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isaac
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isaac Jun 29, 9:25am - #23767 
2001 Absolutely Red Toyota Celica GT
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What Kind of Customers Do Shops NOT Want?

Just give your shop the symptoms, never tell them how to fix your car. You see if they fix what your uncle Ben from Texas said it was, and it turns out that did not fix the problem, you have no recourse. You will still be expected to pay the bill.

Leave your well meaning friends or co-worker home or have them take your car in by themselves. No shop wants to deal with your whole family or a co-worker who used to be a mechanic. Its perfectly OK to involve them in your decision making process, but they should not have any contact with the shop. The shop only wants one customer and they hate being involved in the middle of family disputes. Nothing is worse than having the college student give them the OK and the very mad Dad call and want us to review the entire repair again. The simple answer is to have Dad be the customer from the start and the college student just drop the car off and drop out of the estimate loop.
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isaac
ECelica Admin
isaac Jun 29, 9:33am - #23768 
2001 Absolutely Red Toyota Celica GT
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What can you do and say to make sure you're treated fairly when you get your car fixed?

The responsibility for finding and properly fixing your car, rests on the technician's shoulders who is servicing your car. Otherwise it is his or her responsibility to find and properly fix your stated symptom, but no matter who does the work remember the following:

1. Replace parts based on symptoms or the added expense if neglected, not based on your odometer.

2. Make sure you ask the technician or service writer, "what symptoms are you going to correct by your suggested repair?".

3. Make sure the symptoms that are described match the ones you have.

Make your shop tow the line. Ask for your old parts back, because if the new parts didn't fix the problem, you can ask that your old parts be reinstalled and your bill be credited. If your old parts went into the trash, that option is gone.

Pay with a credit card. You are better protected if a dispute arises. Make sure your repair invoice lists all the parts by part number and description as well as each of the labor operations you were billed for. Dont let them write 1- Rebuilt engine - $1,2050.36, Misl parts $325.00, Labor to replace engine - $600.00. And not log the vehicles full description and mileage. And get the warranty in writing.

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isaac
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isaac Jun 29, 9:46am - #23769 
2001 Absolutely Red Toyota Celica GT
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2001 Toyota Celica GT

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What Can You Do To Protect Yourself From Getting Ripped Off?

Every consumer can do a few things to better their odds of receiving good, honest service from a repair shop.

1. Always write down your symptoms, not your diagnosis. If you tell them what to fix, you can't hold the shop responsible if the repair you requested didn't fix your problem. If they tell you what needs to be done to fix your problem, it's a lot easier to hold them responsible.

Take two copies of your list to the shop with you. Give one to the service writer and tape one to the rear view Mirror for the tech who ends up working on your car. Put your daytime telephone number on both papers. Tell the tech to call you if he needs some more information or he's having trouble identifying your listed concerns.

2. Make sure to ask that they call you with an estimate and you understand what the shop's minimum charges are. Ask them, is this repair a guess or a fix?

3. Tell them you want your old parts back. In the event you end up with the same engine miss after a new distributor cap and rotor were installed, you can ask the shop to put your old parts back on (if you asked for them back) and credit your bill. It would also allow you the opportunity to see the old parts and educate yourself on what was wrong.

Besides, having your old belts or old hoses in the trunk under or next to your spare tire can be a lifesaver if you get caught in a remote area with a broken belt or hose.

4. Pay with a credit card. Later, if you feel as though you were cheated, you can refuse to pay the bill and the credit card company may look into your complaint. I say "may" because I'm not sure all credit card companies would, but I have never seen one who wouldn't.

The most important thing not to forget is that a shop may look perfectly acceptable yet have a terrible business record. I know of two repair shops who do a booming business that fit in this category. One has been suspended from the BBB for unethical business practices and the other never answers any customer complaints. What happens if your car has not been repaired properly by the second guy? What is he saying by refusing to answer his customer complaints?

But no matter what, please remember, you'll most likely get . . . what you give. So in the event of a dispute, be polite but firm. Yelling, cursing, and name calling will almost always build a brick wall. Almost every complaint I've arbitrated has started with a lack of communication between the customer and the service writer. Generally, there's lots of blame to be spread around. Do your part by giving the symptoms, make sure the shop knows what you want to accomplish, tell them what you expect of them and if there is a problem, give them an opportunity to make it right.

The absence of proper communication is at the root of 95% of all disputes relating to car repair.

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isaac
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isaac Jun 29, 9:49am - #23770 
2001 Absolutely Red Toyota Celica GT
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How can you tell if the technician knows what he's doing?

No matter who you decide to use, make sure they employ ASE certified technicians who are certified in the area your car needs the repair in. ASE, or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, is a series of tests that automobile repair technicians can take to see how well they match up against industry standards.

The testing categories include: general auto repair, machine shop services, heavy truck, and paint and body. If a technician were to take and pass all eight tests in general auto repair, he would be called a master tech or master technician. Only one out of five ASE certified technicians reach the master level.

Many in the automotive repair industry believe if auto technicians are ever licensed, this will be the way it will be done. They firmly believe every tech should be measured against the industry standard. I believe consumers who patronize facilities who employ ASE certified technicians will be better served in the long run.

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isaac
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isaac Jun 29, 9:52am - #23771 
2001 Absolutely Red Toyota Celica GT
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Mr Technician, Is your repair "a guess" or "a fix"?

Finding and fixing a problem with your car that's not there when the shop is looking for it, makes the suggested repair look like a guess, a guess with the customers money. So when a shop calls you and gives you an estimate for an intermittent problem, it is OK to ask them "Is this a "guess" or a "fix" ?" Then if it's a "guess", ask them who's money are they guessing with, yours or theirs? You are better off discussing these issues before, than at the shop's front counter at 5pm.

If it's a "guess", ask them to give you your old parts back, in case their guess doesn't fix your problem. It is OK to ask them, "If this "guess" doesn't work, who pays the labor to reinstall my old part?"

A good shop will admit to a "guess" before you have to ask . It will sound like this:

"Hi Ms. Jones, this is Mark. We can't find the reason your car intermittently dies once a month, but the most likely cause, based on our experience, is a bad crank sensor. That part costs $90 and the labor to install it will cost $100.

Now Ms. Jones, it is important to know we are guessing with some of your money. We are going to put your old crank sensor back in the box the new one came in and place it on the passengers side floorboard of your car. If this "guess" doesn't repair the dying problem, bring back your old part and we will reinstall it and refund you the $90 you spent on that part. But Ms. Jones, we will not be refunding you any of the $100 labor because we will have had to do the job twice and only be paid once. That way we both have some risk.

Ms. Jones, the risk to you is $100. You can authorize the repair and take the risk or you can wait until this problem gets worse and easier to find or you can wait until the car just quits for good and have it towed in, then it's very easy to find the problem. What do you want to do?"

I think you will all agree that this conversation is best done before the authorization has been given because it's called a "Customer Complaint" if this repair doesn't fix the customers car and no one bothered to tell them the shop was guessing with their money.

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Anonymous Jun 29, 4:32pm - #23772 
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Thanks Isaac I will be sure to use this info the next time I take my car in... which will hopefully be in a long time grin
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05 WRB
VSGTS14 Jun 29, 5:27pm - #23773 

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wow excellent info!

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SwOoP_gTs
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SwOoP_gTs Jun 29, 7:13pm - #23774 

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thumbsup great info thumbsup
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IcEd blUe
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IcEd blUe Jun 29, 9:13pm - #23775 

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pennsylvania
Originally Posted by spyder00367
Thanks Isaac I will be sure to use this info the next time I take my car in... which will hopefully be in a long time grin


oh yeah!
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Street Prototype
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Street Prototype Jun 30, 4:06am - #23776 

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great info! thumbsup

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Karrion28
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Karrion28 Jun 30, 8:43am - #23777 
2000 Silver Toyota Celica GT
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yeah, that's good to know thumbsup
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RicePowered
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RicePowered Jun 30, 1:01pm - #23778 
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Always got good info Isaac rice
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Elec-FuYu
Specialist
Elec-FuYu Jun 30, 6:50pm - #23779 
2003 Silver Toyota Celica
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2003 Toyota Celica

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B.C. Coquitlam
thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup
wow great info ~ i am thinking of bringing my car to the body shop these days... and saw this post~ this would be most helpful thing to see grin grin

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Stun
Specialist
Stun Jul 2, 3:47am - #23780 

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2001 Toyota Celica GT

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Jersey
Like everyone said, GREAT INFO. I love this part "The shop only wants one customer and they hate being involved in the middle of family disputes. Nothing is worse than having the college student give them the OK and the very mad Dad call and want us to review the entire repair again." Has this happened to you?

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isaac
ECelica Admin
isaac Jul 2, 5:36am - #23781 
2001 Absolutely Red Toyota Celica GT
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Originally Posted by Stun

Like everyone said, GREAT INFO. I love this part "The shop only wants one customer and they hate being involved in the middle of family disputes. Nothing is worse than having the college student give them the OK and the very mad Dad call and want us to review the entire repair again." Has this happened to you?


me being the shop owner... yes, this just happened to me two days prior to posting this information. A person placed an order and the very next day I got an email from someone who signed as a woman's name, asking about the order status. and I replied in great detail because they also wanted to know some of ecelica's store background legitimacy. Then a few hours after that, another person asked about the same orders, signing off with a different name, only it was a mans name now. I replied back, quoting the same information as before. and then another hour had passed and another person wrote, this time it was the customer. and again I replied back and I asked what was going on - just then, I was IM'd by someone inquiering about the same order again. (all of this was in the first 14 hours of placing the original order)

it turned out that "the son" placed the order... "the mother" wrote to find out an order status. "the father" IM'd asking for store legitimacy. "the son" (person who originated the order) wrote for an update and "the father" at the same time, was IM'ing me...

this got all very confusing because none of those three people had ever talked to each other to let the others know what was going on.

this whole ordeal took about 4 hours out of my day, re answering the same questions, thinking that I was only talking with one person, while all three of them had no clue as to what was going on because they didn't bother to talk to each other about the fact that they already had full details on the entire order.

...

all of this confusion could have been handled if the original person who had placed the order had been the only person who had followed up on things... instead I had "the mother" emailing me from her day-job... and "the father" also emailing me and IM'ing me from his day job... and "the son" emailing me the same questions... all within a time period of 6 hours and all with obviously different email addresses and screen-names... all about one single, SIMPLE order.

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hunter1tnk
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hunter1tnk Jul 21, 12:31am - #23782 

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Tampa, FL
thumbsupthanks Isaac, good advice as usual thumbsup
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GOLDCELICA
Senior Member
GOLDCELICA Jul 27, 8:47am - #23783 

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San Diego
Awesome advice Isaac info. now saved.

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