Fraudulent repair diagnosis in attempt to sell new car

What authorities will be vitally interested in this obscenely fraudulent scam by an Audi dealer? Took car to dealer for diagnosis of odor of smoldering electrical short, loss of interior lights, cigarette lighters, heat/AC etc &, especially, loss of brake lights. Dealer creates $6,300 fake diagnostics repair estimate. Service manager: “More than car’s worth.” Lie: Bluebook $12.5K. Salesman appears, attempts to sell me new Audi. I fix all except brake lights for $15 in fuses.

Why is this fraudulent? If a mechanic doesn’t want to take the time to trouble shoot an electrical problem then the easiest is to replace everything, and if someone is dumb enough to pay for it then the mechanic fixes the problem for $15 and charges $6,300 then that is fraudulent…why did you go to the dealer when you fixed most of the problems for $15?

“Authorities” will not be interested unless you were actually cheated.
Since you did not pay them for the repairs that they claimed were necessary, then you were not cheated. You paid for a diagnosis, and you got one. It may well have been wrong, but they gave you a diagnosis all the same.

Think back to courses that you might have taken in contract law. There are several steps that must be taken in order for it to be a valid contract. Offer, acceptance, consideration, etc. They made an offer, but you did not accept it. Contract does not exist. You were not cheated.

The best that I can recommend is that you report this to Audi corporate. Just don’t be too surprised if they are not very interested.

If you didn’t fix the REASON all those fuses blew, then you have fixed NOTHING…It will happen again. There is a major melt-down somewhere…

It’s just dealerships doing what dealerships do; trying to sell new cars. If you’re aware and prepared for it then you can politely decline their offer and move on.

To me, a bigger issue is the car was taken in because of an odor of a smoldering electrical short and only the fuses were replaced? Was the short actually found and repaired? If not, the original symptoms will soon reappear.

fix all except brake lights for $15 in fuses.

Fuses don’t just get old and fail, they blow out protecting you from a bigger problem. I is wise to find out why the fuses blew. They don’t wear out.

It is fraudulent for many reasons. (1) The salesman was hovering over service manager when I listed the problems, i.e, they conspired to defraud (2) You don’t think that replacing the TORQUE CONVERTER, for instance, was fraud? (3) There were two outstanding safety recalls that they did not advise me of, much less fix immediately (4) They did not check the fuses, nor even suggest that I do it (5) What was “dumb” of me: I foolishly made them aware that I had to depart on a cross-country trip (FL to CA) for my son’s high school graduation. Why did I go to the dealer when I most of the problems for $15? I did that after making the FL-CA trip from hell; they stunned me with the shocking news that my beloved A6 was a junker. “You’ll never make it to CA.” I was distraught for five days at the thought of not being with my son on his graduation before deciding that I had to make the trip. But it was a trip from hell. No GPS: lighter plugs blew up 2 of them. No heat/AC … could not open windows … no radio … no interior lights to check maps … and more. Not fraudulent? It is, in fact, criminal: They could have easily (1) checked & replaced fuses (2) found the short and fixed it (3) and most of all, they ignored the safety recalls … one of which is the fuel tank roll-over shut-off valve. And more.

Please refer to my above response.
I have, in fact, contacted Audi HQ. Did so in mid-October.
Finally got to right person in mid-December.
She tells me she will act as my advocate to get the brake lights fixed & the recalls done at a respectable dealer here in CA. Other issues TBD upon what will hoprfully be an honest diagnosis. Holidays delayed appointment. Will go there this week … with justifiable skepticism. Going for me: I’m an Audi-phile. On my third one after 20+ years of BMWs.

Please read my above two responses.
Trying to sell cars in an Audi dealership by employing deceptive practices ala the Good Old Fashioned US car dealers us something that I could not have been prepared for. Call me naive.
You are absolutely correct about the stench of an electrical short being of great concern. None of the original symptoms have returned after I replaced the fuses … but the cigarette lighter & brake lights circuits are dead … blow fuses the instant I install new ones.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
And Happy New Decade!

Know all that.
And it’s the “bigger problem” that is the issue.
See my responses above, please.
Note that Audi TORQUE CONVERTERS don’t fail @ 70K miles.

I fixed most of the problems for $15 that the dealer could have done in a wink.
It’s not my job to have done so. Audi dealers are responsible to immediately attend to all issue that relate to safety. I have had several fabulous Audi dealers elsewhere except for that Florida crook. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT: There is a major melt-down, and I’m the one that has tentatively identified it as being a short in two circuits. It’s not my job! I’m not a mechanic!
Best wishes for the New Decade.

I think you’re looking at this problem in the wrong light. The car obviously has a serious electrical problem and replacing the blown fuses is a crutch. You should be aware that this problem could even lead to a fire and many vehicles, not just Audis, have become a total charred loss due to a problem like this.

As to the word “estimate”, the definition of that word can translate to “guess”.
This is especially true with electrical problems which can require an hour to trace or 2 weeks.
Some of the regular posters may remember the thread about the nightmare BMW electrical problem that wound up requiring the near complete disassembly of the car interior and many other parts before the problem was found.
Not to mention causing the mechanic some serious health problems.

Figure in diagnostic labor and the price of a replacement wire harness, which ain’t going to be cheap, and it can be very easy hit well into the 4 figures.

Car’s worth? Depends on how one defines worth. A Bluebook figure is nothing that is etched in stone. For a more real world figure follow some completed eBay auctions and you will find what people are really willing to pay for a car.

Don’t be offended by the salesman’s move on you. That is entirely normal and means nothing. Nor is it dishonest.
As to the torque converter, maybe it needed one or maybe it didn’t. Assuming it was replaced then you get into that area of how many times the trans fluid was changed and how hard the driving habits are since many Audis gets driven aggressively.

In the meantime, I’d suggest you not go too far from home lest this electrical glitch strands you at a minimum or burns the car to the ground at worst.
If a circuit breaker in your home’s breaker box keeps tripping followed by your constant resetting it, there is a good chance the house will wind up as a charred foundation.

I guess the point of your post is to warn the public that there are some crooked Audi dealers out there. Ok, and there are lots of other crooked dealers for other makes of cars too. Even some garages aren’t on the up and up. So we are warned.

My wonder is about your judgment. You have driven coast to coast in a car with unknown electrical problems. One of which is pretty critical - no brake lights. Are you using hand signals to warn other motorists? Have you purchased a good sized fire extinguisher and keeping it handy?

The odor of burning and overheated electrical wires is what you have noted as an original complaint. Wiring that has gotten hot enough to make a smell means melted insulation and most likely you now have melted wiring making hard contact and that is why your two circuits are still blowing fuses.

Are you going to trust anyone to dig into this and find the melted wires and replace them? It isn’t easy. There are tons of wires under the dash and complicated wiring harnesses throughout the car, many of which are under the carpet and means taking much of the interior apart just to see what is going on.

Are you sure your car has never been in a flood? Has there been moisture in the carpet at some point from all the rain in FL? You shouldn’t be driving this car at all in its current condition. You need to focus on getting finding someone you can trust to fix it. Until you do you should park the car.

While most Audi torque converters last past 70K miles, there are some that don’t. You’ve got bigger problems to face up to than worry about an Audi dealership trying to take advantage of the motoring public.

An automotive electrical repair shop might be your best repairer. They likely employ the most efficient methods, and tools, to find electrical shorts. The Yellow Pages are your guide to such a shop.

Hopefully this will help you get the least costly repair of the EXISTING ELECTRICAL SHORT CIRCUIT!

Only allow someone with COMPLETE wiring harness details (including connector locations and how to access them) to attempt to find the problem, probably only a dealer.

On second thought … your “advocate” at Audi MIGHT provide the documentation (or an internet link to the necessary service info) to you.

It still may not be easy because some vehicle designs have harnesses buried in metal enclosed body channels and behind upholstry.


Start with each failing “function” (brake light, GPS, lighter, heat/AC, windows, radio, interior lights, or what ever) and trace each circuit back toward the fuse block. It is reasonable to assume BUT NOT GUARANTEED that the problem is between where these cables converge and the fuse block.

Find the connector for these circuits closest to the fuse block unplug it; put in new fuses and see IF they blow.

IF … the fuses blow the problem is PROBABLY in the harness between this connector and the fuse block. All you can do is “chase the wiring harness” looking for damage.

IF … the fuses DO NOT blow, the problem is PROBABLY in the harness between this connector’s mate and the rest of the wiring system. So power everything OFF reconnect the connector and move further out in the harness and disconnect ALL of the relevent connectors NEXT in the path to malfunctioning devices, repower the systems and check for blown fuses.

Continue this process down the harness until fuses blow. This defines the primary fault between this “failed” point and the “last unfailing” point.

At this point it becomes a problem of “repair or replace” the defective harness and how to remove and instal a GOOD or repaired harness.

A WORD of CAUTION: A high current short could easily damage insulation in other parts of the harnesses back toward the fuseblock.

It also occurs to me that loosing the radio suggests the problem could be behind the dashboard. See what else is on the same fuse as the radio.

I hope this helps.

When you have the odor of smoldering wiring, too much current is flowing through the wiring. This condition is much more likely to start a fire than a dead short on a fused circuit. A short circuit will blow the fuse or trip a circuit breaker immediately. A high current close to the rated ampeage of the fuse may start a fire without blowing the fuse. For example, I received a late night telephone call from my son and his family who were living in a rented house. My son reported that something smelled hot around the fuse box. He lived 400 miles away, so there was no way that I could make the trip. I had him turn off the water heater and everything that was else that would draw a lot of power and report back. He called back half an hour later and said that the electrical smell had disappeared. I then told him to leave everything off and call his landlord. The landlord sent an electrician the next day. It turned out that with the 60 ampere service in the house, when the normal equipment was turned on, he was drawing 58 amperes through one leg of the line and only 2 amperes through the other leg. Even though neither cartridge fues blew on the service panel, there was a potential for a fire. The electician balanced the load so that each leg was running about 25 amperes and solved the problem. On your Audi, you may be drawing power close to the capacity of the cirucit due to high resistance at a connector or some such problem. This is more dangerous than a dead short which would blow the fuse immediately. I bought a new Ford Tempo back in 1985. After owning the car for a month, the tail lights and dashlights went out. I changed the fuse and it happened again. I took the Tempo to the Ford dealer. The cause of the problem was that some Ford Tempo models, but not mine, had a tail light monitor that would light a warning lamp on the dashboard if a tail light burned out. At the factory, someone had connected the tail lights through the thin wire intended for this monitor. Over time, the insulation burned off this wire and when I would go around a corner, the now bare wire would touch the body and cause a short. When I examined the wire at the dealer, it was obvious that considerable heat had to have been generated, and it is a wonder that I didn’t have a car fire. My recommendation to you is that you get the Audi to a good electrical shop ASAP. Often, a dealer’s service department may not have a good electrical technician and your dealer may want to be solving the problem by replacing wiring harnesses–a time consuming and costly job.
As for the dealer trying to sell you another car–my parents had done business with a Dodge dealer and had purchased three Dodges from the agency. At two different times on two different Dodges the dealership had not installed the ignition points correctly. After having to have the Dodge towed in and waiting for the service department to correct the problem, a saleman tried to interest my mother in a new Dodge “Until your agency can figure out how to repair these cars, we won’t be buying another Dodge”. My parents took their service business to a DeSoto-Plymouth dealer and the replacement for the Dodge was a Buick. In your situation, I would take the Audi to an electrical specialty shop and my next purchase wouldn’t be an Audi.

OP, you’re bashing the dealer for no reason and people who work in the auto service field can very easily read your post, the tone therein, and know exactly what is going on here.
Shops will see an individual, or three, every week who should be shown the door and their keys tossed out behind them.

Converter replacement fraud, conspiracy theories, the illusion that you’ve “fixed” your car by replacing a few fuses, referring to the dealer acts as “criminal”, and what is likely a 99%+ probablility that you just flat did not want to authorize any money to track down and repair an electrical fault that could be mightmarish in nature.
If this dealer’s chrystal ball had said the repair would have been considerably less at 2243.68 in total before the work was done would you have approved it? Not likely.

You bash the dealer for saying you’re “dumb” by attempting to drive a vehicle with a known serious electrical glitch across the country. So how is that dumb?
I’d tell anyone the same thing. Some get lucky and the ones that don’t may wind up on the side of the road.

As to the dealer being a weasel for not advising you of any Recall problems, they are under no legal obligation to do so nor is the factory. A public notice is provided and it’s up to the car owner to follow through.

You think they’re trying to screw you over because you consider your aged, high mileage Audi with a known serious electrical fault to be worth a “Bluebook” of 12 grand?
Considering the situation about the car I would have to think long and hard before I’d even consider offering you 25% of Bluebook, much less that 12 grand figure.

Once again, I have to agree with ok4450.

Audis are notorious for having unusual (sometimes phantom), electrical/electronic problems that can be a veritable nightmare to locate and to repair. Replacing a fuse is not a resolution of an ongoing electrical/electronic problem, and driving cross-country with many existing electrical problems is not my idea of a person who is exercising personal responsibility.

I think that the OP needs to take a few steps back, calmly analyze the situation in its totality, and stop the use of the term “criminal” in his description of what he experienced at this dealership. While I would also not have been happy with this type of experience at a dealership, I would not be foolish enough to characterize the situation as “criminal” in nature. But, then again, I would not drive cross-country in a vehicle with electrical problems.

Safety recalls are not a blanket item. Most, if not all, recalls involve a certain number of vehicles, which are identified with their VIN. If your VIN doesn’t match those within the recall time-frame, then it’s a non-issue.

Hey, buddy. Bug off. I have owned Audi’s for years, love the machines. (Did you bother to read all I’ve written?) I made the original posting to seek help, not put downs. “Illusion that I fixed …” you say. How dare you be so impertinent! I have paper and hardware proof of all my claims. You have diddly squat. Your uninformed, flippant accusations are unworthy of further comment. Please don’t use this discussion space for ranting& blabbing misinformation and unfounded perceptions. YOU take YOUR keys and, well … only you would suggest where to put them.