I'm not sure where to start with this review. I've heard from people all over San Mateo that Luis is the best and the greatest. Then I go to have something simple, cheap and quick fixed by him and I get jerked around like fish. I drive a 1969 VW Bug. The car has the original radio and the radio was not working. When I took the car to Luis, I made it explicitly clear that I wanted to keep the original radio in the car and that if the radio needed to be opened up and worked on, I didn't want the bill to go over $100. So I drop the car off and an hour later I get a call saying he wants $150. Puzzled as I am, I ask what the issue with the radio is. He says no problem with the radio, but the antenna needs to be grounded and the speaker is blown.
Let's back up for a second. The antenna has no grounding wire. The antenna is grounded when it's bolted to the body of the car. The only wire from the antenna goes directly into the stereo deck and there is still dust on the connection. That was not touched. For reference, if the antenna is broken and needs to be replaced, they cost less than $20.
The blown speaker is an easy fix. The original speakers were never made by VW, they were outsourced, meaning no VW serial numbers, no specific replacements, no issues with the originality of the car being affected by a speaker swap. A little back story: They're 3 inch speakers, and anyone can get a used one at an audio shop for 5 bucks (which is exactly what I did when I left Luis' shop).
So back to the phone call. I ask Luis how much he'll charge for just fixing the antenna, telling him I'll get a speaker on my own. He says $85, to which I reply "hmmmm" and he quickly changes the figure to $70, if I bring cash.
For those of you who know the area well, I was in Burlingame when I gave him the go ahead to 'fix' the antenna. By the time I got to the shop 12 minutes later, he was done and asking me for my money. I told him I would get a 3 inch speaker elsewhere for $5 and he reacted rather incredulously, as if to say "what? $5?! I wanted $65 extra to put a used speaker in for you!". He touched the wires on the deck to a spare speaker he had lying around to show me that everything worked and I was on my way. I knew I had been over-charged but it wasn't until I talked to my mechanic, who is an expert vintage VW and Porsche specialist, that I realized that Luis honestly didn't do anything.
There is nothing you can do with the antenna other than cutting off a bad connector and attaching a new one (which was not done) or replacing it (which was not done). So all he did was pull out my blown speaker (literally less than 1 minute labor) and take my $70.
I think I can offer some insight as to why Luis has started acting this way, because clearly he hasn't always been like this. I think it's the economy. Audio work is a luxury for the most part. All these audio shops built their businesses by having people bring cars in with stereos and speakers that worked just fine, only to be replaced with something better. In times of necessity, something as fairly common as this has become a fringe business. As a result, honest hardworking people like myself are preyed upon to help pay Luis' rent. This is not a speculation, audio shops are closing doors all over the Bay Area, a fact which forced me to go to Luis in the first place. My old shop that I used to go to closed last year.
I want to clarify that I could care less about the money. I'm offended, but not on a personal level. As a business major, it offends me that someone with such a sterling reputation would jeopardize it for less than $100 bucks. It sucks that a guy who's been in a successful business for so long doesn't know how to deal with the strain of a bad economy other than to start shafting his customers.