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Mechanic tried to open sun roof and now it wont close

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A customer came in with a 2002 Mercedes C230 and my "C" mechanic took it for a test drive. For some reason (he says accidentally) he hit the sun roof and the interior part opened and will not close. The customer tells us that it was broken when she bought the car and she took it some where to have them put it back and she has not messed with it since them. I feel that we should fix it but my head mechanic says he will not mess with it because he has no experience with it. I can tell him to do it anyway but don't want to end up in a bigger mess than I am in right now. I would like to hear how you guys have dealt with situations like that.

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If she didn't mention it prior to you getting it, you shouldn't be held liable for parts breaking on an inspection.


You didn't build it, buy it or break it originally so why should you pay for it?


It sucks but what if suspension broke on a test drive? Would you feel the same?


Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk

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It suck's but I think you owe it to the customer to get the roof closed. The tech had no business opening the roof. I would also disconnect the switch so this will not happen again. This is why in my shop we do not open windows, sun roofs etc.. on older vehicles unless it is part of the repair process or requested.

As for the tech, tell him to suck it up. He has no experience? There is only one way that I know to get experience, and that's to do it.

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I don't live in fear over google reviews but I do keep them in mind and I don't like getting bad ones. I also agree that this shouldn't be on me but if I were her I can see why she would think we are responsible. I just told my mechanic to man up and fix it. He is understandably upset having to fix someone else's problem.

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A customer came in with a 2002 Mercedes C230 and my "C" mechanic took it for a test drive. For some reason (he says accidentally) he hit the sun roof and the interior part opened and will not close. The customer tells us that it was broken when she bought the car and she took it some where to have them put it back and she has not messed with it since them. I feel that we should fix it but my head mechanic says he will not mess with it because he has no experience with it. I can tell him to do it anyway but don't want to end up in a bigger mess than I am in right now. I would like to hear how you guys have dealt with situations like that.


This depends heavily on what the customer came in for and what you sold them/how you position your services.


If they were in for an oil change and you're the kind of shop that just changes the oil with whatever barrel you have and nothing else like a quick change place does then the customer should expect that you are doing only that and nothing else. In this case I think you owe them to shut the roof.


If you were doing a complete service per the manufacturer's specification such as Mercedes service B and the customer knows this. You sell your service as a complete service and inspection, follow factory service intervals and use appropriate materials as well as charge the customer accordingly. In this case you have discovered a problem that requires a proper repair, part of the service is discovering these problems in the shop before the customer gets stuck on the road with them. If the customer declines the proper repair they should expect to pay straight time to close the roof, get the cabin weather tight and disable the roof from being able to open again accidentally.


If the second scenario is the case the problem with the sunroof should have been discovered with the customer interview. If the customer failed to disclose that kind of problem it is clearly their negligence and again should expect to pay for repair.


I'm gonna guess like most of us you're operation is somewhere in the middle. If you want to keep a good relationship with the customer I'd quote the proper repair, offer to close the roof and disable it at time or maybe a reduced rate. If you discount them spell it out on the invoice so they understand what they are getting and make SURE the roof is disabled so it can not happen to them or someone else.

Or you could eat the whole thing and chalk it up to a learning experience

Edited by Junior
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In our shop we would cover the repair regardless of previous discloser. I feel this makes for good business. We go over with our techs what is expected during all our services. we would use this as a lesson to all our techs about what to do or not during to somebody else's car.

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I believe getting it closed is on you but not a full repair, just get it back the way it was and make it policy in your shop that items like sunroofs are not to be played with unless it is in for repair.

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  • 6 months later...

I would look at it from your tech's eyes and from your customer's eyes.


She brought the car in and she got it back with something she had to take care of. If you take care of her, even if she is willing or says she is willing to take care of it on her own, then she will be your customer for life. If she has to pull teeth to get you to fix it then she isn't coming back. Making her happy in this case will cause her to trust you more than if nothing had ever happened.


Your tech lied to you because he doesn't know how to fix it. He doesn't want to be responsible because he isn't. Being lied to and letting him get away with it sets a precedent to permit that kind of relationship/behavior in the future, not just with him but with all your techs. Not good.


I am not perfect and this is probably not the best solution but here is what I would do:


1. I would fix the customer's car myself because I don't want anything to be at all wrong to cause her to come in again; or worse to not come in again because she feels sheepish to complain again. If I felt so to do I might repair whatever was causing it to not work in the first place. It may cost a lot of money but she may then offer to pay, but at a minimum she will be referring anyone she can to your shop.

2. I would tell the tech that I value him and his effort to make my business a success, but that trust is of utmost importance in the process. I would tell him that I hope that he would feel comfortable telling me that he broke it and that he is uncomfortable fixing it if he thinks he isn't capable. Then I would state to him that I know that he lied to me and that if that happens again that his employment would be terminated; this isn't up for argument this is a statement. If he tries to argue that he didn't lie then he still is not trustworthy and I would fire him right then. Everybody makes mistakes, but that doesn't make it acceptable because someone has to pay for it.


You are the shop owner and the tech is the employee, you bear the risks of running the business; however I see the viewpoint of others that the tech should be the one to pay for it and I would agree if I trusted him to do it properly; but based on the fact that he may only be a tire tech and that you are a risk bearer yourself and that I in your shoes am thinking about my future relationship with a customer who may have lost trust in me (not my tech), I would have done as I have stated above.


Sounds like you have things figured out.

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