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Joe Marconi

Can you legally prevent a customer from driving an unsafe car?

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A customer arrived to my shop with leaking brake lines, bald tires and rotted front spring seats. Due to the age of the vehicle and many other issues, we recommended that he junk the car. He came down to the shop and said he wanted to take the car. We refused to release the car: Which technically we cannot do. We explained to the customer that the car we unsafe and that while I cannot legally prevent him from taking his car; I have a moral obligation to stop him.

 

The customer sent his son down to the shop to “strong arm” me. I would not give in. I showed the son the problems and told him, “This car is not safe. The brake lines to the front and rear brakes are rotted and leaking, the tires are bald and the front strut spring seats are rotted. After a lengthy debate he agreed. The car was junked and the owner was very upset with me.

 

Two days later, this same customer arrives with a used car, just purchased, and needed a New York State inspection. Lesson: Sometimes we have a moral obligation to do the right thing.

 

Your thoughts?

 

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