when the gear shifts up knocking is clear what is the problem can any one tell me?

  6. Arif Khan Mahsud says

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