Monday, August 31, 2009

Yelpin' It

One thing I have trouble with as a consumer is auto repair. Let's be honest- I know almost nothing about cars, and it's immediately apparent to mechanics that I know almost nothing about cars. Which makes me paranoid that they are going to take advantage of me, because, hey, easy mark and all. For many years, I went to Emerson Auto Service near my old apartment, and they seemed to do a fine job for a decent price. However, when I moved, I decided to try out another garage that was closer to my work- Mike's Auto Repair. I went in there for an oil change, and the mechanic called me up with dire news and a laundry list of repairs that needed to be done- thousands of dollars worth of work (keep in mind that I drive a 14 year old minivan that is probably worth around 2K at best.). He told me that I had a broken axle that needed to be repaired immediately because it was extremely dangerous and I was lucky I hadn't totally given way yet. I agreed to the axle job and tire rotation and was unplesantly surprised when the bill came to $500. I gave him the benefit of the doubt but didn't like the pressured upsell, so when I got my car inspected today I went back to Emerson. Nice and easy, $29, no problems. Since I was in the old neighborhood, I stopped by to visit Ern and Pat and told them The Tale of Two Garages. Turns out Pat had tried Mike's once and the EXACT SAME THING happened to him! He went in there for an inspection and was told that he had a broken axle in need to immediate replacement. Suspicions confirmed, I was miffed! I decided to join Yelp to give Mike's a bad review, and looks like I wasn't the first. I also showed Emerson some love (or at least, strong like). Emerson Auto Service, my minivan will stay loyal to you for the rest of its road-worthy days.

Previously, I hadn't been too sold on Yelp (I've heard some shady claims that they delete negative reviews) but now it's growing on me. Just wondering...do any of you use Yelp? Any positives or negatives about the site you'd care to share?

6 comments:

nad said...

I've never yelp'd, though I should. I do, however, have a great mechanic recommendation that I learned of through Yelp. ABJ Auto in Somerville is awesome. Al is the nicest, kindest mechanic you'll meet. He fixes what's wrong, tells you what not to fix, and charges you fairly. Can't recommend him enough.

Now, Ideal Engine in Davis Square...them I don't recommend.

Underoo Elf said...

I'm a yelper, although I've only posted about 30 reviews over the past year or so. It is definitely helpful if you are searching for something (I found both a dentist and a hair stylist through Yelp), but I don't take it as gospel truth either since some places that I love have gotten mediocre reviews on there.

The community aspect is interesting, if not a bit clique-ish, so I tend to stick with reading and writing reviews. If you see people whose reviews you find helpful or seem to have similar taste, you can "fan" or "friend" them and see those reviews on your homepage; I have found out about some good places that way.

Eri said...

I love yelp, especially the events page. You can find all sorts of great stuff going on and score some free beverages a lot as well. YAY!

Suldog said...

Hmmmmm. No, no Yelp for me yet, but this intrigues me. I think I'll go on there and look up the places I've had my car serviced. Thanks for this!

J.R. and Jessica said...

Dude, I just read the link to the other reviews of this Mike guy... Holy fraud batman! I think there is a city office of business fraud or something like that. YOu should report this conartist.

Andy said...

Yeah- the Big Brother aspect makes me mistrustful as well. I know of at least 2 restaurants that because they advertise or have a lot of juice in the area, have gotten bad reviews pulled. So I'm not a fan. But hey- it seems a ton of people use it and love it. I want to be one of those people who all their friends use yelp so they get the benefits without actually joining. We'll see how long that lasts...