The website AutoMD.com sent mystery shoppers to 600 auto repair shops in 50 different market areas to ask how much it would cost to replace the front brakes on a Ford Focus. They found that on average, repair shops in Memphis were among the most affordable shops tested, and they tended to consistently quote their prices to customers. The worst was the Chicago area, where shops quoted anywhere from $425 to $150, and where every shop tested changed its quote depending on what information the mystery shopper presented.
A woman in Philadelphia says her neighbor just laughs every time he sees her now, because his insurance company refused to pay a claim on her car that he hit. The company told her that the man won’t answer his phone, so there’s nothing they can do. Update: Right after I posted this, the OP emailed with an update. See the bottom of the post.
The new government estimates are out on child rearing, and now “a middle-income family can expect to spend $291,570 including inflation to raise a child born in 2008 to adulthood” (not including childbirth or college), reports Reuters. In today’s dollars, it works out to between $11,000 and $13,000 annually. If you’re planning on having a family in the future, here’s another incentive to get your financial house in order first—take control of your debts and spending, learn how to budget, and start saving. You’re going to need it, unless you can score a reality show on basic cable.
Paul wants to know how his gas company can get away with estimated meter readings instead of actual numbers, especially since they lead to much higher bills. “This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of,” he writes, “And we are hoping that The Consumerist will be able to help us out.” It’s pretty common practice, actually, and the solution is to call the company and request a real reading as soon as possible.
Reader F.’s air conditioner was broken, so he called the company that installed it when the house was built. They came out, charged him $100, and told him that he could repair the unit for $3,000 or replace it for $5,000. It’s a good thing he got a second opinion, because the second repair guy fixed the problem for $250.
Like so many of us, Stewart at My Family’s Money has always wanted to own a monkey. His reasoning is sound: “They are ridiculously awesome and having one as a pet would be even more awesome.” Stewart decided it would be a good idea to estimate the total lifetime cost of owning a monkey. We think he’s playing a little fast and loose with the numbers, but then again where do you go to get hard stats on monkey ownership? Not from our lazy Census takers, that’s for sure.