Its not just you Fee....I'm fairly savvy thanks to this great site and have had cars for years with few rip-off problems from garages..... then I get an Alfa and lets just say its a garage free for all.
Despite me hanging about in an easy going way ( I get on well with most anybody BTW
sometimes buying them donuts/coffee etc and NOT distracting them, just to keep an eye on things, they ALWAYS wait till you leave, then start.
In addition to doing what WAS required, they remove certain parts from the car which were working fine and replace them with broken, wrong model or worn bits, then charge you for replacement S/H parts ( always in stock of course!!) & costed at NEW prices or send you on your way knowing you WILL be back to repair the NEW problem.
So far I have had this at THREE N London garages in 5mths of ownership, to varying degrees. I hate being billed for 3+ hrs labour & £68+vat hr, when they have spent maybe ~45mins on the car MAX and created a new problem with. After having my car very recently serviced and new brake discs put on for £520, its now as if the dampers and springs have been adjusted or softened so the car handles like a jellyfish. It was tight before it went in, as I used to get jolted over the plethora of local speed humps. Guess they want me to blow another grand to upgrade to Konis & springs and 3+ hrs of labour
TBH its almost put me off Alfa ownership, as some garages seem to capitalise on your deep affection for the Marque and it historical reputation for unreliability.