STILLWELL, Kan. -- Nobody likes to be surprised by a bill, but a Kansas woman sure was. Her auto shop promised a $3,000 repair but charged her for $4,000 instead and wouldn't return the car without the cash.
A 1991 Crown Vic with a troubled engine started the problem for Cheryl Wankum.
"This is his baby," Wankum said of her son Talar's car. He's currently station in North Carolina.
"He left for deployment in June and he wanted this done before he got back stateside," she said.
Talar's parents brought the car to One Stop Motorsports in Stillwell, asking for a new engine.
"He gave me the quote by text," Wankum said.
A One Stop Motorsports manager sent the estimate that a new engine, with tax, would cost about $3,200. The family agreed to the price, and the car was supposed to be repaired by the end of November.
"Then it ran into December, January, February, March," Wankum said.
The Crown Vic was finally ready this month. That's where the problem began.
The day Wankum went to pick up her son's car she learned that $3,200 repair had turned into $4,200.
"It's kind of a bait and switch," she said. "You quoted me one price, and then I get there to pick up the vehicle, and it's $1,000 more."
And Wankum said neither she nor Talar would have agreed to the repair if they had been warned the price had increase.
She demanded owner Stephan Gogaw honor the original estimate. He said no, which is why Wankum called the FOX4 Problem Solvers.
Wankum is right: A repair shop should never just increase the bill without first giving you warning and allowing you the chance to decline the repair. In fact, some states require that by law -- though Kansas and Missouri are not one of them.
The Problem Solvers team paid a visit to One Stop Motorsports, where we spoke with the manager who gave Wankum the original quote. He acknowledged he never warned them about a new price but said they should have known the old price was no longer valid.
Eventually, FOX4 spoke to Gogaw, who was a lot more open to solving this problem.
"I definitely want to work with them," he said.
He agreed to honor the original estimate. It's a problem solved that will allow a young metro Marine to soon be back behind the wheel of his 1991 classic.