Main IndexAuto Repair Home Search Posts SEARCH
POSTS
Who's Online WHO'S
ONLINE
Log in LOG
IN









Search Auto Parts

Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay


  Email This Post



a1handy
User

Jul 25, 2010, 4:30 AM

Post #1 of 9 (2913 views)
Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

I have an 04 Taurus that is running roughly. I have taken it to several mechanics and they have diagnosed various problems and have charged me each time. None of their diagnosies have proven to be the problem and the car is still not working properly. Should I have to pay for an incorrect diagnosis. It seems all they want to do is read a meter and make suggestions without any "hands on" trouble shooting or repair. This could go on forever, what should I do?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 4:49 AM

Post #2 of 9 (2911 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

I don't think we are getting the whole story. Judging by your other post I can see you are doing a lot of work yourself. If you are bringing you vehicle in for a diagnosis and then pulling it out to do your own work, that's usually the way it ends up. I don't know what your expecting them to be able to tell you or what kind of problem you have but if your doing the work yourself, your pretty much out of luck. Bring it to a reputable shop. Let them diagnose AND repair it and then you can hold them responsible.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



a1handy
User

Jul 25, 2010, 9:17 AM

Post #3 of 9 (2904 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

One of the mechanics who diagnosed suggested I do the work to save money. Once I did what I suggested and it did not fix the problem I contacted him and asked him to do whatever repairs he felt were necessary. He never contacted me to arrange a time to bring the car in. The other mechanic charged for the diagnosis and I left the car with him to do the repairs and when I returned 10 days later he had not touched the car. I feel they only want to read their meter and give a diagnosis but not get their hands dirty to confirm the diagnosis or do the repairs. In my opion both of these mechanics were reputable at least they had a good reputation in the community. At this point I do not know where to turn since I will have to pay for the same diagnosis again and still not get the problem resolved. Is there such a thing anymore of asking for a diagnosis, agreeing to a price to repair and if the diagnosis was incorrect and the problem not resolved that no payment is due for a repair that was apparently not needed.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 10:33 AM

Post #4 of 9 (2901 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

Sounds like your just using the wrong shops. I know if I had a mechanic working for me and he told a customer to do his own work to save money, he would be looking for a job.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Sidom
Veteran / Moderator
Sidom profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 1:20 PM

Post #5 of 9 (2894 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In


In Reply To
It seems all they want to do is read a meter and make suggestions without any "hands on" trouble shooting or repair. This could go on forever, what should I do?



No offense but that statement tells me you have no idea what it takes to diagnose a vehicle today.

Pretty much everything on the initial diagnose is all scopes, scanners & meters. To confirm some initial diagnoses can require teardown but for the most part diags are clean work. To someone who doesn't know what they are looking at, it could look like the tech is just "standing there doing nothing but pushing buttons!!!!" I dunno I guess if he were to do jumping jacks or pushups while doing the diag might make it a little easier for the customer to watch...

An older tech summed it up perfectly, when referring to how the flat rate manuals weren't keeping up with the technology...He said "it use to be 20% thinking & 80% doing, now it's 80% thinking & 20% doing"

The days of tearin it down to see what's up are pretty much over with drivability problems, even mechanical problems can be pinpointed with a scope. This is a running compression waveform of a engine with a broken valve spring..




It sounds like you don't have a common problem with your car. Unfortunately those can take some time to find. The more time & tests it take the more expensive it gets.

I'm just going off what you've posted but would have to agree with HT, you just haven't found the right shop to find this problem yet....


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 1:29 PM

Post #6 of 9 (2889 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

Agree with HT - you are just dealing with the wrong shops. I'm now long retired but if I was getting the work from regulars never charged for a diagnosis - sometimes the best you could do is say "X" for a start and may find more when in there. A mechanic/customer trust thing.

I'd be so embarrassed to give a wrong diagnosis and have charged you I'd be looking for you to give your money back!

What's this with waiting 10 days without your car? Why didn't they just say come back in 10 days with an appointment?

Then there are the cases where the problem is an area you don't do. Like this is body work, welding work, and suggest places I do biz with OR be the middle man. Other times there are things you just don't know or won't do the problem in front of you so you offer guesses and ask what the customer wants to do. Leave car and let me drive it to hear something or suggest a shop more familiar with certain cars.

I don't have an alignment machine for example so either take it to my suggested place or I do on a slow day and just wait. Shops will discount to other shops and so did I. Many didn't do any A/C so I would diagnose, they did mechanical repairs if needed and I did the final charge to get it going.

Guess I was lucky as all these shops were good friends and we sent each other work if overloaded or the other was better equipped for certain things. Customers (regulars) still come back and appreciate the timely fixes.

It was all a bit different for even back really not all that long ago. We knew our customers by name. Many never asked for an estimate - just do it and do it right -- love that type.

It's a tough call. It's expensive to be in biz. The diagnosis should either be accurate or clearly state "likely" something. When you do the work there's an issue there. Did you do it properly? Did you cause the proper repair to go wrong so there's room for it to be messed up.

Perhaps it's best to let the shop do the repairs you can't diagnose yourself and then they are totally responsible. How could they know if YOU did it properly or if a part was bad? That happens too.

The analogy that comes to mind is going to a restaurant and asking how to cook something and you don't like how it came out,

T



a1handy
User

Jul 25, 2010, 1:34 PM

Post #7 of 9 (2883 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

I have owned an auto paint and body buisiness for over 25 years. When on the rare occasions I quote a price to fix a car and after tear down or other wise find the parts are no longer available or the extent of the repairs make it impractical to repair I do not charge my customer for my efforts that did not yield any results. I feel that if I quote to repair a vehicle and I fail to do so, the fault is mine and not my customers and therefore he should not pay for my labor while I discover I cannot complete the job as promised. Good customer service and customer relations have allowed me to build a profitable business. Personally I bend over backwards and at my own expense go the extra mile to insure customer satisfaction.

You are right in saying that I have probably not found a good shop or an honest mechanic. I also realize that each mechanic or person is different and will handle situations differently. I was only asking if it was an industry practice for customers to pay for ongoing diagnostics that do not produce results.


Sidom
Veteran / Moderator
Sidom profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 4:07 PM

Post #8 of 9 (2880 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In

I wouldn't say it's an industry standard probably more like a 50/50 split. Some do & some don't. The shop I work for you basically get 1.2 to figure it out, period. On rare occasions you'll get addition time but this is usually due to tear down.

I do agree with what you say so personally I don't put myself in a position where I'm am going to lose a lot of time. Normally within the 1st hour I can tell where it's going. Knowning there is a chance I could put a lot of hours in and not get paid I'll kick it out & move on. Now if someone what's to leave it and I'll look at it whenever there is nothing going on....that's different and it's not so bad putting in the time, beats standing around for free.

As a business owner I think that is a good policy and as long as these cases were rare you would be good.
But what about the bodyman you had doing this work, did you pay him for the time he had in on it or did he work for free that day?

I don't know if I would insinuate they are dishonest, that's a little harsh. While I may not agree with charging if they can't find the problem on the reverse you are basically saying their time is worthless. In effect you are making your problem, their problem.

Now it's hard to debate this exact situation because you really can't tell me the level of work that was put in checking your car out. If they just hooked up a scanner, pulled a code and gave it their "best guess" then I'll help you get the tar & feathers.
If they ran the tests & procedures they should have and put in a lot of time tracing down the circuits and for what ever reason the problem eluded them, that isn't worth anything? You don't have to answer I probably already know the answer.

The problem with your analogy is your a using a rare problem in your field and comparing it to a problem in another field that isn't as rare. I think that's great what you did and I'm sure there are some shops that might not of done that even with it being a rare problem. But what if the problem wasn't so rare and you couldn't find a forsure way to avoid it. If it start to effect the profits of your shop, would you continue along business as usual or maybe rethink giving away all this free time that is starting to cut into your profits.....

Part of the problem is people don't realize how complex the vehicles have become and how hard it can be to trace a problem down (I think you're finding out right now) So the reason for the 50/50 split. Some shops will put some time in but at a point will cut their losses and kick the car. So now the customer is limited in where they can go and the shops they do go to see a lot these problems and can't afford to give away free time if they can't track down a problem...

I know your solution would be to "fire the bums and hire an honest competent tech" Great idea but where? There is already a shortage of competent diag techs. Contrary to popular believe it takes more than some sockets, wrenches & a hammer to work on the vehicles today. This is just one of the draw backs to how complex the cars have become. When you get an uncommon drivability problem the field really gets narrowed to where you can take it.

Hopefully yours is something as simple as a dirty MAF that got overlooked (easy to do) and you were dealing with code pullers. But please don't judge these shops in such a bad light & devalue their time until you have some idea of the complexity of the systems. You feel it's good customer service to give your time away in certain situation and I do as well but I'm not going to turn around and throw stones at another tech because he feels his time is worth something & doesn't want to work for free.

If your tech is one of the few good shops I mentioned being able to track most of the weird stuff, then he will flourish & probably just lost you as a customer is all. If he isn't a good shop then his business practices will be his undoing & he won't survive.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 4:16 PM

Post #9 of 9 (2877 views)
Re: Incorrectly diagnosed problem - should I have to pay Sign In


Quote
I was only asking if it was an industry practice for customers to pay for ongoing diagnostics that do not produce results.


The short answer to that question is no, they do not get charged for diagnostics that do not produce results if they were promised guaranteed results in the first place.

That is the whole key here. There are not many situations where results can be guaranteed and the smart manager makes that very clear up front so the customer is fully aware going in that time spent does not always equate to results and positive diagnosis. Diagnosis requires time spent for testing that may or may not result in a positive finding therefore the customer is made aware that he is paying for our time, regardless of conclusion. Personally, I would also make it clear to the customer of how confident I am in my recommendations.
Now if I diagnose a job and sell the customer a service that is presented as a solution and it turns out wrong, then further diagnosis will be at no charge and likely the correct repair will be also.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







  Email This Post
 
 


Feed Button




Search for (options) Privacy Sitemap