The name alone should post a bright red flag in your mind. This company preys upon the average consumer's lack of automotive knowledge. It appears they employ technicians that actually perform the work and "account managers" that attempt to upsell unnecessary repairs and services. This company quoted me $537 to install a serpentine belt. That's $300 more than the high end of RepairPal.com's national average. Here's my story: I came home from work and my wife said she had a battery light warning light on the dash. I went to Walmart that evening and installed a new battery (located in the car's trunk), but the light remained on. After having the car towed home from Walmart, I checked under the hood in the morning to discover a shredded serpentine belt laying on the bottom of the engine compartment. The car also had an oil leak which coupled with the shredded belt had made a mess of the front of the engine. After having the car towed to Honest-1, I received a call from the "account manager" who stated they'd have to charge an extra hour of labor to clean up the mess in the engine compartment. He proceeded to tell me the labor schedule for installation of the belt was two hours. Parts and labor total $537. On top of that the salesman/account manager stated my battery was dead and needed to be replaced as well. I immediately informed him the battery was less than 24 hours old. Unable to upsell me on the battery, which is normally recharged by the alternator which wasn't doing its job since the belt wasn't there, the salesman called me back to tell me I needed an oil change to be safe since the oil level was calculated by the car's computer. He reasoned that because the battery was dead they didn't know how much oil was present. Luckily, I had topped it off two days prior, so I shot the oil change service recommendation down. That evening I started calling other shops and checking online resources. Everyone, including AAA, agreed $537 was outrageous. Phrases like "price gouging" and words like "predatory" were used. The other mechanics I contacted all had less than an hour in their labor schedules for this job. The next morning I had the car towed to another shop that cleaned the engine compartment, fixed the oil leak and installed the serpentine belt for just over $200. That's over $300 less than Honest-1 had quoted me and inline with RepairPal.com's national average for belt installation on this year, make and model car. The owner and her professional PR response will attempt some damage control after reading this review and that's fine, but do yourself a favor and take your car to a mechanic that is "honest" enough to tell a customer that the reason the battery is dead is because it wasn't being re-charged by the alternator (because the belt was connected to it). "Honest" enough to tell a customer that as soon as the belt is installed, the oil level will be able to be checked too. I'm very disappointed AAA subjects their members to a business that employs these tactics. REBUTTAL TO OWNER: The $537 price did NOT include repairing the oil leak. The belt alone (no tensioners) and labor totaled $537. “Honest-1” would’ve needed to determine exactly where the oil leak was originating and include any additional parts and labor into that $537 quote. Another point that needs clarification is how did “Honest-1” read the oil light when they also state that the battery was dead? They did NOT ask me how old the battery was. Proof? The message they left on my phone: “Hey Steve, this is Jeff at Honest-1. Uh, give me a call back, the only thing is I got to talking to the Tech with that engine oil leak. I don’t know how much, where the oil level might be on it and you have to have a special computer to check the oil in that, so I didn’t know if you wanted to be on the safe side to have us go ahead and do an oil change that way we know it has the correct amount of oil in it or not. So, if you can just go ahead and give us a call and let us know. Thank you.” “Honest-1” is anything but.
Mr. DiSantos, I am VERY sorry your experience with us was not to the level you expected. That is the last thing we ever want to happen. I wish we could have talked with you about your concern so we could have resolved it with you. I do appreciate your compliment that I am a professional PR person. This is a family run business, not a big corporate store so we do NOT employ a PR firm. We want to work one on one, in person, with each customer, meeting their needs. We don’t have a third party between us and our customers. You did make some points I would like to clarify. We are RepairPal and AAA certified. Our pricing must be/is within their guidelines 100% of the time. The price we gave you was not just for a serpentine belt replacement but to fix the problem. Your car’s engine was drenched in oil which caused the belt to slip off. If the engine was not degreased (and ultimately the oil leak repaired) it would slip off again. We would be at fault for not telling you what was needed to permanently fix the problem. More than half of the quote was cleaning up the engine and confirming no other issues were present. We are sorry that you mistook it just to change the serpentine belt. We did suggest an oil change since the oil change light was on. A good running engine will use little to zero oil, so you change oil due to it “wearing out” not based on the dip stick level. We did tell you the battery was dead thus asking the age of it. Again, we want you to know upfront the conditions we are seeing. Without you giving us permission to work on the car, charging up the battery, we have no idea if the battery would hold a charge. Our goal is to keep our customers informed on what we find. We minimize surprises as best as we can. We provide a 3-year warranty on all work we do so we are not going to do a half-baked fix. We want our customers feeling confident about the condition of their autos. No one wants to be stranded on the side of a road.
- Honest-1 Auto Care Ormond Beach