You know those coupons that come in the mail for a discount on emissions and safety inspection? I usually use those to save some money, but sometimes they can end up costing more money in the end. Years ago we took our car in for a simple inspection and were given a list of things that needed to be fixed before it would pass. They of course wanted to fix everything and charge us several hundred dollars. We took our car to another place that said we didn't need to fix most of the things on the list and they charged a lot less too.
Last year we took our mini van in to a different place with a coupon for a simple inspection. We were given a long list of things that should be fixed, but they still passed our van without them being fixed. They wanted about $500 to flush the transmission, put in a new air filter, and a few other things that he highly recommend we do. We were sent a letter each week from this mechanic reminding us of what needed to be done.
My DH bought a new air filter for a few dollars and put it in himself. We took our van into a reputable mechanic that we trusted for the other things. He said the only thing that needed to be done was the transmission flush, but the other stuff would actually be bad on the van and he didn't recommend them. He even explained how he does the transmission flush in 2 parts and how it is better on the vehicle than normal transmission flushes. The total cost for the transmission flush was $75.
By getting a second opinion from another mechanic we saved about $400.
Lesson learned: Most of those mechanics that send out coupons need your business and are not always honest. Really good mechanics have enough business that they don't need coupons and you often have to schedule an appointment to get in.
A dentist has the power to make your life a lot better or ruin you for life. Back before we had decent dental insurance we didn't have very many options for dentists. My DH has had to have a couple of root canals due to poor dentistry. It would have been cheaper and less painful to pay for a good dentist out of our own pockets and not need the root canals later on. I also had a young inexperienced dentist chip the back off of my front tooth while drilling another tooth for a cavity. That tooth is forever sensitive now.
Several years ago I took my kids to a pediatric dentist. He said my son needed a cavity filled, but while he was filling the cavity he drilled into another tooth and said that it needed to be filled also. I think he was just drilling for more money personally. The same pediatric dentist looked at my 2 year old daughters front tooth and said that it was slightly discolored and needed to be pulled out. He wanted to fit her with a retainer with a fake tooth until her permanent one came in about 5-7 years later! He said if he didn't pull out her tooth that the permanent tooth would come in damaged and a dark brown-black color. The total cost to me after insurance was around $700 not to mention the trauma this would cause a 2 year old.
By this time I had good dental insurance and had a wonderful dentist for myself. I took my daughter to get a second opinion from my dentist and he said she didn't need her tooth pulled out. He said that it would cause more damage to pull her tooth out since her other teeth wouldn't have the resistance of that tooth in place. I stopped seeing that pediatric dentist and have been taking my kids to see my dentist ever since. Now that my daughter is 8, her front teeth are beautiful. No damage happened from leaving her tooth in.
Ophthalmologist (Eye Dr.):
When my daughter went to kindergarten she failed the eye test just barely. I found an ophthalmologist and took her in expecting to get a prescription for glasses. Instead he diagnosed her with amblyopia (lazy eye) and she had to wear a full time eye patch with glasses for a year (her kindergarten year). I felt like I should get a second opinion, but didn't.
3 years later I decided to have my 11 year old son's eyes checked since he was having head aches. The same Dr. diagnosed my son with amblyopia and wanted him in glasses and an eye patch. He then wanted me to make an appointment for my 2 year old since he was likely to have the same problem. This is when I put my foot down and got a second opinion. I found an expert in children's eyes, a pediatric ophthalmologist and took my son in. He told me that my son had 20/20 vision and didn't even need glasses. A few weeks later I took my daughter in and was told that she doesn't have amblyopia and he gave her a different prescription (less strong) than what she had been wearing for the last 3 years. If I would have just paid the $35 to have a second opinion 3 years ago, my daughter wouldn't have had to wear an eye patch to kindergarten. I look back at pictures of her wearing her patch and just want to cry.
It is always a good idea to get a second opinion, even if it does cost you time and money for the second opinion you will save in the end. I have learned my lesson.
What experiences have you had?