Many auto repair shops have a sign up saying their minimal service charge is at least 1/2 hour of shop time. But if they can not duplicate the problem or problems then you are charged their minimum service charge. A lot of customers get upset when they are paying for basically nothing and they are mad about paying for that 1/2 hour.
I can see both sides of this common problem happening every day. First of all, from the shop owners point of view, he has to pay for the very expensive machines used to diagnose your problems. Then he has to pay the mechanic his hourly wage or the mechanic will be upset and maybe quit leaving the shop owner without experienced help.
Another point is the mechanic goes to a technical school for 2 or more years and maybe even some night classes to get updated on the newer cars. I think the money the mechanic uses to buy his tools with is on his mind also.
But now from the customer’s point of view why pay for something that is not fixed or found. People work very hard for their money and is not in the mood to just give it away. If you pay for a 1/2 hour of shop time and you see the mechanics not even working on your car but horse playing out in the shop instead would get you upset.
Keep in mind that every problem can not be found. Just like when you walk into the doctor’s office and the doc. can not find your problem but he still has to charge you or your insurance company something
So the question remains the same, should the auto repair shop charge you a fee if the problem is not found?
One way to fix this problem is to find a reputable shop who is good at diagnosing a vehicle. You can ask around from friends or families members, look for a busy shop that usually indicates they are good and that’s why they are so busy. Another way to find a reputable shop is to look for a sign that says they employ ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Technicians.