Car owner’s warning after $2000 key repair bill

Skyla Anderson faced a $2000 repair bill for her car key fob. Photo / Daniel Hutchinson

A young Taupō mum was told her car key fob could be fixed for $385 – but says she was then hit with a bill for $2000.

After Skyla Anderson spoke to the Herald, the bill for work on her 2002 Commodore’s key fob was then reduced to about $225.

While Anderson is happy with the end result, she says it shows that people who face such “unfair” price increases from an original quote should speak up.

“I don’t want it happening to anyone else. It was stressful at the start thinking how am I going to get this money.”

Anderson took the key fob to Ebbett Taupo last month, as the car would not start without it.

The 22-year-old was told it would cost $385 but the fix turned out to be complex as her car was fitted with an aftermarket alarm which meant the code to reprogram her fob was difficult to find.

After going backwards and forwards over the phone with the dealer, Anderson said she was told the quote had increased to $900 for both keys, or $600 for one.

She told them to just do one as her budget was already being stretched.

However when they called to say the work was done, she says the bill had ballooned to $2000 – way over her initial budget, and what she had been quoted.

After bargaining and the removal of a new battery, this was dropped to $1400 – still more than she wanted, but Anderson felt she had no choice but to take the car home as she needed it to get around. She organised a payment plan with the dealer, and left.

Anderson posted about it on social media and spoke to the Herald. Anderson says she then heard from a new manager at Ebbetts, who had agreed to refund her the money she paid for the key fob repairs, and only have her pay the original quote.

Anderson was told because there was no record of communication for the increased quote, the entire bill was refunded – aside from the original quote.

“[I got] $1147 back and the bill is now $195.12 plus GST which I’m still happy about because it was better than what we originally paid.

“It’s really good of them, considering I didn’t think things would have went that way.”

But Anderson says $2000 for the work was an “unfair price”.

Consumers who face steep increases from a quoted price should “speak up about it, don’t go quiet.”

Ebbett Taupo dealer principal Malone Horn told the Herald they have contacted Anderson and resolved the situation “to her satisfaction”.

“Ebbett Taupo is delighted that this issue is now resolved.”

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