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We were recently servicing a vehicle for brake work due to low pedal depression. Vehicle presented with brake pads metal to metal, scored rotors, and 2 seized calipers as well as water in the brake fluid lines.
After replacing the pads, rotors, calipers, and purging the lines, there was still depression noted. We recommended replacing the brake master cylinder. Customer agreed and part was ordered from the dealer. After installation and purging the lines several times, it appeared slightly better though depression in the pedal was still present. We advised the customer that more time was needed with the vehicle and insisted on taking the vehicle as is cause "we did not know what we were doing". Vehicle was at the shop for about 2-3 days. Payment was made so we could no longer hold the vehicle.
Come to find out, the customer is now suing for the amount of repairs though they are justified as the parts were in need of replacement (we still have the old parts).
Any suggestions as to how to proceed?
Thanks for your thoughts and input in advance.
Article: Let's Make A Deal! For some, car repair is all about cutting a deal...NOT...quality of the workmanshipBy Gonzo
LET’S MAKE A DEAL You know everyone wants a deal, something cheaper, something “thrown in” to sweeten the pot. Money (as always) is always the driving force, and I don’t think that will ever change. A deal is a deal, but if you can’t make a deal… well, then, deal with it. One bright morning, a mid-90’s Subaru showed up at the shop on the back of a wrecker. It’s one of my regular customer’s young teenager’s car. The phone rang, it was the dad, Oh, and did he have a story to tell… a real whopper of a story. “My son told me he was driving along when the car bumped the curb and flattened two tires. I haven’t seen the car, but my son said there wasn’t any real damage. So, I don’t think it should take you very long to get it back on the road. Do what you can, and call me with the estimate.” I only saw the driver’s side of the car when the tow truck pulled up. The tow driver came in and tells me, “Wherever you put this, you won’t be able to move it again. You’ll have to drag it or put it on “dollies”, it’s pretty messed up. If I were you, I’d stick it directly on the lift.” Ok, ya got me, no real damage aye? But, the tow driver tells me differently… now I’ve got to go look for myself. No real damage? Hmmm, let’s see…the whole passenger side of the car looks like someone tried to peel the sheet metal off with a can opener. Underneath the car was even worse. The upper and lower passenger side control arms are bent. The wheel, spindle, and tire are sitting on the oil pan area. The sway bar looks like a pretzel, both rims on the passenger side are beyond reuse, the tires are torn apart and shards of rubber are peeling off of the steel belts, and the transmission has been ripped off its mounts. Yea, you’re right……he just bumped the curb……..yea sure he did. Looks more like he rode the edge of the curb like a bucking bronco for a long-long way. My guess is somebody was trying to drift around corners or slide it sideways with the emergency brake on, and probably took out every bus stop, park bench, and light pole for a block or two. Ok, the tow driver gets a “thumbs up” on this one; let’s put it on the lift. I told the customer what I had found and the estimate for the repair, and as always I let him know about any “hidden” problems that might be lurking under all this stuff. He was not a shocked as I thought he would be even after I gave him the price for all the work that needed done, but definitely concerned. He kept hinting around as to what I thought might have caused the problem. From the conversation on the phone he was hoping I would say something like… mechanical failure, slick road conditions, defective part, or something like that. The farthest thing in his mind was that the kid might be the problem. I told him what I thought had happened, he didn’t want to believe it, but he was going to check into to it. In the mean time, order the parts and start getting it ready to get back on the road. Several days later all the parts showed up, and I could get a better idea of the damage with parts that weren’t bent like a pretzel. It wasn’t long before I found a few more flaws in the little “Scooby-do”, nothing major but the kind of thing that should be replaced. The extra parts were just a few brackets that were bent, but I knew dad’s pocket book was getting tight. His main concern now was how much I was willing to chew off the original bill to help him out, and to my surprise he confirmed my suspicions as to what caused the accident. Oh yea, the kid was trying to drift the Subaru. (DAH! Now how do ya drift a front wheel drive car… ah, slide with the e-brake???) Now I can do a lot of things, and lower repair costs in order to save the customer money is one of them. Money, or not, I think there is a lesson to be learned here. I thought it was appropriate to make a small request to good old dad. If he wanted a cut on the price of the job, then let’s make a deal. “You bring the little ridge runner to the shop dressed for work. He can earn his keep and save you a few bucks in the process. Maybe even take a different approach to driving in the future,” I told the dad. My customer was a little taken back by my deal to save him some money, but it sounded like a good idea. Now his only job was to get the lad down to the shop ready to fulfill his part of the bargain. Work stopped until I heard back from him. In the mean time, the car is stuck on the lift with no wheels and only half a suspension. With a service bay tied up, it’s starting to cost me money. 2 days go by, then 4 more, another week and still no answer. Finally on a Monday morning when I reached the point where I wasn’t going to wait any longer… the dad calls, “Just fix it, and call me when it’s ready. My son doesn’t want to do it, and I’m not having much luck in getting him to your shop to help at all. So I guess I’ll have to deal with the cost of the repair instead.” A little different deal than I expected. Well, a deal is a deal. I’ll handle my end of the bargain, and old dad has decided on how to handle his. There’s an old saying that comes to mind, it goes like this; “If you want to save a dollar … do the job yourself, but if you have to pay someone else to do it… don’t ask for cheap work, unless you’re willing to share the cost in some way.” After another day of getting everything back into place the car was ready for the road again. Sure there are few battle scars still showing, but mechanically the car is in great shape. That only leaves one more deal that’s not quite finished. … … the father needs to deal with the son. . . .
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As an independent automotive shop we service most makes and models. We recently experienced a situation where a customer brought a vehicle for a no start diag, authorized certain repairs, and did not come to pick up vehicle since additional repairs were needed to complete the job.
We soon learned the reason why was because the owed balance isn't worth the cars value. I personally believe it isn't worth the headache, time, or money to deal with a mechanics lien for a car that's worth not much.
How do you guys handle diags? Do you collect the fee upfront to secure payment of your actual time covered?
And if a customer approves repairs, do you request a deposit? Only if repairs exceeds the cars value? (Older vehicles)
Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions in advance.
is this the opportunity of a lifetime or a nightmare?
A little backround on my shop, we are a small operation currently leasing a 2400sqft two bay shop with two techs (father and brother) and im in the office running the business as well as turning wrenches.
For the first few years the business grew aggresively but in the past two 2 years it seems to have hit a rough spot we are barely making enough to cover the bills and everyones salary. For the longest i have been loosing sleep trying to figure out how to make this place profitable again and then some.
Every time brain storm it i come to the same conclusion LOCATION!
We find ourselves hidden away in a business park surrounded by a few different companies (that we do work for) but no real exposure to a main road.
Today i found myself smiling knowing that maybe enduring all these hard times would come with a reward some day, and it looks to be like it has and it was in front of my face this whole time..
it is a former gas station that has been shut down for a few years now and in the past yr had all pumps and underground fuel storage tanks removed,
with 1176 sq.ft. three bay work space plus additional covered work area where pumps used to be in addition it also has a 500sq ft waiting area. it is situated on a corner lot of two major intersections and just a block from a major hwy, so i start researching car count and it looks to be at least 40,000 cars drive by it daily!!!
So my blood gets pumping being the entrepreneur that i am i start to see the immense potential of this location/"service center" im thinking State Inspection station, tire services, brake service and just all the easy stuff that can draw in customers.
But then comes the realization that something like this just won't be handed to me it'll def. come with a huge price tag, so i speak to my current broker tell them i am incredibly interested in this place and need to know what it will cost to get me in there!
Mind you there were no For Sale/For Lease signage so i was semi discouraged at this point.
So i get a call back from my broker......turns out he's very familiar with the owner of the property and has informed him he needs to get north of $350,000.00 for it.
As i try to let this sink in im overcome with both excitement and surprise as i was fully expecting a property like this to go for $1.5million easily
so as i get down from this high i wanted to get everyones thoughts on this and think logically is this a good move?!?
i know what the potential is and i can get all the business plan in order and know what we need to do to be able to make a profit.
that being said one of the things i would need to do would be get a loan. which i am not big on(thanks dave ramsey). but i have no where near $300k in the bank.
My broker informed me that he knows a few local small bank owners that work hand in hang with small business that are very friendly when it comes to handing out these types of loans.
so is this the opportunity of a lifetime or a nightmare?
So right now im my shop I am dealing with a customer who is claiming we scratched there car in like 5 different places. Unfortunately we have been slacking on the pre existing damage report. Because really my multi point inspection form does not have a good one. Its just a 3 inch by 1 1/2 picture of a car and we are to circle the damaged areas. Now in this case here on out final road test a rock from a truck hit the windshield and put a nice chip in it. I called teh customer and explained what happened and told her I would replace the windshield for her which I did. Now half hour after she picks it up she is claiming of all this damage on the car. She stopped by today to show me the damage and it is on the d/s and p/s/ front door and a little on the fenders. Its not like one scratch its multiple blemishes obviously not caused at the same time. So being a new business and concerned with her blasting me on the internet I am most likely going to take this one on the chin and get it fixed. She had brought me in 2 estimates for 1000 dollars. I told her to go to MAACO and they gave me an estimate for 525. The thing that really bugs me is she kinda just wants me to cut her a check for 500 bucks so it appears she is obviously just is looking for money. How would you handle this?
Also in the future I am going to be doing a pre existing damage report on each car that is dropped off. But lets face it, most of the cars we see are 100k miles plus with multiple blemishes on them. What is the tolerance of what you are marking down? And even if you have the report they can always claim you added that in.