reply to IowaCowboy
Re: Major car repair
said by IowaCowboy:GASP!!??!! Shops trying to do up-sells on high-margin items? The HORROR!
Rip-off shops are the reason I'll never take a car again to Pep Boys. When I first got my license and my first vehicle (a 1991 GMC Sonoma pickup), it failed inspection for an E-brake not working. Took it to Pep Boys and I knew the truck had new brakes as it belonged to my grandmother's husband and they sold me a complete brake overhaul when I figured out years later (after learning the inner workings of a vehicle and learning how to do simple repairs myself) that the only thing wrong with it was a bad cable or poorly adjusted cable. And when you see the words "premium" on the estimate, that is a clue to run, don't walk or drive the car out of that shop faster than Jeff Gordon on the Indy 500. And I was young and clueless at the time and was excited about driving.
The fact of the matter is that many of the national chain shops set quotas for upselling. Take your car to Jiffy Lube, they'll push wipers or air filters (which are easy to do yourself at half the cost).
Seriously, though... Nothing wrong with them trying an up-sell, in the right context, and accepting "no thanks" as an answer... And it's not always an upsell, either... Just because something isn't broken YET, doesn't mean that the suggestion to replace it, is a bad one. It's call preventative maintenance.
BTW - the most successful up-sell question in history (according to the business classes I took, anyways) - "Do you want fries with that?"
WRT to you brake job - you're looking back at it from years later, saying they ripped you off... No way of knowing if it was a bad or mis-adjusted cable, or if the e-brake assemble in the drum was seized up, or what... You're assuming you know the problem, and that they ripped you off. You knew the symptom - the e-brake didn't work. You don't know why... They might have ripped you off. They might not. I don't know. Neither do you.
Finally, to your OP about the cat - as others have said, it sounds like a super-routine job to me... Couple hours work, maybe - not fun, having to cut nuts and stuff, but not out of the ordinary, either... Is the car in really rough shape, or is there another factor that could be scaring them away from the job?
Lastly - and don't take this the wrong way - look at yourself, and they way you're approaching the job, and them - their PiA meter may be going off, and they are deciding the job isn't going to be worth the headaches... I'm basing this on your assertions that Pep boys ripped you off, that the dealer ripped you off when you bought the car, that your LL's a slumlord, etc, etc... You may be throwing off a vibe that they are picking up, and reacting to...