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Ripping off a kid?

My 18 year old daughter is 2300 miles away dealing with a Honda dealer on her own and I have a couple of concerns. She took the car in today. They made her pre-pay for parts which they decided that they needed for delivery tomorrow. In 53 years of dealing with mechanics, as far as I recall I have never been asked to pre-pay for parts. Is this normal practice? Also, while this is not conclusive, I found a TSB on the problem which makes me wonder whether parts are needed at all. The issue is with a 1998 Civic window coming out of it’s track, TSB No.: 97-021 seems a perfect match. They ordered a regulator.

Any thoughts on what can be done would help. She did pay by credit card.

Lots of places ask for prepaying on the parts. As a matter of fact, I bought some replacement parts for a friend’s early '90s Accord a few months ago and I prepaid for them.

As for the TSB, what does it say? TSB does not equal “free repair”, and this one could involve a new regulator.

For certain VINS in 1996 and 1997, the regulator needs to be replaced and proper procedures followed to put the mess back together. For 1998, the same instructions are followed, skipping the regulator replacement steps. In both cases, the channel is to be inspected closely and may need to be re-installed or replaced depending on what is found.

Pre-paying for a special ordered part is normal so there is nothing out of line there. The reason for this is that many people have special ordered some very expensive parts and left the dealer or shop holding the bag when deciding later they don’t want the part after all.
I’ve even had to pre-pay a few special order parts from parts houses such as AutoZone, etc.

As mentioned, a TSB does not equal a free or warrantable repair. A TSB is only a bulletin advising the dealer of an improved repair method, updated part, change in policy, or whatever.
Nothing out of line here at all IMHO.

Prepayment for special orders is an approved practice. Some merchants ask for prepayment, others do not. And the shop appears to be following the procedures of the TSB, which is merely a repair guide, not a recall. Nothing amiss here.

as i learned on here a year or so ago, a TSB is a Technical Service Bulletin.

it provides technical advice on how to service a defect or usual fault in the form of a bulletin on paper.

this does not indicate that this is a factory recall. sorry.

you do NOT (nor does your daughter) need to take the car to a dealership for repairs.

you both should find a decent reputable shop locally. they cost less, are just as dependable, and it is nice when you have to go for repairs to actually talk to the mechanic who is doing the repairs as opposed to some service writer sitting on a stool, wearing dale earnhart leather racing duds, looking cool.

no the prepayment is not out of the ordinary.

She decided to go to the dealer as there seemed a better chance of a one visit fix and the window would not shut. She asked them to be sure to look at the bulletin, they stated that they did and that it was not the problem described in the bulletin. Then they explained that it was the regulator that made the window loose in the channel. She had not read the bulletin herself or she would have pointed out to them that the loose window issue is fixed by the adjustments, not by replacing the regulator. I now firmly believe that she has been ripped off, but that nothing can be done at this point. Did I mention that it was my credit card that she used for this?

A loose window can be caused by a bad regulator, there is after all more than one thing that can cause a loose window. Basically, if they checked the TSB (which they said they did) then they probably inspected the inside of the door and determined that that was not the cause of the problem. Then they probably went through the diagnostics of testing different window related components until they determined the root of the problem (the regulator in this case). It sounds like you are not being ripped off, that doesn’t mean you aren’t, but there is nothing that you have described that would make me think anything is out of the ordinary (other than the fact the window doesn’t work :))

Sounds like you have made up your mind that she has been ripped off from the get-go and you’re not going to think otherwise.
You better realize a recall or TSB is a very narrow application and just because a TSB is issued does not mean that it’s a warrantable repair nor does it mean that the TSB covers anything other than what is spelled out in the bulletin.
There can be a dozen reasons why the regulator, track, or window is acting up; the bulletin may only cover one of those reasons.

This is true of any vehicle out there, not just Honda, so don’t expect a free repair on an 11 year old car just because a TSB was issued.

“I now firmly believe that she has been ripped off, but that nothing can be done at this point.”

Why are you here? Other than seeking sympathy and commiseration, what do you want us to do or to say? We have already given opinions that everything seems kosher but you are still irate. Maybe you can contact your credit card company and insist they reimburse you.

you state that the problem was not the problem in the TSB.

actually there were two problems, relating to this (as covered in the TSB) one had to do with the window guides being loose, and having faulty rubber gaskets, and the other had to do with the gaskets AND the window regulator motor being bad.

so there is actually the possibility that the regulator was bad, and they had to replace the rubber, as well as the motor.

on a different subject, after perusing the whole TSB, it would appear that the rubber being installed incorrectly may cause the window guide channel to loosen up, thus causing the whole regulator assembly to shift and ‘drop’ the window out. this loosening up then seems to kill the motor.

so it appears if you had gotten the repair pretty quickly, and had the window channel guides re tightened up, and ensure the gaskets are installed correctly, you don’t need the motor. HOWEVER, it would seem that your window was so bad, for so long that the motor got ‘ate’ up too.

as forrest gump says, “…it happens”

What do you mean by “We”? Did someone annoint you to speak for the group?

He means himself and everyone who posted before him.

A good double check is for you to go to your local dealer, someone you know and knows you. Tell them all the details of the car’s problems as if it hasn’t yet been repared, just lay out the facts cold and see what they say. Then, and only then, will you be able to make a one-for-one comparison. My daughter is in Florida, my son in San Francisco, my sister in-law in Olympia Wa, and my dad in San Antonio, me in New Mexico and I make these inquiries to my local dealers often.