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Old 08-07-2015, 12:02 PM   #1
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Dealing with repair centers

Ok, you have a problem and your are seeking professional help.
You schedule an appointment with a service/repair business.
On the day of the appointment you start with the service writer. Write down and provide a description (keep a second copy) of the problem including the circumstances that the problem occurs. If the problem is intermittent, how can the tech duplicate the failure instance. The more info you provide should result in the best outcome.
Request an estimate before the repair is completed.
You will incurr a labor cost for the time it takes to confirm the problem and diagnose the cause. Do you want the tech to guess and substitute parts until the problem is found or use a sound systematic diagnostic procedure ?
The total cost should include diagnostic time, sales tax, remove and replace labor, and the cost of the part.
You might ask for a discount if you pay cash. The merchant gives up 3-5% of the total bill to the card processing service and the credit card company.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:44 PM   #2
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Bob,
I know you have a lot of experience in the automative service business and that makes your list of recommendations even better. A couple of questions.
Any methods to determine if the service personnel know what they are doing?
Can you, as the owner, have any expectation of observing what work is being done? And related to that, if the work is scheduled in the future, to expect them to contact you so you could be on premises?
Finally, what sort of statement detail should you expect? Do you think it is proper to take their statement or something separate and write notes of your conversation with the service people when picking up and paying?
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:24 PM   #3
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I would prefer to give money to a business that has certified techs, it certainly lends credibility. Home. Certification is mandatory in some states, otherwise, it is voluntary and the only motivation would be a pay increase by the business and or pride. Referral almost always results in better satisfaction. The BBB is mainly a marketing firm selling credibility.
Insurance liability frequently limits costumer participation. I was able to focus better on diagnostic procedures without costumer interaction. After the diagnosis was made, I was happy to play show and tell with the costumer explaining the logic behind the repair. Communication is essential for costumer satisfaction. Costumer observation is up to the business policy and maybe your history with the business. State your expectations and give the business a chance to respond.
A full billing statement is a indication of a professional business. The less chance of miscommunication the better. There are many reasonable priced billing software programs that also retain costumer records.
If push comes to shove, documentation and witnesses provide the best evidence in small claims court. Recording devices used by some of our costumers made me nervous.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:49 PM   #4
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Some great advice . I agree that being the one trying to diagnose a problem with someone hanging over your shoulder is not a good idea. However I would be skeptical of a shop that will not show you the problem once its discovered. I would also add that when taking something in for service where diagnoses is needed to establish up front a starting fee, for example , Ok you have one hr and after that I want a call to authorize more and be kept in the loop as to what is being done.
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Old 08-07-2015, 02:18 PM   #5
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Dealing with repair centers

One thing that always helped us was to let the tech know that we wanted all defective parts they replaced to be returned to us. Several scams have been perpetrated by claiming to replace a defective part, when all they were doing was to clean it up and reinstall it.

Reputable shops will have no problem doing this. Less reputable ones will give you a song and dance about "core exchange" or "recycling laws" or some other nonsense when no such rules exist. If I get even a slight hint that they're giving me BS, I quickly take my business elsewhere. Works for me.
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Old 08-07-2015, 02:26 PM   #6
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"I would also add that when taking something in for service where diagnoses is needed to establish up front a starting fee, for example , Ok you have one hr and after that I want a call to authorize more and be kept in the loop as to what is being done. "
Yes, it is reasonable to define financial limits but, be aware that this strategy can result in a diagnostic labor fee without resolution of the problem.
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Old 08-07-2015, 03:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
One thing that always helped us was to let the tech know that we wanted all defective parts they replaced to be returned to us. Several scams have been perpetrated by claiming to replace a defective part, when all they were doing was to clean it up and reinstall it.

Reputable shops will have no problem doing this. Less reputable ones will give you a song and dance about "core exchange" or "recycling laws" or some other nonsense when no such rules exist. If I get even a slight hint that they're giving me BS, I quickly take my business elsewhere. Works for me.
Actually, there frequently is a core charge if remanufactured parts are used for the repair. Remanufacturers want the failed part to rebuild. So, you can have the failed part if you pay the core charge that is billed to the business by the supplier. You may just want to inspect it.
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Old 08-07-2015, 04:40 PM   #8
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Right Bob, I'm fully aware that certain parts would apply to a core exchange. My comment was related to when there is no core exchange, such as in new parts or parts for which there is no remanufactured option. Surprising that someone would try this, but they often do. Auto repair isn't the main culprit - appliance repair is notorious for it.
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Old 08-07-2015, 04:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
.
If push comes to shove, documentation and witnesses provide the best evidence in small claims court. Recording devices used by some of our costumers made me nervous.
If I may clarify, I was not note taking and quizzing the service people in an effort to be adversarial, rather to get a better understanding of just what was done. In automotive repairs there is a pretty standard set of steps to replace a failed part. I am not so sure of that with our trailers. On RV's one only needs to read about the variety of warranty swaps on the recent refrigerator exchange to see there were a variety of results, depending on the service center,.

Some good recommendations here, I think Bob's first was the best. Get as good a handle on the problem as possible, describe it clearly and put it in writing.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:47 PM   #10
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That is really good information to know! Thanks for the tip, rbryan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
One thing that always helped us was to let the tech know that we wanted all defective parts they replaced to be returned to us. Several scams have been perpetrated by claiming to replace a defective part, when all they were doing was to clean it up and reinstall it.
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