Is this acceptable?
I have a broken exhaust clamp that is rattling away and someone I know kindly said would fit for me if I get the replacement part. Having gone into 2 Alfa dealerships the following was the experience:
#1: fairly helpful to start - printed out 3 pictures and asked me to point to the part which they would order. Diagrams were brutal - unbelieveably confusing with many parts having no lines into where they fit on the main parts. Having done a bit of technical drawing back in my Inter Cert days, this wouldn't come close to meeting the most basic requirements. Not being able to point to the part, he recommended me having a look again underneath and come back to them. With a busy garage, they weren't able to look themselves...
After doing this and being none the wiser, it was off to #2:
Again, fairly helpful to start. Had a lad jack it up and look under with same said diagrams. He couldn't work out which part it was supposed to be either. Manager then says that parts can often be slightly different shapes on different models. Said it was probably one of two parts which he could order, basically implying that I would be taking my own chances as to whether it was the right part. I said could it not be quickly put up on a ramp for the head mechanic to confirm the part, he replied that the garage was busy and it would cost labour to look at it. So I caved and said, listen I need it fixed, I presume it only takes a few minutes to fit if I left it with you now to confirm the right part? Reply was yes, but there was a half hour min labour charge which would be €45... And it would take a week for the part to come from Italy if the UK didn't have it.
So to replace this simple little piece of metal is now going to cost €75. I'd lost the will to argue, but surely any organsisation should be helpful to sell a part, not just labour. After all this €30 clamp probably costs €5 to actually make, €10 to ship and the rest as profit for head office and local garage. I'm guessing Alfa Italy probably mark it up horribly to start with, so the local garage makes most of its money on the labour. I wouldn't mind so much paying their hourly rate if it was applied to the 10mins it would take to screw it on, the half hour minimum just means any little job becomes expensive. And those diagrams, grrrrr, dare I say they must purposely make it hard to self order anything that's not obvious.