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The non-confrontational debatable con victim

June 17, 2011

Have you ever felt like you’re getting conned or about to get conned? By getting conned I mean of money. You know the drill, you paying for something and not getting what you bargained for.

Today, I went to get my car serviced. I do it every time my car’s mileage hits 10 thousand kilometres. This time I overshot the mileage count a bit (by 1 thousand kilometres) due to my apparent lack of time to get the car serviced. Upon getting to the workshop, I got the feeling that I’ve been there not too long ago to service my car. Indeed, I was there just a week ago fixing the alignment of my car’s tyres, but I not to service the car. So I checked with the lady at the cashier when was the last time I brought my car in for servicing. To my amazement, the last time I serviced my car was on 16th April 2011. That was just 2 months ago. In the grand scheme of things, that meant I covered 11 thousand kilometres in a short span of just 2 months!

I began to trace my steps. I know the bulk of the mileage was for my trips up to KL (and back to JB). But more importantly, my thoughts immediately went to a more pressing concern of how much I paid PLUS in tolls. To be perfectly honest, I dare not do the math on that one. I’m afraid if I do I may just die of extreme shock. And they do raise the toll rates periodically. That only makes it worse. It just means that my exposure would get more and more. The thing is, I can choose not to go back to KL (other than for work of course) but that’ll just be plain daft. Not when my family is still in KL at least.

Anyway, back to the “kena con” bit. I’m by no means a grease monkey (they say it’s a derogatory expression, but who cares). I would usually just start the car and drive. And for that particular reason, I ensure I bring it for regular servicing.  Wouldn’t want a breakdown in the middle of nowhere on the North-South Highway, would you? So, today I got the guys at the workshop to do some major work on my car. Besides the regular servicing work (change of engine oil and the oil filter), I got them to change the spark plugs and clean the fuel injectors and valves (I sound like I know a lot about engines, but don’t be fooled by the jargon. I don’t know anything about engines). They told me that with the works, they’ll throw in an engine tune-up as well. I don’t really know what “engine tune-up” means, so I asked.

Apparently they have this fancy-looking electronic gadget which they’ll plug into your car and the said gadget will tell you what’s wrong (or not) with you car. I’d really like to see that. So after the hard work’s done, the guy proceeds to take out the gadget, plugs it into a slot in my car and pressed a few buttons on it. The gadget displayed a message asking us to wait while it “establishes a connection with the system” and that the process will take 30 seconds. I’m already impressed. After 30 seconds, nothing happens. He tried again (while all the time looking rather intelligent with all the button-pushing). After 3 unsuccessful tries, he pressed what appears to me to be a different set of buttons on the gadget. And I saw the gadget displaying another failure message (immediately this time, not after 30 seconds).

To my surprise, he then said’ “OK, you punya kereta OK. No problem.” I began to think then that the problem was with his fancy-looking gadget and not in any event was the problem with my car. I told him I don’t think his gadget is working right. And then he gave me the “it’s my equipment so I know best” line. Which really irked me. That was the moment when I felt I was conned by this guy. I got in, paid the bill (which didn’t impress me) and left. While driving away, a variety of thoughts went through my head. Should I go back to the workshop? What if the guy was really sure of what he said and my car was indeed tuned? Didn’t really notice it while I was driving anyway. By the way, how should a tuned car feel when you’re driving it?

So, not wanting a confrontation, I continued with my journey. I hope everything works out well. I don’t think I’m much of a “consumer rights” guy. When I get mistreated at business outlets, I prefer to walk away rather than take the risk of confronting the person(s) who aggrieved me. Well, maybe I haven’t been hit really bad. Who knows, I might just react next time. Oh, and I did tell the guy at the workshop, after all the work done, if my car doesn’t feel like a sports car when I drive back to JB this weekend, he’ll be getting a piece of my mind.

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