This is exactly why mechanics get such bad reputations for ripping people off. There's no way the mechanic knew the age of the rotors or the miles on them so he did what every other conscientious mechanic would have done, ... And it almost came back to bite him. Luckily you came here first.
Brake rotors always wear unevenly and develop grooves and scratches. They must be machined to make both sides perfectly smooth and parallel to each other, otherwise you'll have noises and a possibly a brake pedal pulsation. Only a do-it-yourselfer would even consider replacing the brake pads without machining the rotors. At issue here today is cost and time. As little as ten years ago some new brake rotors cost over $100.00 each so we machined them whenever possible instead of replacing them. You have to look at the cost of the brake lathe, the cost of the cutting bits that wear out quickly, (and can be expensive), and consider that it takes ten to twenty minutes to set each one up correctly on the machine and do the work. It is also possible to set it up wrong and machine a warp into one and have to do the machine work over. There is also a legal limit to the minimum thickness rotors can be machined to. Most cars today come with rotors that are so thin already to save weight that there isn't much material that can be taken off. Often the mechanic measures them, finds them to be okay, but barely, takes the time to machine them, THEN finds they're too thin even before all the grooves and warpage have been removed.
All of that can be avoided by just replacing the rotors instead of inspecting, measuring, and machining them. Today it is real common to buy brand new rotors for as little as ten bucks a piece, although around $30.00 is more common. In most cases your mechanic will find it faster AND less expensive in the long run to just replace them. Had he known they didn't have many miles on them he might have elected to machine them, but you are responsible for telling him that.
Also, why were new brake pads needed in so few miles? What were the symptoms? There are things that can happen from just sitting for a long time but usually just regular driving will take care of rust buildup and related noises. Again, if the mechanic is told the pads have few miles, his recommendations would likely have been different. If he was looking for the cause of a noise, for example, machining the rotors is one common remedy.
I will never defend a disreputable mechanic but in this case there's nothing to suggest he did anything wrong.
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Sunday, November 4th, 2012 AT 5:36 AM