Monday, July 7, 2014

[Self] Do not be so naive

Last week, I asked my instructor to help me fix my car. I trusted him fully as he kept on mentioning that he knows the tricks of mechanics and recommends the right fixes/prices to his clients. Given his calm and friendly demeanor...I trusted him. I trusted him so much that I gave him my car and my full payment of PHP15K with just a written contract to back me up. Good thing my friend suggested that I made him sign a contract. I really had high hopes for this guy. At the end of our transaction, life slapped me hard. It taught me that I should not trust people. I should always be on guard.

Let me narrate what happened, just so it will serve as a great reminder. So I asked the instructor during one time in class if its possible to get my car checked/fixed. My car is a 2nd hand car and was not maintained properly by my family, it has been with me for 5 years so I thought it was the perfect time to get it fully checked up on. The guy initially said he will check for parts and then concluded after a few days that an overhauling was necessary. So I believed him. He asked me to pay PHP15K in full cash since this was the "overhauling" service fee, payment for parts will then be added afterwards. I kept reminding him to send me via email the service quotation and breakdown, but he never did. So I still dropped of my car at the designated place by Sunday and we agreed to get it back by that week's Thursday. I had him sign an agreement contract on the services to be provided and the fees to be paid. During the week, he informed me that he could not "overhaul" my car since a lot of parts were not sellable here in Manila. So he said, the PHP15K that I paid will cover the services he did and its parts. Again, I trusted that he knows best. I kept asking for a breakdown of the parts he bought via email, he did send it to me via text...but in a very disorganized manner. So I decided to just talk it out with him on thursday when the car pickup will happen. Thursday came, I got my car. It was not in its ideal state and I had a bad feeling forming, but I listened to the "findings" of my instructor. He said that he changed my brake pads for PHp1400, "engine" tune up for PHP8000, transmission for PHP1500, PHP500 for gasoline, and another PHP4000 for the parts he bought. So that was a total of PHP15400, so I gave him another PHP500. PHP15500 was paid all in all. He said to me that he could not do anything much because the parts were unavailable and he just "cleaned' my car up. I summed up the total official receipts that he gave me and it roughly reached PHP4000. I showed him that and he simply said the rest is for the service. So basically I paid a guy PHP11000 to remove the stuff of my car, fix a leak and "clean it". It did not feel right that time and I was waiting for him to refund me. But he was not waivering. So I then decided, I will let his conscience deal with it... So I started my car and my airconditioning was not running!!! I told him that was running when I dropped it off, but he said it was not. My head was hurting this time. But then I still "trusted" him and got my car and left. After driving my car real slow at 20-40kph 30 minutes from getting it, I did not even turn on the aircon, the car started shaking and the engine was making a screeching sound. I was dead scared. MY CAR had LEAKS before i got it "fixed", now IT HAS 3 MAJOR PROBLEMS that I paid 15K for. I was angry, hurt, and scared at the same time. I called my instructor immediately, asking him to fix it. And he said he will drop by my house by Saturday to check it out, he sounded like he was shocked my car has problems. Upon getting home, my dad was furious and I was hurt from all the lying. Luckily, I had a contract in hand. So I can always come around and sue my instructor if necessary. My dad said I was cheated on and he got my car checked the very next day Friday. So MORE EXPENSES for me. It came out that my air conditioner was not plugged nor was there any freon. I asked my dad to leave the fixing of the engine to the instructor since that was his responsibility. Come saturday, the instructor came (I was not at home since I had work/class). My dad oversaw the "fixing". It ended up fixed but with my dads assistance and procurement of the parts (which was supposedly included in the 15K I initially paid for). The instructor left after "fixing the car" without any attempt to refund me. My dad had a long sermon and scolding for me, he told me I was fooled and conned. The instructor did not know what he was doing and charged me unethically. The 15K was paid for an overhauling service, the service he rendered was at most at 3K, so I should have paid 7K only (3K service + 4K parts). But instead I was charged 15K, he earned 8K out of a student's trust. I asked the instructor for some refund since it really hurt me, and by God's grace...the instructor agreed to refund me 5K. He paid me awhileago Monday. He confided in me that he paid 4K for assistance. I still felt bad that I don't want him to loose money, so I agreed with 5K. BUT! Before he refunded me, he tried to get it down to 4K saying he doesn't have any money that week. I felt disgusted. Here I am feeling bad for this guy, wanting for a win-win situation. But instead he keeps on "pushing" me. I said a stern NO since he never thought about me before he paid his assistants 4K. Good thing, now it is all in past. I paid 10K for a badly memorable car service. Never again will I be so naive in dealing with people. Protect yourself. Make sure you have something to back you up, in this case a contract. I will never solicit help from people I do not know or not backed up by an institution. The only upside with this instructor was that he did not run, came saturday to fix the car, and agreed to refund me. Else...I would have sued him which I do not want to do.

The point of this entry is to remind others and myself of the realities of life. Though we badly want a life that is not so cynical, so pretentious, so the end of it all, it is. Life is a constant gamble, we take risks with the people we trust and choose to do business with. It is always better to choose the higher ground and stay on guard. Trust should be gained, not freely given.