If You Want to Spend Lots of Money, Take Your Car to Das Autohaus!


DAS AUTOHAUS

1045 New Jersey Street
Lawrence, KS 66044

Phone: 785-843-9494

As is usually the case, I should have listened to my gut instinct before trusting Dave, the owner of Das Autohaus and the Scuba Shack, co-located businesses literally around the corner from our home in Lawrence, Kansas.  When I stopped by to inquire about snorkeling gear for an upcoming trip to the Caribbean and discuss hiring him as our new mechanic (having recently moved to the area), the price for a mask, snorkel, and fins that go for less than $50 (with free shipping) on Amazon.com were quoted at $99 … HINT #1 that things to come from Dave would not be cheap!

Being unemployed, we do not have a lot of money and our previous mechanic in Kansas City was always honest, fair, and did excellent work. I knew I could trust him and he never took advantage of us, unlike many mechanics, including, in my opinion, Dave and Das Autohaus.

I took our 2000 Volkswagen Beetle to Dave for a simple check of the battery (which was losing its charge on very cold mornings) this morning, expecting a fair and reasonable estimate.  He told me that it would take about an hour to run some diagnostics. I asked him how much an oil change would be while I was there and he told me, “$60”.  I told him that my last mechanic only charged me $25 (including oil, filter, checking fluids, and inflating tires) and that I thought his price was too high (HINT #2 of a rip-off … I should have walked away right then, but I believe in supporting local small businesses), so I told him not to change the oil.

Three hours later, Dave finally called and told me that the problem was in-fact the battery, which I assumed was the case, and considering the fact that batteries for my vehicle run around $100 (including FREE testing and installation) at any reputable auto parts store, I figured it should run me $160 more or less ($100 for the battery and an plus or minus an hour, to be generous, for labor – diagnostics and installation). I asked him how much it was going to cost and he said, “that comes to a little over $280”.  

I thought maybe I had misheard the price, so I asked him, “did you say $280?”. He confirmed the ridiculous price and I said, “I can buy a battery for $100 with free installation at an auto parts store, so why do you want to charge me $280? How much is the battery?”.  He replied, “$140”, to which I responded, “so you want to charge me $140 in labor to replace a battery I can get installed for free anywhere else?” He told me, “that’s what it costs.  Do you know how long it takes to install a battery?”  I told him that I do in-fact know how long it takes because I installed the VW battery 4 years ago myself, taking only about 15 minutes. His “I could care less” and aggressive tone of voice ticked me off, so I told him I would be right over to collect my car. 

When I arrived, he insulted me further by saying that the car had not been well maintained and, in an attempt to up-sell someone who was not going to fall for his BS in any event, that I needed to replace the timing belt.  I told him that the timing belt had been replaced less than 70,000 miles ago and that the VW had been well maintained, changing the oil every 5,000 miles even though recommendations are to change diesel oil every 10,000 miles and making all RECOMMENDED and NECESSARY repairs (from our honest mechanic).

He then handed me a bill for $75:


As you can see from the invoice, he not only overcharged me for the labor involved with the estimate, HE CHARGED ME $9.99 FOR SUPPLIES?  What supplies could he have possibly used to test my charging system?

Having spent my Air Force career as a transportation officer and responsible for hundreds of auto mechanics (and the Best Transportation Squadron in the United States Air Force), I know how repair costs are calculated, so I asked Dave how much his hourly rate was. He said, “I work by the job, not by the hour”, so I knew he was not on the up-and-up. In comparison, here is a quote from AutoMD.com for the exact repair on my vehicle and as you can see, it is MUCH closer to my estimate than his:



Quote Number # 636221

2000 Volkswagen Beetle GLS 4 Cyl 1.9L

    Parts Selected
    CARQUEST

    Jobs* Warranty Qty/Hrs Cost Total
    Battery Replacement
    Parts CARQUEST Battery (New) 2 yr / 24k mi 1 $136.05 $136.05
    Labor 2 yr / 24k mi 0.60 hrs $80.00 $48.00
    $184.05
    Other Fees
    Shop Supplies $1.84 $1.84
    $1.84
    Quote Summary
    Parts 1 $136.05 $136.05
    Labor 0.6 hrs $48.00 $48.00
    Other Fees 1 $1.84 $1.84
    Total $185.89

    He was trying to charge me over $140 in labor for a job that takes 6/10 of an hour, ATTEMPTING to charge me over $250 an hour for labor when the average is $65 to $70 an hour elsewhere … CAN YOU SAY “RIP-OFF” … SURE YOU CAN!


    I took my car to Walmart (invoice below) a few days later. They tested my charging system FOR FREE, CHARGED ME ONLY $109.97 FOR THE BATTERY, and INSTALLED IT IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES FOR FREE … for a total of only $124 and change! Adding in the $75 Dave charged me for doing practically nothing and the grand total came to $200, SO I STILL PAID $80 LESS THAN DAVE WAS GOING TO CHARGE ME even though I should have paid over $150 less if I had been dealing with an honest person.


    Mechanics are notorious for taking advantage of uneducated customers as we have all seen on shows like 20/20 and 60 Minutes, but there are good, honest people out there as our last mechanic proved over the last five years. I assumed, and you know what happens when you “ASSUME” … YOU MAKE AN “ASS” OF “U” AND “ME”, that Dave would be fair and honest, knowing very well that this was the first time I had been there and possibly trying to “do the right thing” by a new customer. In my opinion, Dave obviously has no idea what the “right thing” is or what “integrity” entails, so if you have more money than you know what to do with and do not care how much a service costs, by all means go to Das Autohaus! I did not realize how good I had it with our last mechanic, but maybe it is worth the 40 minute drive not to find out how many crook mechanics there are in Lawrence, Kansas!

    CombatCritic Gives Das Autohaus 1 Out of 10 Bombs … Bombs Are Good!












    UPDATE: Since this debacle, several people (friends and strangers alike) have come forward with stories of their own about Dave and Das Autohaus. It seems as though he has an unsavory reputation in Lawrence, a reputation I wish I had been aware of prior to trusting him with my car. So I am sharing my story and opinion with you in the hope that I can spare some of my neighbors from a similar experience. Take heed and pass the word along so that others will not be victimized by this unscrupulous business owner.

    Key Words: das, autohaus, mechanic, car, auto, automobile, Volkswagen, VW, battery, repair, cost, con, pro, rude, Lawrence, Kansas, InstitutionalTerrorism, institutional, terrorism

    This review is based solely on my opinion and what I believe to be true based on my direct experience with the service(s) in question. Readers should take these facts into consideration when deciding to utilize a service (or not) and that my opinion may or may not reflect the true nature and/or character of the individuals and/or institutions being reviewed.
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    Boston, Terrorism, the Media, and Human Nature



    Boston … Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved-ones of the two victims who lost their lives as well as those who were injured and the first responders who put their lives in peril to save others. Decoy devices are quite common among terrorists, so let’s hope they have successfully cleared the area of additional IEDs.

    As was the case with Sandy Hook, this event is and will receive a great deal of attention for days, if not weeks, not to mention many anniversaries to come. That is EXACTLY WHAT THE PERPETRATORS AND TERRORISTS WANT AND NEED TO EXIST!

    The purpose of terrorism is, obviously, “to terrorize” and you cannot terrorize without the mass media. The mass media (TV, radio, internet) profit from these events because humans have a sick need to be entranced by trauma and gore. So disasters such as these are extremely profitable for the networks, stations, and websites because humans are innately sadistic.

    Think about the times you’ve arrived at the source of a traffic jam only to find people rubber-necking to see if the can view some blood and gore … even on the opposite side of the highway! I cannot tell you how many times I have been delayed on LA freeways only to find a fender fender or a flat tire miles away that people could not resist gawking at.

    “Sadistic” may be a strong word, but characterizes rather succinctly the need people have to view traumatic, bloody scenes. Other examples of this phenomena are the people who hear of a tragedy (fire, earthquake, hurricane, etc.) and feel compelled to go to the scene, PUTTING THEIR LIVES, AND THOSE OF THEIR FAMILIES IN SOME CASES, IN PERIL!

    Bullfights, car races, boxing, ultimate fighting, running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain and other events where there is a high probability of blood and guts being exposed are extremely popular. You have to be “a little slow” (to put it nicely) to watch 33 cars go round and round and round and round until somebody FINALLY crosses the finish line hours later, usually a rather anti-climactic event and the lowlight of the race…hopefully there were a few crashes!

    Why do we humans act this way? One reason is that people are inherently curious creatures. Beyond that, there is some subconscious satisfaction in seeing others suffer. The suffering of others gives us a momentary feeling of superiority or a sense of “wow…I’m sure glad that wasn’t me!”. In either case, it makes it feel, on a level we are not necessarily aware of, that we are better off or safer than others and that can be very comforting. Another reason people may rush to a disaster scene is to be able to say “I was there!” … BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, GOT THE T-SHIRT!

    A woman actually canceled her Hawaiian vacation to go to Arizona TO WATCH THE JODI ARIAS MURDER TRIAL … Are you serious … Jodi Arias over Hawaii? Now that is sick!

    I have done it myself, so even perfect people like me are not immune! I was in Paris the weekend Princess Diana was killed. We had walked by the Ritz Hotal that very afternoon on our way back to our room from the Eiffel Tower. The next morning, we woke up to a French NEWSFLASH claiming that Princess Diana had been killed early that morning. We we’re planning on visiting that area along the Seine later that day (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) to visit the Hard Rock Cafe (I collect Hard Rock sweatshirts, having visited the Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Budapest, Rome, Seoul, London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Munich, and many other franchises). It was two in the afternoon when we arrived at the hill next to the entrance of the tunnel and could see the doomed Mercedes as the police continued their investigation. A rather large makeshift memorial had already been erected on that very hill being comprised of hundreds of bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals, balloons, and cards from people communicating their grief and condolences. She truly was the “People’s Princess” as I had observed during my three years in England. I was also in London the following weekend, visiting Buckingham Palace where the memorial extended for hundreds of yards along the fence, 50 feet deep in some places, with the same flowers, balloons, signs, and stuffed animals. It was quite a spectacle and something I will not forget soon. Even more memorable was the funeral coverage (no, I was not there) and the true heartfelt grief and sadness the people of England were feeling. It was very sad and an incredible experience…I WAS THERE!

    Again, my blessings go out to the dead and many injured, physically AND psychologically, by this horrific event. We as a nation have been very lucky since 9/11/2001 and need to be prepared and vigilant for.future attacks … IT IS INEVITABLE. And humans being humans, some will die, many will flock to the scene, and even more will find a way to profit from the tragedy. Whether it is a con artist setting up a fake website in one of the victim’s names to solicit donations (to him or her) or ABC programming untold hours of coverage from every perspective imaginable. Can we really blame ABC for trying to profit from the misery of others? No, not really, because that is the business they are in and owe it to their shareholders and viewers to give them what them want or need. What the media, ABC is only an example, can and should be chastised for is giving the perpetrator or terrorist organization the publicity, the coverage they need to be successful. Whether it is for their 15 minutes of fame, satisfaction of a long held grudge, or instilling terror in the populace. Terrorism could not exist without the worldwide media where disasters can be televised around the world literally seconds after it happens and sometimes AS IT HAPPENS in the case of smartphone camera that make capturing news AS IT HAPPENS, then going viral on YouTube as all of us sadistic humans click on the Facebook link.

    In conclusion, I truly mourn for the dead, wounded, and their families involved in the Boston Marathon Attacks. I have provided a psychological perspective of human nature because it seemed to be a compelling story on which to discuss the topic. I hope I have not detracted from this sad turn of events and pray I did not offend anyone because that was not my intention. I am a compassionate person, but there are times to get your message across and this seemed like one of them. I hope you learned something from this discussion because that is my only intent … AND NO, I DO NOT MAKE ANY MONEY DOING THIS!

    #PrayForVictims