Mastery Monday – EGADS! You’ve Got to be Joking!

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This strategy can be used during a negotiation out loud or you can keep it to yourself and go away and do some research by verifying the facts of the information you’ve been given. You wouldn’t necessarily say “EGADS” or you could to take get a surprise response from the other side.

Last week my engine light came on in my car. It had previously come on and the code indicated it could be the oxygen sensors or the catalytic converter. After doing some research my friend helped me put some additive in the gas tank and it seemed to work. No engine light, no issues.
That lasted about a month and the engine light came on again. Uh oh….to verify the facts I took it to an automotive shop I (thought) I trusted. They charged me $92 (It started at $115 but I asked for a military discount…) to put it on their computer system. They didn’t give me a printout from the computer but said it came up with a “420” code which meant oxygen sensors or catalytic converter. They said to start with the sensors first. My car has four of them! I waited for the price. $2,000 to do the job!!!

EGADS! You’ve got to be joking! I said to myself. I told the guy I would get back to him. The sensors were $399 each! And the rest was labor. $1,600 for parts and $400 tax and labor. EGADS EGADS EGADS!!! I went away to verify the facts. This is where you may decide to stop and just say get it done because it’s your car, you need it and you may think it must be that much. The guy said to me he thought the price would be $500 and this was a good price. He said he’d look around for other less expensive sensors, but I never heard back from him.

This is where some people may think oh, they were expected to be $500? Well it’s only $399 so that is a better price. However, he didn’t have anything to base the $500 on so don’t listen to that and never take the first offer before verifying the facts. I went away to verify the facts. What I found was eye opening to say the least.

After researching and contacting the Auto Skills Shop on Camp Pendleton (thankfully I have that option as a military retiree), they quoted a price of $60 per sensor for Bosch sensors which is a top of the line part. (Note: The retail price from most auto parts stores was $65-$75 plus tax – I saved a little plus no tax) However $60 vs $399???!!! I haven’t checked the dealer price yet but will as part of further verification to figure out why the huge disparity in price. I also never heard back from the guy if he found something less expensive so I’m wondering if this was a profit maker for someone and I was the unsuspecting female walking into a big rip off. Still need to verify the facts further before I determine that.

Thankfully my friend is very mechanically inclined, so he agreed to do the work. We ordered the parts and headed to the base. An oil change was also in order and tire rotation which were handled while waiting for the sensors to arrive. It was about a 4-hour job and the stall with a lift was $8 an hour to rent. Tools are available at no cost. Friend labor is compensated with food and drink after the event as requested 😊.

Cost wise the total cost for 4 sensors and 4 hours of stall rental was $270 vs the $2,000 quoted is a difference of $1,730!

It’s always best to do your due diligence before investing in something that is costly. In this case verifying the facts saved me a huge amount of money. To be continued as I find out more details.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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