I know this is a tech blog, but I can’t resist posting this to stop some unsuspecting person from being ripped off…

We have a 2004 Honda Accord. The dealership says we need a new cabin air filter and the cost is $89.99 + tax. I decided to look into doing it myself.

A quick search on Google revealed this video on You Tube showing a 13-year old boy doing it in about two minutes with zero tools. Well, he used his fingers, does that count?

Looks pretty easy. Next a search to find the cost of the filters. Seems to average around $15 + tax and delivery.

I went to PepBoys and got a filter made in the USA with a lifetime warranty for $15.16 including tax. I installed it in the car park in less than a minute.

So I called my local Honder Dealership and talked to the service manager to see what he thought about this. Here are his comments and what I think he meant.

Service Manager: “$89.99. It’s the going rate.”
I think he means: “Everyone else is going to rip you off, so why can’t we?”

Service Manager: “It takes our technicians 15-20 minutes”
I think he means: “You have no clue how much effort it is, so I’ll lie to you”

Service Manager: “It’s Cost Averaging – we charge one price for everyone and some Hondas take a lot of effort to replace the filter”
I think he means: “You have a newer vehicle so you have to pay more to subsidize people with older vehicles”

Service Manager: “One price makes it easier for our customers”
I think he means: “Most of our customers don’t to know, and one price makes it easier for us to remember the price”

Service Manager: “I called the other Honda dealership and they charge $125″
I think he means: “We don’t rip you off as badly as the others so keep coming here”

Service Manager: “Sorry I took so long to call you back to appease you… errr… give you an answer I should say…”
I think he means: “All I do all day is appease complaining customers. Oops, did I say that out aloud?”

Yes, he really did say that. I don’t have a good enough imagination to make this up…

I then called the other Honder dealership. Sure enough they charge $125. When I asked why I was told “It’s labor intensive. There is some assembly required after the filter is changed”. Yeah, right… Snap on the small clip.

So, check around your local dealerships and see if they do “cost averaging”.