Why No "Money Back Guarantee"?


#1

I know most shops guarantee their work, meaning if they do a repair, and that repair fails within X months, they’ll redo it for no additional charge. What I’ve never seen is a shop that advertises “If we don’t fix your problem for the agreed upon price, you get a full refund.” I’m thinking of a recent thread with a $2200 transmission rebuild that clearly didn’t fix the driveability problem. Would such a “money back guarantee” A.) Give a shop more work than ever and be a boon, or B.) Lead a shop to certain bankruptcy?


#2

Moneyback guarantees are offered for product manufactured in high volumes “to inventory” and sold in very high volumes and with low product cost. A shop cannot offer its product (diagnosis and repair) at very high volume. It takes time, manpower, and expertise to diagnose a car. And facilities and equipment.

I have had a dealership shop refund my money once… but only after my car was involved in a larger investigation by the state Attorney General’s office. I don’t even know what the investigation was about, but I can tell you that the dealership is no longer in business.


#3

What I’ve never seen is a shop that advertises “If we don’t fix your problem for the agreed upon price, you get a full refund.”

I’ve never heard of any business that used that approach. It’s more likely that they will continue working on it until it IS fixed without charging anything additional.

Ever notice most merchandise sales that include a money back guarantee do not refund the shipping costs? Those are sunk costs. You do get the value of the merchandise but you have to send it back to get the refund. How do you send back a transmission rebuild?

If the customer can complain about the performance but not have to return anything to get 100% of their money back, I have a prediction for you…


#4

I had a coolant leak in a 1971 Maverick that I owned. I was on the road and a Dodge dealer looked at the car and believed it was the core hole (freeze) plug in front of the transmission. They added water and gave me a jug of water for the rest of the trip home–no charge.
When I took the Maverick to my mechanic, he made the same diagnosis. After pulling the transmission, he found that he had misdiagnosed the problem. It turned out that there was a leak in the heater core. My Maverick was air conditioned, which wasn’t real common on 1971 Mavericks and the coolant did appear to be coming from around the transmission. At any rate, my mechanic would not take anything for removing and replacing the transmission even though I thought it only fair that I should give him something for his time.


#5

Auto repair places seem to forget that the customer isn`t paying them to work on their car,the customer is paying them to fix a problem with the car.The auto repair places think that if they work on your car then they should be paid whether they fix the problem or not.

Its not just auto repair either its a society wide problem called no accountability,from the local trash collector all the way up to the president of the united states nobody is held accountable anymore.
Too many people think that if they show up at work then they deserve to be paid whether they actually do a competent job or not.The work ethic in todays society is at an all time low.

I think a lot of mechanics today have gotten lazy,they rely too much on diagnostic machines and have forgotten old school diagnostic skills and common sense.They seem to be devolving from skilled craftsmen back into grease monkeys who aren`t paid to think anymore but paid to remove and replace the parts that the diagnostic machine tells them to replace.

If the mechanic is just going to throw a bunch of your money at the problem until he eventually replaces the part that is causing the problem then you`re better off doing the work yourself and saving on the labor charges.

Twice in the last 2 years the mechanics have told my daughter that her 21 year old car is beyond repair and needs a new engine,both times I repaired it for her and the car is still running fine for a total of about $500 in parts.I guess their $500,000 diagnostic machine isn`t as smart as they think it is.


#6

The only time I got my “money back” was when my oil filter blew off and started an underhood fire after having had an oil and filter change at a big name service station. I had to get another garage to put a new filter on and add 4 quarts of oil.

I told the big name station they were lucky the engine did not blow up or they would have been out a lot of money. They paid the bill I incurred on the road and apologized. I kept using that outlet since it was close by.


#7

What about the situation where the customer orders work that doesn’t fix the problem, for example, the car overheats so the customer brings it in and orders a radiator flush. If the car overheats again, should the customer get his money back?

How about when the customer gives misleading information that causes the mechanic to misdiagnose the problem? I have seen here were someone asks for advice, we give it based on the information provided, then the OP comes back later and says that his local mechanic found something totally different that finally fixed the problem. The fix did not have anything to do with the described problem.


#8

"What I’ve never seen is a shop that advertises “If we don’t fix your problem for the agreed upon price, you get a full refund.”

////Gee, does your MD cut you a deal like that? Your shrink? So why should your mechanic?


#9

“…the customer orders work that doesn’t fix the problem…”
“How about when the customer gives misleading information…”

There’s no substitute for a test drive by the mechanic.
Our advice on a forum like this is always worth every penny the OP paid.


#10

@keith

What about the situation where the customer orders work that doesn’t fix the problem

In my personal opinion, if you’re my mechanic and I bring my car to you and tell you to flush the radiator, then you should flush the radiator. If I still have problems, then I should learn to let you do the diagnosing instead of flapping my lip about what I think the problem is, because it isn’t your fault that you did what I told you I wanted you to do.

By the same token, if I bring my car to you and only tell you “The car is overheating. Fix it.” … Well, then I’m paying you to fix the problem. If you misdiagnose it and flush the radiator and that doesn’t fix the problem, then I shouldn’t have to pay for it.

I’ll draw a distinction between a lot of customers and my viewpoint by saying that if you then try again and discover it’s a blown head gasket, I should not get a head gasket job for the price of a radiator flush. Otherwise, my goal as a customer is to hunt up the worst diagnostician I can when something expensive breaks on my car!

But I should get it for a discount equaling what I already paid you when you flushed it.

This question hits close to home. The reason I learned to work on cars is because of a mechanic that thought it was fun to spend my money learning how to fix cars. I had a stalling car back when I was a broke college student. Brought it to him 5 times, paying him hundreds each time, and he never fixed the problem. I decided at that point that even if I didn’t do all the work myself, I was damn well gonna learn how so that I’d know how to spot an idiot and not have my wallet drained by one ever again. :wink:


#11

The thing is there are no free meals. You pay one way or another.

A relative had a muffler shop and I had had a lefetime muffler put on my 86 Park Ave there. This car had the muffler way in back and was used on short trips to the car needed a new one every two years. When I brought it back for a new muffler, he said well they are the same mufflers as the non-lifetime ones, just cost a little more to pay for the replacement mufflers. We split the difference on a new non-lifetime muffler.

I had a transmission overhauled in another 86 Buick and the guy gave me a two year warranty. Terrible shop and the trans went out again in one year. Took it to a different shop because no way would I ever bring it back to the original guy. So what good was the warranty?

You just pay the freight one way or another so what’s the difference as Hillary would say?


#12

The way I see it, I–the consumer–am the ultimate authority and final say on what gets done to my car. If I pay a worker to diagnose a problem, he gets back to me with 1) what he observed 2) his interpretation of what that means and 3)what action to take to fix it. I remain the ultimate authority on what gets done. Granted, I would tend to defer to the expertise of the guy I hired, >90% of the time, but ultimately I decide how to proceed, and the relative probability that it will fix the problem.

In my personal opinion, if you're my mechanic and I bring my car to you and tell you to flush the radiator, then you should flush the radiator. If I still have problems, then I should learn to let you do the diagnosing instead of flapping my lip about what *I* think the problem is, because it isn't your fault that you did what I told you I wanted you to do.

@shadowfax, I agree 100%, on both points.


#13

what i don t like are mechanics who fix things “that they saw when they got into it” without giving the customer a call first. it seems that some guys do this to their female customers everytime. then the poor woman is stuck with a bill she can t pay and her car is held hostage until she pays.


#14

Illegal to fix things outside the quote without approval where I live. Lifetime from my local muffler guy worked fine, I think I had to pay $12 for new clamps when the muffler failed after 8 years, pipe bender guy did it for $80, when parts from NAPA were $120. Yes he is still in business and I throw him some work if I can for fleet vehicles.


#15

Wes, people who do that do it to men too. Crooks don’t discriminate; they steal from everyone.


#16

yeah, but when a guy comes in and knows his car, its not as easy. like most bullies they pick on the weak and cry for their mommy if you stand up to them


#17

Perhaps some of the shops just lack confidence in their own abilities. Or maybe they know it and therefore are unwilling to commit.

It seems like an increasing part of my business is coming as referrals from the local chain that uses “swaptronics” as their main mode. If one of their customers actually commits to paying a fair diagnostic charge (a battle in itself), I will diagnose the problem and stand by it. One guy had a bad crank sensor causing an intermittent stall. I gave him the estimate, and his first question was “what if replacing the sensor doesn’t fix it.” I said “It will.” “But what if it doesn’t?” “Then I won’t charge you for it.” He acted like that was the first time he ever heard something like that.

“Illegal to fix things outside the quote without approval where I live.”

Here too. But I sometimes use this tactic to qualify a customer. For example, recently had a first-time customer in for an oil change. The guy found a burned out brake lamp and replaced it. When the lady came to pick up her car, I gave her the total and explained that we also found and replaced a burned out brake lamp. She objected that she didn’t approve that. I explained that it was only $6 for a bulb and if she had 5 minutes I’d gladly pull the car around and put the old bulb back in. She paid the bill and I doubt she’ll be back. But then again if I need to call you to OK a $6 bulb I don’t really want you as a customer anyway.


#18
Wes, people who do that do it to men too. Crooks don't discriminate; they steal from everyone.

I get treated completely differently whenever I bring any of our vehicles in for service if I’m wearing a suit compared to jeans and a tee-shirt.


#19

Which works better @MikeInNH ?


#20

@asemaster

He acted like that was the first time he ever heard something like that.

It probably was. I have never been told that by a mechanic. I’m impressed, and would bring my cars to you if you were in my city.