When I worked as a mechanic, I found that customers always thought the shops
were owned by same person. That is they would come in with cars after
spending several $100's at other shops that did not fix problem. Then they
would come to our shop and want us to it fixed for free since they already
spent all this money at other shops. 

I always thought the way to have a repair shop was to do it on a membership
basis. That is you have to be a member to get your car worked on at my
repair shop. The only way to become a member was to be recommended by
another member or bring in a receipt where you had already paid someone to
fix your car and it was not fixed. 

Once you were a member you bring your car in and you get a "free" rental car
while your car is being worked on. These rental cars are cars that the shop
has for sale. You rent the cars with credit card, for insurance purposes,
but when you pay for your bill the rental charge is refunded. The idea is
that if you bring in your Honda Civic for repair you get a Honda Accord as
rental, that is the rental is always a step up from what you drive. Thus
customer is mad at their car already and now driving a nicer one which
happens to be for sale! Additionally customers often have problems bring
cars in as they need cars to go to work, thus rental cars make sense. 

Now if you are member and you complain about the bill, well the first thing
I do is discount the bill and ask you not to come back. If you decided
latter you want to rejoin, then you have to pay the discounted amount plus a
rejoining fee, just for being stupid. 

The whole idea is to make taking the car to shop painless as possible for
the customer and get customers who appreciate the fact that you actually
will fix their cars and not swap parts all day. 

Of course I would never open a repair shop, as that I dislike dealing with
people. However I would join one of these shops. Right now I do all my own
work on cars because I can not find a shop I would trust. 

I actually took my car to get an alignment once, they charge me for the
alignment and told me I had a bad tie rod end. I was mad, as that now I had
to replace tie rod and then pay for alignment again. Not to mention the
hassle of dropping off car for service. Needless to say they never got my
money again. 

My shop would be called "I Just Want it Fixed!"


-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Donald Snook
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 10:00 AM
Subject: [MBZ] Mechanic Malpractice (and stupid customers) was
ReplacementEngine Compression

Dave Brodbeck wrote:


"I don't know, I've seen mechanics "easter-egging" for a problem by 

replacing random parts, and billing the customer for each one.


I've also seen plenty of cars with repairs that should have gotten the 

mechanic accused of "malpractice." ;)" 


I wish there was such a thing as mechanic malpractice. Maybe they would
be more conscientious. When I was a service manager at an Oldsmobile and
Honda Dealership, it was amazing what people would pay a shadetree
mechanic before coming to the dealership.  We were the highest rated GM
dealership in the Midwest and one of the top 25 Honda dealers in the
country (in terms of customer satisfaction).  I remember a pretty nice
older Honda that came into the Honda shop running like crap. They
couldn't keep it running, it was stalling and intermittently surging.
They had gone to a local shadetree and he told them it needed a fuel
pump. He got them one form the junkyard and that didn't fix it. Then he
told them it was an alternator, that didn't fix it.  Then he told them
it was a computer for $1500. They had already spent hundreds of dollars
trying to fix the problem.  They came over to the shop. We figured out
what the problem was, it needed a distributor cap and rotor. The rotor
was shot.  They raised holy hell when we charged them 1 hour to diagnose
the problem ($58) and .3 to replace the cap and rotor (plus parts).  It
was amazing that they could be so pissed at us, when we figured out the
problem and charged them an appropriate amount.  IIRC they had spent
about $1000 with the previous guy. 



I also remember a lady who came in with an fairly new Chevy Corsica. It
had 60,XXX miles on it. Someone suggested to her that she have the
coolant flushed and filled and quoted a price of $59.95 (I know it's a
little steep, but it was a dealership).  Anyway, she went crazy and said
that was outrageous. She got her oil change and left.  A week later she
arrived with her car on the tow truck.  She had tried to change her
coolant herself.  But rather than draining anything she bought two
gallons of coolant and poured them directly in the oil fill.  She said
she drove around really hard trying to make sure the new coolant did a
good job cleaning everything out.  Well, we started it and you can
imagine what it sounded like. (I can't believe it wasn't hyrdolocked).
The engine was absolute toast.  $4000 dollars later she got her back
with a new crate engine.  She even tried to get the chevy dealer to
cover it under warranty.   






Donald H. Snook

McDonald, Tinker, Skaer, Quinn & Herrington, P.A. 

300 West Douglas

P.O. Box 207

Wichita, Kansas 67201 0207

Tel. (316) 263-5851

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